Monthly Archives: September 2018

2018 Club Lotus Track Day Notes

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:

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Public Service Announcement: Fire Extinguishers

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.