Racers as Well as Executives Are Enjoying The Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati

BATAVIA, Ohio, Dec. 20 – The Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati (MCC) primarily caters to executives instead of professional racers, but a surgeon using the facility as a stress-buster just may find himself dicing with a fellow member who appears regularly on the SPEED Channel.

Area racers are joining the private club off Route 50 in Batavia, Ohio for the same reasons the country clubbers love it: the 0.7-mile road course challenges their skills and forces them to concentrate only on the task at hand; the two-story clubhouse is the perfect place to relax, network and meet other interesting people; the facility’s plush locker rooms rival those in professional football stadiums, and an afternoon spent driving karts is just plain fun.

John Wright, a two-time winner of the International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA’s) Technician of the Year award and the team owner of a Porsche that finished on the podium at the 2009 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for his Wright Motorsports in Batavia, Ohio, was one of the founding fathers of the facility. Most recently Wright has been seen at the track working as the crew chief on Rob Morgan’s TruSpeed Motorsports Porsche 997 in the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA’s) World Challenge series; overseeing Jay and Joe Policastro’s Porsches in the IMSA Patron GT3 Challenge series; or fielding his own Wright Motorsports cars in Porsche Club of America events.

One of Wright’s drivers in that most-recent Rolex 24 showing, veteran formula car and sports car racer B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati, is the driver pro at the MCC when he isn’t tooling a RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge’s Street Tuner class. He’s a former SCCA Formula Atlantic and Formula Continental national champion, and he has GT class victories in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

Legendary sports car team owner and multi-time Rolex 24 winner Kevin Doran of Doran Racing in Lebanon, Ohio, is a member too. He enjoys taking his 125cc shifter kart out for a spin now and then when he isn’t concentrating on one of his team’s Grand Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes.

Rene Robichaud of Cincinnati, who has been driving one of Terry Heath’s Porsches lately in the Grand Sports class of Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, is a member. So is Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati, who drove in both the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge’s Grand Sports class and IMSA’s Patron GT3 Challenge series in 2010 after success in the Skip Barber Racing Series’ regional ranks.

Open-wheel fans as well as sports car fans will recognize the name of another member -John Edwards of Cincinnati. He was the 2008 Star Mazda champion and the 2009 Atlantic champion before he concentrated on being a Mazda factory driver in the Grand-Am Rolex Series’ GT division in 2010, finishing sixth for the season with his co-driver, Adam Christodoulou. Edwards also won the first annual Red Bull City Swarm in Cincinnati’s Fountain Square in October, an event that was administered by the MCC.

Another racer who has been seen honing his skills at the MCC is member Mike Ward of Loveland, Ohio, who finished second in the GTS2 class in the Great Lakes region of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and fourth in the same class in the Midwest region with his Porsche 968.

Bill Heumann of Prospect, Ky., who almost won the 2010 driving championship in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge’s Street Tuner class with a BMW 328i that he co-drove with Seth Thomas, has been known to practice at the MCC too.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr.; 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard, and sports cars’ Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger have visited the facility too.

The MCC is privately owned and operated by its members, which number around 70. It isn’t open to the public except for certain corporate team-building events and charity fund-raisers, for which it has proven to be very popular. Many members own their own karts and keep them on site, although 16 RIMO karts are available to rent.

“Everybody who sees the facility loves it,” said Wright. “They inevitably say, ‘We didn’t think it would be like this; it’s so nice!’ My initial concept wasn’t as fancy as how it turned out. Our core group of officers and other members of the Board of Directors took it to the next level and turned it into an upscale facility that all of our members are proud of. We have 23 equity owners now, and we’re shooting for 30.

“We’re about 17 miles from downtown Cincinnati,” Wright added. “Clermont County is excited about us being here; they’re trying to develop that corner of the county as a recreational area.

“We try to be great neighbors,” he added. “In addition to many corporate events we’ve done several charity events here, and they’ve all made money for the charities.”

Information on the two levels of membership, platinum ownership and gold membership, are outlined on the facility’s Web site at mccofcincinnati.com. Additional information can be obtained by the MCC’s sales manager, Bill Kidwell, at (513) 910-8947, or Curt Symnes, the on-site club manager, at (513) 625-7223.

Although the clubhouse is open year-round, the track’s regular season is from April 1 to Oct. 31 due to Ohio’s weather, although some hardy drivers use it in the daytime from November through March when the weather permits. The facility is closed on Mondays except for holidays, when it is closed on Tuesdays.

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