New Jersey Motorsports Park – Lightning Raceway
Location Millville, NJ
Track Configuration 1.9-mile, 10-turn Lightning Raceway
Other Facilities 2.25-mile, 14-turn Thunderbolt Raceway, 1.1-mile karting track, event garages, timing towers, monthly rental garages, track-side villas, Finish Line pub, VIP suites, Driving Impressions racing gear retailer, Drivers Club, tennis courts
If you look at a track map of New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Lightning Raceway from the right angle, you too may come to the conclusion that it looks like a man’s, um, twig and berries. You know, that region Austin Powers also refers to as his “wedding tackle,” “bits and pieces,” and “meat and two veg?” Turns out this is no coincidence, as the Lightning course is a super fast layout requiring a hefty set of berries when attempting to turn a quick lap.
It also turns out that GST Motorsports’ hot shoe Jeff Westphal is endowed with the required testicular heft, given the 1:02.460 track record (not including Formula cars) he set there at last year’s Global Time Attack event in the shagadelic GST Subaru Impreza. For more insight on what it takes to pilot the Dr. Evil–approved GST Unlimited class missile around the appropriately named Lightning circuit, we busted out our ’70s-era satellite-phone-in-a-shoe and rang the mysterious Mr. Westphal.
“The Lightning circuit was one of my more pleasant surprises of 2011. Upon arriving to a new track, I always do my homework, meaning I memorize the layout two-dimensionally, then study some in-car video. The video can be tricky, as lines are so often interpreted differently by various people, and cars, for that matter, so you must find a good one, which can take some time.
“The biggest thing that I learned quickly while circulating the track was to anticipate the track as a whole. The average speed is very high, so you can fall behind with inputs very easily. That said, it’s a great exercise in footwork, balancing the rotation of the car in Third, Fourth, and Fifth gear over crests and down hills, which for me, adds the “joy” of driving the track so many of us car enthusiasts rave about.”
We personally enjoy the Turn 2 through Turn 5 section the most, since these corners are all linked. Blow any of them, and your lap is scrap. The key to unlocking this section is Turn 4, as maximum exit speed here translates into greater maximum velocity through the high-speed stretch into Turn 7. Newbs often make the mistake of attacking T3 and then find themselves out of room and out of talent as they spin off into the dirt while trying to change directions for Turn 4. Don’t be that guy.
For video evidence of just how quick the Westphal/GST combo is around NJMP’s Lightning Raceway and how fast and flowing its layout is, hop onto YouTube and search for the “Jeff Westphal Sets New Track Record.” Normally, in-car video slows things down and doesn’t look that impressive, but this clip looks so fast it made us shout the name of our favorite Chinese/Vietnamese porn star, Ho Lee Phuc!