As Apex Motor Club begins to rise out of 278 acres on the northwest corner of State Route 238 and Ralston Road, Club members have specific expectations for the private racetrack.
Joe Rueda of Scottsdale drives a BMW M3 as a dedicated racecar and a Porsche as his street car.
He has been involved with Apex Motor Club since Jason Plotke, Matt Williams and Jim Beatty first started talking about the idea. Rueda became a member as soon as the club officially formed three years ago.
“We would drive on other racetracks, and it was so much fun, but it was so far away,” he said. The site in Maricopa, he said, was perfect.
“You can’t drop a racetrack in the middle of a residential area,” Rueda said, “so the land in Maricopa was perfect and the size was perfect.”
There are three fundamentals club members will expect from Apex, said Rueda, whose car enthusiasm began with his childhood Matchbox collection.
1. One is visceral connection. He bought his first car two years before he could legally drive it and learned how to maintain and fix it. The experience of driving a car, tinkering with it to improve its handling and then driving it again to see if the tinkering helped is an integral part of a private track.
2. Drivers also want a course designed for car people by car people. Apex is expected to be a place where they interact with their cars in a way they cannot on the street. Rueda said today’s sports cars far exceed what drivers can do with them on a public road. With so much automatic response now, he said, the automotive industry is taking away the driving experience in day-to-day life.
3. The most important aspect of a car club, he said, is the camaraderie with other enthusiasts and being able to compare experiences. Many of the friends he has made over the years have come through the car culture.
Rueda said the positive response the project received from City Hall and from the residents was fortifying when the legal opposition arose. “It made it easier to plow through,” he said. “If [the City] had waffled a little, I don’t know if we would have had the confidence to keep on going.”
Plotke, who is president of Private Motorsports Group, said the plan is to open Apex “early next year.”
“We’re not developers that are going to move on to the next city and sell this,” Plotke said. “We want to have our kids and their kids work here and have something that a lot of people can enjoy for a long period of time.”
Plotke said Apex intends to be involved in the community and involve the community in the facility, such as police training. Even beyond that, Rueda said philanthropy is important to all the members of the club. He expects that to become evident in Maricopa.
This story was published in part in the December issue of InMaricopa.