Club members participated in an Open Track event sponsored by the Shelby Cobra Owners Club of Southern California. Held on Saturday & Sunday October 25-26, 2019, and involved 60+ Ford Cobras and Shelbys, and at the Willow Springs International Raceway, located in the Mojave Desert. The Club rents the racetrack two weekends a year - one in May over Mother's Day weekend, with the second in late October. For a reasonable price and a safety/tech check, any Ford-powered high-performance car may participate in the event. This event attracts serious Shelby enthusiasts and those with a passion for speed and performance.
The event starts on Saturday with a driver's meeting, where the rules of the track are discussed, as well as emergency procedures in the event of any mishaps. Those that have not been on this track before, can preview the course by riding along with a skilled driver or instructor who will tour the track and give you pointers on how to race on it.
There are different levels of driving at Track Day based on the skill level of the driver, either beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Cars are raced in heats, based on a color code sticker placed on their windshield. Drivers take part in the event at their own risk and are responsible for their outcomes! For example, at this year's event, we witnessed one of the drivers overrevving their new Shelby Mustang and blew the engine! This was a very unfortunate incident for the driver, but nobody was injured. As a result of this issue, crew members stopped the race, quickly cleaned up the oil and debris, then re-tested the track to make sure it was safe to continue the racing.
Willow Springs International Motorsports Park is located in Willow Springs near Rosamond and Lancaster, California, and is about an hour north of Los Angeles. It is a historic race track, in existence more than fifty years. Construction of the track began in 1952, with the inaugural first race held on November 23, 1953. The main track is a challenging 2.5-mile (4.0 km) long road course that is unchanged from its original 1953 configuration. The interesting elevation changes and high average speeds make it a favorite of many road racing drivers.
Willow Springs International Raceway Park also features other racing facilities such as The Streets of Willow (1.8 mile road course), The Horsethief Mile (road course), Willow Springs Speedway (1/4 mile paved oval), Willow Springs Kart Track (a .625-mile, 9-turn paved sprint track), The Playpen (a 1/4-mile paved training track), and the Walt James Stadium (Clay Oval and Paved Oval).
Efforts by fans have resulted in the State of California declaring Willow Springs International Raceway as a California Point of Historical Interest in 1996.