Image via WY2M proposal

A recent meeting in a small-town California city hall had residents lined out the door, most there to voice unhappiness about a proposed $300 million race track. But the head of an almost nonexistent—in terms of records and online presence—startup proposing it didn’t show, and even the mayor thinks it’s fishy.

Local outlet San Benito reported that the proposal is for a 550-acre ranch in near San Juan Bautista, California, a small town with a population of less than 2,000 residents. A local startup called WY2M wants to turn that area into a race track and vacation destination, where it proposes to host Formula One, MotoGP, IMSA and the Pirelli World Challenge. The F1 race, Racer reports, would be the “Silicon Valley Formula 1 Grand Prix.”

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To simply get interest from F1, which charged a $33 million hosting fee in 2015 to the track that hosts its only U.S. date, Circuit of The Americas, is laughable. To do it in the way this company is proposing is a waste of time.

County records show that WY2M has only been around since October of 2015, and there’s virtually no information on it across online and public-records searches. Its business type, as stated on its 2015 registration as a company, is “race track business commercial.” That’s really all of the info there is.

But all of that isn’t even close to the weirdest part. There really isn’t even a weirdest part, because all of this is weird. The company and its executives are a mystery, the proposal has lofty ambitions at best, and the town mayor thinks it may all be a real-estate trick to sell the land off for a higher amount of money.

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San Juan Bautista residents might be upset about the track, but there are more than a few reasons they shouldn’t even worry about this one breaking ground.

The Company Is Almost Nonexistent

Online searches yield virtually nothing about the company’s president, William F. Yao, and a public-records search brought up no employment records for him other than WY2M, which has only been around for two years. Those types of searches don’t always yield every result that’s out there, but it is strange for anyone to only have a two-year employment listing on a lifelong records search.

The proposal, which is here, calls for the $300 million facility to be a “motor and technology center of excellence” for racing, concerts and festivals with huge attendance estimates. The proposal said WY2M expects between 200,000 and 250,000 at each Formula One and MotoGP race it hosts, and local outlet Benito Link reports that the road leading into the area is a two-lane highway that San Juan Bautista Mayor Chris Martorana said already backs up on the weekend. The proposal, in addition, said parking capacity for 250,000 will be 22,000.

The executive office address filed for WY2M is an apartment complex unit in a nearby California town, and San Juan Bautista’s development director, Matt Orbach, said he got an email from Yao before the Aug. 1 meeting saying business travel would prevent him from being there to propose the idea. Neither Yao nor anyone representing the company went to the meeting, Benito Link reports.

Even city officials don’t have any indication that the project could be serious, since they know almost nothing about the company. From Benito Link:

“They don’t have a website, the business address is an apartment in Los Gatos, and the two phone numbers are cell phones,” he said. “There isn’t a business phone number. If you’re talking about a $100-million project (the developer estimates it at $300 million) and they don’t have a business phone, there isn’t a lot of credibility.”

Martorana also had problems with WY2M’s business presentation.

“If you review the presentation, the statistics have no bearing on what they’re proposing here,” he said. “It’s just a bunch of pretty numbers. ...”

Speaking of the broad and ambitious ideas in this proposal, the mayor has a point. It all looks like pretty numbers.

The Proposal For This Facility Is Nuts, And It Doesn’t Add Up

There appears to be no published plans for the actual race track, other than it being a “re-configurable” track to “accommodate multiple concurrent events.” There does not appear to be any estimates on its length, access roads or general accessibility. There is only this incredibly rough sketch in the proposal:

Image via WY2M proposal

As mentioned earlier, the proposal said this facility will host F1, MotoGP, IMSA and the Pirelli World Challenge. Orbach said Yao’s company would not have needed approval from these entities to include them in such an early proposal, and Jalopnik reached out to all four Thursday morning to see if any series has heard from the company. We have yet to hear back, but will update if we do.

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Jalopnik has also reached out to WY2M for more information on the proposed development, the company and any other information it might have. We have yet to hear back.

Local station KSBW, which attended the standing-room only meeting, reports that little is known about the developer and where the money is coming from. Mayor Chris Martorana told KSBW that they “don’t seem to have a good handle on this project or what the scope of it is, and the implications of what they’re proposing in terms of traffic, water, sewer, environmental concerns.”

But in addition to the races, auto shows and other festivals, the proposal said the area will have a vacation area, high-end shopping, a luxury hotel, dining, an F1 museum and condominiums outside of the 2,000-person town. The proposal lined out the following as its business model:

It looks as if someone didn’t do their research or something, both IMSA and the Pirelli World Challenge already have race dates at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. That track, facing some of the same resident backlash as this one already is, is a mere 42 minutes away from this proposed site.

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But, regardless of facts and existing contracts, here’s the proposed economic impact WY2M expects this track to have:

That’s an aggressive estimate, given that one of the reported reasons F1 passed up Laguna Seca in 1989 as a U.S. Grand Prix host was due to its isolation and low nearby population. Compared to San Juan Bautista’s nearly 2,000 residents, the town Laguna Seca resides in has a population of 157,000.

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There’s also the fact that residents and officials told Benito Link they’re worried about traffic, drunk drivers, and the town’s water and sewage setups being able to handle so many people. They also mentioned the noise, as did the mayor, which is one of the biggest things that’s threatened Laguna Seca over the years.

Not to mention, using Circuit of The Americas in a proposal isn’t a great selling point when it comes to F1. COTA was in absolute turmoil over its F1 date until attendance finally went up last year, perhaps thanks to booking Taylor Swift as the post-race performer. The future of its race was in jeopardy, the financial problems were widespread and things weren’t looking good.

But, by all means, use that as your business proposal.

Even if F1 is interested (which, there’s a 99-percent chance it isn’t), nothing has officially been filed with the city or county yet. This is all a dream and an information packet sent to the city, essentially.

Nothing Official Has Happened, And That Might Be On Purpose

Orbach said it’s actually common and acceptable for no one from the company to show up to a meeting like this recent one, since he said WY2M hasn’t even put in an application with the city or county for the race track. Yao planned to come, Orbach told Jalopnik, and said he’d like to be there at a later date.

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But the only thing Yao’s sent to Orbach is an information packet on the track proposal with the “pretty numbers” the mayor talked about. A local reporter wasn’t at all convinced that the track would actually happen, and told Jalopnik he thought the race-track idea was actually a common real-estate tactic to get more money for the land.

The mayor thinks so, too. Here’s what Martorana told Benito Link about Yao, his partners and the proposal:

“... They acknowledge that they’re real estate developers. Real estate developers typically come in, woo everybody, create a project, but have no intention of ever building anything. Once they get the approval, the property value shoots up and they turn it.”

That’s an odd, roundabout way to turn a little bit of cash, but, given the lack of information and broad ideas, it makes sense in this case.

The only problem is, an approval would need an actual application first.

Update, Aug. 4 at 5:20 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for IMSA responded to Jalopnik, saying that people there are aware of the race track but that no one from or associated with WY2M has contacted them. Jalopnik is still waiting to hear back from the other three racing entities: F1, MotoGP’s Dorna and the Pirelli World Challenge.

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Correction: This post inaccurately spelled the city name as “San Jaun Bautista” a few times, when it’s “San Juan Bautista.” We’ve evidently had a long week! Sorry about that.