The Ridge Motorsports Park: Hosted by The Speed Syndicate
Cool Cars.
Porsche, BMW, Mustang … too bad that the Honda, Mazda, and Nissan already passed by! Photo Credit: Any Roulston.


Turn 1
That tire wall beyond Turn 1 looks close but there has to be 400-600 yards between the track and the tires. Of course, at speed, you will really wish for even more runoff room.

Turn 1 is a fast corner. It fits wonderfully with the long straight and while it requires firm braking it is not something that is going to terrify you; as you are able to carry a lot of speed through here. You need to scrub off some of the speed without sacrificing too much. While Turn 2 is not far off lose too much speed and you will be playing catch up. There is a lot of runoff room but that can be deceiving as at well over 100 mph an off-track excursion will result in that distant tire wall quickly filling your field of vision.

Turn 2 RMP
Where Turn 1 is a very fast sweeper, 2 requires your braking foot to be very active and then you have to climb the east end of the ridge to 3. I don’t need to say that 3 is a blind corner.

Turn 2 requires more braking and downshifting as you take a bit sharper right turn and begin the climb up the ridge at the eastern end of the track and you exit the lower plateau and rise to the upper plateau. The driver is now back on the gas and on a rather steep uphill climb at the east end of the ridge and moving to the upper plateau. There is not a chance of seeing what is next so it is entirely up to memory to place the car in the correct spot. Obviously, newcomers to The Ridge often misjudge placement as they climb the ridge (sorry, but I really had to use Ridge and ridge in the same sentence!) and that throws off the next two and more likely three corners. Get 2 and 3 then 4 and 5 will be awesome.

Climbing the hill into Turn 3. In the background is part of the AMA-sanctioned autocross course. Photo Credit: Andy Roulston.


Turn 3 RMP
You haven’t even finished climbing the ridge and you’re heading right into Turn Three. It’s a gradual climb so more and more of the sight line is revealed as you race up the hill.

Cresting the ridge puts you right in the middle of Turn 3. It is a simple corner complicated by the already mentioned visibility issue. You have to trust your memory and then pray that one of the many fault lines under the surface does not shift. There is no question that the topography of the area is tied closely to the physical structures underneath the ground’s surface. The amazing landscape that has produced this awesome track has that element of earthquake risk that every state and province on the North American west coast has. According to the state of Washington has had 16 earthquakes in the 30 days preceding the writing of this article. Most so small that you would not even notice it. But … be prepared.

One of the many amazing cars out at the TSS track day at The Ridge. Photo: Andy Roulston.


  1. I disagree about turn 1 not terrifying you… its easily the most butt puckering corner on the track. Assuming you’re running at least 200tw tires, you should be doing at least low 90’s (mph) at the apex of T1 and then hard on the brakes to scrub off about 25 mph in that tiny little space between T1 and T2 where your car never really straightens out… that and a coworker of mine rolled his car there (caged race car, he’s ok), so that adds to the pucker…

    and holy balls! I never realized your GTi-R was this fast… 130 on the front straight takes a pretty good amount of shove, I’m only doing 114-116… usually closer to the 114 😀

    you should also check out Pacific Raceways if you plan on coming out to the area for track days again, its about 1-2 hours (depending on time of day and traffic) closer if you’re coming from Canada… in my opinion its more fun than RMP and possibly has even more elevation change, but its a lot less forgiving in the run off department. Rumor has it Phil Hill once called it the “mini Green Hell”… I used to think it was locals trying to make a claim to being as cool as a world famous track, but after driving it I realized its much more about the green forest surroundings and lack of runoff areas. But its a fun track and the scenery is great!

  2. Hi Bob, the Budget Track Car Civic is doing at least 2:03’s. Maybe even hitting the :02’s. It’s an awesome little car. There’s no intercooler there (yet). I promise there will be more details coming.

    I don’t want to discredit the speed of Turn 1 or the challenge of the 1 – 2 combination. That is what makes it so beautiful – the combination of speed, danger, and joy. My track time since coming west has been limited and I haven’t run a really high speed corner since being in the east. As a result, for me turn 1 at the Ridge was simply to die for. The NX GTi-R was also really well planted through 1 which possibly caused me to downplay the risks of any type of corner at those speeds. That is in comparison to turn 8 at Mosport where, at similar speeds, braking after the crest at the back straight and before the 3 digit apex speed of 8 the rear of my NX was dancing all over the place and truly making me realize that some aero would be a tremendous advantage. I haven’t looked at the data to see what my turn 1 speed were but I have no doubt that it was as you indicate, 90mph+.

    There are absolutely more tracks in Washington and Oregon that I hope to visit. I’ll look forward to seeing you!

    1. Oh I’m definitely not saying its a bad corner or anything, just that I disagree with you “not terrifying” comment about it… another thing that just hit me is that you hitting 130 on the straight, makes the brake zone before T1 an actual brake zone, which prolly does a lot for “deterrifying” T1… for me its full throttle to about halfway between the last orange cone and the yellow turn in cone, quick stab of the brakes and turn in…

      well if a “budget track car” article threshold is a 2:03, you should do an article on my Miata… my best lap there is a 2:01.48 and thats with only 150whp… and going off the fact that the Civic has a K20 in it, my car is definitely more budget too. Thats on Hankook RS4 tires, I just got some R888R’s and hoping to break the 2 min barrier, hopefully the weather behaves next week! then again, my car is pretty basic, it’d be kind of a boring article 😀

  3. Great comments, Bob. No problem at all. I’ve driven a Miata in both Time Attack and ChumpCar and love the car and chassis. I don’t doubt that there is a story there. I’ve said before that my articles are usually about cars, events, things that I really find interesting. It doesn’t need to be an exotic build. Of course, it needs to be easy for me to access too.

    Both the Budget Civic and my Nissan are capable of better times. Both drivers need more seat time. I’ll look forward to hearing that you’ve set your new personal best and broken the 2 min barrier.

    There are lots of forum discussions about the challenge of driving a momentum car versus the challenge of driving a HP car. They both have there high points and lows. Usually at very opposite spots on the track. You are correct that 1 is a braking corner for a HP car. The challenge is to not overbrake and lose time as a result.

    1. yeah, momentum cars and HP cars are definitely different to drive.

      my car is definitely not article worthy, its just a really basic coilovers/brakes/exhaust NC. If you are interested in writing an article about a local car, there’s a build getting wrapped up on an NC with an EFR turbo on a 2.5 swap with a dry sump. that car will be worth writing an article about… basically what my car wants to be when it grows up, haha

  4. Here is a few 1:50 laps in traffic on chorded hoosiers. Not my best laps but the only ones with limited traffic. T1 in other laps was over 100 when i didnt have traffic in front. I think 1:45s are doable if i went back with new tires.

    1. well yeah, Hoosiers certainly change things for the T1-2 section.. in addition to being able to carry more speed you also don’t have to slow down as much for T2 going up hill. And Hoosiers handle combined g forces much better than mere mortal tires, meaning you can turn and brake much harder… or turn and accelerate.. with mere mortal tires you can’t combine those 2 jobs as much as you can with Hoosiers.

      But great driving!

      1. Hoosiers are the best way to mask bad driving habits lol. This was my dads car, my normal track car is a 2004 gto (pig) kn 200tw tires, its a workout and you have to use all driving skills to get it to do what you want. I know what you mean exactly, it kind of makes it fun

        1. yeah, so far I’ve only been on ride along’s on hoosiers… I wanna try them but they’re really pricey! the first time I experienced them my mind was kinda blown…

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