14 July, 2011

A Drift in a Sea of Cones: July Autocross at Candlestick Park

This past weekend was the first time I can recall that we drove at Candlestick Park. Because of the shape of the area, and also owing to a long ridge that ran through the length of the parking lot, the course was long and narrow, and allowed drivers to pick up considerably more speed than prior courses have.

The surface was also considerably looser than at either Great America or Marina, which meant that opposite-lock was the norm rather than the exception coming into the finishing straight. And if you got into the marbles lurking just off of the driving line, you'd suddenly find yourself on a rally course.
Here one of the people helping to set up the course shows modifications on a tablet that were made to the original course design. The area had a lot of bumps and dips, so some of the corners were changed during setup to avoid upsetting the vehicles' balance in a way that could possibly cause one to catch a tire and roll.
This photo shows how much detritus accumulated around the corners. Typically, it was a combination of bits of rubber, pulverized grass, and balls of material that had been liberated from the driving surface. One wrong move could see you sliding off the course (Of course, amazing driver that I am, this didn't happen to me… repeatedly… or maybe twice in one run… ;o)
The new venue also brought new spectators. Candlestick Park is just off the bay, so we had a number of seagulls swoop past, possibly looking for some well-trained person to drop or throw food. Personally, I really enjoyed how the sunlight filtered through their feathers.

Until next time. Click here to check out the rest of the images.

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