Address: Utah Motorsports Campus, 2901 N. Sheep Lane, Tooele, Utah 84074, USA
PH: +1 435 277 7223
Circuit type: Permanent road course
The only permanent road racing facility in the state, Utah Motorsports Campus (orgiinally Miller Motorsports Park) has mushroomed from one man's plans for a private facility to enjoy his classic car collection into one of the USA's largest and most advanced motor racing circuits.
Larry H. Miller, who built the circuit and after whom it is named, was a Utah businessman and philanthropist who made his money with auto dealerships. With a fortune worth an estimated $480 million, the former soft ball player and amateur racer continued his interests in both sports in later life, buying the Salt Lake Bees baseball team and the Utah Jazz basketball team before embarking on the project that eventually led to the creation of the circuit at Tooele.
Having amassed a considerable number of classic sports cars, Miller initially set aside $5 million to create a personal playground in his native Utah, where he could stretch the legs of his various cars. However, through his connections with the local automotive industry, it soon became apparent that there was a wider demand for such a facility. Soon the budget was upped to £85 million in order that a first class road racing circuit could be built.
Renowned designer Alan Wilson was hired to turn the vision into a reality, penning a multi-variant course which would be among the longest in the USA when used in its fullest form. Ground-breaking began in April 2005 and was complete within 12 months. Wilson turned the flat-as-a-pancake landscape to his advantage, creating a course which had near 100% sightlines from all points, with major overtaking points being positioned nearest to spectator areas.
The completed track sits in a vast 500 acre site (three times the size of Disneyland, as the circuit is quick to inform you) surrounded by moutains. As well as the road racing course, the complex also houses a 0.89 miles (1.43 km) kart track that can be configured as a supermoto track with the inclusion of two dirt sections; a 22-acre high-speed off-road short course and an eight-acre rock-crawling course. Across the road from the main campus is another 900 acres of track-owned property that includes a seven-mile desert racing course. As the icing on the cake, the track is also home to the Larry H. Miller Total Performance Museum, which showcases Miller's collection of cars, with a particular emphasis on racing Fords and Shelby Cobras.
The inaugural event was a trackday for motorcycles, but this was quickly followed by a summer of events, including high-profile visits of the American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am (for a nine hour race) and the AMA Superbikes. With its impressive facilities, the course was named Motorsports Facility of the Year in 2006 by the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany.
In 2008 the World Superbike Championship made the first of five visits to the track, evidently impressing the visitors who named it their event of the year. NASCAR has also made Miller Motorsport Park for its Grand National West Series, while the Pirelli World Challenge also includes it as regular stopover on its schedule.
Outside of racing, the track is busy most days between April and October with track days, testing and corporate events. The world's only Ford Racing School is also housed at the facility, giving the public the chance to experience the thrill of high-speed driving in its fleet of Ford Racing Mustangs or conquer rough terrain in Ford F-150 Raptor pickups.
Sadly, Larry H. Miller died in 2009 and his family company initially continued operation of the circuit as before, with an expanded portfolio of major events, including the World Superbike Championships. However, in 2015, it was announced that the family would not renew the lease on the land on which the park sits, with the last day of operation set for October 2015.
The Tooele County Commissioners began looking for new operators to continue racing at the circuit in 2016 and beyond. After a number of offers were received, on October 13, 2015 a vote was taken to approve the sale of Miller Motorsports Park to Mitime Investment and Development Group, a subsidiary of Chinese car manufacturer Geely, for $20 million.
Mitime duly took over the property on October 31, 2015, with plans for a major expansion to provide a university style-facility for automotive engineers, with the track part of ambitious plans to develop similar facilities across China. As a result, the facility was renamed Utah Motorsport Campus.
The plans were interupted when a rival bidder won a court order overturning the sale, on the grounds that the Commissioners had sold the property at below market-rate. A new arrangement with Mitime was agreed for them to take temporary charge for 2016, allowing a full season of racing events to take place. Similar arrangements were arrived at for subsequent years while legal wranglings continued until, finally, in November 2018 the sale to Mitime was completed.
Utah Motorsports Campus is located at Tooele, around 35 minutes drive from Salt Lake City in Utah, USA. The nearest airport is at Salt Lake City, around 30 miles to the north east.
By car from Salt Lake City, head west on Interstate 80 for approximately 26.5 miles, then take Exit 99 (Highway 36) and drive approximately 3.2 miles. Turn right on Highway 138 and drive approximately 4.8 miles before taking a left turn onto Sheep Lane (follow the brown signs for 'Motorsport Park'. The circuit entrance is approximately 2 miles on the right of Sheep Lane.
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