Throughout the country at some of the more recognizable race tracks, event organizers like West Coast Racing, Inc., rent a race track so that just about anyone can put their own car to the test. These events, usually identified by the term “Open Track Day”, means that you can take your own personal car on a professional circuit and give it your all. Be it a daily driver, a weekend warrior, or a car designated for track duty, all cars are welcome providing your car meets the tech inspection guidelines.
The Pantera powered by this engine belongs to the guy with the fastest track time, he runs in the red group.
The guidelines are stricter for the upper run groups, but for the novice and beginner groups the guidelines include such simple conditions as mounting a fire extinguisher, having good seat belts, and wearing an approved helmet, to name a few. Of course, your car must be in overall good condition with no leaks or problems with regards to steering or brakes, and for the upper groups the conditions may include things like 5-point safety harnesses, roll bars and passing an accredited driving school or obtaining a racing license.
The event that West Coast Racing hosts at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA, has four run groups that run several times each day, allowing plenty of track time. For the novice, the green run group is good for beginners who have little or no track experience, and allows beginners to enjoy racing in a very controlled environment. The rules for passing in the lower groups state that passing can only happen on the two straights; passing in a corner will get you removed from the track. There is a mandatory driver school at the event for the green run group.
The yellow run group is similar, but for drivers who have some track experience. Passing is still limited to straights and slower drivers are advised to pull to the right when you get to either straight to let faster cars pass. The blue group is a step up from there and requires driving school and more track experience, and the red run group allows passing anywhere and is for the more experience racer. The red group is where you might find fully prepped track cars that can reach speeds in excess of 170+ mph.
There's a variety of cars at the track, including daily drivers, weekend cars and even a fully prepped race truck can be found at the events.
The next event at Willow Springs is a two-day event, and will be held on October 6th & 7th. The cost for this two day event is $245 plus the gate fee of about $10, and an additional fee of $15 if you need your car tech inspected at the track. These are typical fees that you’ll find at most tracks, and there are some events that are a single day with fees in the range of $100-175. Willow Springs has a few tracks, Big Willow is the largest and the track for the upcoming event. All of the necessary forms can be found at West Coast Racing’s web site.
If you’ve had the need for speed and want to push your car to it’s limits, legally, contact your local race track and find out when they will have an open track day, and they’ll put you in contact with the event coordinator. There are full services available such as food, facilities, a safety crew and some great volunteers who give up their weekend for the racer in you to show your stuff out on the track.
The event is very organized, and lots of fun – the other racers at the event are always helpful and there are always instructors who are willing to go out on the track with you to give you some pointers. If you’re local to Southern California and want to participate in the upcoming event, contact West Coast Racing and talk to Jim Saxton, he’d love to see you there. The only thing you need to do is to get your car to the track, and have fun!