They say money can't buy happiness and that is indeed true. But it can buy one helluva good time, especially if you have a lot of it. Case in point is the new Monticello Motor Club. We first told you about Monticello a month ago when it officially opened. The club's management describes the facility as a Four Seasons resort, but instead of a golf course there is one of the best race tracks you'll find anywhere. The facility isn't yet complete but the track layout is already in place. Two layers of asphalt have been put down already with a third going on this fall. Once the final layer of pavement is in place, kerbing will added at the corners. The guard rails and fencing is all in place and a temporary club house has been erected while the permanent club-house and garage facilities are being constructed. We got to spend an afternoon lapping the full 4.1-mile, 22-turn course in the first outing of the new 2009 Cadillac CTS-V and the track is heaven on earth for those who love to drive. Read on after the jump for more.
The track at Monticello is comprised of two main loops but, as with most courses, there are cross overs that allow a dozen different configurations. The club itself will be keeping a fleet of cars on hand at the track that members and guests can rent for a sliding fee scale depending on the vehicle. The collection will include machines like a Ferrari 360 Stradale and Ford GT as well as track cars like the Lotus 2-Eleven. Apparently the club is also acquiring a Ferrari Formula 1 car from earlier this decade. Members won't be allowed to just jump into these things willy-nilly, though. The club will be providing advanced driving instruction at various levels and members will have to graduate through a series of evaluation levels before being allowed to head out in certain cars.
Our time on a the full 4.1-mile course was a privilege that in the future will be reserved just for club members. Other special events with manufacturers like Cadillac will reportedly be restricted to a shorter 2-mile configuration.
Pulling out of the pits you first encounter an increasing radius, double apex left hander that leads into a right-combination that takes you around the club house. That brings you into an uphill straight where the crest of the hill is followed by a left and then a tighter right-hand turn. A series of high speed sweeping turns leads to a ninety-degree right around the helipad and onto the long back straight. The back straight has a kink and you hit speeds of well over 100 mph here before braking hard for a series of tight downhill corners that empty out into the final section that climbs back up to the pits. The straight leading up to the pits has another kink that coincides with the crest of a hill, unloading the car just as you have to turn.
All in all, Brian Redman and Bruce Hawkins have devised a very challenging track that will keep drivers entertained for years to come. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of entertainment that comes cheap. Getting started at Monticello requires a $125,000 initiation fee followed by $7,500 in annual dues. That buys you up to 200 days of track time. Of course, anyone who makes this kind of money probably doesn't have that much free time to spare, but such is life. Members also get access to the spa, driving instruction and analysis and access to the club fleet (for that aforementioned extra cost).
Check out the video to take a couple of laps of Monticello with us. Anyone have $150,000 to spare?