Wealthy boaters have their yacht clubs, duffers their golf clubs, sportspeople their hunting clubs. Now the fast car set have a club of their own. The Monticello Motor Club, on the site of the old Monticello Airport on Cantrell Road south of Monticello, had its grand opening today. I was pleasantly surprised to get an invite.
I’ve been excited about this project since it was first announced about 3 years ago. Part of my excitement stems from the fact that I have a pretty bad car jones. (I have to admit that if I had the choice of dinner with Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep or Colin Firth, or two hours behind the wheel of a Ferrari, the Ferrari would probably win.) The other part of my excitement was that a facility of this caliber, with the membership it is likely to attract, was coming to Sullivan County.
Gotta tell ‘ya, the place is impressive, even though the major buildings (the event center and clubhouse) are still on the drawing boards. But the centerpiece isn’t the buildings, its the track — 4.1 miles of banked curves and straightaways where the well heeled can go all out with their fast driving machines. To my knowledge, there’s no other facility like it in the northeast. Its essentially a country club for car racing. (In the interim, until the permanent club buildings are constructed, they’ve erected a pretty impressive two story temporary structure to act as a clubhhouse for members.)
The Grand Opening Celebration included the usual parade of dignitaries and politicos making (thankfully short) speeches. But the highlight was the inaugural lap of the track led by racing legends Mario Andretti (blue car in photo) and Brian Redman. A few dozen of the founding members followed them in their own cars around the track, while a helicopter filmed it all.
All in all, it was an exciting afternoon, and I hope the Motor Club enjoys tremendous success.
So you want to join? Membership is by invitation only, and the current initiation fee is $125,000.