Former GRM Test Track Ocala Gran Prix Closes

Colin
By Colin Wood
Apr 4, 2021 | Ocala Gran Prix

Before the Florida International Rally and Motorsports Park, there was another official test track of Grassroots Motorsports: The Ocala Gran Prix. We tested there back in the 2000s. Located in Ocala, Florida, the eight-corner kart track hosted a number of karting events—the most recent being United States Pro Kart Series and ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour events.

As for why the track is closing, Ocala Gran Prix owner Jorge Arellano hopes to take advantage of the growing equestrian industry in Ocala by tearing down the track and replacing it with 180-unit storage facility: “My team and I have worked tirelessly but have come to the conclusion that it is time for a change,” Arellano explains, “this is about business, money-in versus money-out and providing something that is needed in the Ocala, Florida area.”

As a farewell, here are some photos from the archives from just a few of the many test days we had at the track:

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/6/21 4:02 p.m.

Ocala Gran Prix:

Fun in a 100 hp car.

Scary in a 200 hp car.

Exceedingly Dangerous in a 300 hp car.

"Sir you need to stop bringing those here" in a 400 hp car.

 

Rest in peace.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/6/21 4:38 p.m.

That's a shame. Still, at least it's still going to support a hobby. Better than turning it into another soulless subdivision or strip mall.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
4/6/21 4:43 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

That's a shame. Still, at least it's still going to support a hobby. Better than turning it into another soulless subdivision or strip mall.

Yeah, but another horse related venue in Ocala?  Its like the punchline for a joke or something

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/6/21 4:49 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Ocala Gran Prix:

Fun in a 100 hp car.

Scary in a 200 hp car.

Exceedingly Dangerous in a 300 hp car.

"Sir you need to stop bringing those here" in a 400 hp car.

 

Rest in peace.

I see nothing wrong with a 500 hp car on a kart track. Chasing another 500 hp car...

Props for the picture of the CMC Locost!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
4/6/21 4:52 p.m.

Kart tracks always have a shelf life. You build them far enough out to be cheap, but still draw people. And civilization gets closer. And the land either gets too valuable to be a kart track or the noise is too much. And another one gets built further out. Hopefully. 

 

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Unless your state is a peninsula?

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/6/21 5:20 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Unless your state is a peninsula?

whole lotta nothing in the part of fl my grandparents live

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UberDork
4/6/21 7:40 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

Kart tracks always have a shelf life. You build them far enough out to be cheap, but still draw people. And civilization gets closer. And the land either gets too valuable to be a kart track or the noise is too much. And another one gets built further out. Hopefully. 

 

Reminds me, I should try to get down to Andersen soon.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/7/21 7:42 a.m.

I'm sad to hear this.  At least I got up there to drive it once before it was gone. 

Andersen is my home kart track and its a great spot!

MattGent
MattGent Reader
4/7/21 8:23 a.m.

Bummer - was close enough but I never made the time to get there.  Hate to lose venues.

350z247
350z247 Reader
4/7/21 11:54 a.m.

I'm glad I got to spend a Saturday there last December. I saw it used in an old article and realized it was less than an hour from where I was living at the time. It was good fun.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/7/21 12:15 p.m.

As I remember, it wasn't horsepower as much as curb weight. After a repave, they asked that we stop running the heavier cars. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/7/21 1:03 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Yeah, I remember visiting one of the last times in a Taurus SHO (the 10-ton modern version, not the old-school one). Not really the right car for a kart track.

350z247
350z247 Reader
4/7/21 7:19 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

4,000 pounds isn't too bad for a modern sports sedan with AWD.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/8/21 11:50 a.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

That made me laugh. What's one of the biggest complaints about EVs? They're so heavy. Guess what an AWD Model 3 weighs? 4072 lbs :)

Meanwhile, people make jokes about my Cadillac, which weighs about the same as a Camero convertible.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/8/21 12:03 p.m.

Until I read the site would be repurposed  for storage... I wondered if Bubba the Love Sponge would be investing in another Ocala Motorsports venue. (I only know that name from his days working with Howard Stern on Sirius.. haven't heard much since - outside of "Bubba bought a dirt track in Ocala")
 

My in-laws live in Slowcala. Never knew it was there. RIP.

 

Does the world really needs more storage?

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
4/8/21 12:09 p.m.
OHSCrifle said:

Does the world really needs more storage?

Well, since most people are spending money they don’t have to buy stuff they can’t afford to impress people they don’t know...

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/8/21 12:36 p.m.
racerfink said:
OHSCrifle said:

Does the world really needs more storage?

Well, since most people are spending money they don’t have to buy stuff they can’t afford to impress people they don’t know...

Thank you Dave Ramsey!

 

(So thankful my wife is on a minimalist kick lately)

350z247
350z247 Reader
4/8/21 3:00 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Yes, but Taycan Turbo S weighs about 600 pounds more than a Panamera Turbo S. While not identical cars, they're as close as I can get. 600 pounds is pretty significant, especially as the chassis gets smaller.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/8/21 3:33 p.m.

I wasn't comparing "as close as I can get" between two different models with the same badge, I was comparing an actual EV AWD sports sedan to what you identified as a typical AWD sports sedan. Like you said, it's not too bad.

My E39 M5 is about 100 lbs lighter, and it's only got drive at one end.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/8/21 4:09 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I wasn't comparing "as close as I can get" between two different models with the same badge, I was comparing an actual EV AWD sports sedan to what you identified as a typical AWD sports sedan. Like you said, it's not too bad.

I'm not sure I agree that > 4K is typical.  Per google, a 2021 330xi curb weight is 3582 and an A4 is 3720.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/8/21 4:22 p.m.

Well that's a different discussion, isn't it ;) I did not research all possible sport sedans, merely responded to 350z247 stated. I don't pay much attention to the weight of four doors, I just happened to have come across the M5/Model 3 numbers and they struck me.

The 2021 M5 is 4345 lbs and an M3 is around 3900. An Audi S6 is 4486, the S4 is 3847. An AWD Charger is 4200. A Ford...uhh, wait, Ford doesn't do sports sedans anymore ;) But a RWD 5.0 Mustang is 3700.

I think 350z247 may not be far off their assertion. 4000 lbs is not an outlier for an AWD sports sedan. There are some that are heavier and some that are lighter.

What is really impressive out of this is the extra mass of an M3 over a 330xi. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/8/21 4:34 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

What is really impressive out of this is the extra mass of an M3 over a 330xi. 

Apparently it takes a lot of weight to make it ugly :)

(also, FWIW Google says an M3P is 4250)

350z247
350z247 Reader
4/8/21 4:38 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

It's slowly growing on me, but yeah, it's bad.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/9/21 8:35 a.m.

Yeah, they had this formula for allowable cars: weight, horsepower, tire size, etc., etc.

Okay, not really. It was more like, We just repaved, so no more big cars that will tear up stuff. 

This was around the time that the FIRM opened, so we gravitated there. 

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