Alan Wilson: Track Designer for NMSP

Alan Wilson has an extensive background that establishes him in a unique position in the world of motor sports. Born in South Africa in 1946, he graduated from Natal University to join Ford Motor Company as its Competition Coordinator with responsibility for developing the newly established Formula Ford program for which he introduced both an International race series and the Driver-to-Europe program. He was also responsible for the company’s National Championship Rally Program.

During these periods he played an active role on the racing committees of regional car and motorcycle clubs and was responsible for developing and running the nation’ss first ever production motorcycle championship.

Having competed on motorcycles and in cars, he moved onto Formula Fords running in the National Championship for three years, before moving on to concentrate on his wife, Desiré Wilson, race career.

In 1977 Desiré, having won the South African Formula Ford Championship and the “Driver-to-Europe” award, the couple moved to Holland where they ran a car in the Dutch, European and Benelux FF2000l Championships and competed in many British FF2000 events. The following year they moved to the UK where Alan took up a position as Track Manager at Brands Hatch, a role that was rapidly extended to that of General Manager of all four MCD circuits (Brands, Oulton Park, Mallory Park and Snetterton), before he was appointed to the Board of Directors of all four tracks and the holding company.

During his tenure at MCD he was responsible for all facility operations, development and safety activities and managed the operations for three Formula One British Grand Prix events as well as upwards of 200 other race events each year.

The Wilsons relocated to the USA in 1983 to follow Desire’s career into IndyCars, with Alan taking up a position with New York Grand Prix Inc, a company that planned to operate a Formula One Grand Prix in Flushing Meadows Park. Although Alan completed the design, engineering and construction planning program within a five month period, the event was abandoned due to legal action taken by an environmental group against the City of New York.

Alan Wilson then assumed the role of Executive Director for the Columbus IMSA GTP street race event, operating this on a track of his design from 1985 to 1988 after which he moved to Denver to head up operations for the CART IndyCar World Series street race, Again his responsibilities included the design of the track and the operation of the event, and this was extended to overall management of the company at the end of the first year of activity, as its President and CEO. However, after just one year of operations (1991) the event was closed down due to the high costs of operating in the downtown Denver environment.

Consequently Alan Wilson and Roger Werner, the Denver Grand Prix Chairman, formed Prime Racing Ventures Inc. with Alan as President, to enter the track development business. Their first project was the California Motor Speedway which was eventually taken over by the Penske organization, after which PRV took over the management of Road Atlanta to reorganize it after its bankruptcy, prior to handing it back to its owner as a going operation.

PRV was closed down so that Werner could develop his Speedvision television company and Alan and Desiré Wilson then focused Wilson Motorsport (a company that had evolved from their Wilson Racing Company set up in England in 1988) to concentrate on race track design and safety management.

Wilson Motorsport rapidly became the United States pre-eminent race track design and consultancy company, developing infield road course designs for Las Vegas and Pikes Peak Speedway and street race complexes in three Dallas locations, in Minneapolis and in Grand Rapids. His role in these street events encompassed the design, event operations and management planning as all events were run by start-up companies who relied on Wilson for his management advice across the entire spectrum of event activities.

His track design activities extended to road courses and his facilities rapidly became the standard for new track construction and design in the USA, and particularly for their levels of safety for both car and motorcycle racers. Wilson designed tracks included GingerMan Raceway in Michigan, Carolina Motor Sports Park, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-America Motorplex, Arizona Motorsports Park, Motorsports Park Hastings, BeaveRun Motorsports Park, Autobahn Country Club, Calobogie Motorsports Park in Canada and the award winning Miler Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City. Other major projects included the complete re-design and re-construction of Le Circuit Mont Tremblant near Montreal, a driver training center at the Gainesville NHRA facility and a high speed ride-and-handling test facility for Honda America in Ohio. At the same time he designed championship level kart facilities for Sears Point (now Infineon) Raceway, Centennial in Denver, at BeaveRun and at Miller Motorsports Park.

For most of these facilities, Wilson not only designed the complexes, he also provided in depth facility operations consultancy and other advisory services.

During this period Alan Wilson worked extensively with the SCCA, both as a track safety inspector and in leadership roles in the development and management of the clubs professional race series, the World Challenge and the USRRC endurance championship. Wilson Motorsport also continued to provide track and facility designs, reviews, inspections and project plans for more than 75 other facility developers. These included major modifications to the road course at Daytona; to the famous Corkscrew Turns at Laguna Seca and to facilities such as Lime rock Park, Moroso and the NASCAR Busch Cup circuit in Mexico City.

In 2005 Wilson moved to Salt Lake City to take up the role of CEO and General Manager for Miller Motorsports Park, stewarding the facility though its construction and assuming responsibility for all start-up operations. In its first year of operations (2006) the Wilson led MMP operated major ALMS, Grand-AM, SCCA, AMA and HSR Historic weekends, introduced the Ford High Performance Driving School, established regional kart, car and motorcycle championships and ended the season winning the Professional Motorsports World Expo “Race Facility of the Year” award .

In 2008 Alan Wilson and MMP re-introduced the FIM World Superbike Championship to America after a four year absence, being awarded the FGSPorts “Best Organized Event of the Year” for their efforts.

Alan Wilson retired from MP at the end of the season to establish Wilson Sahara Motorsports with Sahara Inc, the company which constructed Miller Motorsports Park and with whom Alan Wilson had developed string relationships during his term at MMP.

With this relationship, Alan Wilson has re-established his role in international race facility design and development with his design of the new international race facility at Injae in Korea, due to open in 2011.

From small beginnings in his native South Africa, Alan Wilson has been able to extend his experience and expertise in several countries and through his participation in event management and design at all levels and in multiple disciplines of motorsport. His race track designs have been widely recognized as being amongst the safest and most efficient in the world, while his facility and event operations expertise has earned high respect. He is well regarded by all his customers for whom he has delivered race tracks that are well received, safe and fun to use.