Wednesday, April 17, 2024

2023 Baja 1000 course revealed

SCORE International‘s fiftieth season will conclude with the legendary Baja 1000 in November, which will be held on a very challenging course that stands at a daunting 1,310.94 miles (2,109.75 km) for Pro classes.

The race returns to a point-to-point format but the direction has been flipped. This time, the race will begin in La Paz at the southern tip of Baja California for the first time before working its way northwards to finish in Ensenada. The latter, where SCORE’s main office is located, was also the start and end point for the Baja 500 and Baja 400 loops.

The configuration change is a one-time event to commemorate SCORE’s golden anniversary. The 2024 Baja 1000 will return to a loop format starting and finishing in Ensenada.

After leaving La Paz, competitors spend the first fifty miles heading west to the Pacific Ocean for a run by the coast. The first of three physical checkpoints marks a break eastwards to the city of Loreto along the Gulf of California before reversing direction again. Checkpoint #2 is located right before the 600th mile and serves as a de facto halfway point.

While the first 500 miles also have them, much of the second half consists of highway sections where racers must abide by a sixty mph (96.56 km/h) speed limit. As they approach the 800-mile mark, the Sportsman classes will take a bypass onto Mexican Federal Highway 1 that shortens their total distance to 1,197.04 miles (1,926.44 km). All competitors then take Highway 5, crossing quadruple-digit mileage, into a series of washes to reach San Felipe where the season-opening San Felipe 250 took place.

The final sector goes through the region’s mountains to reach the finish in Ensenada. There are five speed zones in the final 200 miles as it runs on Highway 3.

Credit: SCORE International

Exceeding 1,300 miles, the course is the longest for the Baja 1000 since the 2017 edition—its fiftieth running—took place over 1,134.4 miles. Only the 2000 race, called the “Baja 2000” to celebrate the new millennium, is known to be longer at an arduous 1,679.54 miles.

Teams will have fifty hours to complete the race. Bikes will head out at 1 AM while Four-Wheelers do so at 9 AM, the former beginning two hours earlier than in 2022 for safety reasons due to the longer course.

The race will commence on Thursday, 16 November. Luke McMillin and Mark Samuels‘ teams are the defending overall winners.