Since opening in 2008, New Jersey Motorsports Park has become one of motorsports enthusiasts’ favorite tracks on the East Coast. The 500-acre facility is located about an hour south of Philadelphia, in Millville, New Jersey, next door to a historic WWII airfield. With its unique circuit design, both the 2.25-mile, 13-turn Thunderbolt Raceway and the 1.9-mile, 10-turn Lightning Raceway can be operated simultaneously. New Jersey Motorsports Park also features facilities for karting, driver training, garages, trackside villas, a clubhouse, pub and more.
History of New Jersey Motorsports Park
The site of what would become New Jersey Motorsports Park can trace its history back to the outbreak of WWII. When war first broke out in Europe in 1939, Congress responded with the Development of Landing Areas for National Defense Act, a plan that would eventually fund construction at almost 1,000 airfields around the country. Thanks to a local connection inside Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, the first of these national defense airports was built in Millville, New Jersey.
The airfield dedication on August 2, 1941, was attended by over 10,000 visitors and featured an airshow with 35 planes. After the U.S. entered the war, the Millville airfield became an important fixture in the war effort as a gunnery school. More than 10,000 Army Air Corps servicemembers were stationed there, and some 1,500 pilots received training on the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter. After WWII, the airfield facilities were returned to the city of Millville. As the second-largest airport in New Jersey, Millville Municipal Airport grew to be an important business and industrial hub over the following decades.
By the early 2000s, property developer Lee Brahin and a number of investors, including Virginia International Raceway owner Harvey Siegal and sportscar racer RJ Valentine, were looking for a site for a new motorsports park. They settled on a 500-acre tract of land available right next to the airport, and broke ground in 2007. New Jersey Motorsports Park embraced its rich history, naming its marquee 2.25-mile track Thunderbolt Raceway after the Thunderbolt fighter, while its 1.9-mile Lightning Raceway course is named for the WWII P-38 Lightning fighter. A WWII theme continues with the English Tudor design of the clubhouse, and a timing tower that resembles a WWII air traffic control tower.
New Jersey Motorsports Park opened in 2008 with a number of headline events, including the Grand Am Rolex Sportscar Series and ARCA Racing. The inaugural Grand Am race was won by Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson for Michael Shank Racing, while the ARCA race was won by Justin Allgaier. While the park faced some financial difficulties in 2011, it was able to restructure and recover, and continues to host a diverse range of auto, motorcycle, kart and community events.
Fun Facts About New Jersey Motorsports Park
- There’s more to New Jersey Motorsports Park than racing. The park-like venue has also hosted concerts, comedy shows, food truck festivals, night biking, mud runs and obstacle races.
- New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Drivers Club offers an exclusive motorsports country club experience, with exotic car garages and shade tree garages available for lease or purchase.
- History buffs will love visiting New Jersey Motorsports Park. Besides motorsports facilities, a historic airfield and military history museum, the airport is also home to one of only nine remaining P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft that still flies.
- Just outside Thunderbolt Raceway’s paddock lies the Bore Site range, which training Thunderbolt pilots used to calibrate their machine guns.
- Artifacts discovered during construction of the track and its facilities were donated to the Millville Army Field Museum on the other side of the airport.
- The inaugural Grand Am race is remembered for a 140 mph pit wall crash by Scott Pruett of Ganassi Riley during practice. The incident destroyed the team’s primary car, but Pruett was well enough to participate in the race and finished ninth for a team championship.
Events at New Jersey Motorsports Park are always exciting. Find a complete schedule of upcoming events at New Jersey Motorsports Park. And as always, make sure you and your car are protected during track day events with insurance from Lockton Motorsports. Find the policy that fits your needs and explore more track resources.