The list of people who have gone from no construction or land development experience to laying down a ribbon of highly-specialized asphalt at a cost of $2 million per linear-mile must be pretty short. Two that definitely make the list are Matt Williams and Jason Plotke, co-founders of APEX Motor Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“My partner Jason and I both come from an automotive background. He worked for a tier-1 parts supplier and I worked in national sales at Barrett-Jackson,” says Williams. “Back around 2014, we had this idea to start our own driving business that would grow into a club. After several failures to get it going, we found this property 30 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. It was once a farm, so the land was laser-flat, with a beautiful view of the mountains and just what we were looking for.”
All along they felt that Phoenix in particular was an ideal place to see their vision through.
“There’s already an established car enthusiast community, plus January Car Week and other auction events happening here throughout the year, not to mention weather that’s conducive to driving events for all but a couple of the hottest months,” Williams goes on. “But neither of us had any experience as developers. It was a lot to take on.”
With the backing of a few founding members, they bought the 300-acre parcel and began making their vision a reality. The track was designed and installed with the help of Motorsports Services International, a global firm with clients including Daytona International Speedway and Phillip Island in Australia.
“The track was laid as one continuous strip of asphalt that has no longitudinal seams anywhere. We also have a number of paved runoff areas,” says Williams.
Construction began in April of 2018 and they were open by the following April. Now a year later, members are experiencing the first phase of the development, which includes the 2.27-mile Phase 1 circuit that will soon link with the Phase 2 circuit to form the 4.2-mile full circuit, all monitored by a state-of-the-art electronic corner flagging system. Forty-eight trackside condominium garages that open right onto pit lane a la Formula 1 will begin construction this year, with a second phase of condominiums and track to be completed within the next 24 months.
As a members-only club, there’s no waiting hours for organized run groups to get on track; just check in and drive, all of which can be booked via a custom phone app. But, APEX Motor Club isn’t just for high performance street cars.
“We have a members-only race series with both Radical classes and GT classes,” says Williams. “Plus we have a number of members that routinely run their historic race cars here including a car that’s twice won at Le Mans as well as some older Indy cars and even one of the cars that Dan Gurney raced in NASCAR. We’ve even had conversations with a few race teams that are considering Apex as a possible place to relocate their race shops to. What’s most gratifying are those members who started out in a street car and got a little faster, then invested in some coaching to improve further and now they are taking part in our Radical spec series.”
Indeed, it’s not only members with no prior racing experience now among the ranks of those chalking up race starts, it’s also the founders who went from an ambitious dream to successful reality that’s best days are still ahead.
ARRIVE AND DRIVE
As a fully private racetrack, membership at APEX Motor Club comes with a lot of perks, starting with as many as 275 days of unlimited track time for Platinum members who can be on track cranking out laps within minutes of arrival.
Just a 30-minute drive from central Phoenix makes it possible to steal away for an hour’s worth of lapping even for those with busy schedules.
The APEX Academy offers members of all skill levels a coaching program designed to allow for getting the most from their cars and the track. Plus there’s the APEX Race Series for some friendly, but intense wheel-to-wheel racing in a Radical, GT car or even Time Attack format.
Members also get access to exclusive events in town during the year and a Barrett-Jackson skybox during January car week. And, thanks to the club’s partnership with Lexus, there’s a fleet of cars available for family and guests as well.