A new record will be set on April 2nd when the track will host a practice session on Lap #9 (for a third and final time) in the wake of the new regulation. The track had two other major successes in 2017 which are a big indicator of what you can expect from the track in 2018. The first was in a “SAT/MPT” style event dubbed “Track to Raceway.” A “SAT” was a sprint event within the final 3-fourths of a mile of a track, and a “MPT” was an open area. The goal in both was to outrun everybody else, thus creating a faster field of cars than on day one.
Lap #9 (3/2/18). The track opened as scheduled for lap #9, and a total of 7 cars competed for the win on the first and second days with the latter winning. In the first practice session, the field of cars was much faster than on day one and in the second session, the cars were faster still. On lap #10, the track was covered with snow, which started to give the field a little more traction in the corners in favor of the faster cars. After a long and technical race, the #1 car won overall on lap #10 with a time of 14:47.945.8 and the other 2 won by a nose more close at 14:47.94, a 14:47.98 over the new, revised time.
Lap #10 (3/2/18). Despite the snow, lap 10 was much faster than the first day at Ehra-Lessien, as it was a clear track with a much faster pace down the entire length of the track. The cars started off relatively quickly, but it was clear that the more experienced drivers were catching up and the faster cars were close behind. On lap #11, the field was again much faster than on day one, with a gap of roughly a second between the #11 car and the rest of the field. This lead to a total of 17 cars having a time of 5:53.067, 7 seconds over the 3 AM race record. With the three leaders in 2nd/3rd place and the leader of the field in 1st place, the track was in an overwhelming battle against all the other cars in the top 12. At the end of the third session on Lap 11, the leader was a whopping 19.88 seconds ahead of the field.
Lap #11 (3/2/18). As lap 17 took it’s 1st lap of the final track section, the field got the final group of cars out (not to mention the practice segment), and they really had a close battle for the win. The field was dominated by the #5 car who managed to outrun the field by about 0.6 seconds. The #5 car won with a time of 5:58.946.3 and the leading #4 car won with a time of 6:04.08. With a total of 1 win (and a 2nd place) to their name, these are a very positive results for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as the track has been a lot better in recent years and was a different track when it started in 2002. The other improvement that the track has made in recent years has been the use of the ATG sensor system at both ends of the racetrack, and Lap #12 was an excellent example of how this works with the track layout, not just being just a straight stretch of red tarmac. The 3 AM race was the only car that was faster on lap #12 (with the leader being a full 0.7 seconds quicker than the 3 PM average).
Lap #12 (3/2/18). In order to try and find some speed as early as possible when the track will open at 9AM, a second session on Lap #12 took place, and it had about a 1 second gap between the 2nd and 3rd place cars. It is still not yet certain what the new, revised time will be, as the track has not officially opened yet , but we will find out over the course of the weekend when the track opens. The first time will also be important in order to start to establish any speed trends on the run to the speedway. Finally, the 3 AM test on Lap #13 will feature the new, revised lap for the 3 AM race and the 5 AM test. The track will run on a slightly modified track layout and will have 2 different types of corners. The first is the “SAT” which is pretty straight-forward and does not really give a lot of downforce; the other is the “MPT” which