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Old 08-15-2015, 08:51 PM   #1
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Racer Article About Laguna Seca

Viewpoints - PRUETT: The bewildering battle for Laguna Seca

Interesting article on the complexities surrounding LS staying alive. Sounds like a big steaming pile with no good answers. With all the open spaces in the area, you wonder why someone decided to build expensive houses next to a race track. And why would people buy those houses. But the power of the almighty dollar ruins the fun of the people who were there first.

When I drove there last yr, we had a 92db limit. It sounds like many events have just a 90db limit. I got a black flag in my 2nd run of the 1st day and was told I blew a 94.6db. Since my PSE is permanently on, I was stuck short shifting after T5 to keep the revs down as I went past the noise police hut. Totally ruined that section for me as I had been having great fun in the 1st session blasting up the hill in 3rd. But we were told 2 "tickets" and you're done for the day. The locals told me to short shift, so I did. A buddy of mine who was also attending got a ticket in same session as me in his 2014 Cayman S with PSE.

Here are a couple vids from my LS adventure last yr. Please keep in mind I'd only been DEing for a bit over 2 yrs and I hadn't driven LS before. Thstone and Chris Z probably get a good laugh when they watch. No doubt I'd be better next time, if there ever is a next time. With the gloomy outlook, I'm really glad I drove the 1700 mi one way to drive it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvoXGnNXp1Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPANWco1vJk

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Old 08-16-2015, 07:55 AM   #2
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It is very sad what is happening at Laguna Seca. I have never been there, or on the track except playing video games.

Where I grew up we had something similar happen with a marina. The marina existed, people built houses next to it and along the canal that lead to it. Then complained about the noise and the boat traffic. Enough restrictions went in place that a multi-million dollar face lift of the marina is now unused. The whole friggen town was developed around the water way (and marina) and a golf course. The current complaint in town is about the lack of local businesses.....
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:38 PM   #3
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Whatever happened to the doctrine of "coming to a nuisance" precluding a party from later on bringing a successful action against
the very activity that clearly existed when they built their homes in the midst of what is obviously a noisy location?

I suppose when you have the big bucks that these folks probably have (though surely not in the same ballpark as Mr.JonathanLanda) doctrines of law can be gotten around..
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:26 PM   #4
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I've raced there under 93, 103, and unlimited levels. Luckily, I still had my stock Boxster exhaust for the 93db noise level weekend. Cat delete with the Top Speed Pro-1 exhaust will meet 103db level easily.

Great story summarizing all of the contradictions that exist around the facility. They want more money but severely limit the number of racing days along with the sound levels - not the best path to increasing revenue at a time when racing attendance is generally down.

The standard track financial recipe for success is 1-2 really big professional racing weekends per year that pay 70-80% of the total cost of yearly operations. Then the remainder of the calendar is filled with lesser events to break even or make profit. That is straight out of the ISC playbook and I am sure that ISC is trying to figure out what big events could be brought to Laguna that would draw big-time attendance.

Husker, looks like you were doing a great job out there! You did a great job late-apexing T2 (most people new to the track turn in way too early) and maintaining momentum thru T3 (where many people over brake). Also, you did an excellent job in the blind run up to the corkscrew! You'd be amazed at how many drivers can't get that right.

Also, your driving is smooth and purposeful which keeps the car evenly balanced and makes you look like a pro! Very nice.

If I can comment on a couple of things to think about; first, use all of the track including the low rumble strips at corner entry and exit. This will let you carry a lot more speed through mid-corner.

For example, T4 can be taken almost flat out in a Boxster if you use every inch of the rumble strip at corner entry and exit. Think about it - when this is done properly, the course is almost 3 ft "wider" than someone not using that real estate. It will make a big difference. You'll know you're getting near the limit when you're fighting to keep the car out of the dirt on corner exit. Same thing for T5 and T6.

Second, think about deliberately unwinding the steering wheel and getting back not the throttle as early as possible. The car is scrubbing speed off every moment that the wheel is turned any more than absolutely necessary. Always unwind the wheel early, get on the throttle, and track out at corner exit to the maximum extent possible. And since we're not driving 500hp cars, often you may find that you can get back on the throttle even before the apex without worry of power on oversteer at corner exit.

Too bad faster traffic made you lose the maroon 911 (I was hoping you'd get a point-by and a pass!). You were faster than he was under braking and in the corners and he didn't really pull away that far on the straights.

Great job and thanks for the article and videos!
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:28 PM   #5
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I'm heading to Rennsport Reunion next month and would love to be able to keep coming back to other events for years to come.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:09 PM   #6
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It would be a disaster if it closed (for me anyway.)

We have been going to events there for 15 years - ALMS. Historics, Rennsport, moto GP,
miata/mx5 events, etc.

It would be a disaster for the historics, the racing is a big part.

The best races were ALMS when they ran into darkness. I remember the historics when they had Porsche as the featured marque, I think it was 1997 - it was the first time Laguna Seca was filled to capacity - there was a 2 mile line of traffic trying to enter.
Luckily we were camping there for the weekend.

With the interest in sports cars (old & new) on the up it seems strange that sports car racing is in decline?
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:07 AM   #7
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I think interest in racing in general is declining. You see LOTs of empty seats at NASCAR events and the Indy 500. Speaking of NASCAR, it will be interesting to see if ISC takes over management if they'd propose a Sprint Cup event there. They already have one at Sonoma and I doubt the area could support 2 races, so do they yank Sonoma to promote one at "their" track. Not a good relationship building experience, but NASCAR has done stuff like this in the past. Would think LS would be kind of crowded with 43 cars on a narrow track. Never been to Sonoma but it seems to be a more NASCAR friendly track from watching on TV.

thstone - here was my training video. Probably watched it 100 times (not kidding).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPF5Nbmc84w

That and I found an excellent series of 3 YT videos by Chris Zang on corner by corner breakdown of LS and where you needed to be setting up ea corner (like driving under the Z of Mazda on the straight).

In watching the training video again, I see what you mean about using all of the track. Last fall when I presented this LS and KS Spdwy video, you also mentioned using all of the track. I tried to remember that when I ran COTA this yr and hopefully have gotten better at it. And now when I look back at my LS video, I see that I could have begun accelerating much sooner than I did then. That's part of my learning a new track and gaining experience / confidence - I generally go conservative and build up speed. I could probably get there faster trusting that I can accelerate at or before the apex rather than just past it. I also like to watch the video I shoot that night to see what I can improve on the next day but we had a banquet to go to that Sat night so it was too late to download everything and watch it. I watched my COTA film ea night and got significantly better ea day.

I considered running at LS last yr as a bucket list activity. Based on the current circumstances, last yr may have been my only chance to run there. I hope that's not true.

Here's this yr's COTA vid. I appreciate your comment about unwinding the steering and will work on that too. I can see unwinding the wheel will use more track and allow me to accelerate harder out of a turn. All good things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUkDDAgQUJU
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:28 AM   #8
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Rode the original layout track in 1985 on my motorcycle while at the BMW national rally held on the grounds. Corkscrew gets your attention even on a parade lap.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:48 PM   #9
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I had the pleasure of attending a three day Skip Barber school there driving their small open wheel car. An amazing experience. Seeing your video brought back great memories. It would be huge fun to drive a Boxster there.

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