There are those of us that spend time in places just to soak in the ambiance. For some it’s libraries, others it’s bars, for me it’s usually a coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. Occasionally, I’ll switch to an open track day.
Surprisingly, it’s not usually for the purpose of driving. As much as I enjoy driving, and as much as I appreciate how much you learn in a track day as opposed to screwing about on back roads, I just haven’t felt the draw of the on-track environment.
SpeedSF, a local track day organizer, hosts events on Northern California tracks about twice a month. Whether it was to transport wheels, help someone make adjustments, or just hang out, I’ve found myself attending these whenever I had a spare weekend.
This last event was actually on a Monday, so I took the day off to head up to the gorgeous Sonoma Raceway (formerly Sears Point to a lot of you) to hang around some friends who would be driving. These photos of course are all from the overcast morning, some afternoon off-track excitement distracted me from recording anything, but in the afternoon the sun lights the hills behind the paddock beautifully, trust me.
What I enjoy the most at these events is the sheer variety of vehicles. Anything from a LeMons E30 to a brand new 911 GT3 can be found steps from each other in the paddock. This event you might have caught Nik Romano Racing doing some testing on his USTCC S2000, a BMW i8 following a BRZ through the esses, or even an RX-8 and an E39 540i getting into a braking battle on the final corner. As a non-driver I have the luxury of just taking it all in.
I have nothing against standing in a parking lot chatting it up about cars, but an open track day really is the ultimate car meet. If you haven’t already, make sure you attend one yourself. Feel free to do a little more than me and actually drive though, ha! With classes set for your experience level and available instruction, you’ll never be out of your depth so long as you’re open to learning. Check out SpeedSF for the schedule for the rest of the year, or MotorsportsReg to search for any and all driving events near you.