When I shoot in other cities around the United States there’s a common theme that comes up in conversation: the off-season. A time where the weather is unfavorable and events die out, a time to pull the car into the garage for a refresh. But in California, there is no such thing as an off season.
There is no stretch of four weeks or more where tracks are uninhabitable, nor when it’s too cold to reasonably hunker down and get work done, garage or not. There is no time to stop, order parts, and patch your car together. Grip or drift, just about any given week of the year you’ll be able to find some seat time. It is both a blessing and a curse.
With no major events in the weeks before Christmas at Sonoma Raceway, why not use all that empty track space? This thought, in part, is how Winter Jam got started.
Winter Jam is now the biggest drift event in California, and one that draws pro drivers (most in practice chassis or borrowed cars) from around the country.
In fact, even drivers from around the world.
It’s really cool to see a grassroots event take off like this, and there were over 350 cars registered to drift over the two-day weekend at Sonoma. To keep everyone busy there was a large skid pad setup, multiple donut boxes, and various layouts on the track itself.
On that note, Naveed will be checking in soon with an in-depth look at the pro cars that showed up, and what it is that makes these competition-spec machines so much more intense to drive than the home-built variety.
On the other end of the spectrum, without a break to pretty-up and properly prep your car, plenty of half-built and battle-damaged cars were getting rowdy, as is now tradition at Winter Jam.
As we head into the holiday season, rest assured that there’s no slow time of the year for us either. I’ll follow up Naveed’s stories with a gallery and a couple of interviews with the people who turned Winter Jam into the momentous event it is now.
Besides, what better way to send off 2018 than going sideways with all your friends?