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Thread: New Lot Search Information

  1. #41
    Hi Larry,
    When do you think we will be able to have a trial run at San Marcos University? Is this location still a possibility?


    Quote Originally Posted by BM96 View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts, Bryant. Maybe a little background would help.

    I believe that the Coronado Speed Festival was originally part of the Holiday Bowl festivities and began running in 1997. A few years later, the event was taken on as part of the San Diego Fleet Week celebrations by San Diego Fleet Week Foundation. There was originally a lot of sponsorship money from Chrysler, but that money went away early on and the challenge of financing the races became ongoing. After 19 years, the annual event cost of about $425,000 got too much and the Foundation shut it down after the 2016 race.

    The actual race sanctioning body for the Speed Festival started, I think, with the same organization that ran the Monterey Historic races and they did it for the first 10 years, or so. Then the sanctioning was taken over by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA). SVRA still holds races all around country. There was just one in late April at Auto Club Speedway and another one will be at Sonoma Raceway the end of this month. So SVRA is not in need a racing facility due to the loss of the Speed Festival. There are other good tracks available at Buttonwillow, Willow Springs and Thunderhill.

    In the end, the Coronado Speed Festival was an amazing opportunity for motorsports fans here in San Diego and I doubt anything like it will ever be seen again, anywhere.

    As far as a dedicated racing facility being built in San Diego County, that has been worked on for at least 30 years that I know about. And if you were not aware, when the San Diego Stadium (Qualcomm, SDCCU, etc.) was built in 1969, racing was to be part of the stadium property use and SCCA did hold road racing in the west lots for a couple of years. When the SCCA San Diego Region knew that our only track (Holtville Aerodrome International Raceway - HAIR) would become unusable, we began an extensive search effort for a location to build a track. Every one of the Native American tribes were approached and building a multi-use track and facility was discussed. The Region even generated a detailed track layout at Barona around the dirt track and what is now the drag strip areas. At that time, the tribes were much more interested in building casinos and hotels as the financial return was vastly more than any racing facility could ever be.

    There were several attempts over the years to build a race track facility within the county, or at least to try to get the city fathers to embrace motorsports. People like Ralph Rubio, Chris Pook of the Long Beach Grand Prix race and several others worked very hard to make it happen. For reasons that I do not know and are probably long lost, it never became a reality. I am unaware of any realistic background effort to continue that effort.

    The realities of building a racing facility are really beyond the scope of SCCA and the cost is extremely high. As you may have noticed in my April update, paving just 8 an acre autocross lot at Thunderhill Raceway cost $900,000 and that did not include the land purchase. But beyond the sheer cost of land and building the facility, these kinds of things take five to ten years to accomplish and there is an ever-increasing list of permits, environmental issues, government approvals, meetings, etc.

    Please understand Bryant, that I am not trying to be negative or dismiss your ideas. It’s just that SCCA, and many well financed and powerful people have tried a long time to make motorsports a part of San Diego and failed. It certainly is a dream that we should not give up on. But our focus for the immediate need of an autocross lot is all we can handle right now.

    Again, thank you for your ideas and we’ll keep at it.

  2. #42
    Thanks Larry,
    I fully understand and appreciate the information.

    Its truly a shame that the San Diego area does not have a real motorsports facility. Carlesbad dragsrip and Cajon raceway were great and served the community well. All the different types of racing that has been held at the stadium over years, autocross, drag racing, diffing displays, monster trucks, motocross, and anything else, shows me that a properly set up motorsports facility is probably viable. We being autocrossers have almost the simplest requirement of a good parking lot. Only rallycross or some other off road stuff may have simpler requirements. I look at all the Mira mar landfill areas and envision it paved. I know it would not stay flat, so a drag strip would be continual maintenance or not feasible, but off road stuff would be great!!!

    Anyways, Thanks again Larry, we truly appreciate everything your doing.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by BM96 View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts, Bryant. Maybe a little background would help.
    The experiences I've had with regard to the likelihood of building a racing facility in the San Diego area won't be of much value in our current search, but may add a little sideground to the scene.

    When I was involved in organizing and promoting road races at Playas de Tijuana, near the Bullring-by-the Sea, 1967-68-69, the then-mayor of Tijuana wanted to investigate the potential of a track in northern Baja California. Apparently he owned plenty of acreage he'd have been willing to offer as a site. He contacted the Tijuana Auto Sport Club for advice, and they tapped me as an expert on road-race tracks. We met with the Mayor and had cigars and brandy in his home.

    Mr Mayor's suggestion was that he would get permission from the State of Baja to build a track on some of his property, and put up one hundred thousand dollars toward construction. It seemed to me he thought that would be enough. The TASC guys were very optimistic, hearing this. I was the wet blanket on that party: my estimate, based on what I knew about the building of Riverside International Raceway ten years earlier, was there would have to be another nine hundred thousand dollars available, to make for a worthwhile venue, one that would attract international organizations and racers. They had been dreaming of Can Am, F1, all that good stuff. I could see the Mayor calculating the influence he might have, and what was the likelihood of his share—if proportional to the remainder, assuming it could be raised—paying off in the long run. So he thanked us for the information and we never heard another word from him, although there was some gossip to the effect that he put out feelers to influential (moneyed) folks and was told, "That would be very nice", and that was the extent of their interest.

    During a slightly earlier period, one of my friends and his family offered to give considerable acreage to a South Bay city, for construction of a multi-use motor sports facility. It seems the City explored the idea, checked with the County, and was discouraged by the latter. This was in the days when San Diego devloped its reputation as anti-car-racing capital of the western US. Not all that understandable, given San Diego's history as a provider of sites and crowds for road racing from very early in its history.

    As I said, not much help, and very certainly a sideshow to the subject of this thread.
    Old school
    Really old school

  4. #44

    Update 5/17/18

    Quote Originally Posted by booyaa56 View Post
    Hi Larry,
    When do you think we will be able to have a trial run at San Marcos University? Is this location still a possibility?

    Thanks for the question, Will.

    The short answer is Yes, the Cal State University San Marcos lot is still a possibility. After some unexpected delays on the University's part, a member of the FAS (combined SCCA, BMW and PCA reps committee) was recently able to speak with the Director, who is the person responsible for the lot access. Part of the delay may be that the university's graduation ceremonies begin today and go throughout the weekend. As I understand it, the Director has our proposal and is meeting with all the appropriate staff at the University (Campus Security, Facilities, etc.). The Director also asked to come down to an event to get a better understanding of what autocross is all about. That should happen in the next few weeks, either at the May 26th Porsche Autocross event or the June 10th SCCA Solo. We're still trying to finalize the date.

    The Director also provided information on the lot sizes below. Lot F is the lot we are interested in using (see attached map), but there are portions in the northwest area (outlined in red) that contain parking berms, so the actual usable space is probably more like 8 acres. Those sectioned off areas might be able to be used for the pre-grid area. The other two lots, E and H would be used for the paddock/pit area, visitor parking, etc. Real restrooms are located in the building marked 56.

    Lot E is 155,813 ft2 (3.60 Acres)
    Lot F is 539,292 ft2 (12.30 Acres)
    Lot H 27,776 ft2 (.63 Acres)

    We had posed some specific questions to the Director during the call and the edited answers are below.

    1. Can we do a trial Solo to check out the usability of the lot area? YES, we can start this summer after students are out. The Director is getting us the available dates for June, July
    and Aug (the campus is off limits on Aug 17-18 weekend due to an event)

    2. Can all the FAS reps meet with the Director to discuss all the details (security / course set up / logistics / food and bathroom access / rental payments / trash / insurance
    coverage / etc)? YES, we will be meeting with her next.
    3. Would it be ok if we used adjacent parking areas for paddock/pits, so as to maximize the area available for the course? YES, we would be able to use adjoining lots.
    4. What will the cost of the lots be? Don’t know costs yet. She will review and get back to us for all fees.

    In addition to this information, the FAS committee has agreed to meet on May 29th to hopefully review the available dates sent by the CSUSM Director and look at all our other options since the military bases seem to be out of the picture. More to come once I have solid information.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #45

    Lot Search Update 6/4/18

    Good evening, everyone. On May 29th, the FAS (SCCA, BMW and PCA reps) gathered to discuss the status of the lot search and the best path forward.

    The autocross chairmen for BMW and PCA stated that at the stadium draw for dates in the second half of this year, it was announced that SDSU will play their football games at SDCCU stadium in 2019 and 2020. Warren confirmed that at tonight’s Solo Committee meeting. Therefore, we will continue to be able to use the stadium for at least the next two years. Apparently, there were also some comments made about doing some patching of the stadium lot, but the actual details are yet to be determined. But the FAS clubs agreed to continue to push to find an alternate lot. Ultimately, the stadium will go away.

    • The focus of the meeting was the CSUSM parking lot – The FAS clubs are in agreement that since we have no contract information, nor any details from CSUSM pertaining to conducting of an autocross on site, we will not try to rush into scheduling a practice autocross in the next couple of months. The first prerequisite is we need to have a face-to-face coordination meeting with the Director of Events to discuss contract details and agree to cost and conduct of the events.
    • The CSUSM Director was not able to attend the last BMW event, but may still come to our June 10th Championship to see what a Solo is like. If that happens, I will be her host while she is there.
    • Given the July Solo schedule and the August date from the stadium scheduling meeting, SCCA will take the lead in trying to conduct a practice Solo event at CSUSM during September. This is assuming that we have an acceptable agreement with CSUSM. Key BMW / PCA autocross personnel will be observing and / or participating since SCCA’s policies best accommodate a practice scenario. This will enable all three clubs to understand the viability of the lot and any teething problems that might be found.
    • Military – The FAS clubs agreed that pursuit of a military autocross site is not realistic at this time.
    • There is a new lot (≈13 acres) being considered in the Oceanside area. – The FAS reps are planning a tour of the site on June 12th.
    • Lake Elsinore – As I have mentioned before, we are holding off on going forward with this lot, for now. Given the distance (68 miles from SDCCU Stadium), the Storm’s summer game schedule, etc., this lot does not seem to be a good option at this time.
    • Sea World East Lots– One of the FAS club members suggested using the SeaWorld lots on the east side as they are always vacant. However, as can be seen in the photo below, there are obstacles placed about every 50’ to 60’ and that would never be able to pass SCCA course design and safety requirements.
    • Otay Mesa – The rumor of a new long-term development, including an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) training site in the eastern section of Otay Mesa, is being followed up by BMW.
    • All three clubs are experiencing declining numbers of autocross entries – The FAS clubs will keep each other advised as to perceived reasons, options and possibly investigate combining resources / assets in future.

    Thanks and let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see you on the 10th.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #46
    Larry wanted to bring up this lot, it’s located off Marina Pkwy and H st in Chula Vista. Has anybody ever looked at this lot?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by booyaa56 View Post
    Larry wanted to bring up this lot, it’s located off Marina Pkwy and H st in Chula Vista. Has anybody ever looked at this lot?
    Checked and ruled out. It's an off limits site and posted as such, and the remaining building foundations, undulating surface, etc. make it unusable. It looks good on Google maps, and was in the original list of potential lots identified well over a year ago on the same basis, but no go.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by booyaa56 View Post
    Larry wanted to bring up this lot, it’s located off Marina Pkwy and H st in Chula Vista. Has anybody ever looked at this lot?
    Quote Originally Posted by cpasti View Post
    Checked and ruled out. It's an off limits site and posted as such, and the remaining building foundations, undulating surface, etc. make it unusable. It looks good on Google maps, and was in the original list of potential lots identified well over a year ago on the same basis, but no go.
    What Peter said, Will. Thanks for asking though.

  9. #49
    Thank you for keeping us updated, and for exploring every option. I know this kind of volunteering is a lot of work.

    I'm very happy to hear that we'll still have the stadium site for 2019 and 2020. 12 years ago I wouldn't have thought we'd be so lucky to still be autocrossing on the site in 2020. I'd been getting nostalgic about the West Lot during the last year. My autocross history there goes back to 1986.

    Here's hoping that the surface can get some improvements. But, in any case, it's very good news.

  10. #50
    Administrator SCNAX
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Chattanooga, TN (just west of Tail of the Dragon)
    New update. SDSU has signed a contract to use the stadium for 2 more years. So that *may* be a help. It means that the structure will not be torn down. It does not mean that the parking lot will remain usable. The fall ballot has two initiatives and if one of them passes, it is possible that development could move forward, even with the SDSU contract in place.

    Still, a positive sign.
    "Definition of a "good day" autocrossing? If you can make it all day without someone yelling at you." - R. Noll
    This forum and server sponsored by some guy in Tennessee

  11. #51
    Good news on the lot search coming soon, just be a little patient, expect an end of August update

  12. #52

    New Lot Search Update 8/9/18

    Good morning everyone, good news. I, along with BMWCCA and PCA-SDR representatives, recently met with the staff at Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM) and discussed all the details for renting their lot for autocrosses. After a lot of back and forth with the CSUSM staff and the Solo Committee, as the SCCA representative, I signed a Facilities Use Agreement (contract) to run a single practice event on Lot F at the university. The purpose of this event is to try out the lot and make sure that it will work for both the San Diego autocross community and the university. If the event is successful, then future events can be scheduled as the Solo Committee and CSUSM agree. The date for the event is Sunday, August 26th.

    But before you grab your credit card and head for MSR, read the following!!!

    This will be a limited, closed practice with participation by invitation only. The rationale for this decision is that being a new lot, there will be many challenges to overcome, details to plan for and work around and generally a lot to learn. By limiting the number of people, it will enable the Solo Committee to be much more flexible in making changes on the fly. All participants will be required to participate in setup, breakdown, equipment testing, and provide feedback on safety, setup, surface, etc. throughout the day so that we will be able to launch full events successfully.

    Selection of the participant invitations is being handled by the four clubs with each club limited to 12 members. Contact your club rep for further details. There will also be an additional 5 drivers each from BWMCCA and PCA-SDR. They can then assess the lot and report back to their respective groups.

    There are some specific things below that all participants must understand and respect.
    • This lot is much smaller than the lots we are used to running on. However, it is equal to or better than what most SCCA Regions use. We have been extremely lucky to have the
    stadium, but we will have to adjust to the change gracefully.
    • There is no smoking or vaping allowed anywhere on the university campus!
    • No alcohol or intoxicants are permitted on the university campus at any time. So, no bench racing on-site after the event with a cold adult beverage.
    • The university is patrolled by San Diego Sherriff Deputies 24/7/365.
    • Do Not Park in handicapped parking slots unless authorized.

    Even though we will be allowed to use the stadium lots for another year or so, the plan is to schedule a few events throughout the year at CSUSM.
    Again, further details about the event, selection of drivers, cost, how to register and other specific questions should be addressed to your individual club representatives. More general questions can always be addressed directly to myself through the SDR Forum.

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