Well, my friends, due to an unexpected medical event, I have had my last track day. This site will remain up and I’ll continue to maintain it (such as it is), although I’m likely to not be very active. If I blog at all, it’ll probably start appearing on my other site, although I’m not sure that’s how I’ll spend my time either. You never know. But track days are done for me. It’s not like I was all going crazy about track days. I did take a 4-year hiatus when I sold the old Focus anyway, but this RS was a woot. Dang.
Here’s a photo from my last event:
May you all hit your apexes and trail brake safely through life.
I got this in the email today:
We still have some space left on the track for our Pacific Track Night event coming up. Guess what that means? We are super excited to offer you our Buddy Pass Special! We want to see you and all of your favorite people out there!
That means that when you register, you can get a FREE entry for a friend, spouse, co-worker, neighbor, or… well, pretty much anyone who would enjoy driving on track, has a driver’s license and access to a track worthy car. How does it work? Glad you asked!
- Sign up for the event here: https://www.tracknightinamerica.com/events/1993807-track-night-2019-seattle-south-july-17.
- Make sure your buddy has an account with a unique email address (i.e. not your address) on TrackNightinAmerica.com.
- Reply to this email with your buddy’s name and email address and we will send them a code to register with.
- It’s up to you to figure out who owes who money/dinners/beverages/whatever.
- Offer sound too good to be true? There are only a few catches:
- This offer is only valid for the July event, and only until the event sells out.
- This must be your buddy’s first time on track at a Track Night in America event.
- You need to contact me before the event to get your buddy pre-registered to participate, so give him a call now. Buddy passes will not be processed on-site at the event.
Have any questions? Just ask!
See you at the track!
Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack
Find a track buddy and get in three sessions for $80 each.
Tough to beat that!
First time back to Pacific Raceways since I went on hiatus from track days after 2011. I have been many times to Shelton and Portland since returning to the hobby in 2015, just not Pacific Raceways.
Really enjoyed it, but I am still left with the same uncomfortable feeling due to a lack of runoff (safety areas) around the track. It’s a fun track, but now that I have a car that can get up to a bit a higher top end, some places on the track are a little more concerning. In particular, the little right hand bend at “Turn 1.” It’s quite tame at 115. But my car can now pretty easily get to 130 if pushed. At this event, I have one successful Waylens video that clocks my top speed at 126 and I was not even pushing at all. I have to be on my toes making that turn at that speed.
What made this day especially enjoyable was the integration with test and tune for the vintage racers in front of the weekend’s SOVREN races. So many interesting cars. I caught some on-track photos, but after so long away from action photography and with a “new” camera (new for this use, but not particularly new), it was a bit of a struggle. I’ll need to relearn setting up target focus zones ahead of panning and tune the shutter speed.
Some photos here: https://archive389.smugmug.com/Proformance-7-4-19/
Not really sure when this appeared, but I had been poking the Track Night in America (TNiA) events page periodically (through this morning) and this is the first that I’ve seen of postings for nearby 2019 events.
Link: TNiA 2019 events listing
I’ll be adding candidates from this listing and the HoD listing to my personal “possibles” calendar that I post here: My track day Google watch list
Club Lotus NW track days at Portland International Raceway are always really great days. This year’s event (last weekend) was no exception. It was an amazingly laid-back day with really only a handful of street cars. It’s a test-and-tune day for the vintage racers in front of their fall race weekend.
In recent years, there have been fewer and fewer street cars at these events. There were almost no actual Lotus cars running with us. Very strange. My nephew Alex and I ran our matching white 2016 Focus RS cars in the street car group with about 7 other cars tops out on the track at the same time. There was a very fast factory-built racing Mustang GT350 (I think), a couple of BMWs (one lovely M2), a race-prepped spec Miata, a BMW 2002 vintage racer, a slowish exotic that I cannot remember what it was, and a couple of vintage Cortinas that tested in our group, one very fast Europa, and one Exige. That’s it. But all those cars were never out on the track at the same time. The last two sessions involved maybe 4 or 5 cars total. Lots of nice practice time with virtually zero pressure from passing vehicles and very little traffic. And perfect weather. Ah. With that in mind, Mark set it for passing on all the “straight” parts, even the very short bits. Very nice. Thank you so much to Mark Viskov for running these days.
The emphasis at the vintage events has been on Formula Ford of late, so there were a number of small-bore open wheeled cars in a run group devoted to them. Then there was a separate closed wheel race-car group — and our group. So good.
There was one car that I really wanted to see run around, but apparently it had just been assembled and did not do anything more than take a little parade lap around the paddock. That was a Ford Sierra RS500 (really a Merkur XR4Ti dressed up like an RS500 as was suggested by one Focus RS forum member). I did not get a chance to talk with the owner, but I did snap some photos. It had a big turbo and was probably rear-wheel drive, although I could not tell by inspection.
Pictures of a lovely Ford, no matter what you want to call it:
If there is one thing that you should add to your track day car, it’s a fire extinguisher. I’m on my third (and probably last) track car and they’ve all had fire extinguishers — although I’ve never had a reason to use one. Thankfully.
The SVT Focus had a Spa Technique fire suppression setup, activated by pulling a handle mounted on the dash that was attached to a long cable (and the bottle). That cost some $$$. The Fiesta ST has a Safecraft bottle mounted with a custom bracket attached under the passenger seat, so that it travels as the seat slides. It stays out of the way nicely for a passenger. It is very slick, but pricey to get done. I really liked the quick-release mounting assembly provided by Safecraft, but that was also expensive.
So, now with the Focus RS, I’ve made a compromise. I liked the quick release concept and the Safecraft PB2 bottle, but I was not keen to spend so much on mounting the thing.
I found a Scott Drake quick release mount that I mated with a Kap Industries bracket specific to the MkIII Focus. I got all the parts this week and, with a little help, I was able to adapt it all today and here is the result:
Thank you to Paul at Tacoma Screw in Kirkland for a couple of free fasteners and to Jon at TLC Auto Care for snipping the excess t-bolt threading so the thing would actually fit flush to the floor as intended.
No affiliation whatsoever to the mentioned vendors. They’ve just treated me well. So, thank you, all.
The first car that I ever drove was a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT. I learned to drive a stick, and really how to drive in general, in that car. And what a fun car that was to drive.
A bringatralier.com ad for such a car popped up in my iPhone news feed this morning as a sat on the porcelain throne. It was a virtual mirror of the car my family owned. I had to read about it. While updated with shocks, brakes, etc., it is still a nicely rehabilitated (comparatively faithful) car. Oh, how I wanted to join the bidding on that car. You have no idea. At this moment, 6 or so days from ending the bidding, it sits at about $20,000. There are (so) many better cars that you could get for that kind of money — and I’m sure that it will in fact fetch more as the deadline nears. I am very happy with the hatchbacks in my garage, but that little car has a special place in my heart. As an Alfa loyalist once suggested in the paddock at Pacific Raceways, yes, my newer car (then a supercharged 2004 SVT Focus) was a better car (nearly 40 years of engineering advancement after all), but it just did not have the “cachet” of the little GTV we were ogling. No it did not. I remember sitting in traffic along the Lawrence Expressway on the way home from my summer job, happily listening to the little AM radio, just loving being in the car. When the Warriors swept the Bullets in 1975 for their first NBA Championship, I was driving that car to a family dinner in Berkeley. My parents, sister Sandy, and her husband Harvey were in my dad’s Chrysler Newport just ahead on the Nimitz freeway in Oakland. I honked and waved, figuring they were listening to the game as well. They had no idea what was going on — and were frankly a bit distressed. Hah. So many little memories bubble back thinking about that little red car.