We take a tour of Thermal Club, one of the most exclusive private motorsports clubs in the world. This is a glimpse of motorsport nirvana.
140 miles east of Los Angeles, 5.1 miles of pristine world-class race track wind through the desert. You might not of heard of Thermal Club, and there’s good reason. They don’t advertise and they aren’t open to the public. An $85,000 initiation fee gets you through the gates, but members are also required to purchase land and build a luxury home within the club. With such a high premium for membership, Thermal Club aims to be an ultra-exclusive country club style wonderland of motorsports with amenities to match.
Thermal Club–built out of pure passion
It all started at a golf course. Tim Rogers and a group of like-minded friends, while enjoying their days at a local country club, often asked: Why isn’t there a Country Club for motorsports? Assuming there wasn’t a good answer to that question, inevitably they probably asked: Why don’t we build one? Again, there must not have been a good answer because over the next few years they went to work to build an exclusive club where members could escape the distractions of everyday life through motorsports.
In time, a recession forced Tim to buy out all his partners. Whether a blessing or a curse, Tim was on his own. Incredibly, Tim never took on debt and he used his own money to fund the dream. Many years, many hurdles, and many millions of Tim’s own dollars later, Thermal Club was born, built out of pure passion.
“Instead of fairways we have straightaways”– Steve Moorehouse, Member Sales & Real Estate, The Thermal Club
In keeping with the Country Club model, members are not left wanting. Through tireless service and obsessive attention to detail, Thermal Club exceeds all expectations in minimizing the distance between the driver and the driver’s seat. A concierge arranges for member cars to be washed, prepped, and delivered to the track. A personal pit crew services the car trackside. A tech helps analyze real time driving data. The head driving instructor gives expert guidance through the circuit. A master mechanic is available to tweak, modify and repair when needed. There is even a track side refrigerator, well stocked with snacks and refreshments.
At the end of the day, your cars can be taken to storage, where the staff can tend to them while not in use. Or… you can take them to your luxury custom home lining the track, and park them in your showroom style garage with the rest of your prized collection.
Homes are unapologetically garage centric.
My tour guide, Steve Moorehouse, is in charge of both Membership Sales and Real Estate, and for good reason. Membership and Real Estate go hand in hand at Thermal Club. Once new members pay an initiation fee of $85,000, they must purchase land within the club walls. Premium, or “beach front”, lots start at $785,000. These lots have the privilege of bordering the track and accommodate large balconies with commanding views over the tarmac. Members have five years to have a custom home designed and built on their land. However, turn-key fully furnished homes ranging from $2.3 – $3.4 million are available for those who just want to move right in.
The $3.4 million dollar turn-key home is quite impressive. The main living area is purposefully garage centric taking up most of the first floor. The garage is visible through glass that spans practically the entire downstairs area, giving you a view of your car collection from anywhere in the kitchen, dining, and living room. With shiny dark floors, white walls and plenty of lighting, the homes are essentially built around an opulent, massive automotive showroom. As such, your car collection becomes the focal point in your downstairs decor. Steve tells me that no expense is spared on the garage doors either. These are the world’s fastest garage doors. As they should be.
Too many cars is not a problem
This garage holds 14 cars, but could fit more if the cars are stacked. If you can’t possibly be bothered shuffling cars around because of limited space, follow the lead of your fellow members. Steve tells me more and more members are buying lots directly across the street from their homes for the sole purpose of building a larger garage for overflow. Problem solved!
Upstairs is equally as impressive. Everything exudes an elegant, upscale design. A second living area upstairs opens up into a large furnished balcony overlooking the track. The view is spectacular and I imagine members could wave to their families as they drove by on a hot lap. However, friends and family members have much more to do than just watch the track.
The kids can get their racing career started on the Go Kart track complete with instruction. Besides the bar and restaurant at the Clubhouse, friends and family will soon be able to enjoy the Member’s Club, which is currently under construction. With a pool, fitness center, and spa keeping your family members properly occupied, they won’t mind you going just one… or ten more laps!
The Nurburgring Of The West
Thermal Club aims to be a major hub for west coast motorsports. The Thermal Club Corporate Center has already hosted the world premier of the Porsche 992. 8 acres of recently purchased land will he home to a new car launch area for manufacturers as well as a Rallycross track. Yet it seems it’s still not enough for Tim. Thermal Club aspires to be the “The Nürburgring Of The West”. Lap times on Thermal’s 5.1 mile track would be a benchmark for car performance, much like “The Ring” in Germany. Car manufacturers can earn bragging rights on the “5.1 Test Track” generated right here on the west coast.
Thermal Club is one of those places you can’t believe exists. Millions of dollars, and countless man hours spent for the pursuit of one sport. As my tour ends I wonder–what compels someone to commit so much to a single pursuit? I ask Steve about the members here. Thermal Club, however, is very protective of the privacy that comes with membership. What I can gather is that these people have met a great deal of success in life which allows them the exclusivity of membership. What motivates them to get behind the wheel again and again, however, is as innate and universal as breathing.
Call it a compulsion, call it an obsession, maybe it’s a dream, but when you are on the track – thinking of nothing but that perfect line, looking ahead into the next turn, body and machine working in harmony – the circuit is your world and for those few moments everything else seems to wash away in a blur. That glorious feeling of rolling on the accelerator after the perfect apex, tires hooking up, engine singing… it’s euphoric. This is victory, this is success one lap at a time, one turn at a time. It’s pure, and it’s yours. It’s a feeling you want over and over and you will go to great lengths to capure it.
I imagine that’s what Tim and his friends were searching for years ago. They had a dream and Tim chased after it to build Thermal Club. Now Thermal Club is a place for others to chase their’s.