Atlanta Motorsports Park nears opening

By Ryan R Rees

The subtitle on the promotional booklet for the Atlanta Motorsports Park says it all: “The country club for people who live in the fast lane.”
The new park, currently under construction just outside the Dawsonville city limits, is expected to open later this year.
Much like a golf country club, AMP offers members exclusive use of the facility. Future plans include a clubhouse with restaurant, fitness room, swimming pool and tennis courts.
Unlike nearby Road Atlanta, one of the premier race tracks in the country, AMP is a private track and does not plan to host amateur or professional races. Instead, it will be a place that drivers can take their cars and drive at full speed.
The Skip Barber Racing School also will have a school at the track to assist drivers who want to get the most out of their car and driving experience.
Corvette and Porsche owners are the biggest audience target. But anyone can drive at AMP, providing they can afford it.
Pre-construction memberships are being sold on three different levels. The Founding Diamond membership offers up to 180 days of track time annually for a fee of $40,000. That includes a lifetime membership for immediate family members to use the track, no monthly dues or daily use fees for life.
The Platinum membership carries an initiation fee of $17,500, which allowed for up to 120 days of track time with no monthly dues or daily use fees for two years. The Tungsten Membership levels offers up to 60 days annually for an initiation fee of $8,000 and monthly dues of $150 and daily use fees of $30. Only 25 of each membership level have been offered.
Don Barnes, project manager, said $2.2 million in membership fees have been sold so far.
Unfavorable weather over the winter delayed work on the nearly two-mile track or it would probably be open now.
However, most of the track surface has been paved with the base layer as work continues on the clubhouse and garage areas along the front straight.
The course features 16 turns with elevation changes of 140 feet. Six different courses can be configured within the nearly two-mile main track. Rolled concrete will be used for the pit road surface instead of asphalt, according to Barnes.
The track also is going to be “green” with several portions of the project using green-friendly features. Large rows of rolled hay bales are already in place as sound barriers. More than 80,000 used tires will be used as safety barriers around the track.
The facility will incorporate tank less water heaters, reclaimed water for the irrigation system, thermal resistant windows, high-efficient lighting and even waterless urinals and dual flow toilets.
In addition to the main track, there will be a go-kart track and skid pad area.
The track was designed by Formula One architect, Hermann Tilke, who also is designer of the track being built near Austin, Texas, which hopes to host a Formula One race in the next two years. Two of the signature corners are similar to famed turns at Spa-Francochamps in Belgium and Germany’s Nurburgring.
One of the most exciting and challenging portions of the track will take drivers down a slope, across a creek and up a steep incline around a small hill before returning to the front straight.
The track faced opposition initially but was finally given the OK by the Dawsonville City Council and ground was broken last August.
Barnes noted that the facility is giving back to the community. More than 29 Dawsonville workers are involved in the initial grading work.
The track will return 10 percent of its profits to local charities, offer teen driving classes and donate track time to local police departments for training.

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Comment by John Cuda on June 25, 2011 at 2:11pm

That's cool.

I would love to see a 1/4 mile drag strip open up somewhere along the 400 NB corridor some day in the not so distant future.

Drag strips have become somewhat taboo with all the urban sprawl, but I guess just driving up 400 is the closest thing to a drag strip we have around here, ha, ha.


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