We first heard of Palatov Motorsport from their effort at the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) where they won the Unlimited class with a time of 10:04.652. The Palatov D4PPS with 439 hp, 1,100 lb and AWD was driven by PPIHC veteran David Donner.
What we did not realize is that Palatov Motorsport was a company based out of Portland, Oregon. We discovered how close Palatov Motorsports is to us when we went to an Open House at Cantrell Motorsports in Bellevue, Washington and saw the class winning Palatov D4PPS body displayed on their wall.
Fast forward to 2015, we found out Dennis Palatov had entered this years PPIHC with a completely new from the ground up frame, engine package and new body design called the D2RS. The D2RS is RWD with a 650 hp, 535 lb-ft torque supercharged Chevrolet LSA e-Rod engine….in a 1,950 lb car!
The driver for this years Pikes Peak Hill Climb effort is Jonathan Frost. Jonathan Frost is a talented and experienced driver who has been a key part of their test and development program over the past several years which has given him experience to make use of Palatov cars capabilities. Jonathan has many hours of seat time in many venues and cars but this year will be his first time racing the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Jonathan only other hill climb event was at Maryhill Loops road last year in the Palatov D4. He holds the second fastest time for a car at Maryhill. Like Maryhill, PPIHC is a point to point race. PPHIC you don’t acquire multiple laps to learn the course at speed. You only get one full run which is on race day!
Dennis Palatov invited me to one of their Track Day at Oregon Raceway Park (ORP). ORP is in the rolling hay fields, 2.5 hours east of Portland. Just so everyone knows, my experience on any track is very minimal. Jonathan took me for a couple slow laps in my car to familiarize me with the course. Right away, I noticed the elevation changes, undulating course, off-camber corners, one sharp radius banked corner that continues to leading to another nicely banked higher speed corner. ORP is a fun track!
It was then my time as passenger in the current Palatov D2 that had a 430hp normally aspirated engine, RWD and street tires with Jonathan driving. This is not just a “Track Car” but a street legal two passenger car. Dennis’s wife, Morgan, drove it from Portland to ORP! Now for those that don’t know me, I am 6’7″ in stature and I don’t fit into any small two-seater cars and the D2 was no exception. But, I wasn’t going to turn down any ride, so I drop into the RECARO seat, knees against the (thankfully) slightly flexible dash panel, click the 5 point harness on and tighten it up.
We are off!
We roll up to the track entrance which is near the end of the front straight. Jonathan buries the throttle then brakes into the first turn, hard. Turn 2 is a short shoot just after a small rise, so I can’t see it coming. It’s a flat 95 degree turn, hard brake and out. Up to Turn 3 which is flat and then drops into an off-camber left hand turn and Jonathan is braking hard! I can see Jonathan’s hands making slight corrections keeping the D2 set up using all of the track on exit, he is driving hard and heads around Turn 4.
From Turn 5 – Turn 7 is gradual up hill with three crests as the course slightly arches to the right. The next turn was completely blind to me. Jonathan was hauling a$$ into Turn 7 then drops into Turn 8, which is a long, 2 apex right, down the hill to Turn 9. Finally, I can see us approaching the turn, which is a tight radius 90 degree high banked left hand-er. Jonathan rips through the corner. Wholly crap! With my lack of experience in fast track cars, I say to myself, “I have to trust this guy I just met an hour ago”.
Turn 10 is a less severe banked fast right to Turn 11 which feels like a roller coaster ride through those three turns.
The D2 accelerates hard through Turn 12 to Turn 13 which is an off camber left. Set up is key to maintain speed. Turn 14 is a sweeping right up hill to a fast Turn 15. Turn 16 is a tricky off camber to the front straight. Accelerate too hard, you will be sent right into the pit wall. Proof of this are several black marks along it.
This first lap ended, my head was swimming as we take on lap two. Oh yeah, breeeath. I forgot to breath. Lap two was better but head was still swimming. For me, thankfully that was the last of the first session as the the electronic instrument pod became loose and we headed back into the pits.
An hour later, I went out again and really enjoyed the multiple laps Jonathan and I took. Two reasons: 1) I knew the track 2) I breathed through the whole run.
The Palatov Motorsport D2 was fast, nimble and handled so well. A fantastic Track Car that you can drive from home to the track and back with a great amount of fun. It does get a lot of attention because of the styling. I can only imagine what the D2RS could do to this track!
All of us at My Life at SPEED are excited to be covering Palatov Motorsport 2015 PPIHC efforts. I look forward to the models Palatov Motorsport is developing for Track and Street with the continuation growth of their brand.
Here is the Palatov Motorsport Pikes Peak promo video from my track day with Palatov Motorsport.