We soon found the club programs to be somewhat cumbersome to deal with. The number of participants didn't lend to getting a lot of track time, the stress levels always seemed high, which we believe to this day resulted in some rather scary moments, and the fact that too often participants cars had to go home on a flat bed.
Sometime during the mid '90's, several car guys from the Chicago and Milwaukee areas decided to purchase the incredible Acura NSX. They decided to enlist NSX enthusiasts from around the country to organize some sort of an owners forum to share information on the cars. This owners forum subsequently became the NSX Club of America.
Since the car owners from our area were track motivated, we sought out various car events that would allow us track time without having to absorb the high cost of renting a track and splitting it between just a few track junkies. These choices were restricted primarily to large sport car programs. The clubs provided run groupsl for those requiring instructors as well as for those who just wanted to get the need for speed out of their systems.
One day in late spring 1996, a couple of the NSX guys happened to find a new track in South Haven, Mi. We thought "The Gingerman" was a funny name for a road course, but that wasn't important. What was important was that we could get on the track for a reasonable amount of money. Our expectations as to the fun factor of this new offspring road course that was barely known was minimal at best.
To our surprise, The Gingerman turned out to be a 1.8 mile technical, fun, and extremely safe road course (it has since been extended to an even more exciting 2.14 mile course).Our thoughts as we learned the line and came up to speed was how terrific this place would be for a driving school. What an awesome place to teach enthusiasts how to drive their cars properly and safely on the track at speed, all of which would translate to much better day to day driving skills on our roads and highways. We were convinced, due to the tracks technical nature, that learning driving skills at The Gingerman would provide drivers with the skills to drive almost any road course in the world.
Phil Mirenda, CGI's founder, has always been of the opinion that if you find a need and fill that need, everyone involved wins. He knew that there was a need for driving enthusiasts to enjoy the adventure of driving at speed on a race track and to be able to do so at a reasonable cost.
There is a need for that to be done in a safe environment. There is a need for value. Give me lots of track time for the dollars I'm spending. Give me space on the track so that my car isn't in danger. Make me feel welcome and part of the CGI family. Give me a track that is safe, but still challenges me to learn.
All of these needs that are ignored by so many of the available venues are successfully filled by CGI Motorsports in co-opperation with The Gingerman Raceway. CGI Motorsports, established in 1997 has successfully provided over 3,000 enthusiasts with thousands of hours of safe track time, fun learning experiences, and we have to brag about the fact that many of our participants have become really good friends not only with us, but with each other. EVERYBODY WINS. For those of us who crave the excitement of motor sports, all we can say is, "what a wonderful world".