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Home » Bay Area Autocross Forum » Off Topic » Five Mile Thunderhill Track
Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110360] Mon, 23 June 2014 16:05 Go to next message
semclane is currently offline  semclane   United States
Messages: 154
Registered: October 2006
Location: Pleasanton, CA
Third Gear

From: *hsd1.ca.comcast.net
A few observations from this past weekend SCCA Regional event on the expanded track at Thunderhill. Some are first hand - some second hand from my son and other drivers.
1. Significant difference in grip level between old section and new section. New surface grip is considerably lower. Will probably get better with age.
2. Like when the old part of the track was new - lots of rocks off the racing surface and a lot of that gets dragged up on the track when cars go off.
3. New section seems to be narrower than the old track. Pretty much single file. No really good safe passing zones except the short front straight.
4. Most turns in new section are off-camber.
5. Not much in the way of straights and many turns in new section are blind over a rise -Until you learn the track you can get surprised by where you need to go or by dirt & rocks on the surface, or a spun out car.
6. Lap times are considerably longer - 3:45 to 4:00 minutes for the Spec Miata group. 8 to 10 minutes to clear the track after a session after the checker flag, including time for the last car to take the flag to go all the way around again and any tow in activity. Pace lap is about 5 minutes. A Safety Car lap takes two laps off of the race distance.
7. Watching from the little hill at turn 14/15, it is about 1 minute 50-55 seconds from the time a car goes out of sight over turn 9C to when it reappears over turn 11E. (Turn numbering got creative. Old configuration turns have an E - for East course, new section restarts numbers with a W - for West course, the the two crossover sections are 9C and 10C for Center)
8. The paddock area and entry/exit lanes in the new section are not suitable for anything but track days as a stand-alone course.
9. There is no bridge yet so no access to the infield of the new section. You can't see much of the new course from the paddock area. Hiking up the hill between the courses give a better view, but there is no worn pathway yet so you are just tramping through the weeds.
10. As one competitor stated over the weekend, the new course is fun to drive but not fun to race. Several seemed to think that using the full 5 mile course would not be a regular activity.
11. Finally, the newly expanded skid pad looks to be about the size of the Pleasanton Fairground lot (for any of you that remember running there) so it might be suitable for autocross. However, figuring out how to set up the grid might be a challenge, and the paddock area would have to be over in the main paddock area with the row of garages between that and the grid. On the upside, a walk part way up the West Course access road and you have a really good area to watch an autocross event from.


Sterling
Re: Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110361 is a reply to message #110360] Mon, 23 June 2014 16:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
tigermack is currently offline  tigermack   United States
Messages: 2840
Registered: August 2007
Location: Fremont, CA
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From: *4505meats.com
Not impressed.

Mack Tsang
13 BRZ #188
05 Mazda3 FSP #188 - retired
prevs. 07 Mazdaspeed & 95 BMW STX #188

http://www.youtube.com/user/tigermack

Sandbagger #1
Re: Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110362 is a reply to message #110361] Mon, 23 June 2014 16:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
atcovan is currently offline  atcovan   United States
Messages: 3108
Registered: December 2006
Location: North Highlands
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From: *dsl.scrm01.sbcglobal.net
Seriously... anyone really like off-camber turns?

Jim
Re: Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110363 is a reply to message #110361] Mon, 23 June 2014 16:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
m0r1san is currently offline  m0r1san   
Messages: 83
Registered: November 2012
Location: SF
Second Gear

From: *hsd1.ca.comcast.net
Never done a track-day, but this new course got me excited again about trying. All I know is from countless hours of GT/Forza.

Sounds like it lives up to the "Thundershleife" nickname -- narrow, off-camber, and sketchy to pass.

Too bad they didn't build in a carousel!


Jeff
-
[STF #5] 2003 RSX Type-S
Re: Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110374 is a reply to message #110363] Mon, 23 June 2014 19:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
semclane is currently offline  semclane   United States
Messages: 154
Registered: October 2006
Location: Pleasanton, CA
Third Gear

From: *hsd1.ca.comcast.net
Actually there is sort of a carousel. When you come back onto the old track through 10C you go up a hill seeing only sky, then over the crest there is a little right, a little left and then a big downhill right onto the old surface. The fast guys were tracking all the way out to the left on that one and then quickly cutting back across the track to set up for old turn 10.

Sterling
Re: Five Mile Thunderhill Track [message #110380 is a reply to message #110374] Mon, 23 June 2014 22:49 Go to previous message
everbruin is currently offline  everbruin   
Messages: 2939
Registered: March 2006
Location: san francisco
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From: *lightspeed.sntcca.sbcglobal.net
thanks for the report! too bad about single file

-An; str 95 m3
http://lh4.ggpht.com/everbruin/SJk0MZaxxMI/AAAAAAAABDY/y3789jgyezY/s144/avat160.jpg
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