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Big Willow

Willow Springs International Motorsports Park

Rosamond, California, USA
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MX-5 Miata
911 GT3 RS 4.0
Yamaha FZ1
F1 Car
2.46 MI
3.96 KM
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*PLEASE NOTE* The racing lines and simulations shown here are based on a simplified analysis that does not incorporate 3D effects such as camber and elevation, track irregularities, or surface conditions. It assumes perfect grip and perfect pilot control. Always temper your approach to a racetrack with common sense and an awareness of your skill level. Be safe out there!
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Lap Times Explained

Each column represents a vehicle driven on different racing lines. For example, the first row of the first column is the time for the Miata driven on its own line. The second row represents the Miata driven on the Porsche's racing line, and so on. It is expected that when a vehicle is driven on its own line (large font) the lap time will be the quickest. Otherwise, Al has not done his job very well.

Line Miata GT3 RS Moto F1 beta
Miata 1'34.89 +1.17 +1.03 +0.11
GT3 RS +1.29 1'22.01 -0.08 +0.77
Moto +3.56 +1.33 1'25.89 +2.35
F1 +0.79 +1.44 +1.29 51.83

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Big Willow

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Resource Guidelines

You are welcome to suggest a resource for Big Willow. Valuable resources include:
  • YouTube videos
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Resources which are excellent demonstrations or discussions of the racing line at this circuit will be added to the page. Thank you for contributing!

The Racing Line at Big Willow

Willow Springs International Motorsports Park is a historic facility, surrounded by mountains and sunshine in the vicinity of Rosamond, California. In addition to the feature circuit, Willow Springs International Raceway, aka "Big Willow," there are the Streets of Willow Springs and the Horse Thief Mile. Between the three courses, a variety of track experiences are possible, ranging from the high speed sweepers of the main circuit to the canyon-like corner carving at Horsethief. Due in part to its scenic west coast location, members of the automotive media can often be found at Willow Springs, shooting video or preparing for their next writeup.

The main track, Big Willow, is known for its high speeds, but also for the elevation changes and flowing corners found in the technical section comprised of Turns 3 through 6. Turn 1 is a 90 degree left-hander that most pilots could take a bit faster, using the extra speed to carry them all the way to the right on exit. Turn 2 is technically a double apex, but a look at the videos shows that many drivers swing out near or past mid-track and end up struggling to get the vehicle pointed back in to the second apex. Better to stay closer to the inside, then make sure to be on the throttle early while also catching the apex and driving all the way to the outside.

Turn 3, which is discussed more in this blog post, is where almost everybody takes a line that goes very much against the recommended path. For various reasons, some corners seem to highly encourage a wide entry and late apex approach, Turn 3 included. Al's approach, however, is to turn in early and hug the inside.

After the first apex at Turn 4, some vehicles will go slightly past mid-track before the second apex. After that, everyone except the motorcycle swings all the way to the left edge before cutting back in to Turn 5. Only under-powered vehicles should exit Turn 5 wide.

The approach to Turn 8 is straightforward, but takes courage and skill to get through it at the limit. After exiting all the way to the left, the entrance to Turn 9 is slightly different for each vehicle, with more power meaning coming closer to taking hitting the first apex. Even then, the Porsche stays a width or two out, in contrast to the motorcycle, which takes nearly a true double apex.

Rob Bourgon in Spec Miata

Founder's Notes

I think the lines look pretty good in this lap, despite the fact that its 5 seconds off the calculated time. That may be in part due to the challenge of maintaining speed in an underpowered vehicle on such a fast track. Lookin' good through Turn 3, as well!

Viper X10 Fast Laps

Founder's Notes

It's hard to see because of the narrow camera angle, but it looks like this driver doesn't stay TOO far wide into Turn 3. Very slick driving overall, and a good demo of the racing lines. Skipped to the first full hot lap.

John Payne POC Record 1'22.56

Founder's Notes

I wish the video quality was better, because this amazing lap is a mere half second off Al's pace in the GT3 RS 4.0. Driver John Payne apparently has a habit of breaking Porsche Owners Club records in this yellow terror, dubbed "Killer Bee." Wide entry into Turn 3 is the only noteworthy flaw I spotted.

Dan Aspesi GT2 1'21.69

Founder's Notes

Didn't I say I wanted a higher quality version of the last video? I found one - Dan Aspesi pulls an even more monstrous 1'21.69 in a GT2. He can't quite bring it in to hit the second apex in Turn 2, but other than that the line is very close to the ideal, including through Turn 3.

Bonus Video: Billy Johnson 1'18.56 in NSX

Founder's Notes

What I would give for an HD version of this video! Billy Johnson pushes the envelope even further in a highly modified NSX. I would throw out a totally uneducated guess that this car is pushing at least 700 horsepower. Also observe the tight line through Turn 3. The end result is a totally sick record lap of 1:18.56. A little bit of the track went to waste through Turn 2, including at the exit, but not enough to spoil this amazing run.

Kevin Kehoe on GSXR 600

Founder's Notes

Six seconds off the ideal pace but who cares. There's definitely not many videos of motorcycles showing proper line selection and this one is good for that. Normally I don't like music in place of audio, but this song is kind of cool, too.