May 31, 2005
So, I'm doing this drivers ed event in a couple of weeks so I'm looking at what I can do to prepare the car. Brake fluid is one option. My dealer said that they haven't changed the fluid since I started using them in Aug 03 but they have been checking it's level and clarity. So, it's probably time for a fluid change. The dealer uses an OEM fluid using in Benz, Audi or Porsche and it's DOT-4. The DOT indicates the dry and wet boiling points, higher is better. My Ferrari friend uses ATE brake fluid and I'm now thinking of going the same way, this seems the best fluid for street and occasional track use and it's also the BMW fluid apparently.
So, will look for a local shop to change the fluid, my Porsche dealer is a 4 hour round trip from here.
I also asked about metal valves on the wheels and the dealer claimed rubber was better and leaked less. Others say metal is better at speed. I don't know right now to tell the truth so I'm leaving them alone for now.
May 29, 2005
New Cayman is killing me
So Autoweek talks about the Porsche Cayman S this week. 295 bhp and lighter than a Carrera. Laps the ring 4 seconds faster than a C2. It's cheaper, what the hell are they thinking! Why would you buy a C2 now when you can get a Cayman S.
It's side profile doesn't work for me but it looks good from the back. I don't understand what Porsche are doing but the extra two seats in a 911 are not worth 15k dollars. My kids (8 and 6) used them at the beginning but the novelty is gone now and no more. It's a 2 seater with storage behind the seats.
They also mentioned the new GT3 which looks disappointing also. 400bhp, 20 more than the current one and they threw out PASM to save weight. I think they should have given the 997S 400bhp and then made a club sport/gt3 version which is gutted to save weight. Course, they are still 100bhp down on the stock Ferrari 430. The endless models they offer now just piss me off. Ferrari have 3 models, couple, cab, stradale. Having 5k price differences between models makes no sense and has to lower their profits from the sheer number of models and additional complexity on the production line.
If anyone from Porsche is reading, how about this for a line up? They should just have a (400bhp) coupe, (410bhp) 4wd coupe, (450bhp) GT3, (400bhp) 2wd cab and (550bhp+) turbo. This also differentiates the 911 from the Boxster/Cayman. I hate the idea of the carrera which has gotta be just penny pitching at Porsche. The Cayman S is probably a better car than the C2 and cheaper.
I'm afraid Porsche will turn in to Aston Martin with the 911 becoming, God forbid, a DB9. Their sports cars will not be 911s, the boxster and cayman are the sports cars, drivers cars, the 911 is a grand tourer from the looks of things.
May 28, 2005
Drivers Ed and safety equipment
I'm going to the June 13th drivers education track day in Brainerd International Speedway. So, time to buy a helmet. I'd looked at Bell helmets online and the M2 or M2 Pro (lighter) were my choices. I also wanted a Hans Device figuring it's the safest setup without ripping the car apart. But, noone will sell a Hans online so I went to the Hans Device site to find a dealer. This was very fortunate as we'll soon see.
The dealer was in Oakdale MN, Apex Spg. I phoned to see if they were open this morning (Sat) and the guy said he'd meet me at the store at 12pm. So, hopped in the car and the place was pretty easy to find.
The owners name was Jim Bryant and this guy was just awesome. He's an instructor for the Porsche club and BMW club and has a race prepped Porsche 944 which looked very nice. He asked first about my experience and then sized me for a helmet. He measured my head using a tape first and then produced a Bell M2 which fit pretty snug. I had even pressure across my brow and it was against my cheeks. He then tried twisting the helmet left and right (looking to see that my skin moved) and then asked me to look up and to my left and did some more tests. Then lean forward and he tried to pull the helmet off and then I'm fitted.
Then he measured my neck for the Hans device but the one in stock was too big for me. A smaller one was coming next week. The hans is very light. This model was 860 bucks and the 'pro' was 1300 but the normal one is so light, it's a marginal improvement. I asked if with the Hans, the M2 Pro helmet was worth it and he said no. Without the Hans, get the M2 Pro (it's lighter) with the Hans, the Hans negates the benefit of the lighter Pro although in a side impact, the pro would still have an edge. Then I just put it on and asked how it works in my car and then he realised I didn't have a 6 pt belt. OOPS. It doesn't work without a racing seatbelt setup. I then said, ok, what else can I do.
So, he showed me new front seats and a seat belt harness that goes behind the front seat between the pillars. I'd then use a 5/6 pt seat belt and the Hans works. I can still use my normal 3pt for day to day. All these mods can be done with no drilling and are reversible. Total cost would be between 300-800 for one seat and 300 for the rest. I'm thinking about that right now but didn't pull the trigger.
What else? I said. He showed me a D-Cell device. This was about 20% less effective than a Hans but it's all relative. According to some stats I've seen, no device gives a neck strain of around 11000 (3000 is fatal) in a 60mph collision. The Hans was 2100, the D-cell 2500. So big improvement over nothing but not as good as Hans BUT doesn't require car mods. He also showed me an R3 which looks like a Hans but doesn't require mods. The R3 looks better. I've decided to get the D-Cell for now (480 bucks) but just noticed the R3 is available and is approved for NASCAR and I may switch to that but need to make my mind up quickly.
I bought some sparco gloves (X-Pro) and a sparco balaclava to try absorb sweat.
So, all in all, bought my helmet, gloves and a balaclava today and have a D-Cell on order. Jim was great, very knowledgable, no bullshit kind of guy. I spent 2 hours with him talking about various aspects of safety and if you're in the area, you gotta visit him.
May 20, 2005
RUF superchargers, not so sure
So, RUF has a 996 supercharger for 20k. Tempting but when you reason it out, it makes no sense, at least not for me.
My car has tiptronic, the turbo has a reinforced tiptronic, will mine be up to it? Not clear. Brakes and suspension etc.
I figure the 20k is the tip of the iceberg cost wise, plus, my warranty would be shot. It looks a lot cheaper to just buy a used Turbo for maybe 30k on top of my car, so thats the plan when I switch.
There are others with cheaper superchargers but I'm worried about reliability. RUF have modified the engine internals for theirs to 'improve reliability' so with RUFs reputation I think they are needed.
May 03, 2005
Michelin Pilot Sport 2 again
Liking these more and more. They look pretty cool on the car. A friend commented that they look a lot like a slick tire rather than an all weather. There is a rim protector on the tire also, haven't tried washing the car in a car wash yet though despite this. The car is a little low with the 35s on.
I was in Stuttgart last week and noticed the car washes there don't have the rim destroying high guide rail that American ones do so people may actually be able to wash their cars in Germany. I'd love to find a local car wash with the same feature.