Willow Springs International Motorsports Park

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Willow Springs International Motorsports Park is located in Willow Springs near Rosamond and Lancaster, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles. It is a historic race track, in existence more than 60 years. It is the oldest permanent road course in the United States.[1] Construction began in 1952, with the inaugural race held on November 23, 1953.[2] The main track is a challenging 2.5-mile (4.0 km) long road course that is unchanged from its original 1953 configuration. The interesting elevation changes and high average speeds make it a favorite of many road racing drivers.

Turn 3/4/5, or "The Omega", can be seen on the hillside above Pit Lane.

Willow Springs International Raceway Park also features other racing facilities such as The Streets of Willow (1.8 mile road course), The Horsethief Mile (road course), The Speedway at Willow Springs (1/4 mile paved oval), Willow Springs Kart Track (a .625-mile, 9-turn paved sprint track), The Playpen (a 1/4-mile paved training track), and the Walt James Stadium (Clay Oval and Paved Oval).

Efforts by fans resulted in the State of California declaring Willow Springs International Raceway as a California Point of Historical Interest in 1996.[3]


A downhill section of the big track.
Willow Springs - Big Track - Turn 4

The 9 turns of Willow: The main track at Willow Springs Raceway, informally called the "Big Track", consists of 9 turns. The layout is built for speed, but combines speed with turns and elevation changes to offer a unique challenge. It is possible for a capable car or motorcycle to exceed 160 miles per hour (260 km/h) on the front straightway.

  • Turn 1: "Castrol corner" is a 90 degree high speed left-hander.
  • Turn 2: "The Rabbits Ear" is a double apex sweeper
  • Turn 3/4: "The Omega" is an uphill and downhill section with camber change, this is the most technical segment of the layout
  • Turn 5: A quick left-hander that sets up for the fastest sections of the track
  • Turn 6: "Monroe Ridge" is a gradual bump. It is common for fast riders on higher powered motorcycles to lift the front wheel over this downhill section. A good line and drive through this turn is essential for a good lap time.
  • Turn 7 - "the Kink" - a slight bend in the track.
  • Turn 8: High speed right hand corner. The lead in to this turn is the fastest section of the racetrack and coupled with the turn itself - probably the most critical for a good lap time. It is also the fastest turn on any racetrack west of the Mississippi River.[citation needed]
  • Turn 9: Decreasing radius right hander, with a big dip right before the apex. A good line through this turn is crucial for top speed on the front straightway to the start/finish line.

Streets of Willow Springs: Constructed in 1987. A 1.8-mile (2.9 km) road course with multiple configurations, it has an attached Skid Pad measuring 400 ft (120 m). by 350 ft (110 m). and a 60 ft (18 m). by 40 ft (12 m). garage. Located just north of Willow Springs International Raceway on 70th St. West., it is accessible through the Main Track entrance, or the 70th St. West gate. Racing fuel and tire service are available daily.

Horse Thief Mile: 1-mile (1.6 km) canyon-like road course

The Speedway at Willow Springs: ¼-mile paved oval Grass roots organization GIRT (Get Into Racing Today) presents monthly stock car races there.

Walt James Stadium: 3/8-mile dirt oval

All the tracks, from the air.


Willow was used by George Lucas in 1:42:08 A Man and His Car (1966)

It appeared in the 1969 Disney film The Love Bug, under the guise of "Jackrabbit Springs".

The track is in the 1985 Christopher Cross music video "Every Turn of the World"[4]

The track was featured in 2007 video game Need for Speed: ProStreet.

On 3 February 2013 the track featured on the British BBC program Top Gear, while Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were being chased by aeroplanes.

On 10 June 2013 the track was shown in an Teaser Trailer for Gran Turismo 6 at E3, and two configurations were later included in the full game.

The movie Fast Girl (2008) was filmed and based at Willow Springs Raceway.

Track Records[edit]

The overall track record is held by Michael Andretti in a 1987 CART Indycar (Champ Car). Andretti completed a lap of the 2.5 mile main track in 1 minute 6.050 seconds, for an average speed of 136 miles per hour (219 km/h).[5]

Other motorsport[edit]

Option hosted an early exhibition drift event in 1996.

During the early 1980s, the factory backed Renault Formula One team often used Willow Springs to test their cars before the early season United States Grand Prix West held at Long Beach in Los Angeles.


  1. ^ Berk, Brett (May 2013). "Will Ellis Drive?". Road & Track 64 (8): 80. 
  2. ^ "1tail Resource Database - Willow Springs International Motorsports Park". Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  3. ^ "WILLOW SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY". Office of Historic Preservation. State of California. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgC7rp0DT1Q&ob=av2e
  5. ^ "Track Records". Willow Springs International Raceway. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°52′30″N 118°15′52″W / 34.87500°N 118.26444°W / 34.87500; -118.26444