New Jersey Motorsports Park
2.250 miles / 3.621 km Thunderbolt Circuit (with Turn 2 chicane)2008 to date
2.250 miles / 3.621 km Thunderbolt Circuit (with Turn 3 chicane)2008 to date
2.250 miles / 3.621 km Thunderbolt Circuit (with both chicanes)2008 to date
2.250 miles / 3.621 km Lightning Circuit2008 to date
1.900 miles / 3.058 km
New Jersey Motorsports Park is a modern circuit development which boasts an unusual feature; within its 700 acres it boasts two completely separate road courses which can hold events simultaneously.
Most professional racing has taken place on the 2.25 mile 'Thunderbolt Raceway', while the shorter 1.9 mile 'Lightening Raceway' is popular for driving days and testing.
Alongside racing, the circuit is home to a number of driving and riding schools, including the Yamaha Champions Riding School, Bertil Roos Racing School and the Skip Barber Racing School.
The project was the brainchild of property developer Lee Brahin and a consortium of investors who include Virginia International Raceway owner Harvey Siegal and sportscar racer RJ Valentine. Identifying land next to Millville Municipal Airport (formerly a USAF base which was considered 'America's First Defence' in World War Two), the group began formulating plans for the complex. Part of the business plan was to replicate the country club package which Siegal had pioneered at VIR, taking advantage of a local demographic traditionally under-served for motorsport venues.
Construction started in 2007 on the $150 million facility, with a ground breaking ceremony which honoured legendary motorsports broadcast and print journalist Chris Economaki, after whom the race control and media centre building was named. Phase one of the development included the challenging 2.3 mile Thunderbolt road course, the technical 1.9 mile Lightning road course, a karting facility as well as driver training and skid pads. Other facilities included trackside villas and a clubhouse offering fine dining and banqueting services.
The facility opened in 2008 with a roster of headline events which included the Grand Am Rolex Sportscar Series and ARCA Racing on the Thunderbolt course. Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson took victory in the Grand Am Race for Michael Shank Racing, though the event will be best remembered for the crash in practice that saw the Ganassi Riley of Scott Pruett hit the end of the pit wall at more than 140mph. He was fortunate to escape with minor injuries but the car was torn in two by the guardrail, with wreckage landing in the pit stalls further up. The track responded by extending the pit wall barrier overnight to prevent a recurrence.
Justin Allgaier ran out the victor in the inaugural ARCA race. AMA Pro Superbike joined the roster in 2009, with New Jersey becoming a staple part of the calendar in the years that followed. Most competitions have been held on the Thunderbolt circuit with the Turn 3 chicane.
The circuit's finances came under strain in 2011, when it became apparent that there were insufficient funds to service the bank loan which had helped finance construction. Worse still, the circuit could not afford to pay for the services required to host any of the races in the 2011 racing season. In March, the company went into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, emerging in July under a restructured operating company in which AJ Valentine had increased his shareholding. The changes steadied the ship, and NJMP has continued to recover in the following years.
The two circuits continue to host a diverse range of racing, testing and promotional days. While Grand Am departed after its 2012 event, races for ARCA and the new Moto America championship (the successor to AMA Superbike) continue, alongside the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association, the popular ChumpCar amateur racing series and several 12 hour endurance races.