Driving on the Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit - 2014 Mazda CX-5 Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD: Driving on the Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit

April 26, 2013

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

Well, sort of. Last weekend I worked as a corner martial at the Long Beach Grand Prix. My local SCCA region, Cal Club, provides the corner workers (flaggers, emergency, starter, observers, etc.) for the event. How does this involve our 2014 Mazda CX-5 and the LBGP circuit?

The multi-level parking structure that normally serves the Long Beach Aquarium and the Pike marketplace is land-locked by the temporary street circuit and can't be reached by the public over the race weekend.

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

But they do use it for course worker parking during the event. After all, we're not going anywhere until the last checkered flag of the day is thrown.

So I got to drive across turn 5 at 6:00 each morning at a temporary crossing to get to the parking structure. Each night I exited the structure at the far end and wheeled the Mazda out onto the track through turn 4 and down the short chute to turn 5 before exiting the course at the same temporary crossing. At 25 mph! w00t!

2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD

Yeah, right, I know, it's pretty lame. But at least I wasn't hanging on the fence watching from the stands. That's never bad, but I was really part of it, looking the drivers in the eyes through holes in the crash fencing as I shook various flags at them according to circumstances.

It's easier to get into than you might imagine, too. Contact SCCA at their national headquarters Web site to find out what's what and who's who in your local region. Once you get good at local club events it's fairly easy to get yourself on the crew at major road races around the country and maybe even overseas, up to and including Formula 1.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,555 miles


Comments

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    a corner "martial"? Did you use your strong kung-fu to black-flag people leaking oil? Auto-incorrect strikes again...

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    What corner were you at for the flags? I've tried contacting Cal Club to get involved but they never get back to me. But I talk to one person at Laguna Seca and now the Northern California SCCA chapter won't leave me alone.

  • penboy penboy Posts:

    Wow, were you parked on the first floor of the structure? I think I was parked about 4 spaces over from a red CX-5, I never even thought to check if the one I saw was the LT car. Also, which turn were you working? I was working with Race Management for credential checks, moving between pit exit, turns 6-8, and the back straight. It's so great being right on the track for those races, and as this was my first time doing it, I'm coming back every year now.

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    I was MARSHALLING at turn 5, which is great because the morning meeting is essentially right there. @stov001: contact Ceci Smith at: calclubhq@aol.com You'll need to work a couple of SCCA Buttonwillow, Cal Speedway or Willow events before Long Beach next year. She can point you in the right direction, put you in touch with the Flag Chief.

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    Or better yet, go to this page. All of the specialty chiefs are listed, including their name and contact information. http://www.calclub.com/volunteer.php

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