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Join the club: Hampton Downs GT membership

30 March, 2017

 

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If you love track time as much as we do, then a GT Membership should be right up your alley? 

Just over a year ago, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park launched its GT Membership model — a membership designed to sit alongside other exclusive memberships found at the likes of the very best golf and yacht clubs. While such memberships are very common in the northern hemisphere, they have not been tried in this part of the world, Australia included, until now.
Where the motorsport membership model has been successful overseas, the facility has been purpose built, and built to a very high standard. That is also the case at the Hampton Downs and Highlands motorsport parks, which are both owned by Tony Quinn, and where the GT Membership has flourished.

In fact, the Hampton Downs GT members are raving about the club, so we decided it was time to catch up with the Hampton Downs team to find out more about how the membership works, and why it is growing in popularity.

Clearly, the biggest reason is the generous amount of track time included in the deal. GT members get 80 sessions per year, which averages out to more than one day a week — and it doesn’t matter whether you are an amateur or a professional. Think of it like being a member of a golf club. It doesn’t matter how good you are at golf, you still get the same benefits.
However, there are some significant differences that put GT Membership in a league above membership of most golf courses and yacht clubs; quite possibly, above them all. We say that because once you become a GT member, you own it. Yes, that’s right — you own the membership, and after three years you can sell it to the highest bidder if you want.

Given that membership will be closed when it reaches capacity, a positive capital gain from the sale is not out of the question! A small transfer fee is payable when the sale is made, and the only other condition is that Hampton Downs must vet the new member for suitability. You can also pass the membership on through the family. 

Then there is the brand-new members lounge, with the best view of the racetracks from a large balcony and several smaller ones. The lounge belongs to the members exclusively on track days. There are no cash registers in sight — you can help yourself to the fridges packed full of your favourite beverages, and a light lunch and snacks are complimentary.

Driver training is available to members at competitive rates, and sometimes you’ll get some free pointers from members whose names you may recognize — such as Shane van Gisbergen, Greg Murphy, and ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett! There are three separate track configurations and, outside of major events, members have exclusive access to these. Members are also the only drivers to get a run on the new 4km International Circuit.

With Tony Quinn owning both Hampton Downs and Highlands Motorsport Park, he’s ensured that members of each get to enjoy both facilities, adding five full days on the track at the other venue to membership of each. To help members take up this opportunity, a deal has been done that gives them reduced vehicle transport costs between the two tracks — or, if you prefer, there’s always the option of a hire car, available at each venue. Pit garages are open for free use during any of the 80 sessions.

The more we spoke to the team at Hampton Downs, the more appealing the membership sounded; access to discounted accommodation in Queenstown was the next thing they mentioned, along with 15 guest passes per membership each year, allowing you to take passengers on the track. Of course, immediate family, spouses, and children are welcome to attend any members’ event/day at the track, and that includes access to the members lounge.
When you consider all the above, the $10,000 joining fee and an annual ‘green fee’ of $4500 (both excluding GST) represent excellent value, particularly when you break it down to the track time included: it works out at less than $57 a session — try getting track time anywhere else for that. The value has been well recognized already, with more than 135 members having joined at Hampton; that number is projected to double or even triple by the end of 2017. 

If you’re keen on finding out more, or signing up, give Hampton’s business development manager, Cherie Brown, a call on 027 536 7870, or email [email protected].

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.