Willow Springs International Motorsports Park (commonly referred to as Willow Springs) is located in Willow Springs near Rosamond, California, about an hour north of Los Angeles.
It is the oldest permanent road course in the United States. Construction began in 1952, with the inaugural race held on November 23, 1953. Willow Springs hosted the first NASCAR events west of the Mississippi. The main track is a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) long road course that is unchanged from its original 1953 configuration. The elevation changes and high average speeds make it a favorite of many road racing drivers.
There are a total of seven tracks at Willow Springs. The largest and most well known track is Willow Springs International Raceway (commonly referred to as Big Willow). There are other racing facilities such as The Streets of Willow (1.8 mile road course), The Horsethief Mile (road course), The Speedway at Willow Springs (1/4 mile paved oval), Willow Springs Kart Track (a .625-mile, 9-turn paved sprint track), The Playpen (a 1/4-mile paved training track), and the Walt James Stadium (Clay Oval and Paved Oval).
Efforts by fans resulted in the State of California declaring Willow Springs International Raceway as a California Point of Historical Interest in 1996.
Willow Springs Raceway
Willow Springs Raceway (commonly called Big Willow or sometimes The Big Track) is a 2.5 mile paved road course consisting of 9 turns.
- Turn 1: "Castrol corner" is a 90-degree high-speed left-handed turn.
- Turn 2: "The Rabbits Ear" is a double apex sweeping turn
- Turn 3/4: "The Omega" is an uphill and downhill section with a camber change.
- Turn 5: A quick left-handed turn that sets up for the fastest sections of the track.
- Turn 6: Monroe Ridge
- Turn 7: Repass Pass
- Turn 8: Sometimes called, "The Sweeper," turn 8 is a high speed right hand corner. The lead-in to this turn is the fastest section of the racetrack.
- Turn 9: A right handed turn with a big dip before the apex. This is the final turn before the front straightway to the finish line.
The Streets of Willow Springs
The Streets of Willow Springs (commonly called The Streets of Willow or sometimes Streets) is a 1.6 mile paved roadcourse.
Willow was used by George Lucas in 1:42:08 A Man and His Car (1966)
It appeared in the 1969 Disney film The Love Bug, under the guise of "Jackrabbit Springs".
The track is in the 1985 Christopher Cross music video "Every Turn of the World"
On 3 February 2013 the track featured on the British BBC program Top Gear, while Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were being chased by aeroplanes.
The movie Fast Girl (2008) was filmed and based at Willow Springs Raceway.
Willow Springs International Motorsports Park was the venue of a photoshoot session by Playboy for its Playmate pictorial and centerfold featuring Alyssa Arcè as Miss July 2013. The photographs were featured in the magazine's July-August 2013 issue.
Willow Springs tracks have been featured in video games including Need for Speed: ProStreet, Gran Turismo 6 and Project CARS