Track Day 32 - Oregon Raceway Park (ORP) Counter Clockwise (CCW)

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One of the fun parts of getting back into the PNW for Track Days is that I used to track a sport bike at many of these tracks back in the day. It's really fun to get back out to these tracks and have a blast in my Corvette. ORP is a track I happened to have run the most on a Sport Bike and always loved it. It featured tons of challenging features with loads of camber, elevation and blind turns. Now having run it again in a car and having traveled up and down much of the west coast, I can say without a doubt it is the most engaging and enjoyable tracks on the west coast!

Having just run PIR two days prior, I didn't have much concerns going into the track day. The car was sorted, the new tires were fully scrubbed in, and the new splitter was still in good shape. The weight reduction had been accomplished but I still had no baseline to compare against, so yet again not a terribly concerning bit of adjustment going into the track.

Myself and my good friend and Lemons teammate Pat showed up the night before to camp out. The previous days track day had apparently been a very mixed condition event, featuring everything form snow to rain to sunshine. Aka a not so atypical Oregon June unfortunately. We helped a few folks manuever their way out of the pits, such as a nice fellow with a MCLAREN, and then setup camp on the upper paddock. It was cold and windy, with nightime temperatures dropping all the way down to 39 degrees farenheight! BRR! One thing I will definitely note for next time is that there are hot showers and exceptionally nice bathrooms at ORP!

Given we had some excess time, we decided to walk the track just before dusk. It was really good that we did as it really helped both Pat and myself recall the turns. We also covered and discussed a lot of the lines we'd take. I'm proud to say that the majority of the lines I called out I stuck with, especially where I called out taking a later turn in than notated by the track cones. A funny realization halfway through though is that we were observing where the track debris had been piling up as sort of an indiciation fo where folks went. A few times, the track debris didn't make sense to me and I ignored it... but that was simply because we were viewing track debris from a clockwise track direction when we would be running counter clockwise!

The track day itself went well. I followed an instructor for the first half of my first session which helped me get a bit of familiarity with the track. I then passed the instructor as my car was a bit faster paced and took to the track myself. I figured it out pretty quickly, but man was there a lot to master. So many turns you'd have to setup and initiate the turn before you even know where the track was going!

Pat did great out on the track. It was his first "real" track day and man is ORP a whopper of a first track! To add to the complexity, he'd not only never even street driven my Corvette before, but I'd be pulling off the track and he'd be jumping right into my hot car! Fortuantely for him that meant there was no warmup lap needed. The car was fully ready to shred, which by the way is a testimony to the EBC SR11 brakes!


I was having some trouble with track addicts, but I did finally get a session to work and I was able to log a 1:54.999, and this was in an afternoon session, I imagine I had faster lap times earlier in the day. I beliveve sub 2 is considered pretty quick at ORP and sub 1:55 is the upper end of the advanced group running that day. There were a few Porsche GT3RS's and other such six figure plus cars that I would slowly lose a few thousandths of a second a lap on, so I'm feeling pretty good about my 25 year old Corvette hanging with them!

Videos from the Track Day

Takeaways from the track day:

  • I need to better monitor my tire pressures and temperatures on the Continental Extreme Contact Force's. The Continental Extreme Contact Force's are amazing tires and I highly endorse them, but I did let them down at the end of the day as pressures climbed up to 33psi or so and the car started to get a bit slidey. I backed off and took a few cool down laps and then decided to focus on chasing various drivers (hence the tail gunning video above) and they were great. Considering they pulled double duty all day (Pat and I tracking them) they held up amazing though!
  • I need to install my front coilover bump stops. I would continually bottom out my splitter at the braking zone at the bottom of Valkyrie Hill. You'd bomb down the hill and then absolutely hit max g's from both braking and from plopping to the bottom of the hill there, and the splitter would ever so gently kiss the ground. Bump stops should help alleviate this.
  • The new steering wheel worked wonders. Car feel improved greatly and I was able to drive without needing to shuffle. I'd still shuffle a bit from time to time from old habits, but I in general reduced this and it much improved the driving experience!
  • My oil pressure sensor stopped working. Like most C5's this is a pretty common thing, and such is life. I'll change it it when I change out the intake manifold
  • I think what I need next to improve my driving the most is something like Catalyst lap timer analysis. Not being able to see my times from lap to lap is hurting my ability to asses if different lines or gear choices are hurting or helping me.

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