California has a rich history and culture of motorsport. Take a trip from Los Angeles to Monterey and experience California’s racing highlights while taking in the natural beauty of its landscape
A JOURNEY THROUGH CALIFORNIA'S MOTORSPORT CULTURE
The U.S. is home to numerous iconic raceways, which provide the backdrop for America’s unique Motorsport culture. These include Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and California’s Laguna Seca—our destination in a journey through some of the holy sites of west coast Motorsports. We’re traveling in a Lexus GS F 10th Anniversary Special Edition on a route that will let us experience California’s natural beauty and its unique car culture.
We begin in Los Angeles. With its perpetual blue skies, sprawling cityscape and endless network of roads, this is a perfect city for driving. L.A.’s car culture accommodates an endless variety of vehicles—from supercars and EVs to classic muscle cars and pickup trucks.
SPEED ON A DRY LAKEBED
Just two hours outside of L.A. is the El Mirage Dry Lake Off-Highway Recreation Area. As its name implies, El Mirage is a flat, dusty lakebed where two- and four-wheel enthusiasts gather for ultra-fast straight-line speed challenges. No true car lover can resist making this stop. As the staff will remind you, there’s just one rule you need to follow: ignore speed limits.
Once you enter El Mirage, the immensity of the area hits you. Distant buildings shimmer above the ground like mirages. The flat terrain seems to extend forever. It’s the perfect place to push your vehicle to its limits of acceleration, speed and handling. As if custom made for the landscape, the GS F dazzles with its power and performance, kicking up the dust and delivering thrilling g-forces.
Next, we take the GS F along a 12-mile stretch of one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Mountains extend inland from the coast, forming a pristine, rugged backdrop. Waves wash over rocky outcrops where sea meets land. Rays of light periodically dance across the overcast sky, illuminating the coastline with almost holy radiance.
This is Big Sur, a remote and sparsely populated coastal road where your phone can’t even get a signal. The only human-made structures here are two massive concrete bridges that span the sharp coastal cliffs: Rocky Creek Bridge and Bixby Creek Bridge, both built in the 1930s. Looking down from the 260-foot height of Bixby Creek Bridge, you may find yourself hypnotized by the steep canyons below. Without a doubt, Big Sur is one of the highlights of our drive through California.
HEADING NORTH TO MONTEREY
Now we head north towards Monterey. This coastal city, home to Laguna Seca, is a major center for car culture. Monterey is surrounded by scenic vistas and beautiful houses. As we drive along the magnificent 17-Mile Drive, which passes through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, we enter a tunnel formed by the branches of trees lining either side of the road. When we leave the tunnel, we are met with the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.
THE MECCA OF CALIFORNIA MOTORSPORTS
Laguna Seca is located right next to the ocean. When we arrive it is covered in the thick layer of marine mist, typical of the West Coast. As we enter and climb the steep, winding course, the mist clears to reveal the deep blue sky and the rumble of race cars beginning their warm-ups.
The most notable feature of Laguna Seca Raceway is the Corkscrew—a thrilling S-corner that snakes down a 35-foot hill. Fans gather here to get an up-close view of the race, which is dazzling in its speed and sense of urgency. The action-packed atmosphere is one of the main charms of Motorsports in the U.S.
It is only the second season Lexus has participated in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, but they’ve already won two races. “Due to some very exciting driving,” says Steve Hallam, a Lexus engineer and former Operations Director for the McLaren Formula 1 team. “It’s a great opportunity for Lexus to demonstrate the high performance of its cars to the world.”
Our journey has finally come to an end. Over a span of more than a thousand miles, we experienced first-hand how West Coast car culture is more than just a lifestyle need or a means of transportation—it’s the best way to enjoy California’s rich, vast natural environment.