Global Time Attack Round 3: Willow Springs International Raceway

by David Kim


Big Willow at Willow Springs International Raceway is an unforgiving 2.5-mile road course that favors high powered vehicles and significantly rewards those with the finesse and confidence to push the limits of speed. Unsurprisingly though, this exhilarating track has claimed some of the finest engineered race vehicles throughout its creation since 1953. The first turn 1 and last turn 9 is unforgivingly quick to dish-out punishment for any driver error, and does not play nice with any chassis that is improperly setup for the high-speed corners. However, it is a challenging battlefield that is a favorite among many drivers that appeared at Global Time Attack’s 3rd Pro Am round of the 2017 season.

Another challenge for many drivers with both modified and “unmodified” cars was the blazing heat that arrived on this race day. Temperatures quickly went from normal 70s to the power, speed, and grip robbing high and dry upper 90s. Though it felt like we were standing on the devil’s playground, this was only a taste of the impending summer heat wave. Either way, “the show must go on” and indeed it did at full throttle.


Sadly, the heat did claim at least one victim, Justin Wesseling’s J-swapped Civic. Once again, a personal FF favorite of mine at this Global Time Attack event, Wesseling found himself with overheating issues after the first hot session. According to Wesseling, he pointed to a possible head gasket issue that required him to retire for the day. Thankfully, he already has plans for a fix to get back out for another race. Race it, break it, fix it, and do it all over again!

Although the quickly rising heat throughout the day took its toll on many drivers and their cars, the spirit of competition and the love for racing allowed almost everyone to successfully put down fast laps each session. However, there was definitely a trend of dwindling times as the temperature kept creeping towards the triple digits, but it didn’t stop these full-hearted enthusiasts from setting new personal bests and even setting new class records.


Bradley Herrock’s Civic SI makes another appearance to throw down quick times in the street FWD class.
As the Morpheus Miata is undergoing an engine transplant, Moti Almagor, converted his older Creampuff Miata to Morpheus spec so he could have something to compete in while Morpheus is under the knife. Creampuff like Morpheus is a very lightweight, very quick, and very sweet looking Miata.  Creampuff returned to play with the unlimited group.
Joshua Haddox and his LeMans Blue E90 M3 doing some last minute inspections under and away from the scorching rays of the sun.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017 2:23 PM
You guys should do a feature on Brett Smrz's E36
Thursday, June 15, 2017 8:00 AM
What warmmilk said. Also, I still can't get over how fast Markos WRX is..... amazing
Friday, June 16, 2017 3:11 PM
Are you guys going to start covering Gridlife too? It's getting to the size that you can't really ignore it.
Friday, June 16, 2017 6:38 PM
+1 for feature on that E36.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 11:27 AM
Is there a good reason why we are seeing less and less aggressive aero at these events? Is the simple stuff getting better or are teams investing more in mechanical grip?
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:30 PM
@Protodad I think its just due to a lack of time, and also certain changes in class rules which have bumped a lot of the aero development into the unlimited/procomp classes. Aero certainly makes a difference, even in slow speed tracks and definitely on high speed tracks like Big Willow. For reference, in March 2016 we ran a 1:23.xxx with just a splitter and wing in our unlimited class car. In October 2016 we ran a 1.18.xxx with a full aero package.
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