RSR Rendez-vous May 1999
After a week of sunshine and fair winds, we came back to warm
temperatures and a change of seasons. To make it official, Saturday
March 27th was spring. This isn’t based on any Druidic notion having
to do with the length of the day or the smog over Stonehenge. On this
day, Louise happily announced that her crocus were visible, making it
officially, spring and by definition, Porsche season once again!
More than just a chalk-talk! Skid School!
As you’ve probably read already, Track Chair Mike Delaney has
organized a really exciting kick-off to the season. Traditionally, we
begin the track season with “Ground School” covering the theory of
driving in a classroom. We cover driving inputs, weight transfer,
contact patches, car balance and all the other things needed to drive
a car properly. This is worth attending especially if you don’t
intend to go on to Driver’s Ed.
This year will be something really special. On May 15th we’ll meet at
the PMG facility in Blainville. If you don’t know it, this is where the
Feds test cars for compliance. The facility is huge with a steeply
banked oval for high speed testing and a mongo skidpad. Imagine
Fairview’s parking lot, perfectly flat with no lamp standards.
Have you ever been intimidated by the berms around the skidpad at
Tremblant? You know, your instructor is saying ” look where you want
the car to go” while you are thinking …” he wants me to turn the car
sharply while I’m going too fast and all I can see is that damn grass
slope coming at me, yeah, sure.” If you’ve had that feeling, you’ll
like Blainville. There are no distractions in the form of solid
obstacles to hit.
The morning session will be basic theory. Lunch at noon and by one P.M.
we head off to the pad to apply what we’ve learned in the morning.
Threshold braking, oversteer, understeer, skid control and recovery.
This will be a lot more fun than staring at a contact patch. We’ll be
able learn the right seating position and mirror adjustment right in the
car. These things are a lot easier to demonstrate than to explain.
…”Lessee now, he said to cross my legs over my left arm and touch the
top of the wheel with my heel, or was it with my wrist …;
How many of us have ever skidded or lost it while driving a Porsche? The
performance envelope of these cars is so big that you can’t get anywhere
near a skid unless you’re already way beyond the limits of common sense.
Before Sunday shopping, big parking lots gave us a chance to practice
but those days are over.
At PMG we’ll get to feel and understand what happens when our cars
skid or even spin -without- nasty consequences. We should never skid,
but sooner or later “stuff” happens and it really pays to know what to
do when it does. You don’t have to bring your P-car but I strongly
recommend that you do. The cost is $25 per person to cover the rental
of the facility and lunch. YOU WILL HAVE TO REGISTER IN ADVANCE! This
event is open to members and associates. PMG is about 15 minutes North
of the merge of Decarie and Hwy. 40. I bet there’s a map in this issue
By the way, by PCA rules this event is classified (deemed!) to be an
autocross so we’ll have to wear helmets. Bring one if you have it.
We’ll have some loaners available too.
Many thanks to Auto Strasse!
John Raymond has joined us for a co-op deal. Anyone buying a Porsche
from Auto Strasse (new or used) will be automatically enrolled in PCA and
Rennsport. In return, Rennsport will provide a free DEW to the new
member making it a winner for everyone. In time I hope this program will
spread to all the Porsche dealers in our region. Watch this space for
news! With Porsche sales going like a rocket, we may stand a chance to
win the “Fastest Growing Region ” award of PCA. The only downside is that
John has made me promise to buy new cars only from him. That was pretty
much the case anyway so I’ll manage. Besides I want a Turbo New Beetle, an
Audi S6, TT and of course the 996 GT3. That should keep me going for
the next 20 years or so.
Rennsport In The One Lap:
By the time you read this, Gary and Paddi Griffiths, Raffael Papalia,
John Raymond and Kapriyel Ferrah (and perhaps others) will be busy
making last minute adjustments to their cars in preparation for the One
Lap of America. Last year, Rennsporters were outstanding in this very
tough competition featuring some of the best cars and drivers in the
world. The event kicks off on May 15th. If you want to follow it, try
the Car and Driver web site.
The dates have been moved up this year to avoid conflicts with Le Mans.
Does this give you a clue as to how big an event this has become?
Drivers complained that they could not do both events last year. Did I
mention that Gary and Paddi were 7th overall and 1st in class? In 1998
all the Rennsport teams did us proud collecting wins and honors. As a
group I believe we had the biggest number of wins and top ten finishes
in class. Not bad heh? The Griffiths are busy flying to various tracks to
learn them in advance of the event. John Raymond and Kapriyel Ferrah have
ordered the latest 996 mit all der go-fast goodies the factory offers.
Raffaele Papalia is no doubt prepping his car to the “nth” degree. I hear
that they’ve been sharpening their skills at the indoor go-kart tracks
all winter. The best of luck to you all!
Since Skid School and Driver’s Ed. require a helmet, here are a few tips
about buying one. PCA accepts helmets with a Snell Foundation rating of
M90, M95 SA90 and SA95. The “M” signifies Motorcycle. These are usually
cheaper and more easily available than the SA or “Sport Auto” versions.
The “90” is the 1990 spec which while still acceptable to PCA will be
phased out very soon. The current specification is ’95’ and you should
look for it.
The difference between the motorcycle and auto helmets has to do with
certification of fire resistance and secondary impacts. I suspect that
there is no physical difference in the helmets themselves, but
manufacturers avoid the additional certification expense of SA95 on all
but a few models. For Driver’s Ed. you can use either type. The bike
helmets are usually cheaper. You may find open face helmets meeting
M95 but they aren’t as common. Forget those W.W.II German army
helmets you favored by some HD riders though, they’re symbolic rather
I prefer open face helmets for DE. We are riding in enclosed cars
after all. The full-face helmet can get kinda warm in the summer and
worse still, anything you say while wearing one comes out muffled
…sort of like mfhhmp-mmmum-fmmupmph. Consider the following
scenario: You are riding in my car. The negative gravity of Turn
one and the hump makes you want to up-chuck. You are saying ” please pit
now I want to be violently ill!”. What I hear is “mmmmph-de-muummph-de-
mumpph”. Since I’m not a dentist, I don’t understand and … well you
One thing that people tend to forget is that the 911 is a pretty tight
fit for taller drivers. If you find your head within 2.5 inches of the
headliner when normally seated look for a helmet with a low profile.
This varies from brand to brand and I’ve seen about an inch difference
between two otherwise equal helmets. I for one never understood why
guys like Ralph Papalia and Rick Robertson ever bought 911’s in the
first place. Try sitting in Ralph’s car someday. Can *you* see over
the dash? His seat is so low it must touch the ground. Rick, on the
other hand prefers the contortionist and pain method. He has to tilt
the seat back so far I’m surprised he’s isn’t accused of snoozing
behind the wheel.
Your helmet should fit very snugly. Most people buy them way too loose.
If you need a haircut, get one BEFORE you shop for a new helmet. When
you try it on, one finger stuck inside between your cheek and the
helmet liner should be very snug. It also leaves room for an intercom.
Your instructor will probably want to use one so that you can hear each
other, especially if you have a full face jobbie.
See you all at PMG on May 15th!
Porsche .. life is short, corner smooth