Ground-breaking is underway on the major repave and renovation phase of New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt Circuit enhancement project.
In its 16 seasons of motorsports activities - beginning in August 2008 with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Supercar Life 250 race - New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt circuit has been enjoyed by professional automobile and motorcycle drivers and riders, by grassroots racing clubs with national and regional events, by NJMP Drivers and Riders Club members, and it has played a role in driver and rider education through the many schools and development days held there.
“Over a year of planning has gone into this project,” commented Brad Scott, President and COO of New Jersey Motorsports Park. “To reach this milestone with ground-breaking and the physical work underway is exciting for us and the motorsports community, and the culmination of a lot of planning and effort by many people.”
Phase 1 of the two-phase multi-year project starts October 10th 2023, beginning with the milling and removal of the existing track surface, followed by the base paving and surface paving of the original Thunderbolt circuit layout, pit lane, and chicanes. Portions of the curbing will be removed and renovated. The profile of Turn 1 will be altered slightly with the apex curbing placed further inside, taking advantage of the unused space and pavement at that point of the turn.
The asphalt and concrete work will be completed by Thanksgiving. The new track base and surface will be allowed to cure from December through February.
The final touches and line painting will be done late in February, and Thunderbolt will reopen for normal business operations in early March, 2024.
Phase 2 - the addition of two new alternative course configurations inside the classic Thunderbolt circuit – has been rescheduled for after the 2024 season.
“Our track designers and engineers continue to work with state officials and the DEP to accommodate their requirements for modifications to off-track areas such as basins and run-off in the areas of the proposed new layouts, but doing so in a way appropriate for a racetrack project,” Scott explained, “It was important that we be able to move forward with the renovation and repaving of the core facility beginning October 2023, so we’re now approaching the project in two phases to accommodate the time it will take for the DEP processes relating to the new configurations.”
For those who would like a memento of the original track, display souvenirs with millings from the original surface will be available as a keepsake. More information is available here where you can reserve your piece of Thunderbolt history.
A time-lapsed camera has been installed so people can follow the progress on Facebook.
This multi-faceted project includes industry experts such as Brian Prowell of Advanced Materials Services, Bryce Engelhart of Technical Track Design, major local construction contractors South State and Shaw Masonry, services from financial partner TD Bank, and the input of professional drivers and riders, NJMP Drivers and Riders Club members, and NJMP track partners.
“We’ll celebrate when the project is done,” Scott concluded, “but reaching this milestone with work underway is definitely a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on the massive effort it has taken to get us to this point.”