Performance has always been a top priority with Roger Penske and Penske Racing's state-of-the-art-facility located on 105 acres in Mooresville, N.C., mirrors its owner's philosophy - performance paired with style.
Gleaming Italian floor tile, black leather chairs and an ample supply of glass in the main entrance do not even provide a hint of the massive race car building facility that lies on the other side of the courtyard.
The two buildings that once housed the Matsushita Compressor Corp. of America in the Mooresville Business Park total 424,697 square feet. Matsushita operated the manufacturing plant for a decade, but then vacated it. For three years, the property was left to its wildlife inhabitants. In 2004, however, Roger Penske entered the picture.
After acquiring the property in June 2004 for $7 million, two construction crews were placed on the project in seven-day-a-week shifts. The main building's interior was gutted and a major facelift begun. Within six months, the race team's administrative department and chassis shop began relocating to the new racing campus. By March 2005, the NASCAR teams' move had been completed.
In May 2005, a 4,986-square foot gift shop that provides visitors access to a 432-foot fan walk above the garage floor opened, and before 2005 ended, Penske's sports car series team had moved from Reading, Penn., to the North Carolina facility.
By early 2007, all of Penske's race teams called the massive structure home. The IndyCar Series team, located in Reading, Penn., since the early 1970s, completed its move to Mooresville in late 2006.
The IndyCar Series teams occupy 55,843 square feet in the facility. The consolidation of Penske Racing made Roger Penske the first owner competing in three different major auto racing series to place all of his teams under one roof, and the first to base his IndyCar Series team in North Carolina.
"This investment by Penske Racing represents the company's long-term commitment to racing and the Mooresville area," says Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corp. "We also believe that having all of our teams and support operations under one roof results in a better product at the track. Departmental communications are enhanced, producing more efficient operations, and the tremendous work environment it provides for all Penske Racing employees is conducive to peak performance."
Choate Construction was the general contractor and Penske's car dealership architects handled the design overhaul. However, it was former Penske Racing South President Don Miller and the race team that sketched the model for the facility. It's a facility that is extremely functional for manufacturing race cars, while affording the first-class style needed to attract multi-million dollar corporate sponsorships. The more than one million pounds of Italian floor tile in the facility are always spotless. They were the product of choice because they can be easily replaced if damaged.
There is a 138-seat cafeteria where employees may enjoy a catered lunch during the work week. A 150-seat auditorium provides Penske's sponsors with the opportunity to conduct meetings in a unique environment. The climate controlled NASCAR transporter bay is often redecorated and used for large social functions. Over the last several years the team's Holiday party was held in that area, along with several media dinners and Miller Brewing Co.'s farewell roast for Rusty Wallace.
More than 1,000 linear feet of graphics throughout the facility provide visitors with a glimpse of the organization's racing history.
Men's and women's locker rooms exist on each side of the training room. The organization's NASCAR teams occupy 240,781 square feet. That's equivalent to eight acres under roof. Also contained in the building's NASCAR section are 17 surface plates, three paint booths, three body prep stations, a Rapid Prototyping Department and an aero scale model shop.
Outside the structure there's a one-mile nature trail and two lighted baseball fields. A separate entrance exists for the IndyCar Series teams, which had its facilities constructed in the main building behind the NASCAR shop.
Penske Racing visitors know they've been to a facility that's world class and a place that creates a team environment for preparation and performance.