Updated: Jan 30, 2021
To have a chance at successfully completing the Baja 1000, Mexico’s infamous desert endurance race, teams “pre-run” the course each year. In heavily modified vehicles, they painstakingly scan for and note challenging terrain.
This race is the LeMans of the off-road world and winning it overall takes a crazy combination of preparation, luck, skill, and speed. Gullies newly-eroded into the desert floor, three-foot-deep silt beds, cliffs, and large boulders must be discovered before they themselves discover and destroy unsuspecting tires, suspension, and engine components.
On race day, teams leave the starting line with shock travel and ground clearance specs measured in feet, not inches. They race, refuel, and make repairs through the night. About twenty-four hours after starting, a select few cross the finish line in La Paz.
The stakes are high in Baja, but, a few hundred miles north, we helped with some pre-running for an event of comparable infamy and allure.
Months ago, Cars & Jets, the elite, invite-only gathering for owners of super, hyper, and historic cars, reached out with the idea of leaving their Gulfstream-flanked, private hanger to drive epic cars on epic roads.
Now, driving in and of itself may be mundane. However, driving, when done in a supercar with about many other supercars, is less a task and more a spectacle. Cars and driving may also seem like an all-too-obvious pairing. However, the proposition of driving exotics in any capacity is, to many owners, as monumental an undertaking as traversing the Mexican desert in total darkness at 140 mph.
For this endeavor, Cars & Jets had some requirements.
Lots of parking
Space sufficient for all drivers to remain 6 feet apart
A starting location central to some of the greatest driving roads in Southern California
A route fit for Goldilocks - not too long, not too short, not too twisty, not too boring, not too urban, and not too remote
Barrett Automotive Group ticks those boxes so we partnered with Cars & Jets to host an absolutely unforgettable day of driving. However, to have a chance at successfully guiding some of California’s finest supercars on a drive worth driving (all the miles would, after all, easily cause six figures worth of depreciation to the group’s special vehicles), a great deal of preparation was necessary.
The week prior, a team was sent into the great unknown to scout and curate a route with one question in mind: “Could an Aventador SVJ do this?”
We love the SVJ (and have one in our facility), but we also know that its low-hanging carbon aero and long wheelbase make it somewhat challenging to drive on certain roads. It, thus, was the benchmark for ensuring a route safe for all of Italy’s, Britain’s, and Germany’s fast, loud, and low creations.
For supercars, ground clearance and suspension travel are measured in millimeters. With that in mind, it was important to avoid certain obstacles and ensure the drive was “SVJ-proof.”
Lo and behold, event day arrived and two drivers brought out their SVJs for the journey. One had JP Logistics drop his car off at our facility the evening prior (a mighty-fine advantage of starting a drive from a high-end storage facility *wink wink*).
From our front door, we warmed the cars up on straight, flat farm roads. Our main attraction, a special stretch of highway somewhere between Santa Barbara & Ventura county, awaited on the other side of a mountain range and river valley. This mountain range brought us our first tire-warming test.
An incredibly steep and twisty strip of asphalt plunges from Somis into Fillmore and gave drivers a taste of what was to come...
And what came next was tasty indeed. We snaked up and around the shores of a lake to the tip of Ventura County. Yes, twisty roads in California are a dime a dozen, but few so perfectly mix technical driving with breaks of full-throttle flow.
In their planning, Cars & Jets considered other roads with comparably beautiful scenery, but found that they were either too straight for too long or too tight for the cars like the SVJ to stretch their legs.
Hence, a hidden gem of a road was selected and we drove it all the way from inland farm fields to the coast. At its end, we kissed the canyons goodbye and said hello to the wide-open 101.
Traveling at exactly the speed limit and not one mile per hour more, we strolled south and took another straight, flat cut across California’s iconic agricultural roads to the Pacific Coast Highway.
With waves crashing on our right and Malibu mansions on our left, we followed the continent’s curves to our lunch destination. Their parking lot never looked so good.
While our driving time and mileage count are inconsequential compared to stats on the Baja 1000, our day was epic - and filled with Spanish place and road names - nonetheless. And so, there ended Barrett Automotive Group’s first event in the age of COVID and Cars & Jets’ first-ever rally.
We thank you for attending, hope you had as much fun as we did, and can’t wait to see you and many new faces at the next one.