Steane Klose | May 11, 2009

Hmm. Playing a sedate 18 holes at your local Country Club might have just lost some of its appeal. Just a one hour drive from Johannesburg will soon take you to the exclusive members-only Imola Race Resort.

Here, cashed up enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy the finer things in life - at the wheel of a car - while minimising some of the risks that come with pedal-to-the-metal driving.

Construction of the complex is set to begin at the end of this year and will feature a luxurious Country Club and a remake of the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit.

Concrete and Armco barriers will not be utilised as the damage sustained from these is too great (and expensive) when things turn messy. Instead, drivers will have expanses of grass and tar run-off areas to slow them down and allow corrections.

A developer for the project had this to say:

"The emphasis of Imola is on driving rather than racing, allowing drivers to enjoy their cars without undue wear and tear."

Track designers have included a long straight of over 1 kilometre with large safety run-off areas. Long flowing bends also feature throughout the circuit.

Membership will be limited and will include access to the circuit and a luxurious pit complex overlooking the track, complete with an entertainment deck.

The circuit will also be made available on a limited basis to driver schools and automotive manufacturers for product testing.

Private members will be able to store their vehicles at the track and will have access to an exotic car hire service on site. Medical support and a recovery team will also be on hand.

At this stage membership costs are unknown, but an initial payment and ongoing annual fees are likely.

For more information, head over to the Imola Race Resort website and check out the proposed track in the gallery below.

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