Summer Fun in the Hudson Valley 2011
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The 4.1-mile track at the Monticello Race Club sits on 175 wooded acres
Spin Your Wheels
If your idea of a nice Sunday drive is ripping down I-684 at twice the legal speed limit, take the money you’d have had to shell out on speeding tickets and head instead to the Monticello Motor Club, where (for a pretty penny) you’ll be able to drive high-end exotic cars on a world-class racetrack at speeds up to 140 miles per hour. Although the exclusive members-only club (which boasts Jeff Gordon as one of their own) is closed to the public, it does offer guest programs for motor-sports enthusiasts who just want a little taste of life in the fast lane. “It’s an absolutely unforgettable experience,” says club president and cofounder Ari Straus.
The brand-new facility was built in 2008 at the 175-acre former site of the Monticello airport. “It’s just like a country club, like a private golf course with concierge services, a pro shop, food, family, storage, etc. Except instead of links we have a four-point-one mile curvy racetrack,” explains Straus. “Going fast in a straight line is a quick thrill that passes quickly.” The track — said to be one of the best in the world — was designed by famed race champion Brian Redman and track architect Bruce Hawkins. With some of the longest straights in North America, 450 feet of elevation changes, and more than 20 turns, Monticello’s circuit offers everyone from the professional race car driver to the weekend warrior a fulfilling and exhilarating experience.
While membership in the club is over-the-top expensive (a lifetime “gold” membership costs $125,000, plus annual dues of $9,925), novice speed demons can get in the door with one of two guest options. “Both programs are designed with the beginner in mind, no track experience is necessary,” says Straus. “What you learn is that it’s not about speed, it’s about car control. We put a huge premium on safety.” In the High Performance Driving Experience ($1,350), a one-day group class led by club instructors, students spend some time in the classroom and then put their new skill set to work on the track in a 556-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. The more comprehensive Taste of the Track program (starting at $1,500) allows guests to live life as a club member for the day, with access to a private instructor, meals, and the club’s fleet of high-end cars — for an additional fee, of course.
Monticello Raceway (Monticello)
Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, Conn.) is a smooth-terrain motorsport racing venue where you can catch a race, take lessons or even cruise the track in your own car on special days.
The Orange County Speedway (Middletown) is celebrating its 62nd year of dirt-track racing with weekly events every Saturday this month.