Over the past few years, many racetracks have gone away from the concept of a basic track facility and have begun to position and market themselves as motorsports country clubs. Tracks such as VIRginia International Raceway, Autobahn Country Club and Monticello Motor Club all have added significant amenities to their properties to provide an upscale experience for the folks who come out to enjoy the racing surface.
Another one of these country club tracks is our featured track for this month, New Jersey Motorsports Park located in Millville, New Jersey.
The track was built in 2008 near the grounds of a former Army Air Force training facility, and it features two separate paved circuits aptly named “Thunderbolt” and “Lightning,” after the legendary fighter planes from the World War II era. The grounds also include a kart track and gravel roads that can accommodate rally-style off-road events. The track is set in 500 acres of lush old-growth forest and it lives up to its country club mission with carefully manicured grounds and top quality construction at every turn. Aside from a nice variety of club and pro races, the track also hosts fun events like Monster Truck rallies, “mud runs,” and special holiday gatherings for the local community to enjoy.
The track is located just outside Millville, N.J., which is a short drive from Philadelphia and not too far from New York City, just inland from Atlantic City, N.J. The Philadelphia airport is the closest major airport and the drive is an easy all-highway jaunt that takes about an hour. The New York City area is a little farther away, but it is not difficult at all to get to NJMP from the Big Apple via the New Jersey Turnpike.
True to its country club roots, NJMP has a number of excellent lodging options at the track. The main clubhouse boasts hotel rooms with all the amenities, and there are also the Villas at Breighton, which feature garages and plenty of room to entertain a whole crew for a weekend. The track also has rental garages so you don’t have to bother trailering your track car from home to the racetrack. If you don’t want to stay at the track, there is also an outstanding Fairfield Inn by Marriott just off New Jersey Highway 55, which is a short drive from the track, yet still close to any sort of retail establishment you might need to patronize during your weekend.
When you’re at NJMP, there really is no reason to bypass the outstanding menu and bar available at the Finish Line Pub located in the main clubhouse. During my visit, the menu included options suitable for nearly any palette or budget, including calamari, steaks, high-end sandwiches and excellent salads. The bar also had an impressive selection of evening drinks available in a sophisticated and relaxing wood-paneled lounge.
NJMP has two road-course circuits, Thunderbolt and Lightning. During my visit, the NASA Northeast region was running on the 1.9-mile Lightning course and I got a chance to observe closely from the corners as well as take a spin around the course during a Hyperdrive session. The tarmac itself is in great shape and despite the lower speeds of a Hyperdrive, I never felt that I had a moment where I did not have to anticipate another corner coming at me quickly over the horizon. The course includes a neat “bowl” section called the Lightbulb on the backside, which really hammers drivers down into their seats. The Lightbulb launches you onto the front straight where you can see some pretty big speeds prior to hurtling into the first turn, which is a blind right hander with a nice elevation drop to keep you on your toes.
I did not get a chance to sample the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt circuit, but bench racing with some NASA Northeast drivers made me very interested to come back and try out its longer distance and challenging bends. When the Grand Am Series comes to Millville, it races on the Thunderbolt course.
For services and gear at the track, the facility has an impressive pro shop run by Driving Impressions with nearly any sort of driving specific gear you might need. There is usually tire service at the track during NASA weekends provided by Phil’s Tire Service, and the nearby town of Millville has many options for auto parts stores within a 10- to 15-minute drive.
So, if you are on the East Coast or just want to travel to an outstanding track with first-class amenities, you should schedule a stop at New Jersey Motorsports Park soon. Until next time, I’ll see you at a track somewhere in America.
New Jersey Motorsports Park
47 Warbird Drive
Millville, NJ 08332
Fairfield Inn by Marriott Millville/Vineland
301 Bluebird Lane
Millville, NJ 08332
Phil’s Tire Service
274 Cragsmoor Road
Cragsmoor, NY 12420
Onsite at NJMP
Lapping the Lightning Course
Lapping the Thunderbolt Course