by Tony West and Jamar Lee
For those that don’t know, the Autobahn Country Club of Joliet is nothing shy of AWESOME! Located in a secluded area of southern Illinois- about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, this 400 acre private raceway hosts some of the most exclusive events for Nascar, Audi, Lexus, and Porsche. And that aint the tip of the iceberg. Autobahn has 2 tracks for a combined 3.56 miles and 22 twists and turns. Picture an airport hanger, a golf course, and the Indy 500 Speedway- add a dash of Nurburgring and you’ll get an idea of what America’s Premier Motorsports Club has to offer. And that’s still not the half of it.
For a Regular Member an initiation fee of $35,000 allows you daily unlimited track time, access to the clubhouse- that includes the Shelby Cobra Lounge (yes with vintage Shelby Cobras) and an executive chef, as well as access to the Karting Circuit. With membership, your spouse and kids can enjoy all the same benefits, along with Racing School, Defensive Driving classes, and the Guest Driver Program. With the right certification, a member can drive as fast as their whip or bike can take them around this exhilarating speedway. Or for $3,000 dollars annually you could get a Touring Membership for you and your family. Touring sessions occur daily during the lunch hour and members can take their approved vehicle on the track for slower, non helmeted laps.
On a beautiful Spring day, UnRated Flair visited the Autobahn Country Club and all its splendor and President and Founder, Mark Basso gave us the V.I.P. treatment- which luckily is what every member gets.
Once certified, members can do hot laps around the track during specified hours. There are schedules segmented for beginners, intermediate, and advanced drivers to race at high speeds amongst their peers. Hot lap sessions are super fun and last about 30 minutes. All vehicle occupants must be helmeted and wear seat belts of course. But the real fun comes when members race each other. Once the race concludes, they can check their times against each other on a large monitor in the club lounge. Makes for some healthy competition.
President Mark Basso did a couple of hot laps around the track with Jamar in the 2012 Cadillac CTSV Sedan! Mark Basso says that out of his selection of Porsche, Mercedes, and BMW, this Caddy is his favorite car to race on the track, saying it holds up best against most of the European manufacturers. Actually, boasting 556 horsepower and 550 lbs feet of torque, the 0-60 in 9 seconds Caddy CT SV is the fastest American sedan.
Mark Basso also schooled Jamar on the technique of whipping the hell out of a car safely on the ACC tracks, pointing out that it’s best to start braking according to the red and white lines painted before the corners, turn in, then balance and set up the vehicle at the corners.
Karting Racing Circuit
The half mile track for go-karts is available for kids and adults to hone their racing skills and have good clean fun! But as President, Mark Basso pointed out, “the ACC go-karts aren’t kiddyland cars.” They are actually Remo chassis’ that have 9 horsepower motors that go 50mph!
Some patrons make the karting circuit into a big party. The go-karts even record your lap time.
Fall Line Lake House
For top ballers, the Autobahn Country Club offers the unique opportunity to customize a massive lake house from the ground up, where they can store their exotic whips year round and enjoy a spectacular view of the raceway. The Garage Mahals are owned by some of the wealthiest business people in Illinois and beyond.
U.R. Flair had the pleasure of visiting the Fall Line Garage Mahal. What happens in the Fall Line Lakehouse is pure magic! Fall Line builds and restores race cars for members of the ACC. A member can bring in a stock vehicle and it can be fully tested and fitted with everything from a new wide body kit, tires, a quick fill system, wings, carbon fiber, and added speed. All of the modifications can take a few weeks or even less.
Touring in Fleet Cars
The Autobahn Country Club even offers members the chance to ride in one of their Performance Fleet cars, which are nothing shy of impressive. The Country Club has an endless supply if the newest whips from Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Nissan, and BMW. Even non-members can arrange a group trip to the Country Club for pleasure or business and take a lunchtime tour on the track with a professional driving instructor. For beginners, the ACC also offers access to the Defensive Driver Fleet cars, the Mazda 3, where patrons can do school, corporate, and even police training with an instructor. Because we are Flair, we get to drive them!
Jamar whipped his favorite car, the 2012 Audi S8! Guest Correspondent Maasai Amewa followed behind, whipping the 2012 Audi A8. We all felt like bosses riding in line behind the 2012 Audi R8 Spyder and the new Porsche 911!
All in all the Autobahn Country Club Joliet is exciting, exhilarating, and just plain fun as hell. And it’s not just fun for the super rich. The Country Club hosts many events for non-members, like the 24 Hour Lemon’s Race, where patrons bring out their lemons that must cost less than $500, theme them out, and race for the weekend. Mark Basso says that this is one of his favorite events the ACC holds because “it’s racing the way it started, low-budget, just a good time.”
Jamar adds that before he visited the ACC, he saw it as a “once in a lifetime experience.” But after spending the day there Jamar says that he would go back once a month at least! “There’s so much there, you have to come back,” Jamar says. “The food is great, there are events for the family, and the staff and other members are very friendly.” Looks like the ACC just got another member! The wife and kids have just as much fun as the guys out on the raceway.
Jamar spoke with a member couple, Pat and Mike Kafereta about their love for the ACC. Pat and Mike have been members for seven years and love to whip thier Porsche 911 on the track. What they love most about the the Autobahn Country Club; “We like getting out there and being able to drive without alot of traffic. You can drive fast and drive safely, and that’s really fun,” Mike Kafereta says. Though he just bought his wife Pat a new Ferrari, she says she still prefers to whip her older Porsche around the ACC tracks. This retired couple considers racing at the Autobahn Country Club part of their weekly exercise, Mike adding “when you drive for a half hour, it’s total concentration, and when you’re done, it’s cathartic. You feel great!”
We can’t wait to go back!
Visit www.autobahncc.com for more info about the Autobahn Country Club of Joliet!