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Old 01-31-2017, 12:53 AM   #1
Radical Dreamer
Drives: spiritedly.
Join Date: May 2016
Location: No Bueno Park, CA
Posts: 219
Big Willow Critique Please

Hey guys,

I would like to improve my driving this year, so I'm hoping to get some advice on the last event I attended at Big Willow.

My personal best was a 1:49.559

I was the 3rd slowest person in the intermediate run group, but then again, I was the only low powered fwd vehicle.

I'm having trouble with turns 3, 4, and 5 (at least these are the ones that I notice lol). I know people like to go towards the B in Budweiser, but I feel my car doesn't have enough power to make it up there and then back down to turn 5, so I thought a tighter line would be better....but what do I know and for turn 5, I feel like I should be carrying alot of speed to keep my momentum up to get over turn 6, but end up exiting too wide, should I brake earlier and just get on the throttle sooner?

Don't sugar coat it!


2017 Yaris SE 5MT

Mods are:


RSR Lowering Springs
Bilstein B8 Shocks
15x8 +35 205/50 Yokohama S.drives
TRD rear sway bar


Tanabe Medallion cat back
TRD drop in air filter

Everything else is stock.
Enjoy Family Car Sports
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:27 PM   #2
Drives: Fast
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Coto de Caza
Posts: 1,874
Considering your level of mods its not that far off time wise, I would expect you could shave another second or two with driving, and then find even more with better tires. The B-Spec track record is a 1:44.395 in a Honda Fit. It will have suspension similar to yours, weigh about the same, has a restrictor plate to limit power, but does get R compound race tires.

Turn 1 you are over slowing, it is a fast turn, there is camber in the track and a good bit more track on the outside you are not using on corner exit.

Your car is slow, so keep doing like you are doing, tight in T2.

You are doing T3 and T4 pretty much exactly like I do. For T3 you need to carry every mph you can up the hill. Brake hard and late on the right side, get over to the curb on the left and then track all the way right as you enter T4. You have no power, so just connect the dots in T4, keep it as tight as possible on entry and in the middle.

T5 is one of the most important on the track, you tuned in late and missed the apex, and then left a ton of room on the outside. We run from the right side curb on the entry of T5, to the left side curb on apex (try not to drive on the curb) and all the way to the right side edge of the track on exit (which is scary because it looks like a nasty drop if you go to far). You need to carry all of the speed you can here because this is essentially a strait from T5 to T9.

T6, T7 and T8 are not turns. Stay all the way right over T6, and try to make a strait line from there to the entry of T8, where you will keep it tight all the way until its time to set up for T9.

For T9 jump out to the left side of the track, and then look for the drain on the right (sometimes marked with a cone) that is your apex. I would think in your car T9 can be done without braking, and possibly without even a lift, and it sounds like you are coasting for a long time.

Your biggest gains are going to come in T1, T5 and T9.

Its easy to get discouraged at Willow, the wind makes or breaks lap times. I typically lap in the 1:36 range, but have taken the same car back on a windy day and could only run a 1:40.

For some reason I have not pulled video in recent years, but this one shows the line I use: You are really close, just work on carrying more speed in those three turns.
2005-2008 SCCA Solo BS National Champion
2017 SCCA H Prod National Champion

Last edited by Jason@SportsCar; 01-31-2017 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 01-31-2017, 07:24 PM   #3
Data doesn't lie
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: San Diego
Posts: 586
Wow! Nice driving man!
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Old 02-01-2017, 12:14 AM   #4
Radical Dreamer
Drives: spiritedly.
Join Date: May 2016
Location: No Bueno Park, CA
Posts: 219
Hey Jason,

Thank you for your feedback!

T1, I actually went one tire off earlier trying to dive in, so that sorta shook me up for the rest of the day. But I'll definitely try carrying more speed and using the full width of the track the next time I'm there.

said tire going off lol:

T2, gosh, rub it in why don't ya, I know my car is slow lol.

T3 and T4, glad I had the right idea, now I just need to go faster!

T5, I knew I was fudging up. I had this idea that I would be faster if I late braked into it, but didn't realize that I was missing the apex this whole time! (why do we not have the head banging into brick smiley). I have a score to settle with this turn.

T6, T7, T8, was a great stretch of road to practice my point by technique. I didn't think of keeping right of T6 and aiming for a straight shot to T8.

T9 does scare me, I was having a hard time judging when to turn into the apex. When I got to the small straight I was coasting for a bit before I down shifted to 3rd, didn't have the courage to go head on.

It was my second time on this track, and my first time in dry weather, so I think a few more visits should get me more comfortable.

I got 10 minutes into the video so far, love the commentary lol. I'm going to be studying this for sure, don't be surprised when your views double lol. I can't wait to go back!

I've been loosely prepping my car to B-spec rules. I would like to compete in it someday.

I'm planning to switch out my 15x8s for 15x7 +35s and swapping the Yokomamas over. Mainly because they rub enough to annoy me.

Thanks AR! but as you can see I have much to learn.
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:55 AM   #5
Drives: NHP10
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Oakland
Posts: 18
granted i've never driven big willow in a FWD, so take this with a grain of salt:
T1, you have to trust the car, its a fast turn as previously mentioned, take it quick and let the car drift out to the edge on the exit which sets you up for the sweeper
T3, you're turning in a tad early, if you hit the late apex, it'll set you up a bit better with more speed going up into T4
T3-5 are easy to get off track (ha...) since they're pretty consecutive--you miss one, it's hard to compensate thereafter--and also what Jason said, what you carry into T4 (which you carry in from T3) sets you up for the long back straight which should be more the car steering itself via momentum
T9 is blind, especially in the mornings with the sun in front of you. its another bit of trusting that the track wont run out before you turn, but you gotta hug the left edge until you pass the turn marker--you were beginning your turn too early. iirc (it's been a while since I've moved up north) you don't really have to start your turn-in until the curve of the turn is almost on you--its a later apex than the sweeper before it makes you think it is. the drain/dip marks the apex--when you begin your turn-in, try to kiss it with your front pass tire
but overall, good stuff! slow is smooth, smooth is fast :D
i wonder how different big willow is in an underpowered FWD :P its a high hp track that really helps out those rich dudes with GTRs n such...
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:18 AM   #6
Radical Dreamer
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: No Bueno Park, CA
Posts: 219
Hey edspecR, thanks for the input! Next Big Willow event is in April 15th. I can't wait to head back with all these tips, and of course the RE71r's I just bought from Jason! They were amazing at Buttonwillow. I'll post up another critique video for BRP.
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