Monday, August 27, 2007

Yes, That's Me!

Can you see me in there? Not only am I working on my driving, I'm working on my Spanish at the same time. :-)

Sport Chrono

Hit the PASM button. Hit the Sport button. Keep the PSM (Porsche Stability Management) on. Hit the Trip button. Hit the Sport Display option. Select Start Trip. Trigger the Sport Chrono...

That's how you get the best results from the GT3. That's how we'll be running in Mexico.

The Sport Chrono logs your laps, via a manual trigger. See these results from a few laps on Saturday (day 1 at The Glen) under extreme heat conditions.

As soon as Paralleles updates their software and I can once again boot Windows XP, I'll post my Traqmate lap times... which show MUCH more impressive results. And, if anyone knows how to set the Sport Chrono lap counter to work from an outboard, non-manual trigger let me know in the comments, please!

La Carrera Practice: Complete

Overnight, a cold front came through. There was rain. There was lightning. Lots of lightning. The temperature dropped about 20°... and that made Day 2 at The Glen MUCH more pleasant.

Uncle Bill was rather adamant about safety. The PCA runs really safe events, and today, for some reason, there was a VERY aggressive level of safety. Lots of cars got black flagged, mostly due to the comfort level of the corner workers.

I got a ride early in the morning with Ed and was really able to step up my game in the afternoon. With temperatures down, and overcast skies, pressure in my tires stabilized. Plus, picking up a few great tips from Ed in the morning during our ride around the circuit let me drop about 12 seconds off of my times. Consistently.

My old skill level returned, and I was pleased.

A few pictures from the day:

Heading to Turn 17.

Entering the front straight.


The brake zone... with traffic.

Of course, after all of that driving, the GT3 got a little dirty...

Thanks, Metro NY PCA. An event well done.

Next stop for the GT3: Mexico!

Day 1 at The Glen

One of the good things about Demetri, is that he HATES to be late. The track opens at 6:30am. It's 12 miles away. Demetri and Ed are in their trucks heading to the track by 5:45am.

"Sure guys, I'll get ice. You go get a good spot, ok?"

Suckers. I got an extra 5 minutes of sleep.

Saturday was a rough day. You already read how Ed fixed my seat, so I'll skip that part. The weather was hot and humid. Bright sun. Seriously hot and humid. I had a very hard time keeping pressures stable. I'd leave with pressures at 27/34 and I'd come back in with temperatures at 34/42. With 42psi in the rear tires, the car does not feel good. At all. (Obviously, right?)

So, Saturday was about taking it easy. I was following other 911s around, reclaiming my visible land marks. Watching how other drivers handled certain sections of the track. Not much brake work you could do at those temperatures, and without control of pressures, it was not very safe to push it. So, heeding the warnings of EVERYONE, I kept things calm.

It was a good day. But not a great day.

One other good thing about Demetri is that he hates it when it's hot out, so his trailer is air conditioned. We spent a LOT of time in that trailer. It made the day tolerable. At one point, Ed and I fell asleep on the chairs we had setup in the trailer. A 20 minute "power nap" kept us going that day...

Here's a picture of Demetri's 914, aka "The Atomic Creamsicle":

Here's a picture of Ed's 996, aka "Faster Than Demetri":

Day 2 report to follow...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Getting There…

…is NOT half the fun.

Demetri and Ed were supposed to meet me at the hotel Friday evening. They were all sorts of late, thanks to the Cross Bronx, so they crashed my lunch with Rory. Then we were off.

We hit traffic at the Delaware Water Gap, then at the 380 split, then where 380 turns in to 81, then somewhere on 17. Then the rain came. And that's an understatement. It was a torrential down pour. Constant "Emergency Broadcast System" messages. Lots of lightning... and I'm driving on Pilot SPort Cups. Not a good spot to be in. Thankfully, I have a rear fog light. :-p

All in all, it took about 5 hours to drive the 238 miles from Hasbrouck Heights, NJ to Horseheads, NY

At one point, we pulled off for a fuel stop. I came back from buying a water and there was a crowd of "kids" around the GT3. We didn't want to get back on the road because of the traffic, so we got some directions from the crowd of "kids". The dudes in the Sentra (pictured below) gave us a lead around the construction delay.
When we got to Horseheads, we had to make a quick stop while Ed looked for some trailer parts. We hit TSC and got a few things, including a photo of this HOT HOT HOT Mustang:

We grabbed dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse in Horseheads, NY... then retired to the Best Western. What do you want from me? Everything else was booked?

Next stop: Watkin's Glen International Raceway!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not A Good Way…

…to start the day.

When I picked up the car from the warehouse on Friday, the seat would not move forward all the way. Thanks to some quick thinking from Ed Newman, he found a small bolt in the track of the seat. After a little poking and prodding... no problem. All was well.

Or was it?

Ed was concerned about that bolt. Where'd that bolt come from? Was it an important bolt? So, before I could say, "Don't worry about it... he pulled the seat, found where the bolt came from and presto-change-o it was fixed.

Now, if only it were as easy to fix my driving!

More pics to follow... but for right now, we're on our way to Phil D'Amato's house. Phil is the former general manager of Habberstad BMW. He retired last year to a town about 40 minutes from The Glen. When he heard we were in town, he invited us over for dinner. (I'm blogging from the back of Ed's mega-turbo-diesel truck!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

La Carrera Practice at Watkin's Glen

Tomorrow after work, I embark on the last day of practice for The Unlimited Class at La Carrera Panamericana. I'll take a cab to the warehouse (an undisclosed location) to pick up the GT3 and head to The Glen.

No, not that "Glen".

The Glen.

I really enjoy driving that track. It's challenging. Long. And driving with the Porsche Club of America is always a pleasure. They always manage to run events that have the perfect balance between safety and enjoyment.

Maybe we'll even get to see the prettier side of Upstate New York Wine Country.

Full recap and photos to follow. It's sure to be a fun weekend...

Oh, and sorry Mike. I really want to go to your party, but I need to do this. For a variety of reasons.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Spare Parts

When you run these kind of long distance driving events, you generally want to have some spares. It'd suck to do all this prep work, pay all the fees, ship the car... and then get knocked out after the first day due to equipment failure. Yeah, that'd suck.

It's not really that practical for us to bring massive amounts of spares and support staff, so we're gonna run with the bare minimums of what we think we'll need. Below, is what I'm thinking we'll take to keep the car up and running for the 7 day trek across Mexico.

Spares & Supplies
  • Spare front wheel and tire
  • Spare rear wheel and tire
  • 4x containers of ATE Super Blue Fluid
  • 4x Quarts Mobil1
  • Power Bleeder
  • Belt Set
  • Garmin nuvi 660 with Map of Mexico
  • Anything else reco'd by Thom...
Prep Work
  • Helmet Radios (Hardwired)
  • Rally Computer (Hardwired)
  • Completed Cage
  • Power Bleeder
  • Window Nets x2
  • Hood Pins
  • Roll Cage Camera Mount

Do you think we're missing any key items? Let us know in the comments...

La Carrera Panamericana

La Carrera Panamericana, or "The Mexican Road Race" was held from 1950 through 1954. The route followed the full length of Mexico from south to the north. From sea-level to altitudes reaching over 10,000 feet. It encompassed 2,100 miles in just 6 days.

The original concept was to create a race commemorating the opening of the Pan-American Highway. The highway began at the border with Guatemala in the south and linked Mexico with the United States in the north. Publicity from the race was intended to draw attention of American tourists to the newly paved highway. Auto manufacturers saw the race as an opportunity to add the Panamericana to their list of bragging rights for racing, reliability, and performance. Soon, La Carrera became a world championship event, as recognizable as Le Mand and the Mille Miglia on the International motorsports rally circuit. It was the only race that featured American stock cars competing alongside European sports cars. Ferrari, Porsche, and Lincoln quickly became the stars of La Carrera.

Most teams carried heavy sponsorship and carried a plethora of logos as well as wild and exotic graphics proudly displayed on their cars. The lincoln factory team painted cartoon characters on the hoods of their cars to tell them apart. Mexican actress Jacqueline Evans de Lopes had a memorial portrait of Eva Peron on the hood and doors of her Porsche 356. Porsche took the "Carrera" name to use on it's 911 and the term "Hot Rod Lincoln" was created at La Carrera Panamericana,

The race of 1955 did not happen due to many deaths, increasing speeds, and growing unruly spectators...

In 1988, the race was resurrected.

2007 is the 20th running of "La Carrera Panamericana" and the second year of an open, "Unlimited Class" which allows for more "moderne" cars to participate. The route runs from El Camaron in Oaxaca in the south to Monterrey in Zacatecas in the north.

This year, we'll be campaigning a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3. The car is being prepared by Porsche of Huntington and will be driven by Emil Rensing and Keri Rensing. This blog will chronicle the prep, training, and race for everyone to follow...