• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


I heard that there used to be a racetrack (for cars) up in Torrey Pines somewhere and that Carroll Shelby raced there. I was born here in San Diego and thought I knew a little about its history, I know there was an Army base up there, but I've never heard of this.

-- Chris, the Net

You do know a little bit about San Diego history, Chris. You just need someone who knows a lot...and naturally, my name came up in conversation. We hacked a few divots out of our heap of historical info, and here's your answer.

Most golf courses are so quiet you could hear a bogie drop, but Torrey Pines Golf Course has a very noisy history. From 1941 to 1943, the area was Camp Callan, an anti-aircraft training base. Instead of shanking drives off the cliff, soldiers fired 90mm artillery shells at targets towed by planes over the ocean. When the war ended, the Army gave the place to the city. It was pretty quiet again until 1951, when Alfas and D-Jags and Ferraris drove in. For the next five years, Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill, Briggs Cunningham, and some less famous names raced a 2-1/2-mile route marked out on the camp's old roads. By 57 the track was closed, Torrey South was open, and the loudest sound was the cursing of the duffers. From 59 to 64, sports cars raced at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and all subsequent attempts to revive the sport here have been as effective as a missed shift.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


Sign in to comment

Win a pair of VIP tickets to
Reader Tacotopia!

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!