Dedicated autocross site

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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:40 pm

Jamie wrote: I think the RV guys ran into the same issue.
To clarify. The RV guys made demands for extensively improved water, electricity and permanent new buildings for their yearly winter visits. The County refused to spend the capital for such a short term diminishing sized event. This was also during the pending recession era. They moved to Sarasota where they had existing facilities so it was a no brainer for them. They were losing money renting a giant generator, etc. An aging group too. They even tried to recruit me :lol: What does that tell you :wise:
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:47 pm

Rawkkrawler wrote:If this gets some traction, I have a tremendous amount of construction resources available. My brother and I were going to build a motocross park just north of Dade City, we actually already had the land to do so. The plan was to create a campground to accompany the site to allow for full weekend events. We priced out utilities, insurance, build costs, and even on site medics for big events. Obviously more risk with dirt bikes and side by sides. We went as far as looking into local food truck vendors as well as onsite concessions. For a small handful of reasons it didn’t happen, but mostly because I didn’t personally have the passion for this exact type of sport. As a financial backer, I’d want to love the idea. But this, this seams like fun!
I would call this a business plan. :thumbwink:
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Postby Loren » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:32 pm

Jamie wrote:How much more would it cost to build some garage space for exotic car storage or similar...link that up with your concept for exotic car autocrossing?
Again, "great minds". Doesn't even have to be exotic cars. Lots of autocrossers need places to store and/or work on cars. And what better place than AT the autocross site? "Autocross pad / storage facility" is one of my personal favorite ideas.
Though you guys had exhausted those sites.... :)
Well, yes and no. We've certainly exhausted just about everything that is immediately usable. But, if we could buy something that's got a fully paved parking lot that we would currently deem unusuble... and just REMOVE stuff like the islands between parking isles, poles, trees, or whatever. Those sites could be out there. We've not really been "seeing" them, because for a rental, we need it to be "fully ready". There's a motorcycle training outfit off of US19 up in Tarpon or NPR that did exactly that. Building was knocked down for whatever reason... they patched up the parking lot and are rocking it for cycle training.
...and for the area, surprisingly few autocrossers.
I've never lived in areas like DC or CA or TX where 300-car events happen, and perhaps there aren't as many autocrossers as that here. But, I know for a fact that right here in Central Florida, I've seen days (not just "weekends", but single DAYS) where there have been fully subscribed events going on in Tampa/St. Pete, Brooksville, Orlando and Ft. Myers all at the same time. There are DEFINITELY 300-400 regular autocrossers within 2-3 hours of Tampa.

Figure FAST has 80+ regulars, and can easily fill a 100-car event. Same with Martin and GCAC. CFR @ Brooksville perhaps a bit less, but still a healthy 60-80 car event. And PCA, Corvette Club... either of those could do 30-40 cars on any given day. And there's an amazing lack of overlap between the clubs. Everybody has their favorite that they mostly run with. The hardcore "do every event in the area" floaters are few.

We like ideas. (many of them we've already considered or ARE considering) Keep 'em coming. But, I'm not sure we're ready to "group think" this thing to death just yet.
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Postby Jamie » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:08 pm

Loren wrote:
Though you guys had exhausted those sites.... :)
Well, yes and no. We've certainly exhausted just about everything that is immediately usable. But, if we could buy something that's got a fully paved parking lot that we would currently deem unusuble... and just REMOVE stuff like the islands between parking isles, poles, trees, or whatever. Those sites could be out there. We've not really been "seeing" them, because for a rental, we need it to be "fully ready". There's a motorcycle training outfit off of US19 up in Tarpon or NPR that did exactly that. Building was knocked down for whatever reason... they patched up the parking lot and are rocking it for cycle training.
I've seen the site...didn't get the impression they'd had to do much of anything beyond patching a hole or two. But cycle schools don't need much.
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Postby twistedwankel » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:38 am

Then there are the now vacant K Mart/Sears/Penney's/Kohls/Target big box stores. Some were leased to free up capital and some were owned and liquidated. The lot I looked at a few years ago behind the Mall in NPR is now an apartment group bought the whole thing and is building a small town there.

Trouble is they are mostly all on main roads with lots of traffic so would be hard to secure. Rt 19 would be hard for a lot of folks to get to where the current Hudson/NPR K Mart sits vacant. Haven't looked at the pavement for a few years or light posts? Who shops at big box stores anymore? FL never did have any factories other than for cigars so no luck with them.
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Postby Loren » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:41 am

Main road with lots of traffic also means it's likely to be pricey unless somebody is desperate to sell.
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Postby twistedwankel » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:20 pm

Loren wrote:Main road with lots of traffic also means it's likely to be pricey unless somebody is desperate to sell.
Yes the land would be expensive. The building is well past it's prime and huge with low ceilings. Demolition/update both expensive also. Was thinking lease lot until it dies.
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Postby Jamie » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:28 pm

twistedwankel wrote:Then there are the now vacant K Mart/Sears/Penney's/Kohls/Target big box stores. Some were leased to free up capital and some were owned and liquidated. The lot I looked at a few years ago behind the Mall in NPR is now an apartment group bought the whole thing and is building a small town there.

Trouble is they are mostly all on main roads with lots of traffic so would be hard to secure. Rt 19 would be hard for a lot of folks to get to where the current Hudson/NPR K Mart sits vacant. Haven't looked at the pavement for a few years or light posts? Who shops at big box stores anymore? FL never did have any factories other than for cigars so no luck with them.
I've looked at both of those...the back lot behind Gulf View Square Mall (Port Richey) was looking interesting until the owners started tearing up pavement and piling it in the remaining open space. (That's a crappy site for apartments....) The place just to the north of there, where the Toys R Us and Circuit City used to be is too full of curbs and light poles. Same for the vacant KMart lot up by US19 and SR52...lots of light poles.
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Postby twistedwankel » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:38 pm

So locate across from or next to a Wastewater Plant, Solid waste dump, Prison, Swamp, Quarry, Airport (not so much) or any negative Industrial activity and get it zoned recreational/commercial. It's a good start. Hernando has 1/3 of it's acreage in a protected state which can never be touched other than fire control. Other counties not so much.

If it's an actual "racing site" you can sell the naming rights later. Come up with Mike's 5 year business plan, show some real estate, earnings or equity, other clubs commitments, sell shares to the silent partners for $1000 each and consider selling yearly memberships as a cash guarantee. A $100/year fee with a payback of 6 events in discounts is fair. Most people pay more than that for a name shirt.
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Postby Glen » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:55 pm

I was straining my brain to go back about 15 years in time. There was a business that set up in an industrial park, not like Amazon warehouse but old 50 gallon drum industrial park. They paved and built a course and opened it opened it up a few nights a week like open drag racing. I believe some cars got damaged. I think they also sold carts there. MSCC ran a test event there to see if it was viable. There were 2 problems, walls and asphalt that was literally tearing up as the event went on. The best of my recollection is that no more autocross events were held there. I just Googled an aerial for Taft and damn if that place is still there, Orlando Kart Center. Its off Delivery Drive and Parcel Lane. If I remember correctly it was built as an interim use (guess property values have not gone up that much). Made me wonder if a long term lease with someone who wants to hold "undesirable" land would be a viable option.

I got thinking of low end industrial areas because of this site. Infrastructure is in place (roads, likely utilities), no neighbors, I would image friendly zoning, etc. Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough with Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, etc. to know where any areas like this are located.
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Postby AScoda » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:05 pm

Looks like dog racing ban is passing.
Derby lane soon to have lots of unused pavement!
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Postby Jamie » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:35 pm

AScoda wrote:Looks like dog racing ban is passing.
Derby lane soon to have lots of unused pavement!
I was invited to a Jaguar event there a few years ago...the asphalt was pretty thin and gravely, and sown with speed bumps.
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Postby Evil MS3 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:11 pm

Would love to see something like this happen and would love to contribute in any ways I can.

I def agree that an easier option would be to try to get a lengthy contract with current sites, if possible. I know some probably get tired of going to the same location for every event, but hey, I'm just glad we have something local-ish to do this at all.
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Postby RobertElder » Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:52 pm

Has FAST ever ran autocross on any of the circle tracks around the area?

Desoto Speedway in Bradenton was one I thought of, though I know there are many more around the area. When I lived in Ohio we ran at Kilkare and the banking/infield combo allowed for a lot of neat options for courses and it was a blast to get to run a banked corner. I think it was also helpful from an administration standpoint that the venues already had motorsport participation and were much more open to the idea of autocross vs. trying to convince your local "x business" with a large parking lot in their possession.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Desot ... authuser=0

Here's the circle track I used to run on.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kil-K ... authuser=0

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Postby Loren » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:09 pm

None of the oval tracks around here are wide enough to satisfy our autocross insurance requirements. The tracks are willing to rent (for a price), they don't care who runs on their track. But, we want to put on an autocross, which the level of safety and minimal risk that WE expect from autocross. None of the tracks around here allow that.

PCA has done some events at Sunshine Speedway over off of Ulmerton. But, it's 65 feet wide with walls on the outside. Our insurance requires a minimum of 75' of space on the outside of a turn. We simply can't run there. (and I'm not sure we'd want to)
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Postby aw614 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:59 am

Sunshine/Showtime also requires an EMT on site. I recall for PCA to rent the site, they usually have assistance from Bert Smith for sponsoring the event to help cover the costs.

I did see on their schedule for 2019, they have an event in Venice, unsure of the location though.
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Postby Rawkkrawler » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:50 pm

I think what makes FAST unique is the ability to include a large handful of elements to help sharpen the skills of both new drivers as well as the seasoned. The "tracks" that I've run are usually pretty basic given their layout.
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Postby Loren » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:54 pm

I don't mind that. As a course designer, I can work with just about anything you give me. But, my opinion is that the hazards that are present at most race tracks are beyond the scope of "autocross". You should be able to show up at an autocross, drive at 11/10ths, spin your car, hit some cones, and not have to worry much about damaging your car. Typical oval tracks are not designed with that in mind. You could hit the wall at 40 mph. And you're not gonna die. But, a 40 mph hit is going to do some serious damage! That's not what we're about.
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Postby CaptainSquirts » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:44 pm

So is this problem(obviously is not having a spaced enough site)right now insurance causing too much restrictions? Or are there sites but you dont feel comfortable enough regardless of insurance restrictions?
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Postby Loren » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:58 pm

Sites large enough to autocross on are just plain hard to find.

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, though. I guess, sure, there are places we could consider using (Sunshine Speedway, some parking lots at USF, etc) that wouldn't meet our insurance requirements... and even if they did, our experience and our "philosophy" (that we don't think autocross should be a sport where cars regularly get damaged by hitting things like poles and curbs) dictates that they are not suitable for our events.
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