THE RACE IS ON: Auto makers expected to spur more growth at Spring Mountain Motorsports

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<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - The clubhouse facility at Spring Mountain Motor Sports, which has a full-service bar and restaurant and a fitness gym-opened in 2011.</p>
<p>Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - An artist’s rendition of a proposed commercial center, a hotel and other improvements at Spring Mountain Motorsports on Highway 160.</p>
<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - Russ Meads, owner of Double M Construction, delivers a report on Spring Mountain raceway to the Nye County Water District board Monday.</p>
<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - The new Cadillac V-series training facility opened last year at Spring Mountain Motorsports. In the background is one of the two new control towers.</p>
<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - Workers construct a home for Spring Mountain Motorsports co-owner John Morris right on the track, the first in a planned residential subdivision. The clubhouse and other facilities can be seen in the background.</p>

Water board members had a detailed look at life behind the walls of the exclusive Spring Mountain Motorsports driving club and major expansion plans for the future.

Builder Russ Meads, owner of Double M Construction, detailed plans for a 231-room hotel, a wellness center, restaurants in a commercial center fronting on Highway 160, an 80-home subdivision for drivers’ weekend homes, unveiling of new cars and filming commercials, along with events at a six-acre aquatic park.

“I’ve seen our community spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money on studies as to what might work and what might not work in our community, and I’ve never seen anything get built from one of those studies,” Meads said. “We have one of the greatest facilities in our entire country in our community. They expanded to be one of the largest facilities, if not the largest facility in the world for motorsports, and it’s so exclusive to what the motorsports world wants that it will be booked full time all the time,” Meads said.

He said it’s the perfect scenario for a planner, a developer coming to a community with their own money, building something world class, with responsible building practices that don’t use the natural resources and walk away.

The owners, John Morris and Brad Rambo, built the second longest racetrack in the world, Meads said, on which companies are now fighting to get test time. The owners invested nearly $53 million in the facility to date, he said. Car manufacturers have an extreme interest in renting the track because owners also built a clubhouse where celebrities and high-end executives can use the pool, Jacuzzis, workout rooms and other facilities.

“Cadillac jumped on board a couple years ago and signed a contract for a driving academy for the new Cadillac V series. This past year Cadillac signed a new contract with Spring Mountain raceway and they’re going to be going into the future with long-term contracts. Cadillac, this year, has invested over $150,000 and will be continuing to invest in their new Cadillac building which is owned by Spring Mountain Raceway but leased to Cadillac,” Meads said.

The increased use required the construction of a new control tower and gates for traffic control. Meads said there are 279 active members in the club, which is expected to grow to nearly 600 members over 10 years. There are currently 149 garages — all leased out. The owners plan to build more.

“Chevrolet just recently did a dealer program where they brought all the dealers in the North and South Americas to the racetrack to inform them of the new Corvette Stingray. They were able to put 1,900 dealerships through the program over the last 10 months here. Corvette has now sold over 21,000 of those cars since they released it in October last year and they are going to be building between 30,000 and 35,000 of those cars each year. Each one of those cars come with a driving school prepaid by General Motors. The owners of the cars are going to be getting packets. The first one went out last Thursday. They started receiving them. The activity at the track has increased dramatically because of this,” Meads said.

Since the new Corvette was released, Spring Mountain went from 40 to 45 driving schools per week to 100 schools, which owners expect to increase to nearly 150 schools per week. Meads said Corvette formerly had contracts with four driving schools, but now renewed exclusively with Spring Mountain raceway. Owners of all 35,000 cars will only be able to renew their certificate at Spring Mountain Motorsports.

Meads said there are 23 people on a waiting list for the 80 home sites, which can be built as soon as the development agreement is approved with the county. He expects more than 40 people waiting by the time the water and sewer design is done. There are also plans for 50 recreational vehicle spaces.

Morris is one of the developers of the Jet Lev water pack and is looking to use a six-acre artificial lake at Spring Mountain Motorsports to train instructors. Meads said insurance companies require purchasers to take a class. Rambo owns Riviera Paddle Surf, the largest distributor of stand-up paddle boards, who wants to bring large events to Pahrump, he said.

“General Motors, Cadillac, Ferrari, Lamborghini and several other manufacturers have come in, they’re all on board. We want to be part of this. We want to invest. We want track time and we want to book that track time up in advance. However we are severely out of rooms in Pahrump. These events they’re talking about are very, very large, over 1,000 people on weekends,” Meads said.

They would be served by the 231-room hotel. Meads said owners also purchased 22 acres on the highway outside the gate, for commercial development. Half the project is self-funded and committed to being built after the water and sewer agreement is signed. It would provide food, entertainment and rooms for car manufacturers and the general public, he said, adding a businessman with a wellness center in San Diego wants to build one here.

“Chevrolet is now ready and willing to start booking 52 weeks per year to start having events here in Pahrump. They’re also slated for two events this year we’re currently building a building for. They will release two of their cars here rather than Detroit. That means that they will be bringing full service Hollywood productions to Pahrump, to be able to film commercials for the cars as they release them. There will be actors and actresses staying here for weeks as they film these commercials. That will all be done at the raceway and that is slated for this year,” Meads said.

Meads said expansion with the Cadillac Academy increased hotel bookings to 5,200 room nights and $46,800 per year in room tax for Pahrump.

The racetrack construction will generate $425,000 in impact fees to the county and $128,000 to the Nye County School District and drivers won’t use local facilities like schools and parks, Meads said.

“They are committed, are willing and ready, to invest nearly $4.5 million into sewer and water infrastructure. That’s a wonderful thing for our community to have. It adds effluent water on the south end of the valley that can be used. There’s a possibility that water could be used across the street on the long-awaited fairgrounds,” Meads said.

The racetrack will add 40 full-time jobs. There will be 500 construction jobs working on the commercial project which will be built in less than five years, he said.

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