Lone Pine Time Trials-What Is Is And Why Should You Go? What To Expect
There is not enough info out there about this event, so I figured I'd make a video with the content I collected on May 20th and 21st 2017 during my first time attending the Lone Pine Time Trials!
If you're looking for a fun weekend, the Lone Pine Time Trials is a great opportunity to try pushing your car to the limits (yours too) while having fun and meeting other enthusiasts. This is in between an autox and a full on track day, so expect lots of speed and maneuvering around cones!
There is a small time trial event that happens every year in California called the Lone Pine Time Trials. For many, they've never heard of this event, and stick to the typical autocross or track day events at more well known locations such as California Speedway, Buttonwillow, Willow Springs, or Laguna Seca. However, the Lone Pine Time Trials is an exciting event which invites visitors of the event to experience friendly competition, a challenging course, and gorgeous views.
Nestled between the snow capped Sierras and Mount Whitney to the west, and the Inyo Mountain range on the east, the Lone Pine time trials takes place right off Highway 395, across from the infamous Manzanar War Relocation Center. If you live in southern California and have ever driven to mammoth, you most likely drove right past the Manzanar airfield where the time trials takes place without even realizing. That isn't really your fault, however, The Manzanar airfield in Owens Valley was built in 1939 primarily for military training purposes, but has since been abandoned. Although it sees occasional use for military activities, tv commercials, and special Motorsport events, the airfield runway and taxiway become subject to mother nature and is quickly overgrown with plants, debris, and even cattle. Luckily the Lone Pine organizers know this and participants and volunteers meet up to help clean up the track and get it ready for racers weeks before time trial weekend is scheduled. This isn't the typical, "we're just gonna sort of sweep up" kind of deal either, clean up participants deal with shrubs, bushes, weeds, and grass that hide the entire runway track. Even after cleanup, small debris litters the track which is blown away and cleaned up during the warm up laps each morning. The saying, "leave a place you visit nicer than when you arrived" describes this group to a tee. This isn't a new event either, 2017 marked the 47th anniversary and has attracted drivers of all ages, driving skill, and vehicles of every type.
Now on to the fun part of the Lone Pine Time Trials, the driving. Split up into classes, drivers for 2017 were split up into three run groups on Saturday, and two run groups on Sunday. Everyone takes turns driving and working cones-which gives you a great opportunity to see the course, learn from others mistakes, help identify the driving line you want to take, and get some time behind the wheel! The whole course is over two miles long with lots of opportunity to push yourself and your car as hard or as easy as you want. Filled with slaloms, chicanes, slow turns, fast turns, and straightaways, this high speed time trial course will test nearly every aspect of your driving ability. Most of the time you'll be in 3rd and 4th gear, if that gives you an idea of the speeds for this event! Earlier in the day, you'll hear lots of little pebbles as you navigate the course, but shortly after you'll have a pretty clean track to drive on, plus as the course cleans up you'll have a very clear visual on where the driving line is that most drivers have been taking.
When it comes to lodging, you can either stay in the nearby town of Lone Pine or pick one of the many campgrounds and spend the evenings with nature. I chose to stay at the Portagee Joe campground which was less than 15 minutes away from the airstrip making for a cheap and easy campout. While at the time trial event itself there was a food truck, available air compressors, and fancy bathrooms...okay, porta pottys, but still-No crouching behind bushes for this group. If you come out, be sure to bring lots of water, snacks, food, sunscreen, and more water!
There is a good mix of competitors who drive their cars up, and plenty who bring their cars on trailers. In between racing and run groups, drivers and spectators socialize talking about their cars, thoughts on the course, and plans for next time.The mix of cars in attendance is pretty cool too, with daily driven cars all the way to track prepped racing machines. At the end of the day, everyone there is to turn out fast lap times, and have fun.
Proceeds from the Lone Pine Time Trials go to support the Braille Institute, and with extremely affordable registration costs, going for the whole weekend is well worth it. Be sure to check out www.lonepinetimetrials.com for more information on the event and to register for driving, you won't regret it!
We hope to see you out at the Lone Pine Time Trials!