Alan Wilson Resumé
Alan Wilson has been involved in motorsport in many different ways since 1965. He started as a motorcycle racer and rally driver, moved into production car then single seater racing before switching his interest to race organization and track management. Track operations led to race track design and specializing in track safety systems and implementation. For the past 35 years he has designed race tracks and his company, Wilson Motorsport Inc., is now recognized as one of the top three race track design companies of all time.
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, working as its Competition Coordinator with responsibility for developing the newly established Formula Ford program to 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.
He moved from racing motorcycles to production cars and then to Formula Fords in which he ran in the South African National Championship for three years, before retiring from active racing to concentrate on his wife, Desiré's race career.
Desiré won the 1976 South African Formula Ford Championship and the "Driver-to-Europe" award, so the couple moved to Holland where they ran a car in the 1977 Dutch, European and Benelux FF2000 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). The following year 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, new facility 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. In 1982 the FIA presented Brands with the “Best Organized Grand Prix of the Year” award.
The Wilson's relocated to the USA in 1983 to follow Desire's career into lndy cars, and Alan joined New York Grand Prix Inc., to design and operate a Formula One Grand Prix in Flushing Meadows Park. He completed the design, engineering and construction planning program within a five month period but the event was abandoned due to legal action taken against the City of New York by an environmental group.
Alan Wilson then became Executive Director for the Columbus IMSA GTP street race event, operating this on a track of his design from 1985 to 1988. He then moved to Denver to head up operations for the CART PPG IndyCar World Series street race. Again his responsibilities included the design of the track and the operation of the event. This was extended to overall management of the company at the end of the first year of activity, when he was appointed President and CEO. However, after just one further 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 assumed management of Road Atlanta to reorganize it after its bankruptcy, prior to handing it back to its owner as a going operation.
PRV was subsequently closed down so that Werner could develop his Speedvision Television Company, and Alan and Desiré decided concentrate all their ongoing activities within their Wilson Motorsport company, with its primary focus to be the design of race tracks and consultancy on track operations.
These included the development and operation of street tracks for the SCCA in Dallas (three separate courses), Minneapolis and Grand Rapids.
Alan’s track design activities then extended to road courses and his facilities rapidly became the standard for new track construction and design in the USA, particularly for their levels of safety for both car and motorcycle racers. Wilson designed tracks included GingerMan Raceway, Carolina Motor Sports Park, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-America Motorplex, Arizona Motorsports Park, Motorsports Park Hastings, BeaveRun Motorsports Park, Autobahn Country Club, Calabogie Motorsports Park in Canada, the award winning Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City and NOLA Motorsports Park. Other major projects included the complete redesign 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 Raceway, Centennial in Denver, at BeaveRun, Autobahn, New Jersey Motorsports Park and at Miller Motorsports Park. He also designed the infield tracks at the Las Vegas, Pikes Peak and Iowa NASCAR ovals.
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 in the development and management of the World Challenge and the USRRC Endurance Championships. 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 safety zones of the famous Corkscrew Turns at Laguna Seca and to facilities such as Lime Rock Park, the NASCAR Busch Cup circuit in Mexico City and a major range of safety improvements for Mid-Ohio. The SCCA presented him with their “George Snively Award” for his contribution to track safety in 1998.
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 presented with the FG Sport’s "Best Organized Event of the Year" award for their efforts.
Alan Wilson retired from MMP at the end of the 2008 season to re-establish Wilson Motorsports as an independent operation This re-established his role in international race facility design and development, starting with his design of the new international race facility at lnje in South Korea and the design of the multiple-layout complex at the Thermal Club in Palm Springs which both opened on the same day in 2014.
Wilson Motorsport also designed the first of several potential FIA2 level tracks in China at Ningbo, which held its first international WTCC race in October 2017. Wilson Motorsport continues to work on the development of new tracks in the Badlands in Alberta, Canada, a new track in Kansas, two more major race facilities in China and the new Concours Club in Miami.
Alan Wilson and Wilson Motorsport continue to undertake major track projects but have decided to be very selective in the facilities that they choose to develop, recognizing that his now nearly fifty year career in motor sports is approaching a well-deserved retirement.
More than fifty years of active participation in so many different forms of motor sport enabled Alan Wilson address the many different elements involved, not just in race track design, but in the development of his concepts into fully operational facilities.
He started by racing cars and motorcycles in South Africa, and has only recently retired from regular competition driving his Porsche GT3 Cup cars at MMP and Californian tracks.