“An all-inclusive private destination for the distinguished motorsport enthusiast.”
Beginning with a 1.8-mile racing course, The Thermal Club was utilized by early members and for media and promotional events. Originally sharing grounds with the BMW Performance Center West, The Thermal Club has since expanded to a full-fledged motorsports park in Southern Thermal, California. This country club isn’t your typical country club though. Rather than swinging your way around a 18-hole course, you’ll find three distinctly different race courses that can be arranged in multiple different configurations. Pair three racetracks with the usual amenities of a country club, such as a club house and restaurant, and life doesn’t seem like it can get much better. What more could a ‘car guy’ and racing fan ask for?
Contemporary Spanish architecture surrounds the entire campus, with villas ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 square feet, 3 to 5 bedrooms, and vaulted garage ceilings to fit upwards of 15 vehicles in the garage.
On occasion, The Thermal Club takes host to track rentals and private events. January 17-19 saw that the pits be the new home for the SRO America Winter Invitational series. Drivers from four different SRO racing series, GT World Challenge, GT Sports Club, Pirelli GT4 America, and TC America, made attendance for the perfect opportunity to hone their driving skills in the off-season. Drivers such as former Super Trofeo competitor Steven Aghakhani and GMG Racing’s very own James Sofronas made sure their presence was known, maintaining the top qualify session times.
Tomioka Racing received an exclusive invitation to attend the weekend race through corporate club member GP Tech LLC, receiving access to pit lane to get up close and personal with the drivers as they interact with their spec racing cars. Upon qualifying session a few crashes and mechanical issues caused a complete session restart once the track was cleared. Member’s track prepared vehicles sat aside pit lane eagerly awaiting their turn on the pavement between qualify sessions and races.
It’s not an uncommon sight to see members of the Thermal Club bringing their very own GT-spec race cars to the track, however there was one car that stood out from the rest. Finished in the well know Gulf livery, the very first Ford GT MKII, owned none other than Google Vice President Benjamin Sloss, fired up its 700hp, 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine leaving only a sound that race fans would call “music to their ears”. Only 45 Ford GT MKII models are being built and to be able to not only witness, but touch the $1.2 million track beast had our boost fed minds rattling with excitement. (Photo by Stan Kaplan)
As the races neared their close and drivers made their way to the podium, we brought the TR Supra to the track’s skidpad area where we could put the cars’ acceleration to the test, since the track itself was occupied at nearly all points. Having our Southern California dealer EDO Performance recently install the brand new Armytrix Valvetronic, our ears were eager to hear the system at maximum load and boost. The Armytix system feature a wireless remote and Bluetooth functionality to also control the exhaust with a smart phone. A 17 HP and 32Nm increase while also dropping 3.5kg makes the valvetronic system a no brainer, especially after hearing the deep grunt and grumble with the valve open.
As with any race weekend, photos with models from the event are a must. These ladies didn’t just have a great smile, but were drivers and riders alike. Mizziel is no stranger to riding motorycles, travelling, and skydiving, having a ‘ready to go’ attitude at all times. Don’t let Sarahi’s smile fool you either, as she’s a two-wheeled phenom and helicopter mechanic. No stranger to The Thermal Club, Keerati is a talented 2-time motorcycle-racing champion, amateur drifter, and is training in many different forms of road and off road racing.
We can’t wait to return to The Thermal Club and really put the TR Supra to the test. Many thanks to GP Tech LLC for the invitation and hospitality.