August 28, 2005
GT4 compared with real thing
So, having played GT4 in a GT3 and now driven my car on a track, what was the difference? I now find it very hard to stay on the track on GT3 because I can't feel how much traction there is. You can feel how much grip you've got in a real car and this tells you when you're turning whether you're too hot and how much at a given point can you turn in more. You can't feel any of that in the game so it's a lot harder to stay on the track as a result.
This is the main difference. GT4 is a lot harder to drive than the real thing as a result. My car with everything stock is pretty forgiving also. It seems like the GT3 has almost no grip in the game even with soft tires on when compared with my C4 on the track.
Still playing GT4 though just to practise lines. There were a lot of increasing and decreasing turns at MAM and it's interesting putting that experience to work in the game. The racing line is a lot different than what I was doing before and I'm quicker than before.
Anyway, yep, it's different. The real thing seems easier. Plus, in the real thing you're a lot more careful, even a little off can cost you big time so that coupled with the car feel is what keeps me on the track.
August 24, 2005
Ari in a T16 doing pikes peak
Check this out. Ari in a T16 blasting up pikes peak. It's insane, check out the drop on his side at the top.
August 18, 2005
Tekron: A Porsches best friend
So, I picked up the car with a bottle of chevron tekron fuel injector/chamber/valve cleaner and put it in the car. After about 40 miles at 4/5k rpm, I tried knocking the car around with some second/third gear 100% accelerations, one 2/3/4 effort but not maxing in 4th :) and some triangle throttle inputs in 2nd and no CEL so the cleaner seems to be helping.
The dealer changes two spark plugs on the misbehaving cylinders under warranty and I asked him to change the oil as I'm heading to Brainerd a week Monday for another school with DonnyBrook and I've another 2 weeks after also. I was hoping to make the PCA DE Sept 29th there but I'm in China and may not be able to get back in time, plus, it's no circuit to be jetlagged on.
Total cost for this trip was the oil change which was 140 bucks. The brakes don't seem so bad to me tonight also, I am having to apply firmer pressure but the response was good tonight.
Anyway, I just want to banish my CEL and it looks like the cleaner is doing that. I'll run Amoco gas from now on in it as it has a detergent in the gas and will probably run tekron through the car every 3k miles.
Mystery of CEL light goes on
I was having intermittent CELs at the MAM event. The old theory was a throttle position sensor alignment problem. The garage checked the faults logged and all they are finding is misfires in 2 and 5, nothing else.
He's saying now it's one of three things:
- Bad spark plug
- Injector problem at high rpms
- Carbon build up
We don't think it's carbon as the DE would have cleaned up out and I've used tekron in the fuel a couple of times to clean the injectors. They are checking the spark plugs now but they will likely show up clean.
Replacing injectors is also an option but at this point, there is no evidence that they are the problem. All I can say is bugger, was hoping to have this settled before we head to Brainerd in a week and a half.
Update: Michelin Pilot Sport 2s
At the DE event, they were great. They worked as well as can be expected in the rain on the track and the car felt good to me when it was dry. There were instructors with cars like mine running on Bridgestone SO2s who were wishing they had PS/2s on.
One said, the PS2 is pretty close to the Pilot CUP whilst remaining drivable in the wet.
Noise wise, they are ok, I hear a ringing on concrete highways but it's fine and I was comfortable during the 5 hour drive back from MAM on Sunday. I don't remember noise being an issue at all.
Wearwise, they look fine. Of course, the DE wore them a little but there is still plenty of thread left.
Weatherwise, I haven't had any issues with them either.
Update: EBC RedStuff Ceramic
Prior to the DE event, I was happy with these. After the DE event, these brakes are definitely lacking low temperature bite. If I do a few hard applications in a row then they start to feel good again but right now when they are cold, they don't bite at all well so much so that I'm extending my braking distances under normal driving conditions.
August 16, 2005
MAM DE Photos
Here are some shots John took at the event. The first shot is just both cars at the event. The next shot is me entering one of the chicanes.
Bert Frichot apparently has some awesome pictures of the event. He's a professional photographer and is the son of Chuck who was my instructor. He's posting shots he took at the event and they should be really cool. He covers these types of event so if you're organizing one then it may be worth giving him a call to be the photographer for the event.
August 15, 2005
First Drivers Education Event completed
What a blast! Finished my first drivers ed, and managed to stay on the track despite the first days rain. Yep, the curse continues. Went to Brainerd and it rained us out. When we got to the track on Friday evening, it was ok but on Saturday it was raining till 2pm ish. The days were organised in to 20 minutes sessions for everyone in the morning and the same in the afternoon except the non-novices got 30 minute runs.
There were 5 run groups from novices to instructors at the top. The first day was session/class/session/class and in a way, it was good that it was raining because it kept the speed way down. My instructor Chuck Frichot was great and his best advice is what I keep hearing from everyone, keep it slow, concentrate on the line and you'll get quicker eventually, it just takes track time. He's on the money. My best line laps were when I was taking it easy. I figure it'll be a while before I can do consistent laps from a line point of view.
It's very easy to get lost on the track. I had a brain fart on turn 4 every lap on my third session with Sean Cahill. I'd come out on to it and just go blank until turn 5 when my brain started working again. John was saying the same thing. Maybe corner numbers on flags or something would be helpful for novices or drivers new to the track as a way to remind them. This was less of a problem on later sessions though.
The track is nice, I like it. The turns are complex, in that there are few true corners, most are multi-corner increasing or decreasing apex corners but I felt very safe on the track, there is nothing to hit. If you do go off in the rain then the car sinks in mud so the trick is don't go off. It's hard to clean the car afterwards.
The event it-self felt very, very safe. The rules are sensible, no passing, only pass when indicated by the slower driver, one car per indication, slow down to let the other car pass. Keep your distance when behind a slower car. When everyone plays by the rules then it works really well. The PCA guys were cool and did a great job.
Chuck brought me out in his car, a race prepped 600bhp 993 turbo so that was fun. The track was still wet when we went out so it was getting out of shape in places but I wasn't worried in the car. It had a full race setup safety wise, I had my R3, it was as safe as we could make it and there is nothing to hit on the track except mud. I just sat back and enjoyed it while watching the line he was taking. It's much easier to study the line as a passenger that when driving, less to think about.
The R3 wasn't a problem at all. I was the only student with one but there you go. It didn't hinder me at all during the sessions and I was glad of it. Best 1000 bucks I've spent. I didn't use my gloves or my head sock. I didn't really sweat in the car at all although John was dripping in the Ferrari when he finished the last session.
The car was absolutely awesome. Handled very neutral, braked very well, did everything well. No need for upgrades at the moment for sure besides an obvious upgrade, me. I'm the weakest link and I will be for a long while. I didn't have trouble staying in my seats etc so upgrading to buckets has been put on the backburner. I'm also delaying upgrading the suspension etc, I'm not Porsche limited here. It's all me. So, I may head with John to a racing school like Skip Barber rather than spend another buck on the car.
Tiptronic is awesome on the track. I used it in manual mode and clicked down when under heavy braking and it delays the shift till it's safe and then it just does it with no interruption in traction. It shifts up automatically. I had a problem with the shift up as it is shifting a little to close to the rev limiter. So, sometimes the limiter would kick in as it shifted and I'd get a CEL at that point. After this happened a few times, the CEL stayed on. This screwed up my last session as it was hard to focus in a car with a CEL when you have to drive it 350 miles home that night. So, my last session was crap.
I brought the car to a factory mechanic who was there and he said it was the throttle position sensor which was out of alignment. So, I'm not so worried. I'll get it fixed. The CEL is out this morning.
One mad thing is my brakes. On the track they were awesome. Very good. But, last night and this morning they feel worn out. I'm wondering if it's just in my head. I mean, after using them on the track when they are very hot, they are awesome. When they are cold, they don't have the same bite. I guess I can't expect them to perform the same way as they do on the track on the road. I'll check the pads this week for wear.
The tires (Michelin Pilot Sports/2) worked very well, tons of grip for my level of driving and on my best session they got a little greasy towards the end but still very predicable and the car handles the same, it just drifted a little more.
The other thing is there were much less expensive cars there kicking ass. A dude in run group 2 in a mini cooper S was flying till he cooked his brakes. He was catching a C06 on the corners. There was also a guy in a Honda Civic with a claimed 1900lb weight and 132bhp at the wheels. He was leaving John in the Ferrari for dead on the straight and was very fast. Thats a cheap car for some major fun and just goes to show that a fun/dollar is not in Porsches favor. A cheap light car with a small motor but prepped for a track is a ton of fun and a lot less expensive to start in and fix when you whack it.
Overall, it was awesome. The Great Plains PCA did a great job and I really liked the track as a first track. I'll try to do it as often as they hold it next year. I'll do Brainerd in September with Nordstern but will probably be taking it easy on the long straights and instead just focus on the infield corners. A lot of concrete in BIR...
August 11, 2005
Installed fire extinguisher
I bought a 2.5lb Halon fire extinguisher and a Brey Krause R2020 seat mount from Jim Bryant at Apex SPG. The fire extinguisher is required for the event by the local PCA chapter and to be honest, I don't mind having one in the car anyway. As usual Jim Bryant from Apex was great and got me the stuff on time with little notice. I ordered it Monday lunch time and it arrived today by UPS. I installed the seat mount tonight and it looks good. It mounts to the underneath of the seat. Porsche already has brackets on the seat and the mount just bolts on to the builtin bracket under the seat. It took me 20 minutes to install it. I didn't need to remove the seat.
It's very solid. No issues with it and the Porsche air bag disabler. The only annoyance with it is that I can't slide the seat all the way back or can't lower the seat all the way to the floor. The mount touches the floor/seat rails at those points and starts to bend the bracket. But, as the Doc says, if it hurts then don't do it.
So, almost ready, we're driving down tomorrow after lunch. If you want to see the track then click here. My Porsche 911 and Johns Ferrari 348. We should get some stares at gas stations. Thats the great thing about travelling with John, his car upstages mine big time. But, he's sick of it at this point and it mostly benefits me at the moment. Hopefully the state troopers won't notice us although with Johns exhaust, I reckon they can hear us ten miles away :)
Insured car for drivers education today
I bought a policy from American Collectors today to cover the car from any damage while at DE events. I insured it for 40k, paid 46.5k for it 2 years ago. Premium was 600 bucks and covers it while in transit, in the paddock and on the track but only for DE type events, no racing, no competition or timed events.
It also just covers the car only. The deductible if it's whacked in the paddock is 1k and while on track is 20% or 8K in my case.
I took digital photos of the car and emailed them to Oliver Morales, the admin for the insurnance company and overnighted the application and check.
Hopefully, will never have to comment on whether they pay and customer service but it's peace of mind...
This is getting expensive. So far, I haven't driven a single lap and here are my expensives so far.
Brake pad change and fluid (ATE) plus Nordstern inspection, 470.
Bell M2 Helmet plus nomex sock and gloves 600
R3 neck restraint 995
So, we're at 2k already. Next on the list is new seats with a 6 pt harness which is another 2k. Then suspension with PSS9s is 5k.
May be cheaper to forget modding the 911 and just buy an already prepped 944 or something for 10k. It's 7k just for seats and suspension. We haven't added a roll cage yet! Lets not even factor resale in to it.
August 10, 2005
RUF supercharger now available
Spotted their ad in Panorama this month and phoned them. 20k for the conversion which gives 360bhp for my 99 C4 and 380 for the 3.6L versions. It's a lot of money. They recommend an engine replacement at 80k also which is quoted at 6k euro which seems pretty cheap for a new engine. It's a lot less bhp than the competitors like EVO etc are quoting but from a reliability point of view, it looks a lot better engineered and even so, 80k is the engine life so you gotta wonder how long an engine with the EVO unit will last....
Value wise, it's got the RUF name and I wonder how much value this would add to the car versus stock. I'm pretty sure the other superchargers won't increase the value of the car and maybe you'd break even with a RUF on it, i.e. 10k+stock but who knows. I know I'd trust a Ruf job rather than the other tuners but without people to test the market it's hard to tell.
Maybe, just wait and get a 2 year old 997S is the way to go instead. Whats funny is Panorama said this month that they couldn't tell the difference between a 997 C2 and the C2S so go figure. Maybe, the way to view the S is a cheaper way to get options like PSM etc. Hard to say.
Heading to the drivers ed in MAM in Iowa on Friday for a 2 day drivers ed.
August 04, 2005
Driver death at PCA event in Watkins Glen
August 03, 2005
Karting and R3
Went karting at ProKart maple grove again last night. The R3 reduces side to side visibility substantially, I cannot see people on my left or right slightly behind and almost along side me. I've now started observed the other parts of the track closely so I can estimate when faster guys will start to get behind me. I also find that attaching the helmet to the R3 gets very hard after several sessions when your arms start to tire and the fingers stop working :)
Be interesting in Iowa to see how the R3 works in the Porsche.