Rendez-vous July 1999 – Track Season ’99

RSR Rendez-vous July 1999


Track Season ’99:

What a start to the driving season! Ground/skid school was a blast.
Perfect weather and a large turn-out. Mike Delaney and Peter Korsos
did a great job organizing things in spite of a conflict with the
autocross school. Mike also turned out to be a great chef.

We had a ball in spite of my being chosen to stand in the middle and
flag cars left or right in the emergency lane change exercise. We
had Porsches of all descriptions slipping and sliding every which
way on the wet “Genite” surface. The benefits of ABS were 
spectacularly obvious. Chris Paine got some astounding video of a
sliding 911. Ask him for a copy by email!

The big excitement was after the event. A few of us drove down the
road to a Cage-Au Sports to uhh, “refresh” ourselves after spending
the day in blistering heat and sun. Leaving the parking lot in a
convoy of Porsches and a big yellow Pirelli truck, the truck-driver
(who shall remain nameless) wasn’t as smooth as he should be. One of
the BBQ’s in the back decided to bail out (nauseous perhaps) on
route 117. There was a lot of traffic. Peter (oops I didn’t mean to
say that) had a helluva time coaxing the BBQ back into the truck
while dodging traffic. We were in a bit of a hurry though since we
had a dinner party to go to.

At this point in the story, I’m nominating Nicole and Michel
Galarneau for the “good sport” award. While we were re-hydrating
ourselves at La Cage, Louise innocently asked “don’t the Galarneau’s
live nearby?”. Korsos whips out a cell phone and two minutes later,
we had invited ourselves to dinner at the Galarneau’s!

Not that we arrived empty handed mind you, we stopped by a
supermarket and loaded up on steaks and salad. Remember that we had
two BBQ’s and the world’s supply of condiments left over from lunch.
Still, receiving seven unexpected dinner guests on ten minutes
notice is good enough to win the award in my book. By the way, when
we arrived (a grotty looking crew) Michel was watching old F1 races
on a mongo big screen. He observed that he enjoyed watching the
older races, they were more exciting. Delaney quipped “yeah, back
when racing was dangerous and sex was safe”.

I had never been to Galarneau’s before (a beautiful home) and I was 
really impressed with his garage. One Porsche smack in the middle of 
it, lots of tools, overhead hoist and nothing cluttering up the 
“Porsche Space”. By “nothing” I mean garden tools, plant food, 
flower pots, dirt bags (or is that bags of dirt) and all the other 
non essentials that pollute a – man’s – garage. I’m striking a blow
for men here and I’m gonna pay dearly for it when Louise reads this.

DEW I:

First the good news! The bumps are fixed! The bad news was that they 
had been fixed just two days before our season opener. With 30 degree 
temperatures and plenty of hot sun, the newly paved sections were 
way too soft. The repairs are not limited to just the braking and 
apex areas of seven. Quite a few other spots including a big area at 
Paddock Bend were also fixed. To help the patches cure, Vince 
packed the surface with cement dust. 

After whining about the bumps for years now, we had no desire to 
ruin the sections by braking and cornering on them. To this end, 
Peter and Mike built chicanes. It was a new track. The chicanes 
were so tight that any autocross experience was an advantage. 

It was also exciting. Red was out first on Saturday and I had Rob 
Martin riding shotgun. I managed the first chicane gracefully 
(Martin may have a different opinion) but I crawled through the 
second. I had no idea which side to enter from. All I could see was 
a field of red pylons. You should know that I am lousy with pylons, I 
“conefuse” easily. 

The excitement was waiting for us after Namerow’s. Coming around 
Paddock bend, we were confronted with an impenetrable wall of 
cement dust, zero visibility. Was there a car in that smoke? 
No way to tell. In NASCAR the rule is to aim your car for the 
smoke. The idea is that whatever caused the smoke is no longer where 
the smoke is now. DE isn’t NASCAR so we approached very slowly. A 
few more laps took care of the dust and it was clear sailing 
thereafter. 

New Teaching Technique?

I laughed at the Spring Instructor day when Ciaran O’Sullivan wrote
on his evaluation form ” is it normal for my instructor to slap me?”
I thought it was a bit unusual. Now I’m not so sure. Remember that
Rob Martin was riding with me. He’s one of our most (if not The
Most) Senior Instructors. Imagine my surprise in the “esses” when
he politely told me “if you go that fast again I’m gonna slap you”! 
I’m going to check the updated sections of the Rennsport Instructor
Manual.

With perfect weather, everyone had a great time. Dinner at Le Shack 
was great, as usual, and equally as usual, I did not win the $%#@ 
tires. Making matters worse, Al Carbone, sitting right in front of me 
did win the @$%#! tires. He wasn’t very gracious about it either. 
“Gee Bob should I put my new tires on the front or the back of the 
car? Oh Bob, how many times haven’t you won the tires?” You get the 
picture. 

There were number of bright spots though. I had Julie Charbonneau
(George Grivakis’ S.O.) as a student. Watch out guys, she’s very
talented and, drives George’s car (you know, the one with about 700
HP). By Sunday she was right on the line and very smooth (need I say
quick?). For those poor guys who still think that hammering the gas
and brake pedals is quicker, remember that even on George’s car, the
brakes are more powerful than the engine and remove speed a lot
faster than the engine can put it back. That’s just one of the
reasons that smoother is faster and safer. If you don’t emulate
Julie, you’ll be seeing her often – in your rear view mirrors.

I got to ride with Marty Robinson in his Boxster. Great fun! His
car sticks like superglue and exhibits no bad habits that I could 
discern. This was especially noticeable on Turn One. Speaking for 
911 drivers, “One” is uncomfortable. Turning up the hill, the rear 
weight bias (made worse by the slope) makes for slow progress. I’ve 
been in a lot of front engined Porsches and all of them climb that 
hill like a monorail. So does the Boxster. 

The engine has a Porsche flat-six sound in spite of the water
cooling. The aerodynamics work well; Unlike the 911, there is little
wind noise and buffeting inside the cabin in spite of both windows
being down. Transitions like the esses and the chicanes showed off
the superb balance of the mid engine chassis. Technically speaking
the “low polar moment” made the car feel like it was rotating about
its mid-point instead of hauling the back-end around. Different
from a 911 and better. It makes me wonder why Porsche doesn’t use
the Boxster platform for racing. 

One for Ripley’s!

On Sunday, Howard from Talon suggested that he switch my front tires 
side to side to even out the wear. His crew jacked up the car and 
swapped the wheels. Since I had just come in, they had to wait to 
torque the wheels. Do not torque wheels when the rotors and hubs are 
hot! You may either: a) not be able to remove the wheel, or b) have 
the wheel come loose! 

At the end of the day while packing up, I noticed that the special
socket used to unlock the wheel nut was missing. We turned the car
inside-out looking for it. No luck. Howard was beside himself
thinking that one of his crew had misplaced it. On Monday while
removing accumulated brake dust, what did I find sticking out of my
left front wheel? Yeah, the lock! It had been there the whole time.
It endured two run groups on the track and the drive from Tremblant
to Beaconsfield. Was it stuck on? Nope, two fingers pulled it
gently from the wheel nut. Amazing!

But are they allowed at DEW?

Driving home a few nights ago, I noticed a Hyundai Tiburon beside me 
at the light. It had silver lettering on the panel behind the door: 

Suspension Design By
PORSCHE

The last word being the proper “Eurostyle” word-mark of our favorite 
brand. Car and Driver tests the car (without badges) in the current 
issue and were very impressed by the suspension. They speculated 
about it having been done by Porsche or Lotus. Now we know. The 
question is, does “Suspension by Porsche” qualify the car for DE?
For that matter, will there be a movie about racing called “On any 
Hyundai? I think I better stop now.

See you July 10-11!

Bob

Porsche … more than just coffee pots and toasters!

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