This high speed time trial is held on the abandoned Manzanar Airfield located in the Owens Valley and was built in 1939 primarily for military training purposes. Roughly a decade had passed and the base was abandoned. Since then it has been used for a handful of military activities, TV commercials and special Motorsport events such as this. The surface consists of the original asphalt and aggregate and prior to the annual “clean up” effort, can be partially overgrown with seasonal weeds as well as a particular contribution from both the indigenous and domesticated wildlife. This event has always had a surreal aura to it. The mysterious Airfield is bordered to the West by the snow capped Sierras and Mt. Whitney. To the east, the far more arid Inyo Mountain range overshadows the foreboding Death Valley National Park.
For a number of regular competitors, this is the only Motorsport event they attend all year. For others, it is a unique opportunity to “stretch the legs” of their vehicle of choice in a picturesque yet raw event location. The course is fast and flowing with sparsely spaced pylon chicanes down both sides of the 5500’ runway and taxiway. Most vehicles will negotiate the majority of the 2+ mile course in third and fourth gear, only downshifting to 2nd to negotiate either of two slaloms and the start/finish area. The surface is fairly abrasive with heavy marbles off line, but there is quite a bit of traction to be found for those who drive a clean and tidy race line. The surface characteristics just add to the challenge and unique nature of this event. HERE is a recent video tour of the Airfield dated 1-17-2010.
HERE is the Google Maps link to the Airfield.
Related Articles/Stories about the Lone Pine Time Trials:
NASA Speed News – Online magazine article “Eastern Sierra Shootout”,
Vol. 3 Issue 6 July 2014. Story and photos by Rob Krider