Driving Line and Nitto Tire invited us out for a private track day with just four cars for a pair of head-to-head races. In my case, it’s the 190E Cosworth versus my E30 M3, competing for best time on the big track at WSIR. I’m happy to say, I ran a 1:35.31 at Willow Springs, surpassing my expectations. Running that time didn’t come without some pitfalls, though.
Bassam Michiel’s E36 is a difficult one to describe. It probably won’t be labeled as the “prettiest” car in the world, but I don’t think Bassam minds. On the other hand, it’s clearly “purpose built,” as a very competitive car in the Global Time Attack series. Oddly enough, the word “humorous” comes to mind, with the car still sporting its 318iS badging, despite the visceral sounds released from the LS V8 that resides under the hood. Of course, there’s the obvious too…
At first glance, Chris Gonyea’s ’71 Alfa GTV may leave something to be desired, depending on your tastes. It’s not quite the sight for sore eyes one might expect when introduced to an Italian classic, but Chris is well aware of that. In place of shiny paint, you’ll find patchy primer and epoxy. The only shine the car offers is from the metallic Dynamat that lines its interior, mostly concealed by interior-delete panels and cracking old leather bits.
If you were to ask us, we’re tempted to say there’s no better way than to spend a Friday than at the track, especially when it’s on the clock. Luckily, our friends at KW Automotive agreed, hosting what they’ve named the “KW Shakedown” – a private track day for the KW family of employees, dealers, ambassadors, and friends – at the Streets of Willow Springs.
Most of the vintage race weekends that we attend are quite an occasion. The paddocks swarm with spectators and large car haulers line the numerous rows of work areas. The weekends feel surreal, with legendary drivers running in and out of the pits, piloting prototype cars that managed to escape an almost certain destiny in museums. However, this weekend was different. I set out early Saturday morning on unusually wet highways.