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Professional racing returns to NJ

November aerial photo showing construction progress.  Asphalt is now being laid.

At the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) tradeshow in Orlando, Florida, the racing world received official word that professional Motorsports is returning to New Jersey in a major way.  New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), a new Motorsports complex in Southern New Jersey featuring five Motorsports venues, will host five major spectator races in its first year of operation and 34 club and driver school events have already been booked, filling out the schedule.  The marquee race of the season – Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series – is slated for August 29 – 31.

More than 100,000 spectators are forecast to visit Millville, NJ over the course of just two months next summer, as the facility welcomes some of America’s top touring racing series.  NJMP features two road-racing courses: Thunderbolt Raceway, named for the historic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft which was stationed at Millville Army Air Field during World War II and where its’ crews were trained, and the Lightning Road Course – named for the P-38 Lightning – the first American dual engine fighter.

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) will hold the first public spectator event in NJMP history on August 7-10.  Historic cars as diverse as the Ferrari Formula 2, Porsche 356, Jaguar E-Type, McLaren M8D Can-Am and Shelby GT350 participate in SVRA events, and will grace the Thunderbolt track.

The Shelby American Automobile Club will hold its national convention, complete with a concours and racing event on August 15-17.  Carroll Shelby himself had a hand in the layout and conceptual design of the Thunderbolt Raceway, so it’s fitting that some of the legend’s greatest creations will be put to the test on a track that bears his imprint.

On August 29-31, NJMP will present its crown jewel event for 2008, as the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 brings its exotic Daytona Prototype and GT racers to Thunderbolt Raceway.  Arguably the most competitive racing series in America, the Grand-Am Rolex Series features superstar drivers like Scott Pruett, Alex Gurney, Max Angelelli and Bill Auberlen, as well as world-renowned teams such as Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates.  NJMP expects Grand-Am’s first visit to the facility to be the biggest spectator draw of the season.

On September 13-14, professional drifting makes its road course debut in New Jersey as the D1 Grand Prix comes to town to compete on the Lightning Road Course.  Drifters balance speed, artistry and showmanship in this unique judged Motorsport event, and will contribute plenty of rubber to the fresh asphalt at NJMP.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series, America’s most diverse auto racing series, returns to road-course racing for the first time since 2001 on September 26-28 at Thunderbolt Raceway, wrapping up NJMP’s inaugural spectator season.  Spectators will get a look at the next generation of NASCAR hopefuls, as they race stockcars around the 2.3-mile road circuit.

New Jersey Motorsports Park is already nearly fully booked for its first season of operation.  Beyond the five initial public events, national and regional enthusiast clubs will hold events at the facility, including the Porsche Club of America, BMW Club of America, SCCA, Skip Barber Driving School, and New York Sport Bike Club.

2008 New Jersey Motorsports Park Spectator Calendar

Date Race Venue
Aug 7-10, 2008 SVRA Thunderbolt Raceway
Aug 15-17, 2008 Shelby Club of America Thunderbolt Raceway
Aug 29-31, 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Thunderbolt Raceway
Sept 13-14, 2008 D1 Grand Prix Lightning Road Course
Sept 26-28, 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Thunderbolt Raceway

The New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), featuring Thunderbolt Raceway, is a $150 million world class Motorsports complex located on 700 acres of land adjacent to the Millville, NJ Airport.  Members of NJMP will enjoy road, oval and off-road racing venues, as well as luxurious spectator and participant facilities including VIP suites, shade tree garages, event garages and trackside villas.

Like its sister property, Virginia International Raceway, NJMP will mix world-class racing facilities with high-end hospitality venues.  NJMP, however, will include multiple hotels and restaurants at varying price points, educational and research facilities in conjunction with Rowan University, classic car galleries and a clubhouse with pool, fitness and tennis facilities.  In a nod to one of the seminal characters in the racing world, NJMP christened the media center and scoring tower the “Chris Economaki Tower” in honor of the New Jersey native. 

Scheduled to open in June 2008, it will be the only US Motorsports complex with such diverse venues as two road courses, driver training and skid pad facility, 3/4 mile tri-oval, high performance kart track and an off-road vehicle course for extreme sports – all situated in a country club setting.  In addition to the Motorsports attractions, NJMP will also include a conference center, an aircraft and automobile museum as well as diverse retail shopping experiences.

The principals of NJMP are Harvey Siegel, Lee Brahin and Richard “RJ” Valentine.  A seasoned race car driver and real estate developer, Siegel is the owner of the Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Through his renovations of the historic VIR complex, it has come to be considered one of the nation's premier road courses.  A classic car racer, Brahin is the operating principal of Brahin Properties, Inc. and affiliated companies, specializing in the development, management, acquisition, financing and brokerage of Commercial properties. The current Brahin organization portfolio exceeds 2.5 million square feet and has a value in excess of $100,000,000 with properties in six states.  A professional race car driver currently competing in the Rolex Grand Am Series, Valentine is a successful entrepreneur, responsible for more that 30 years of business growth in diverse industries.  Currently his holding company, MBA Group, controls more than 18 businesses in the insurance, financial services, oil and gas production, investigative services, private jet charter and real estate.

For more information, please visit: http://www.njmotorsportspark.com

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