Nestled between the feisty pines and verdant meadows rests the product of a speed demon’s imagination. Imagine a private country club where the members have race cars instead of irons and woods, auto techs instead of caddies and the object is to make the fastest time, not the slowest. This place, a breeding ground for millionaires, is not just a figment of our overactive imaginations. It actually exists just ninety minutes north of Manhattan in the charming village of Monticello. For the members who got in when the place first opened its doors, just a year or two ago, Monticello Motor Club is still a best-kept secret amongst racing enthusiasts. And to those who are understandably selfish about the whole affair, we must apologize in advance. It was only a matter of time before the word got out on this mecca of adrenalin.
Tracy and I pulled up to the imperial entrance, complete with Pentagon caliber security and received the official nod. As we waited, we could hear the whine of the racecars ricocheting off the track, still obscured from view by the pristinely manicured green. The anticipation continued to build, even as we maneuvered into one of the surprisingly compact spots, where Ferrari’s and other exotics were left casually, like commuter cars at a train station. It was a pretty exquisite day, albeit a bit humid, and the luxurious service bays were going au natural, open-air. What immediately became obvious was that the racecars being primped inside were getting the royal treatment. A vintage here and there caught our eye, the occasional racer standing casually and awaiting the go-ahead. Then a chipper young fellow garbed in full gear pulled up in a little zippy mini-Formula number, calling out for a hand to push his baby into a free space.
We were greeted by a bubbly summer intern and escorted into the heart of the latest addition, an airy clubhouse of sorts. The members are right in their element there, with gourmet racing food (the kind that sits well when you’re breaking world records), an inviting bar, racing memorabilia capturing the art of racing like Monaco’s Grand Prix (which we attended just weeks ago), work stations and of course, a model of the future expansion efforts. This is a place in motion in every sense of the expression. Apparently apartments for the diehard racers are in the offing, which makes perfect sense. What speed junkie wouldn’t want to be able to roll out of bed and into their McLaren? We even had a chance to explore the contours of the 4.1 miles of race-grade asphalt with an exceedingly nice chap named Jonathan Wein. This is a man with some serious driving skills, someone who appreciated the course’s execution so much as an early member, that he actually quit his day job to join the executive team. He clearly was savoring every millimeter of the track as he gave the racecar input. The course boasts: grand corners reminiscent of great European tracks; over 1.5 miles of straights; 450 feet of thrilling elevation changes; and a total of 22 turns including hairpins, increasing, and decreasing radius.
Brian Redman, a champion driver and one of the course designers, opined, “that the Monticello Motor Club, is among the best in the world, with turns and challenges that will excite drivers of all levels.” According to the founders, the course represents the soul of the club, which only underscores the sort of place this is – a destination for racing purists who can appreciate the value of a luxury, turnkey experience. Although there may be something alluring about having mechanics on one’s payroll, the whole happy little family slash portable team vibe, traveling the world to indulge in the idiosyncrasies of the various courses, this club assuredly offers a far lower maintenance experience. Everyone with a passion for racing and the sexiness of the experience, guys and gals alike, would be wise to find a way here. We promise. You will not be disappointed.