Atlanta car enthusiasts and racers may have another race track to visit soon. Oak Ridge Motorsports Park recently won an approval from city officials in the form of a land sale, as well as an initial approval of a special recreation zone. Oak Ridge Motorsports Park would be located just outside of Knoxville, TN about 3.5 hours north of Atlanta.
The park would include race track, amphitheater, karting track, paddock club, club house, restaurant(s), pro shop, garages, hotels and overnight lodging, conference space, a recreational vehicle park, and walking trails. The park will be located on 327 acres of land in the Horizon Center at Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge Motorsports Park hopes to attract a number of races annually, aiming for NASA, SCCA, Foruma E, IMSA, Indy Car and more according to Oak Ridge Today. In addition Oak Ridge Motorsports Park is expected to host track days, karting events and other car and bike related events. Officials noted that the Knoxville/Pigeon Forge area attracts nearly 10 million visitors a year. Oak Ridge Motorsports Park specifically is hoping to tap into that large base of visitors as differentiation when attracting events.
While further out than most Atlanta area tracks having more tracks and options within a half day drive means many Atlanta’s will find themselves at races and events at the new park. In addition Atlanta provides a significant number of the tourists to the Knoxville/Pigeon Forge area the track is relying on.
There are still several steps before final approval, construction and opening. This includes additional planning commission reviews and approvals. Also, the city council is expected to need to create a special zoning district that would allow the use. Discussions are occurring now and may be voted again in March and April before being finalized. The initial vote passed 8-2 at the February meeting.
Oak Ridge Motorsports Park continues a trend in new private and semi-private Motorsports Parks being built throughout the country. Just like Atlanta’s own Atlanta Motorsports Park.
You can watch the complete developer presentation below:
UPDATE: 4/11/21: Due to a conflict with the Department of Energy the plan is to move the potential motorsports park at a new location in the Knoxville area.
UPDATE 2/24/21: Added that the special recreation zone passed its initial voting by a margin of 8-2.
UPDATE 2/18/21: Clarified initial approval from land sale. Also clarified that planning commission and zoning was still pending.