SONOMA (KPIX) — Sonoma Raceway is roaring into the new year with some screaming-fast rides.
A newly-launched racing school, owned by the raceway, is called “Sears Point Racing Experience.” It has taken over a building, vehicles and teaching programs previously operated as the Simraceway Performance Driving Center.
“We’ve got a product for you if you’re brand new to this and just want to just dabble in what it’s like to see the racetrack or if you want to pursue a professional racing career,” said lead instructor Jeff Sakowicz.
Sears Point Racing Experience will offer high-performance driving courses, all types of racing programs, and go-karting. Drivers can also bring their own supercars to put to the test.
Sakowicz took KPIX reporter Betty Yu for a few laps on the track in a KTM X Bow sports car at speeds up to 110 mph. Yu also test-drove one of Sonoma Raceway’s official pace cars, which can be used during corporate events or in the Teen Highway Safety Program.
Nolan Siegel of Portola Valley is one of the school’s youngest racers at age 15. He started with go-karts when he was 7-years-old.
“My favorite thing about this track is how technical it is and all the elevation change at this racetrack is really, really cool and unique to the track,” Siegel explained.
Those features, in part, drew 19-year-old driver Cameron Shields to move to the Bay Area from Australia.
“That’s my home country. It was great but I really wanted to excel in my racing career a little further so I decided to make the decision to move to the states, come to the Bay Area,” Shields said.
In the coming months, the raceway plans to introduce new programs and options at the school. It hopes its new venture will bring more revenue and new drivers.
“I look at the facility that we have and better means of exploiting this great space,” Sakowicz said.