3.38 miles of private track with no speed
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GLENCOE, Ky. - Brad Poppell eases his BMW sport utility
vehicle along the rugged hillside path to a spot where the tree line
opens up and reveals a sprawling and picturesque meadow.
Other owners envisioned a golf course community or a private
airstrip for this scenic 515-acre tract of Gallatin County
Poppell sees the perfect spot for the Bluegrass Motorsports Club
& Road Course - a country club where thrill seekers with octane
in their veins and high-performance sports cars at their disposal
can zip around a track set in the rolling countryside.
"I'm a speed freak," said Poppell, the fledgling club's president
and the owner of a BMW M3. "But if you get past third or fourth gear
on public roads it's going to get you a pretty hefty fine. Here
you'll be able to hit 150 mph in a safe, controlled
The $16 million project - not including $3.9 million to buy the
land from former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones - is scheduled to
break ground Oct. 15 and open next summer.
The asphalt jewel of the Bluegrass Motorsports Club will be a
3.38-mile road course designed by renowned motorsports architect
"I think for car guys it's the perfect alternative to a country
club with a golf course," said Cincinnati attorney Alan Statman, who
owns and races vintage Porsches. "To have an interestingly
configured track in your backyard makes it convenient and exciting
because there are a lot of guys that are all into it around here.
There are many race cars hidden away in people's garages here in
Course renderings show a 3,000-foot straightaway and plenty of
turns, along with safety barriers and ample run-off areas.
The course can also be divided into two separate circuits - one
for members and the other available to rent - and configured several
ways to keep things interesting.
A safety team of course marshals, stewards, corner workers and
emergency personnel will be present any time the track is active.
But drivers also will be required to show competency behind the
wheel with an instructor present before hot-lapping the track
"The unique thing about this project is it's on the top of a hill
where there are trees and a lot of grade changes," Waters said.
"It's completely different than most facilities where you just have
flat ground and you're just laying out the track. This has such a
three-dimensional aspect to it.
"I think the driving experience with the grade changes and the
atmosphere is what will really set this apart."
A go-kart track, clubhouse, residential lots overlooking a
10-acre lake and RV spaces with electrical hook-ups are some of the
planned amenities for club members. In keeping with its Kentucky
setting, the garages will resemble horse stables while actual
stables and riding trails will be available for member use.
"If you were playing the 16th and 18th holes every day at your
golf club, your membership would last about a month," Poppell said.
"I'd get bored in about a day. ... We want to keep life from getting
The privilege of belonging to a private club - membership will be
limited to 200 people - comes with a price.
The Bluegrass Motorsports Club & Road Course offers five
different membership levels with initiation fees ranging from
$100,000 for the Founder's Club to $9,000 for the Motorcycle Club. A
Founder's Club member pays no annual dues for life. Annual dues for
the other membership levels start at $1,200 for the Motorcycle Club
and associate membership to $15,000 for the corporate
"The more you pay," Poppell said, "the more you play."
A Centerville High School and Miami University graduate, the
Cincinnati resident hatched the idea for the club a couple of years
ago. There are clubs like it around the country, but none catering
to the Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington markets.
'DISNEYLAND FOR CAR GUYS'
The Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill., opened in April 2005
and now boasts 350 members who use two tracks that form a 3.56-mile
"It's like Disneyland for car guys," said Mark Basso, founder and
president of Autobahn Country Club. "It's amazing the growth of the
facility and the improvements."
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