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All-wheel drive, turbo power and a Q-ship’s stealth.
I'm considering living in California next year. What can you tell me about track days in CA?
I live in Denver. We have three tracks within a 2 hour drive (HPR, PPIR, PMP). Here it's pretty easy to get onto a road course. In the summer, tracks hold 2 - 5 open lapping days for cars per month. Usually there's a club event or two in each month. Of course, not much happens in the winter. Average track days cost $150. Expensive ones are ~$200.
Looking at web sites for California tracks, It's pretty clear that access is going to be harder to come by. How much harder?
Depends on the tracks and which part of CA we're talking about.
San Diego is my intended city. So driving some long hauls will be involved. So buttonwillow, thunderhill, willow springs, speedway. I'll haul my butt up to sonoma or laguna seca if that's a possibility.
redline track events and speed ventures are the two organizers I use. Should be plenty of dates between those two to keep you busy.
Just about every track is a couple hours away from SD, but we have an awesome venue for Auto-X. Come visit us at Qualcomm Stadium
Infineon is a 10 hour drive if you want to go to Sonoma, at least if you want to tow at quasi-legal speeds.
Autoclub (California) speedway is the closest, probably 1.5 hours away.
You know that Thunderhill is about 1 1/2h or so North of Sonoma?
I don't know much about the SoCal tracks but especially Thunderhill seems to be fairly easy to get into - there seem to be a few people organising trackdays there on a regular basis.
Laguna Seca is spectacular, but fairly expensive and strict on noise. Sonoma also has organized trackdays but I haven't been there - don't know how often they run.
Re prices, from what I've seen $200 is more the floor than the ceiling for a day.
California has lots of tracks, unfortunately none of them are close to San Diego.
Thunderhill is more north-east of Sonoma. It's about 90 minutes north of Sacramento if that's what you meant?
As for price, Thunderhill weekdays can be had for mid/low hundreds. Trackmasters is doing a $140 day to drive the new west course at Thunderhill, for example, with only 3 run groups. Don't expect to find Sears Point or Laguna days in that range, though. They're premium tracks in premium locations.
OTOH, once you do an honest accounting of all of the other costs associated with a track day, an extra $100 for the track fee really isn't all that much.
I lived in San Diego for a year before moving to San Fran Bay Area. The tracks in So-Cal are:
- Willow Springs (they actually have 3 tracks on premises)
- Auto Club Speedway
Plenty of fun to be had down there before a longer tow up north. Up north we have:
- Laguna Seca
- Sonoma Raceway
Go to each track's web site and you can see which organization is running an event. Contact the organization and become a member. NASA and SpeedVentures does a lot of easily accessible events. TrackHQ is a decent forum for the so-cal locals.
Depending where you are in SD, you're looking at 3-4 hours to get to the tracks. Cars and Coffee in Irvine on Sat mornings are also a worthwhile event.
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