GTV6 Page: Racing....

Streets of Willow Springs - May 30 & June 01 1997

This was my first (legal) experience with high performance driving and was a very enjoyable experience. I cannot recommend the AROSC (Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Southern California) driving schools highly enough (and you don't even need an Alfa to attend). In my run group, there were many makes and models - six Alfas (3 GTV6's, a Milano, an Alfetta GT and a 164), a Ferrari 355, a new Porsche 911, a Porsche 944 Turbo, various BMW's etc. 

The AROSC driving school has 3 classes - Street Performance, Time Trials & Race division. I ran in the first category, and the only requirements are a Snell 85 or better helmet and a pair of gloves. A move to Time Trials class will require a roll bar to be installed as well as a 5 point racing harness & a fire extinguisher. 

Most people arrived at 7 to 8am on Saturday morning - enough time to unpack the car (completely) and make any last minute adjustments that need to be made. We had registration & a drivers meeting at 9am, then the first class session from 10 to 11am. The instructors covered the basics of racing, hand positions on the wheel, pre-gripping before the turns etc. They also told us what we would be doing in the next hour on the skid pan: 

 

This picture was actually taken in the fourth skid pan session - slalom driving through the cones set up on the skid pan. We also had experience just lapping around constant radius 180 degree corners, tried to induce understeer and oversteer. This was made easier the next day when the skid pan was wet down. This was a lot of fun. 

 

Of course, the best part of the entire event was lapping on the track. Before they set us loose, we did a few parade type laps to become somewhat accustomed to the track, then we were dispatched, allowing a short gap between each car. Passing was not allowed, except if the driver of the slower car was to waive the faster driver past. This was only allowed on the front straight. 

 

I was actually amazed at how well the GTV6 stuck to the track - I had expected that it would be good, but was frankly astonished to find out how good it was. It always felt incredibly safe, even when drifting round a 180 degree corner, foot flat in 3rd gear! 
By the way, I'm sorry to say I had to waive the P-car by on the next straight ... I need that 24 valve 164 engine now :-) 

 

 Looking for the right line through the last 90 degree corner, just in front of the pit lane. 

 

Cooling down the cars during a lunch break.  
Even though the temperatures were in the 90's, the only mechanical failure amongst the participating cars, was on a 1997 BMW M3! 
My car seemed to run even better after the weekends exercise - a very effective Italian tune-up! 

The Alfa club had organized a banquet on Saturday night at the Antelope Valley Inn (about 25 minutes from the track). It was very nice to be able to socialize with all the Alfa folks, but I can't recommend the hotel itself! Very expensive food and drinks, combined with blocked drains in the hotel room made this place entirely forgettable. However, there are several alternatives in Lancaster/Palmdale & Rosamond, check out general info. on Willow Springs, including nearby hotels & restaurants on the na-motorsports.com (Willow Springs) page.  

Mike