Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch
A private oasis of speed nestled in the arid Spring Mountains.
As we arrive at the entrance to Spring Mountain, two large, mechanically operated wrought-iron gates swing open in grandiose fashion. Budding palm trees flanking the entry lend a resort-like ambiance to the facility.
The extensive details and amenities that underline Spring Mountain's vision of a car enthusiast's Eden are almost as impressive as the rate at which it has grown. Californian John Morris, one of the co-founders I met that day, reflects his own multifaceted nature in the development of this top-rate facility. Having made his success through real estate website design, Morris was bitten by the
motorsports bug in 2002 when he attended a couple of Skip Barber racing schools. Through s he made while SCCA racing, he eventually came to acquire Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch with his business partner Brad Rambo in 2004.
Since then, what was once a modest 2.2-mile track with some permanent tent facilities has expanded to include an 1.5-mile loop (with a configurable kart track) and a conglomeration of buildings that comprises 56 private rental garages, an exotic car dealership, indoor gun range and racquetball courts, service bays for the track's dedicated school cars (which include , and Radicals) and a member-exclusive clubhouse replete with a workout room, a pool and full spa services. Moreover, construction of two 13-unit condominium buildings has already begun, and there's a 79-room hotel planned. Over the next three years, we're also told to expect an additional three miles of track (for an over-6-mile-long road course), a 9-acre lake (that's right, a lake), as well as restaurants and gas stations to ensure that you'll never have to leave once you've arrived.
For a true enthusiast, though, all this glitz would be for naught if the track itself were uninspiring. I found Spring Mountain's full 3.5-mile road course to be quite the contrary. The fresh tires mounted just the day before got up to temperature quickly in the Nevada summer heat as I entered the track's "Radical Loop" at speed. This entry point drops you right into the most dramatic elevation change, one of Morris' own designs, and is enough to get you airborne given enough speed. The off-camber sweepers, hairpins and high-speed chicanes—90 percent of which are blind—wouldn't be nearly as fun if not for the generous desert runoff areas the location affords. In the R8, this track's rhythm and character become instantly addicting. With each lap comes a small leap of faith, my brain second-guessing the previous lap's visual references, while the Quattro all-wheel-drive system delivers foolish levels of cornering confidence. If not for the cross-country journey ahead, I would've worn these tires to the cords.
Membership to Club Spring Mountain comes in at different levels, the most general of which requires a one-time initiation fee of $15,000, a monthly fee of $200, and a day-use fee of $60. This "Classic Membership" grants a minimum of 10 available track days a month including three weekends.
Wrapping up the day at Spring Mountain, I had a chance to chat candidly with a few of the members who had nothing but great things to say about their experiences with the club and the very friendly and approachable John Morris—who himself relished every opportunity that day to race (er, beat up on) other members in a Radical SR3. The allure of Spring Mountain has already drawn its fair share of high-profile clients. But as it turns out, it's also a great leveling plane once you're belted in and the outside world disappears.—JE