The folks at Air Flow Research (AFR) know that the cult of the V8 is a huge cultural movement. From the original iron that came out of Detroit to the modern V8-swapped import, these engines occupy a very special place in the heart of millions of gearheads. In a gesture of their celebration of all things V8, AFR organized the first ever V8 Builds Track Day — bringing together engine builders and performance driving enthusiasts from all corners of tuning, the participants shared a common denominator, a love for 8-cylinder power.
The Fastest Road In The West known more commonly as Willow Springs International Raceway would be the site for this festival of power and speed. On a beautiful, breezy May Saturday, drivers from all over Southern California turned up in their performance machines to test their metal on the track. Streets Of Willow was the track in question, and this tight and twisty handling circuit put the cars and drivers to the test.
The variety of vehicles that turned up was encouraging, the V8 may have a stereotype of being purely a domestic powerplant, and muscle cars were well-represented, but a large selection of foreign cars kept us on our toes. Among the V8 engine swaps were Datsun Z, Miata, Mitsubishi, and other examples. Though not V8-powered, plenty of enthusiasts showed up in other makes and models to on-look the thunderous examples on track and go for a spin on Streets. The desert locale of Rosamond, California is a western-film-reincarnate where the horses are reigned under the hood. The area has a history of speed harking back to secretive Air Force testing, today, landspeed and lateral grip.
The event was broken up into three run groups to keep the lap traffic civil, beginners, intermediates, and advanced drivers took to the track in 20-minute sessions. While there was no competition, the driving was heated and plenty of tire-squeeling, rubber burning, exhaust roaring action filled the scene. In the pits owners chatted with each other talking shop and trading stories, vendors displayed their wares, and drivers wrenched between runs.
Of course LSX platforms represented the majority of the V8s on display but a few other examples from Chevy and Ford, kept the variety lively. AFR plans to make this an annual event, gaining momentum and providing a sense of community for enthusiasts to gather. By the late afternoon the final track session was winding down, and drivers began to pack up their gear. As a final send-off s few of the more high-horsepower examples took to the skid pad for some sliding action. As tires burned to the cords, and the sun began to sink on the horizon we pulled away, driving through the high-desert with our V8-powered cohorts.
Whether you have a project car, race car, or just a passion for cars, look for AFR’s next running of the V8 Builds Track Day, it’s a low-key friendly gathering of enthusiasts, and provides an excellent opportunity to get your creation out on track for some testing!