Track services

A remote control car track is coming to Water Tower Park

A rendering shows the proposed racecourse for remote control cars which is being built at Water Tower Park in Novi.

Novi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services employee Jeremia Pilarski works on the perimeter of a new remote-controlled car circuit May 5 at Novi’s Water Tower park.

Photo by Brian Wells

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NOVI — Several years ago, Jeremia Pilarski saw someone playing with a remote control car in a parking lot.

It looked fun, so he decided to give it a try. After buying a car, his wife did too.

“We started playing with them in our backyard, and before you know it, I started building jumps in our backyard,” he said. “Before you knew it, I had a pretty decent lead in our backyard.”

During the winter, Pilarski and his wife started looking for indoor racing, and his interest in the hobby “just skyrocketed from there,” he said.

Recently, Pilarski, a parks maintenance worker with the Novi Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, pitched the idea of ​​a remote control car track to the city of Novi. He proposed to build a track at the city’s Water Tower Park, at the foot of the newly painted water tower, which is decorated with the Novi Special racing car.

“That’s where they built the engines for the Novi Special race car,” he said. “And they have this water tower there that they just redid with the Novi Special on it. I thought it was just kind of related.

Novi Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Muck said the city has no plans for the property. Building the course will be relatively inexpensive — Pilarski gave it a budget of around $10,000, he said — and it will be considered temporary.

“If it’s not going well, it can be turned around,” Muck said.

The track is built with existing materials and most of the work is done by volunteers, Muck said.

Pilarski said it will be an outdoor off-road course designed for 1/8 scale RC cars. But the jumps won’t be so big that a small 1/10 scale car can’t do them, he said. When the track first opens, it will be open workouts every day; however, he is working with a race organizer to start running races later this summer. Renderings of the park also show a natural stone driving position.

Construction of the track began in March. Muck said he expects the track to be open for racing by the end of May.

When Pilarski’s proposal was presented to city government, the economic impact and positive family experience helped garner support for the idea, Muck said.

“It was great to see him take the lead on this project,” Muck said. “He got the full support of the city administration, the parks commission. It should be something very unique.

Pilarski said people would come out to run on the track, which would help bring in money for local restaurants and hotels.

“When we host a race, it’s not necessarily people from Novi. You will have people from everywhere,” he said.

Pilarski also said he sees a lot of parents bringing their kids to RC racing.

“Kids seem to pick it up quickly, and often the kids might actually be better than the parent,” he said.

“It’s a great family affair,” he added.

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