Willow Springs International Motorsports Park

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Willow Springs International Motorsports Park
Willow Springs
Location Kern County, near Rosamond, California, United States
Time zone UTC-8 (UTC-7 DST)
Coordinates 34°52′30″N 118°15′52″W / 34.87500°N 118.26444°W / 34.87500; -118.26444Coordinates: 34°52′30″N 118°15′52″W / 34.87500°N 118.26444°W / 34.87500; -118.26444
Opened 1953
Surface Paved

Willow Springs International Motorsports Park (commonly referred to as Willow Springs) is located in Willow Springs near Rosamond, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles. 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 2.5-mile (4.0 km) long road course that is unchanged from its original 1953 configuration. The elevation changes and high average speeds make it a favorite of many road racing drivers.[citation needed]

There are a total of seven tracks at Willow Springs. The largest and most well known track is Willow Springs International Raceway (commonly referred to as Big Willow). There are 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]

Tracks[edit]

Willow Springs Raceway[edit]

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

Willow Springs Raceway (commonly called Big Willow or sometimes The Big Track) is a 2.5 mile paved road course consisting of 9 turns.[4]

  • Turn 1: "Castrol corner" is a 90-degree high-speed left-handed turn.
  • Turn 2: "The Rabbits Ear" is a double apex sweeping turn
  • Turn 3/4: "The Omega" is an uphill and downhill section with a camber change.
  • Turn 5: A quick left-handed turn that sets up for the fastest sections of the track.
  • Turn 6: Monroe Ridge
  • Turn 7: Repass Pass
  • Turn 8: Sometimes called, "The Sweeper," turn 8 is a high speed right hand corner. The lead-in to this turn is the fastest section of the racetrack.
  • Turn 9: A right handed turn with a big dip before the apex. This is the final turn before the front straightway to the finish line.

The Streets of Willow Springs[edit]

The Streets of Willow Springs (commonly called The Streets of Willow or sometimes Streets) is a 1.6 mile paved roadcourse.[5]

Media[edit]

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"[6]

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.

Willow Springs International are tracks featured in the 2013 video game Gran Tusimo 6.

Willow Springs International and the Horse Thief Mile are tracks featured in the 2015 video game Project CARS.

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).[7]

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.

Photographs[edit]

A downhill section of the big track.
All the tracks, from the air.
Willow Springs - Big Track - Turn 4

References[edit]

  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://willowspringsraceway.info/page.php?id=26
  5. ^ http://willowspringsraceway.info/page.php?id=31
  6. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgC7rp0DT1Q&ob=av2e
  7. ^ "Track Records". Willow Springs International Raceway. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

External links[edit]