When Jeff Medici was a financial advisor for Fidelity in Boston, he took his corporate team to a place called F1 Boston, a sort of racing-themed conference center where they learned to work together and trust each other by doing things like changing tires on Formula 1 race cars.
When he moved to North Texas, he noticed that themed hotels like Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord Texan are popular, destinations in themselves. And when he also noticed that Southlake is in a short hop down the highway from the Texas Motor Speedway, everything clicked. Why not build a themed hotel, a la Great Wolf Lodge, but instead of a weird nature/water park motif, have it be all about race cars, he asked himself. And what good is a racing-themed hotel without an indoor race track?
No good at all, of course, so Medici drew up plans to include one in the hotel he's planning to build along Highway 114. They were approved on Tuesday by the Southlake City Council, which gave final zoning approval on Tuesday, according to the Star-Telegram.
"It's gonna be housed in a 40,000-square-foot building," he said of the track. "It's gonna be two levels. It's gonna have tunnels, bridges: it's going to be very, very state of the art."
The cars will be bigger than a go cart but smaller than a compact and top out at about 45 miles per hour. They're powered by battery, which can be shut off remotely from an iPad if someone's driving like an asshole. There's a pit row in the middle of the track for tire changes and the like.
But lest you think the diminutive vehicles and lack of internal combustion engines means this is child's play: "They're gonna be in flame retardant suits and the helmets and the whole deal," Medici said.
The track, alas, is not for the average racing enthusiast out to kill a Saturday. During the week, it will be reserved for corporate team-building activities like the ones Medici went to in Boston, the idea being that playing with race cars is more effective and interesting than having some bloodless consultant blab at employees in a drab office. It will, however, be open for birthday parties and the like.
The hotel's going to have other things, like 175 rooms, a bar, and a conference room when it opens some time in early 2014, but who cares? It's going to have a race track.
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