In an effort to promote the Lotus Cup USA racing series and build interest in the Pacific Northwest, event organizers hold a track day in the region once a year. Last year, the track day was held at PIR in October. Sporadic rain dampened the event but everyone still had a good time. This year, after encouraging organizers to schedule a date earlier in the year to avoid rain, a date in June was chosen along with a new venue. Oregon Raceway Park is a newly built private track located 2 hours east of Portland, Oregon. It has been called “the most technical track in the nation” with 16 turns in 2.3 miles with an abundance of elevation change.
As for the weather, this turned out to be the second wettest June in recent history.
We arrived early to set-up. The weather looked like it was going to clear and we were anticipating a nice day at the track.
Radium is an official sponsor of the Lotus Cup USA series. Since this day was not a competition event, it was an open track day to help promote the series. Hopefully, one day we will have a Northwest Lotus Cup USA competition event.
Of course, our Elise was prepped and ready for a day of abuse. We now run E85, which is an excellent, affordable alternative to high octane racing fuels. We burned through about 10 gallons in 35 minutes of track time. With the Radium Fuel Surge Tank, we don't have to worry about the fuel level until we are almost on empty.
Looks odd without a gear shift lever...
We had the opportunity to talk with Washington driver Mike about his "flappy-paddle" 2005 Supercharged Elise. The conversion uses a sequential transmission with special adapters and control circuitry. He performed the installation himself with help from EliseParts.com. Mike experienced engine troubles the previous day and was not running in the Lotus Cup USA group.
Park Place Limited, a Lotus dealership from Washington, brought down a few cars to excercise at the track.
We installed the light weight wheels with slick tires for the track day.
Later in the morning, after the first session, the sky started looking a little ominous.
Within minutes, the sky unloaded a fierce storm of heavy rain, hail, and crazy high winds. The Radium tent was a popular place for shelter.
After roughly 15 minutes, the rain stopped and we emerged from the tent.
We had an early lunch and waited for track to dry out. The local fire department saved the day by hosing the mud off the track.
K.P.'s S1 Lotus Elise with Honda K20 powerplant. This was a very well put together and fast car.
With the track dry, the cars went back at out. Kris volunteered to mow some grass (picture above, video below) with his matte black Exige S260.
Portland native Dylan Pollock (above) and father David Pollock are ORP regulars.
CLNW member Travis from the Portland area made the trek out to experience ORP.
The track's learning curve is steep with lots of elevation changes and "white knuckle" moments.
This GTR muscled its way around the track with unbelievable fast times..
Stephen in his safety-green Elise was also new to the track.
The afternoon granted perfect weather and everyone was able to enjoy plenty of track time.
The Radium Elise performed flawlessly and was a blast on this tight track.
David Pollock is his 2006 Cup car.
Lotus Cup USA held an impromptu time-attack event at the end of the day. John walked away with the best time in his 2008 Elise SC.
Everyone had a great time. We look forward to coming back again. Thank you to Lotus Cup USA for visiting the NW!
Please visit Lotus Cup USA to see the complete 2012 schedule of events. Support the series!