It’s been 13 years since Hawaii has had a safe outlet for racing. Avid race-car drivers are working toward bringing the sport back to the islands in the form of a park called Circuit Hawaii. The organizers have already acquired the land, are currently working with designers and hope to have the raceway open for all to enjoy by 2022
“We are at the starting line and the lights just went green,” said Michael Kitchens, CEO of BTT (Build The Track), LLC.
Kitchens has been in the driver’s seat, keeping Circuit Hawaii on track for several years.
Motor sports enthusiasts have been gunning for a new track since Hawaii Raceway Park closed in 2006.
“We have the license agreement to the property. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Kitchens explained.
The location is a 51 acre parcel at Campbell Industrial Park, just south of the old raceway site.
“It’s really not going to affect anybody. There’s no residential area nearby, and we’re going to have the proper safeguards in place to handle the sound.”
Driven International is the company working on the design of Circuit Hawaii. Ben Willshire, managing director of Driven International, said there are specifically designing the venue to lesson the impact of noise in the surrounding area.
They are also working to create a park that is multifaceted offering something for everyone.
Willshire said they plan to include a drag strip, road course and dirt track on site.
Circuit Hawaii will include other options like karting, a skidpad and cycling for keiki to enjoy.
“Motorspors have an indirect wider economic benefit that will provide other opportunities to the community,” Willshire said.
He said it will offer educational opportunities in STEM, engineering industries and even a driver training course.
Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine said she is fully behind the project
“It stimulates our economy and provides a safe venue with no tax payer dollars. This will be fully, privately funded. And we’re really excited to be a partner on the city side and ensure that they get the permits they need to get going as soon as possible,” Pine said.
Although the lease is already signed Kitchens said they still have other things to take care of before the park is completed.
“There’s a lot of work to be done still on the design and development, permitting as well as the construction portion so we’re looking at about 37 months at an optimistic look.”
If that timeline stands, Circuit Hawaii could be up-and-running by 2022–just three years from now.
Kitchen’s said building the raceway is really all about bringing families together.
“I think giving our families a place to go to again, that’s one of the things that I miss. Hanging out at the race track at the end of the night and enjoying that camaraderie and seeing people with their kids. That is one of the biggest things that I missed, and I’m hoping to bring that back,” said Kitchens.