Two Laps At Willow Springs

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Willow Springs advertises itself as "the fastest track in the west" and nobody questions it! It has 9 turns in 2.5 miles and is mostly high speed corners. It can be a thrill, but sometimes the raw speed makes it harder to learn.

Here is a tour of Willow Springs- two laps from pit out to pit in - to acquaint you with the track.

There are about 96 photos showing two laps around the track. Each page has 4 photos and you can click on any photo for a larger view. Note the "NEXT: and "BACK/NEXT" links on each page to step through the tour.

The tour includes my notes just as I teach my students the line and visual reference points to focus on. There are some things to consider:

1. I'm more concerned that my students learn "the line" and carry good speed than set track records. Also, each car has different speed potential, so acceleration and braking are car specific. Therefore, my comments are not related to achieving maximum performance - I leave that to the more experienced drivers.

2. When you click on the small photos, you can see a larger image with the area I think you should be focusing on highlighted.

3.There are some areas that "the line" may differ according to the car. You may find that RWD, FWD and AWD cars have slightly different lines, especially through turn 5. RWD cars will probably be happier turning in later at turn 5 and with AWD cars is you may need to experiment a bit. This is shown on the line on the track map.

4. The line through turn 4 can also vary. I like to take it in three straight lines: go up the hill as straight as possible, rotate and cut across, then turn down to the entry of turn 5. Some drivers like to wiggle up the hill to have a less abrupt right at the top; again, it's worth experimenting. I will note the racer in me thinks about this as a defensive issue, as I have passed on this corner in an SCCA event, tucking in on the right of those who go wide to the left.

5. Be wary of the curbs at WSIR. They are narrow and often have dropoffs on the inside and at the ends. You can get into trouble if you try riding the curbs the way you can at some tracks.

6. Try to ignore the skid marks. I've never seen so many going in such strange directions as at WSIR!

7. Like all tracks, schools usually have cones out marking turn-in points, apexes, exit points, passing zones, etc. It is not advisable to use these cones as reference markers after you learn the course, as they have a tendency to move - like when cars hit them - and may be placed at a different location the next time by someone with a different opinion. Search the track for permanent markers like the curbs, painted lines or permanent features of the track.

I suggest you reread these comments after you see all the photos.

Disclaimer: This "tour" of Willow Springs International Raceway was created by myself alone and is intended strictly for informational purposes, allowing drivers to familiarize themselves with the course. It is not sanctioned by the course itself or any group running events there. The comments I make are my personal opinion and should not be construed as being instructions for driving the course, as any driver must make their own judgements of how to drive on any racetrack. I specifically disclaim any responsibility for anyone using this material as a guide to the track and how to drive there. That means, in simple terms, if you go there and do something dumb, you are on your own - don't try to sue me!

Jim Hayes

June 1, 2004


Get Started With The Tour

Another track tour - California Speedway at




(c) 2004 Jim Hayes. Permission to reproduce this material by printing or copying to another web page will be granted as long as proper attribution is provided. Contact me at for permission.

Who the heck is Jim Hayes anyway?