2014 Mazda CX-5 AWD: Driving on the Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit
April 26, 2013
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.
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!
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