Photo: Richard Prince / GM Racing
Tom Wallace knows Corvettes. As a former Vehicle Line Executive for General Motors and Corvette Chief Engineer, he was at the wheel when the ZR1 Corvette was born, giving the world a 638 horsepower, 200+ mph, American-made super-car. Today, he’s working on a new chapter of motorsports history and teaming up with the National Corvette Museum to promote and develop a 400-acre Motorsports Park.
The proposed Motorsports Park (not just for Corvettes) is being designed with the help of Pratt/Miller Engineering who is the company behind the ALMS Championship winning Corvette Racing team. Once their conceptual design is fine-tuned by a professional track designer, this track will be the only one in the world where professional and amateur drivers of all makes of cars and motorcycles can experience many of the signature features of the LeMans road course.
Along with the track, (which can be reconfigured into four different courses) there will be an autocross/skid pad area, a drag strip and a karting track, allowing for everything from teen driver safety training to a wide variety of motorsports applications and events.
“What makes Tom an ideal member of the team,” says Wendell Strode, Executive Director of the Museum, “is that he is also a race car driver. Because of that, he knows what makes a track challenging for drivers and he understands what features would make it useful as a testing facility for race teams and manufacturers. In addition to that, Tom is a driving instructor so he understands the track’s importance as an educational facility for people of all skill levels. We are thrilled to have him on board with us.”
Tom’s experience in racing goes back to his college days and includes drag racing, autocross, IMSA, Sebring 12 hour, Daytona 24 hour, SCCA Road Racing in GT1 (including several trips to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs) and Waterford Hills Road Racing. Today he is still very active in motorsports, along with his two sons.
Tom is enthusiastic about the project and looking forward to being involved. His first focus will be on fundraising, corporate sponsorships and planning for track operation.
“Since before my retirement in 2009, I have thought that a Motorsports Park at the Museum would raise the whole Corvette community to another level,” Tom said. “Initially, I’ll be working with Tom Blair in pursuing sponsors for the project. Tom (Blair) is an outstanding businessman and researcher and a good strategist of visionary business models.”
“What I’ll bring is my perspective as a racer. I know what makes a track great. I understand wheel to wheel, autocrossing, drag racing and karting. My background has given me insight into how different market segments will want to use this complex for competitive events, practice and educational purposes. I know a lot about driving and what drives people to want to get on a track. This will be the ideal facility for all kinds of applications, and a great place to showcase America’s sports car.”
For more information on the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park project, visit http://www.motorsportspark.org.