The new track is great. Located just West of Bakersfield, it is only a 2 hour drive from LA and combines the best of many past and current courses, such as Riverside and Phoenix. With a total length of over 3 miles, the track has been designed so that it can be run in many configurations, in either clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. This makes numbering the turns a bit troublesome. The April event was run in configuration #14 clockwise, resulting in a 2.8 mile distance that is fun, fun, fun.
It is a driver?s course, with 21 distinct turns. Lots of shifting and braking, unlike Willow Springs which is more flat-out.
The course has a little bit of everything: turn 1 is a moderately tight 90 degree left hander, turns 2 and 3 are a tough to master combination of a left-hand kink immediately before the track?s tightest right-hand increasing-radius hairpin. This leads to another combination, this time right then left and then an elevation change as you charge up the hill to a right hander at the crest. Coming down you can?t forget about the mild right hand kink or you?ll run out of track as you head into the back straight. Once there, you?ll experience a slight kink as you reach your highest speeds and head into the right hand "LeMans" sweeper, a high speed turn that brings you to a slight left hander. From there you head up hill to the "Magic Mountain", a very tricky little hill that turns right at the crest. If you don?t have the car pointed in the right direction here you?ll be going ?round and ?round when the suspension unloads. Get it right, though, and you?ll feel like you?re flying as you come down into the left hand kinks at the bottom. After a short straight you?ll be turning right into a sweeping little turn that you have to do properly in order to be setup so that you can power under full throttle through the tight and exhilarating "esses", a right, left, right, left, right, left series of turns that make you feel like an F1 driver in a long set of chicanes. Coming out of the last one you?ll really be moving and the very challenging left hand 90 degree turn onto the front straight will seem like it approaches in no time.
Track Configurations at Buttonwillow.
There it is: one lap of configuration #14 clockwise at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Can?t wait to try it, can you? Well, you?ll have to wait until next year because you missed this year?s one and only Buttonwillow track event. Now that the track is fully operational, I suspect you?ll see a lot more of our events there next year. Who knows, maybe we?ll even add another one to this year?s schedule if you promise to come out and give it a try.
Denise took the win in the new Ferrari-only class with Roger Moore picking up second place honors and the 6 points that go with them. Denise?s win, combined with her fourth place finish is the first event, puts her in the points lead for the 1996 FCA Southwest Region Championship. After two events the standings are: