This past weekend marked the first race weekend for the SoCal region of NASA – taking place at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Although the forecast called for heavy rain, a rarity in this area, we packed up and headed out to go play in the wet.
All drivers followed the “sports car” configuration that combines a substantial infield portion of the NASCAR oval with one straightaway and sweeping turn. At 2.8 miles and 4+ car widths across in places, it offered plenty of space for the HPDE, Time Trial, and race groups.
Despite the foreboding forecast, the event enjoyed a strong turnout and weather that was better than predicted. Brief periods of rain resulted in constantly varying conditions with racers constantly swapping tires in response. At times the right choice could vary from full rain tires to intermediates to slicks.
Conditions were especially tough during the afternoon race sessions on Saturday with the oval nearly completely dry and standing water in multiple places in the infield. Most notorious was the “complex” a tight series of turns at the end of the infield as you get back on the oval where there was so much water the line was nothing other than trying to navigate around small lakes that kept changing in size and position. The tough conditions led to many spins.
In the end, the weekend was a success. Our BMW 325i ran well, and we were able to refine our setup for wet weather, in the unlikely event we get any again this season. And best of all, Saturday evening allowed us to kick back with friends at the annual banquet to share war stories from the past season.
Click below to ride along on an afternoon lap as we slice and dice through the puddles.