Rain? It never Rains in Southern California!
Rain, it's called the great equalizer in motorsport. It’s where the good and the great stand out. However, with such conditions comes great risk, the rain is the time where the biggest crashes occur. But the rain also brings out heroic performances such as Senna’s drive to 2nd in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix or George Russell’s front row start at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.
Despite the excitement rain brings, it was not what I was expecting for my very first test in a Spec Miata. Plus, I have never driven in the rain before. After all, it never rains in Southern California.
Auto Club Speedway is the fastest track in all of Southern California featuring an endlessly long front straight that goes into a 14 degree banking. If there’s one track you don’t want to crash at, it’s Auto Club Speedway.
The first session was dry, during this session I focused on getting used to the feel of the car. How does the transmission shift? How do the brakes feel? How does this car react to different kinds of kerbing?
Then the heavens opened. It didn't just rain, it poured for the rest of the weekend. This was it, I finally got to drive in the rain. And I loved every moment of it. But the rain exposed me to new challenges I wasn’t prepared for. My windshield wipers did not work and my windshield started to fog up. Let me tell you, driving through a high banked turn at over 100 miles per hour in the wet when you can’t see in front of you is… interesting to say the least. It was a game of guessing what was in front of me. I turned on the defroster but then realized race cars don’t have heaters, instead I was blasted by cold air.
The situation kept getting worse, I couldn’t hear my team on the radio and I couldn't see out the windshield. Every time I approached the banking I would get worried about what could go wrong. The self preservation side of me wanted to come into the pit lane and play it safe. But the racer inside of me said “You’ve waited for this moment, now’s your time to shine.” So I stayed out. Looking back on it, I’m so happy I made that choice.
Dream Come True
My first weekend in Spec Miata was more than I could ever have hoped for. Not only did I drive a racecar on a track, but I finally drove in the rain, 2 dreams came true that weekend.
Jan 17, 2023
Auto Club Speedway
January 14-15, 2023