Every time I go to Laguna Seca Raceway, which is located near Monterey, California, and officially called the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway — a name that’s only used by people currently employed by Mazda — I’m shocked to see just how close the houses have gotten.
Laguna Seca is one of the most famous race tracks in the world, with some great corners, some wonderful elevation changes and the Corkscrew — one of the most famous turns in all of motorsports, a corner that somehow manages to include a near-90-degree turn, and then another one, while dropping what appears to be half the distance of Niagara Falls.
Years ago, when Laguna Seca was built, it was way out in the middle of nowhere. But there’s no such thing as the middle of nowhere in California anymore, because that state is now home to four things: large houses that cost $3 million, medium-sized houses that cost $3 million, small houses that cost $3 million and people who complain about the cost of housing. The houses have encroached, encroached and encroached, and now I’m quite certain there’s a town-home development on the pavement in turn two.
So, you can guess what happened. As houses have gotten closer and closer, residents have complained more and more about the noise, even though the track was there first. Now, most events on the track can’t go above a certain decibel level.
And this brings us to the Laguna Seca Pipe.
Because Bay Area sports-car owners know exactly where the decibel measuring device is located — or where it’s located currently, as they apparently move it around — car owners have created a little workaround for it: Many of them attach sound-diverting pipes to their exhaust systems that send sound away from the decibel measurer. In other words, the cars still make the same amount of sound and the same amount of power as they would without the pipe — but if the sound-measuring device is on the left side of the track, for instance, the pipe will point to the right and divert exhaust noise the opposite direction.
I’m not sure if this is brilliant, illegal, crazy or stupid, but I’m certain that it’s absolutely hilarious. I suspect the local residents in Salinas, California, might not agree.
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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