I had to skip

Classic Driver - - MODEL ADVICE -

the BRDC team place at the Wood­cote Park golf tour­na­ment the fol­low­ing day as I was on a flight to Cal­i­for­nia.

The weekend rac­ing was at Mazda Race­way, or La­guna Seca as it is known to the purists and was for the new com­bined IMSA and GrandAm se­ries, plus lots of other GT cars. In fact I thought it looked a bit like one of those ‘run what you brung’ race meet­ings; Ca­maros, Mus­tangs, As­ton Martins, Porsches, hordes of Maz­das in one race and all the more so­phis­ti­cated (ex­pen­sive) ma­chin­ery in the other. Grand Ams, Fer­raris, BMWs and the pro­to­types.

Gill Camp­bell, that lovely English lady who runs Mazda Race­way so ex­cep­tion­ally well, very kindly pro­vided me with passes for prac­tice day and in­vited me to lunch in the Grand Prix suite.

Lots of old friends there, in­clud­ing Bobby Ra­hal, Gary Cum­mings (now an IMSA of­fi­cial af­ter giv­ing up shrimp farm­ing in Mada­gas­car), Ron Trethan (for­mer re­fu­elling supremo to sev­eral top IMSA teams), Michael Gue, once the Tiga im­porter for the U.S, Andy Pri­aulx, for­mer BTCC and WTCC cham­pion, now driv­ing for Bobby Ra­hal in the fac­tory BMW, and the afore­men­tioned Sam Bird.

I won­dered how Sam had gone in the race (I de­cided to play golf on race day) and we hap­pened to be on the same flight back to Eng­land. “So how was the race?” I en­quired.

“We were go­ing to start from the back be­cause the ECU failed as we were go­ing out to qual­ify. Then my co-driver de­stroyed the car in the morn­ing warm-up.” Some days!

I was up at the top of the hill by that fa­mous cor­ner, The Corkscrew, and look­ing back down over the cir­cuit dur­ing prac­tice I re­flected on how this place has grown up from a small track on an army base, de­signed mostly by the bull­dozer driver, with earth banks and trees in­stead of Armco bar­ri­ers, into the first class fa­cil­ity it is to­day. Quite a trans­for­ma­tion.

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