New “Circuit at Buttonwillow Raceway Park” Nears Completion: Super Tour at Buttonwillow

This weekend’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour (HST) runs clockwise on configuration 25 at Buttonwillow Raceway Park (BRP) Feb. 23-25, 2024, in the southern portion of California’s Central Valley.

That specific layout is 2.92 miles in length and includes turns such as Sunrise, Sunset, and the Phil Hill. But this time next year, HST’s annual visit hosted by SCCA’s Cal Club Region could look totally different.

The long awaited, new, and now named “Circuit at Buttonwillow Raceway Park” (CBRP) is nearly completed. Buildings have been erected, and multiple layers have been added to what will be a twisty and rousing 2.579-mile, 10-turn course running in a clockwise direction. When it’s all said and done, the new layout will have a 50-foot wide front straight leading through the first turn, and everything else will be 40-feet wide. 
(A look west into turn one at CBRP) 

Some History

Hosting its first event in 1995, BRP is conveniently positioned alongside Interstate 5 midway between San Diego and San Francisco. With a previous capability of 700 race cars on pavement, it has been the sweet spot for West Coast racers three decades running.

For years, Buttonwillow boasted three separate tracks on its 500-acre plot. There’s the 1.86-mile West Loop, a 1.06-mile East Loop, and a combined track reaching 3.1 miles in length. There’s also a .69-mile kart track often in use.

Thanks to clever planning, Buttonwillow yields more than 40 different race and test configurations designed to emulate street and road racing courses throughout North America. That fact certainly helped the Hoosier Super Tour in 2023 when torrential rains resulted in a quick layout reconfiguration to keep competition going.

The Build

BRP made plans more than a decade ago to construct another circuit at the northwest portion of its property along Lerdo Highway. An issue developed, however, upon realization that a Giant Kangaroo Rat was perhaps existing there.

An endangered and protected species, California and Federal entities required Buttonwillow’s new layout to conserve space for the ancestral ground of the Giant Kangaroo Rat. The natural topography of Buttonwillow is flat, but sharp eyes may note a slight feature of interest right in CBRP’s very center. That’s where the Giant Kangaroo Rat preserve is positioned.

That’s not the only thing to get a rise at CBRP. Three hills of varied elevation have been formed to supply additional thrills for drivers. Also, the new track is “green” in that recycled contents have been utilized throughout development. That includes rubberized asphalt offering great grip and tire longevity for drivers. There’s also a silver canopy of power-producing solar panels, tall enough for haulers to slide beneath – thus providing both paved and shaded paddock space.

The highest FIA track-specific standards have been met for the new circuit, and plans still include a museum, food service amenities, and new bathroom facilities. Furthermore, in preparation for the future, there’s a 16-unit Tesla Supercharger station already in place and ready for use.

The track and paddock have been graded, and underground wiring positioned. The two layers of rubberized asphalt are down but need a little time to cure. Curbing will then be added, and worker stations erected. If all goes to plan, the first event at CBRP will take place later this year. 
(A look east down the CBRP main straight)

Buttonwillow HST Broadcast Plan

This weekend’s HST stop at BRP is open to the public and free for spectators. Be trackside to experience the thrills, and meander through the paddock to spy awesome machinery and meet great people.

Those who can’t get to Buttonwillow, another option is Hoosier Super Tour online video coverage. Familiar commentators Brian Bielanski and Gregg Ginsberg offer play-by-play insight, and DriversEye Live makes the live video broadcast happen.

Getting the HST feed online is simple. Coverage is provided free of charge and streamed live at the SCCA YouTube page, as well as the SCCA Official and SCCA Road Racing pages on Facebook.

Post-race video interviews with many winners from Saturday, and Sunday victory podium celebration videos, will also be viewable at the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page.

As always, live Timing & Scoring is available throughout the weekend at On-demand viewing of the action from BRP will be made available after the event.

Main photo caption: The new two-story building that will be the center of activity when Circuit at Buttonwillow Raceway Park holds its first event later in 2024.
Photo by SCCA Staff