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A Day At the Races

My buddy Tim is an amateur race car driver and today I went to watch him compete at the Leguna Seca Raceway.  The track is located in Monterey, about 100 miles from my place in HMB and makes for a spectacular drive along the gorgeously famous Pacific Coast Highway.  Under sunny blue skies, first thing this morning, I made my way to the track, anxious to view my first-ever raceway event.

Raceway map

Leguna Seca raceway map

Not entirely sure what to expect, I arrived to the track to find some serious gear.  Tim takes his racing fairly seriously and I can only imagine what he spends in a year on this hobby of his, but surely, he’s outspent by orders of magnitude by many of the people here.  For an amateur event, I was amazed by how many drivers brought along paid service crews, mechanics, and location spotters … I would never have anticipated this.  Btw, Tim drives and races in the Formula Ford category.

Overlooking the Paddocks.

Overlooking the Paddocks.

Upon arrival, Tim suggested that I spend some time at turns 8 & 8A … aka ‘the corkscrew’.  Apparently, this turn is pretty famous in US track racing so I was eager to see the action first-hand.  Essentially a downhill s-curve, this section of track is definitely an ideal location to view the action.

Tim entering the corkscrew

Tim entering ‘the corkscrew’

Negotiating the 'corkscrew'

Negotiating the ‘corkscrew’

Tim manages the downhill section of track

Tim manages a downhill section of track

Coming out of the corkscrew with good speed, drivers are quickly required to brake hard and maneuver through turn-9 before accelerating into the final stretches of the 2.238 mile course, but not before a subtle reminder of the raceway title sponsor.

Mazda everywhere

Mazda everywhere

As it turns out, I spent most of my time viewing from turns 8, 9, 10, & 11 … essentially the back-half of the raceway, and also the most technical.

Tim, pushing back towards the start/finish

Tim, pushing hard towards the Start/Finish line

Atop pit-row, overlooking the Start/Finish line

Atop pit-row, overlooking the Start/Finish line

Following the morning race, Tim had a few hours to kill before starting his second race of the day.  In between, he cleaned and prepped his car, scoured over downloaded race data, and also critiqued his morning run by way of downloaded on-board video.  He also served me lunch … he’s good like that.

One thing which really surprised me was the accessibility to everything.  Granted, this was an amateur event, but as you can see from the iPhone video below (cars awaiting entry to the track), people are as close to the action as they want to be.

All in all, a really fun (and interesting) day at the track.

Tim's mighty Honda engine

Tim’s mighty Honda engine

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