How does a rural, private driving club sound as host of USGP?

I have zero idea how seriously we should take this, but… I think it is worth noting.

According to the folks at Autoweek, an upscale, private driving club/track in rural New York state is in talks with Bernie Ecclestone to host a U.S. Grand Prix.

Apparently, they have the will and the way (i.e. the dollars).

Here are some details:

According to a letter written by Ari Strauss–president of Monticello Motor Club (MMC) in upstate New York–and leaked Thursday to AutoWeek, the country-club-style racing venue is talking to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about bringing the Grand Prix circus to the facility at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. Monticello Motor Club is the closest motorsports venue to New York City; it is 90 minutes by car from Manhattan, and there is an international airport 10 minutes away.

According to the letter, Strauss and MMC chairman Bill McMichael met with Ecclestone a few months ago to talk about hosting a Grand Prix, with an eye toward a long-term, 10-year deal. Hermann Tilke, the architect of F1’s modern venues, has already visited MMC and apparently determined that the facility is capable of hosting a Grand Prix, although some expansion and modifications would be necessary.

Strauss also said that he and McMichael are working to garner support from local, state and federal politicians and organizations, presumably to secure the financing necessary to make their dream come true.

However, the letter notes that “securing F1 is like winning the Olympics, competition is fierce, and this is not a done deal.”

In its current guise, MMC’s fast track is 4.1 miles long and includes 22 unique turns and 12 distinct configurations, with more than 1.5 miles of straights. It was designed by driver Brian Redman and Bruce Hawkins, a track architect and engineer.

The letter to members is also at Autoweek.

You can find out more about the club at its website here.

I guess I say at this point: Let’s watch this. It’s only starting to make the rounds of the media, so reaction there — and eventually Bernie’s reaction? — might provide more ideas.

My gut reaction. I’m not sure what makes more sense. The airport, I’m sure, you noticed. And if there’s a degree it can be a bit of a vanity project, maybe that offsets the costs. But, still, the thing has to “pencil out,” and I’m not sure how these guys will be making the bottom line work.

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