Sponsored by Project Mu
On May 15, 2011, a new chapter began in the story of time-attack competition. Raceline USA hosted its very first track day, and did it at California’s newest racetrack: Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. The event, sponsored by Project Mu to showcase their new line of Club Racer brake pads and rotors, drew close to 80 vehicles. Just getting that many imports together at a racetrack is quite an accomplishment, but the guys at Raceline took things a step further. They locked down a combination of contingency sponsorships that will help manufacturers, shops, and racers support each other, making everyone more successful in their future racing endeavors.
Despite the annual Eibach Honda meet taking place the same day, just 150 miles away, a majority of the cars attending CVR were VTEC-equipped. If you’re familiar with Raceline USA, located in Temple City, CA, and their Honda/Acura-influenced business, the VTEC-eccentric attendees at the first CVR track day comes as no surprise. What was refreshingly surprising, however, was that there was no bitterness among the Honda, Mazda, and BMW drivers like you’d frequently find at other track days. Everyone, from the first timer to the more experienced driver, was amazingly respectful of each other, both on the track and inside the pits. There were no car-on-car incidents, and very few spins—a good thing since carting someone off in the ambulance would have left the rest of us waiting around for a long time until the track went green once again.
Chuckwalla is located 180 miles east of L.A.—just a few valleys north of the site where C-3PO was bum-rushed by sand people. Well not really, but the landscape looked eerily similar. It is an especially unforgiving environment epitomized by the raceway mascot: a half-run-over lizard. It gets so hot that the facility completely closes down during the summer months. We were there before the triple-digit temps hit; still, the wind and dust were relentless. At one point the track had to be shut down for half an hour due to poor visibility. Taking a trip to the raceway is certainly not easy, but once you get out on the track, it’s absolutely worth it.
There’s nothing like fresh pavement. The butter-smooth surface of CVR allows drivers and tuners to get every last bit of grip out of their tires and suspension. This would be the perfect place to test the argument that Japanese spring rate theory only applies to Japanese tracks that are so well maintained. For me, though, it’s all about the curbing. They nailed it. The apex curbs are smooth, wide, and tall. Hit them low and you’ll leave speed on the table. Hit them high and you’ll be up on two wheels. Similarly, the tiger teeth of the exit curbing take away a progressive amount of traction the farther you run out on them. Setting lap records here will require delicate steering over the painted curbing and heavy use of the pedals on the grippy tarmac. Throw in a couple of blind transitions, a high-speed bowl, and a front straight that bottlenecks into a braking zone and you have a course that will be extremely rewarding for the few who master it.
The top drivers of the day are already enjoying the spoils of victory. Several L.A.-area shops not only came out in force, but also offered prizes for the class winners. This included gift certificates from Kaaz USA, Streetlightz.com, Gspot Auto, and Ballade Sports, as well as services such as free tire mounting, corner balancing, and race alignments from shops like Pit Crew Motorsports, Platte Forme a.g., and Temple City Auto Repair. Of course, what everyone really wants is to clock the fastest time in their class; at the end of the year the top driver in each class will receive an invitation to the Super Lap Battle Finals at Buttonwillow. The results from this event are already in the books. If you think you can knock one of these guys out of their slot, you’ve got two more chances to do it later this year. Be sure to check out www.racelineusa.com for a scheduling of upcoming track events.
CVR Current Record Holders:
|Unlimited RWD||Danny Ng||2:11.370||BMW M6|
|Limited AWD||Eddie Lim||2:06.975||Mitsubishi EVO X|
|Limited RWD||Henry Torres||2:09.094||Honda S2000|
|Limited FWD||Jason Kaplan||2:06.255||Honda EG Civic|
|Street AWD||Raymond Du||2:28.584||Subaru WRX|
|Street RWD||Terry Liu||2:08.498||BMW Z4 M coupe|
|Street FWD||Albert Han||2:14.859||Acura RSX|