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El Paso racers await new state-of-the-art track

Since 2008, the El Paso Motorplex has been the place to go around the region to get your speed and adrenaline fix. In 2015 it became part of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), allowing racers from across the nation to compete at the drag strip.

About a year ago, the Motorplex announced plans for a new state-of-the-art road course track.

The course will pair perfectly with the Southwest University Park and the soccer stadium that was recently approved. The expectation is that these three entertainment venues will bring more tourism to the Sun City along with more revenue.

The full length of the track will be 2.1 miles and will have the ability to become four separate courses. It will include spectator seating and a three-story control tower with VIP seating and a lounge area. There will be medical personnel and fire crews on standby for racers and spectators. And for the racers, the track will have 25 covered maintenance bays with electrical and air services in each bay. 

The project, however, is now in standby.

“We are awaiting investors. If we receive funding from investors… we will move forward with phase one of construction. Until then, we can do nothing but wait and hope for the best,” said Dan Thomas, El Paso Motorplex road course manager.

“We had three investors; however, they were not serious enough to become members. The purpose of investors in the first place is to offer them exclusive opportunities,” Thomas said. “An investor really has absolutely nothing to lose whatsoever. The difficult part is convincing investors to actually take the first step and invest.”

James Slater, a local racer, has been an amateur/semi-pro racer for the past 25 years. He has had the opportunity to race across the country and overseas. A couple of the tracks he has been to are Daytona, in Daytona, Florida, and Arroyo Seco Raceway in Deming, New Mexico.

Slater said he is “very excited,” about the projected new course track. “It makes sense.  The only road course near here is in Deming.”

Slater has raced on a couple of tracks in Germany. Once at Hockenheimring, in the town of Hockenheim, and also at the world famous Nürburgring, in Nurburg. Nürburgring is known for being over 13 miles long, with over 150 corners and drastic altitude changes.

Cedric Rivera, a local car enthusiast, hopes the project will receive the support it needs in order to continue.   

“It’s sad to see that something so amazing is being stopped because someone doesn’t see the potential this project has. I really hope the project is able to continue in the near future,” Rivera said.

The track is not only intended for racing, it will also be used to help people become better drivers.

Lyle Byrum, owner of the El Paso Motorplex, told the El Paso Times that people could go out and drive their own cars just to see how fast they can go. 

“People can come out and drive their own cars, find out just how fast it can go and they can also come out and rent a car and try it out. They can learn about performance driving from our certified instructors. The El Paso Police Department will use the course to train for high-speed chases. It will be as technical as you want it to be, but not so technical that it eliminates speed,” Byrum told The Times.

The Motorplex is trying to grow the racing community a little bit at a time. It has started the Border Karting Association.

“Karting is where nearly all professional racers cut their teeth in racing,” Thomas said.

There are many local racers that participate in karting, and many travel from Ciudad Juarez to take part in the sport. Races currently take place on the property, but not on a proper karting track. One of the four courses the new track will offer is specifically for karting.

“We do need the help and attention of young people to make the sport successful. And by sport, I mean not only karting, but road racing at all levels from novice to pro. It is the young people of today who will become the racing greats of tomorrow,” Thomas said. 

The proposed race track has a lot to offer, such as a safer way to fulfill the need for speed, and how to properly drive at a high rate of speed. It also will offer professional race events, which will bring people from all over the country to watch.

One Comment

  1. Great job with the article, Patrick! We hope you are able to reach our young driving enthusiasts in ways which, until now, were largely unsuccessful. We need our younger racers, racing entusiasts, and indeed our entire community to demonstrate their resolve and desire to help us make the dream of a world-class road racing facility become a reality. We have the momentum and ability to move forward. Now, we only need the commitment of people willing to invest in professional motorsports in El Paso. If we can make an impression upon the right prospective investors, the road racing course will no longer exist only on paper, it will spring to life and swing open the gates to an amazing, family-friendly automotive performance experience the likes of which does not exist within hundreds of miles of the Borderland.

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