Celebrating 10 Years: Looking at the Trails We’ve Blazed and the Road Ahead

It’s hard to believe, but Atlanta Motorsports Park turns 10 this year. In some ways, it feels almost like serendipity. But make no mistake: the passion of our staff, our members, and all of our supporting vendors has been the prime factor in getting us to where we stand today.

It’s incredible to look back on our past. In 2010, where AMP stands now, there was just an empty field and a line of trees standing guard. Now, we boast 600 members, host dozens of high-profile events on our main track and kart track, including enduros, leagues, HPDE Events, Drift events, ChampCar and more.

Our journey is far from over, though. As we celebrate, we look forward to the evolving and increasingly more intricate auto racing enthusiast and entertainment facility that AMP is transforming into, day-by-day. With the completion of our kart track recreational facilities, the addition of luxury condominiums, and ambitions to have even more world-class events held upon our road track, there’s much more AMP just over the horizon.

So join us as we reflect, celebrate, and gaze forwards to how far we’ve come — and how far we intend to go.

The AMP Story: How We Got Started

The story of AMP begins with the ambitious vision of one man: our founder and owner Jeremy Porter.

Here’s an excerpt from our employee materials that exemplifies just how visionary, and controversial, his plan was:

They said it was impossible. They said that no one — not the state government, nor investors, nor the average joe — would get behind the idea of another motorsports track near Atlanta. 

“Everyone I approached in the industry said there’s no way to be able to get this done, and it’s just not going to happen,” Atlanta Motorsports Park founder and owner Jeremy Porter recalls. “They kept telling me: ‘Everybody’s tried over eight times since 1967 and failed.’” 

Now, with 450 permanent members and hundreds more visitors attending every year, it would seem that the “impossible” was very much within grasp. Jeremy’s triumph against the odds is hardly serendipity, either, standing more as a victory of passion over so-called “common sense,” and a testament towards following your heart wherever it may lead you.

The most amazing thing was that Porter’s plans to open the track got started at what one might think was the worst time: right at the cusp of the 2008 housing crisis and the subsequent recession. Getting people behind the idea was incredibly difficult. Getting funding? Next to impossible.

One major breakthrough was convincing contractors, who were desperate for work at this time, to fund the projects themselves. Jeremy pledged to personally repay them out of his own pocket; a promise he followed up with using much of the track’s first few year’s worth of revenues.

Prospective members, however, provided the real capital fuel — and the motivation needed to propel him to get to the finish line. In 2008, when Jeremy was struggling to get backers on the project, he took a deck of presentation materials to Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

“We sold two memberships that night, and I didn’t even know where we were going to build the track,” Jeremy remembers. More memberships came pouring in after ground broke and the track started to take shape.

Jeremy decided to situate the track in Dawsonville, where American motorsports was first truly born. Moonshine runners and speed-obsessed tinkerers pushed the limits of what cars were capable of, an attitude that continues to propel love of racing to this day. To earn his spot among the proving grounds of American auto racing, he had to win over locals and endure a protracted struggle with the zoning and planning commissions. With television cameras, protestors, and the full commissions in presence, he won that right.

From there, news spread of what the track would soon become. Excited motor enthusiasts began to line up to become a part of AMP’s beginning.

From the AMP story: 

“All said and done, Jeremy was able to raise over $2.5 million dollars in membership fees before the Atlanta Motorsports Park ever officially opened its doors. The vast majority of that money went towards paying down contractors for the first  few years, month-by-month, until the park steadily climbed up into the black.”

Another amazing thing happened that Jeremy and his associates could not have predicted: the amazing help offered from like-minded people. DiscoveryParts, Motor Werks, Primal Racing, Velocity Racing Development (VRD) and other fine companies have all come to our grounds to better serve our members — and the legacy of motorsports in general.

Just like that, and despite the massive odds, Atlanta Motorsports Park was born. The primary draw is an always was: the track. Designed by Herman Tilke, it evoked formula 1 style road courses, including homages to famous turns throughout the world, including the Nürburgring’s stories “carousel corner.” 

The playground that the track offered ignited the curiosity and passion of so many members, who fueled our beginning and brought us to our current level of success. They can now enjoy the fruits of that vision as they put their fine-tuned vehicles — and their own skills — to the ultimate test in the Georgia mountains

What’s Ahead for AMP — Becoming the Place Where Champions Are Forged

Like any good driver, our eyes are always trained towards what’s on the road ahead. Our initial plan to turn the track into a “Motorsports country club” was brought to bear with our lounges, events spaces, conference center, spectator areas, garages and other amenities.

Multiple driver’s academies have also set up shop. Using our track, paddock, and other facilities, they help new drivers cut their teeth, and experienced drivers hone their skills to a razor’s edge. The kart track was later completed in 2018, with new garages and guest facilities following soon after.

Real estate opportunities have been added to our campus, including resort style amenities like a swimming pool with water slide, an outdoor cooking area, and a fully stocked fitness center. Owners of our condominiums are spoiled by quick access to the track and the perfect spot to stay for events. Phase four units, located on the track’s spectacular green infield, are now under development and will soon be available for sale.

Beyond our facilities, we are extremely excited about training our focus on developing the next generation of world-class racers. Our goal is to get even better at “forging champions” not just on the track, but also in the mechanical bays and among our staff.

AMP provides the unique opportunity to develop — and slowly perfect — skills that mean the difference between competency and worldwide recognition. We’ve now begun partnering with Velocity Race Development (VRD) to train young and veteran drivers alike to be ready for the circuit, including F3, F4, USF 2000, and USF Juniors. VRD’s programs can also prepare drivers for attaining success overseas for F3 & F2. AMP Member Hunter Yeany has become the youngest F4 champion in the world, thanks in part from the support of AMP and VRD.

We also host racing events that cut a path for experienced drivers to get their first taste of the competition: HPDE events, NASA, Champcar, spec Miata, Spec E46, KONI, and our own performance racing series. This is all in addition to our kart track events, which continue to draw families and adults of all ages to enjoy one of the most thrilling and fiercely competitive track experiences in the southeast.

Fuel in Our Veins, Racing Lines in Our Mind, and Passion in Our Hearts — For 10 Years, and Counting!

Since we first began AMP, we’ve seen the writing on the wall that the traditional, petroleum-fueled vehicle driven by a human being may not be around forever. But even if this becomes the case, passion for traditional motorsports will always motivate us and kac our members to coming back to the track, week after week.

We truly see ourselves not just as enthusiasts, but preservationists. Our past plans coming to bear and our future plans awaiting fruition all serve one purpose: to keep the love and thrill of motorsports alive, on our track and in our hearts.

As we pause to reflect on the past 10 years, we’ll leave you with one more excerpt from our story, which talks about what a triumph it was for us to even be able to open in the first place:

AMP’s victory is not just a victory for private enterprise or its passionate members, but for motorsports as a whole. Built on land that once housed a large-scale moonshine and bootlegging operation, the beginnings of American auto racing are literally embedded into the track’s foundation. Dawsonville was where NASCAR began, after all, with bootleggers who got their start trying to outrun the law before trying to outrun each other on the dirt track.

Here’s to our past, our present, and many future years ahead! Come celebrate AMP’s legacy and future when you book an event or a day at the track.