Motorplex moves forward
by Staff Writer
MOORESVILLE – The Mooresville Motorplex project can finally move forward after more than a year of resistance. Mooresville town commissioners gave unanimous approval for Justin Marks and Michael McDowell’s go-kart track in June 2010, but a group of local landowners resisted.
“It’s absolutely a relief to be able to move on,” Marks said. “We did everything that was expected of us, and I felt like we went above and beyond to be respectful and accommodate. There was a group of people that didn’t think it was enough.”
Marks said the two parties recently settled to avoid legal proceedings at the state level.
Now that McDowell and Marks can take the next step, they plan to start moving dirt as soon as possible on the 31 acres of Mazzeppa park. Marks said he would ideally have the 4,100-foot track in place for Memorial Day weekend of 2012.
“That way we can activate the grand opening for when the races come to town for those two weeks,” Marks said. “If that doesn’t happen, it won’t be the end of the world. The idea is to do it right rather than do it fast.”
Marks said the track won’t be a typical oval shape, but is modeled after one of the most famous karting tracks in the world– the Kartdromo Parma in Parma, Italy.
“It’s a very historic race track that a lot of Formula-One drivers grew up racing on,” he said. “We basically took that layout and updated it to the modern 2011 international championship specs.”
The track sits inside the Mooresville town limits and will conform to city building codes.
“Aesthetically, it’s going to be one of the finest karting circuits anywhere in the country,” Marks said. “Most of these tracks are built out in the desert or out in a field, so we’ll do a little bit more. It’s going to be a beautiful facility.”
A unique facet about the Mooresville Motorplex is the retail facility the developers will build on site. Marks recently partnered with Kartsport North America and will move the whole business to an on-site location.
“They’ll have everything from cars to safety equipment, tires, just anything,” Marks said. “Having a business on site like that means we’ll be able to handle everything to do with karting.”
Mooresville Motorplex will have 7,000 feet of retail space.
Marks hopes to make use of the track affordable for Mooresville residents rather than just appealing to people who want to spend thousands of dollars on a car.
“Basically, that’s been the big process for us to develop what our pricing structure is going to be,” Marks said. “We haven’t nailed anything down yet, but where we end up on all that stuff is going to be reflective of the community and the industry.”
While he doesn’t have any races scheduled yet, Marks already is planning to host a number of big events at the Mooresville track.
“The goal is to have three or four of the biggest karting races in North America at our complex each year,” he said. “We’ve been talking to some of the big sanctioning bodies in hopes of one day bringing a world championship race to Mooresville.”
Marks and McDowell hope to break ground on the $3 million facility by late August or early September and think the track will do more than just bring another racing business to the Mooresville area.
“The idea is that it’s very turn-key,” he said. “It’s the highest level of competition, but at the same time, it’s very accessible to people who have never raced before and just want to give it a try. We think it’s something that’s going to be a great recreational addition to the area.”