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Old 05-03-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
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To track or not to track

Shortly after I bought my car, I decided to sell my motorcycle and opt for a safer goofy driving bug that must be in me. BUT, in the course of the last year, I have also built up anxieties for how I treat my car. I don't want to be a part time mechanic, and I don't want to be writing checks all the time to replace stuff. I had a great, fun day at Little Talladega, but I also felt my brain thinking " you are going to wear out your ______ [fill in the blank here] while I was driving and it really bothers me. I signed up for a DE, which I am thinking of bailing on, because I just don't want to wear out my car. So, I was thinking, I just want to enjoy this fantastic car and keep it clean and nice, but I also know that goofing around on the public roads isn't enough. Is it? Where are you with your driving enjoyment? Do you self mechanic most of your maintenance, or pay someone else? If you could drive Road Atlanta, would you, regardless of the possible cost? Geeez, I filled my car with a cloud of dust [went off track] and although that is way better than mechanical failure, it will take who knows how long to clean through the depth of the powder, which makes me think what my life would be like if it was body damage or mechanical failure. I think I am paranoid about mechanical failure. Tell me about your car and your fun and your freedom.

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Old 05-03-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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FTD interestingly I had similar thoughts. I've had my 987S for a couple months now and simply love the car - everything about it. It brings back so many good memories for me and good feelings too. Probably since owning it, I've driven it with the top up, maybe 3 times - I drive virtually all the time with the top down - granted I do not drive every day.

I also considered track and DE events and was pretty excited to do these, as the salesmen and workers there all told me I had to do it, as it was "the most fun you can have with your pants on!". I was ready to sign up right then and there.

I then researched what the pros and cons were to track and DE events and came away with the feeling that it was a) addictive b) potentially very costly and potentially risky. I also posted here a youtube link about a guy flipping his car over at a DE event. I looked into the insurance aspects as I liked to be insured at all times and found out that where I am, no insurance is available for track and DE events for liability and third party, but you can get expensive DE insurance to cover damage to your car only.

I do fully respect the benefits of track and DE and racing, but for us, we'll just drive the car well within its limits, and enjoy the great feelings of the car with the top down. Maybe not the best idea of fun for someone else, but certainly fun enough for my family and I. We have other activities where we get our adrenalin fix, so excitement from driving the car to its limits isn't important to us. I know I'll never be good enough to drive that car anywhere near its limits. Now that's not saying we don't have fun though.

Always drive safe I tell my kids, but hey, it is a Pcar!

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Old 05-03-2008, 08:35 PM   #3
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Dude it's a darn Porsche.....get on the car and ride it however you want!

Just expect to replace tires and oil more often if you auto-x,d.e. or tracking it.

Here is what happened to me when I thought like you. I had my 99' for 2 years,I only saw 6k rpm ONCE,that's right ONCE in two years. Then guess what happened? I crashed it and the only regret I ever had with that car was not pushing it hard enough. Now that I have my 01' S it's a completely different scenario. This thing sees 6k once every drive. And to be honest,the more I push the car,the more faith I develop in it. It actually seems to run better when I'm pushing it into the higher rpm area.

Just maintain the car like Porsche says and you'll be good to go.

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Old 05-03-2008, 08:40 PM   #4
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blinkwatt, I hear you, trust me I do We race our boat competitively so I understand When I mean I/we have fun, trust me, we have fun

That rev limiter has been tripped many, many times.

Cheers
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:20 PM   #5
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If you can't afford to lose the cost of the car, then don't track it. Insurance will not pay for you planting it in the wall. If you want to do track/DE, then get a cheap Miata or Sentra SE-R. If you want to test your P car, autocross is pretty safe and low risk, but still some risk.
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:25 PM   #6
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Wink Ftd

I know exactly how you feel. Up till now all my cars have been so called 'practical' / slow cars. I've never had such a high performance auto. Therefore it takes time to develop that confidence to go out and really open her up. I'm still at the stage of wanting to really push my car and worried that if I do will something bad happen to the engine. The nearest porsche mechanic is 80 miles away so if any work needs to be done on it, it would be a real hassle.

So some of you boxster veterans give us some insight in how hard these cars can be 'safely' pushed. I know it may be a fine line between pushing and having a great time AND pushing too hard and asking for trouble.
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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I agree silver arrow, I understand that tracking is best with less expensive cars as they have lower startup and ongoing costs and you can drive them closer to the limit for longer. Just not my thing that's all - I'm too old.

There was a nice 997S in the dealer the other day due to "a little track mishap" - the whole front end was ripped off.

I'll just drive my car safely and slowly.

Cheers

Last edited by eqs; 05-04-2008 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:10 PM   #8
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Surely everyone must decide for themselves. A 100mph+ racetrack is probably not the best place for your first outing to learn car control.

Like Skiing, start on the bunny slopes. There is plenty of time to hit the double diamond chutes and ridges once you have mastered basic skills. I recently completed a Performance driving school where basic skills are mastered and safety and car control come first. Everyone in attendance came out a much safer and more confident driver on the street as well as the track. There was a wide range of attendees from veteran club racers honing their skills to a 17 yr old girl in her first car, to a 70 yr old grandmother learning better safety and awareness in her '68 912. I will be sending all of my kids to this next year.

Try Autocross with the PCA. It doesn't cost much, Speeds are usually much lower than track days, instructors are free, and if you hit a few cones or spin the only damage is to your ego. This is a safe and fun way to improve your driving skills.

If you do decide to go to the track, drive within your ability. if you ever get anxious or uncomfortable just slow it down or call it a day. Your fellow drivers will thank you for your wisdom. There is no reason to put your car in the weeds or worse if you keep your adrenaline in check and drive within your limits. You can still have fun and drive fast without beating your car.

There are lots of guys here with more experience at this than me (jmatta, kabel, johnV). Hopefully I have provided a little clarity as these questions were fresh in my mind 11/2 years ago. Drive safe.
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:10 AM   #9
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FTD, great topic. You have the same thoughts / concerns as I have.

I didn't do DEs with my 01S and I'm pretty certain I won't with my LE. Since this is my DD, the practical side of me can't see wadding it up and having nothing left but 4 yrs of payments. I've seen enough "harmless spins" on TV turn into rollovers. I looked into the Porsche Driving Experience thinking this would be a good way to get some education using some else's Pcar. However, at $3K it's a bit too spendy for me at this time.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:58 AM   #10
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I have done 5 autocrosses and two days at Little Talladega. I don't mind oil changes and brake flushes [now that I know how to do a brake flush]. They are too easy to pay someone else to do. And it appears that changing the brake pads are darn simple also. What I don't want is big dollar wear. I drive like a nut; after all you can take aggressive turns and enjoy the phenomenal torque on the street without being a reckless driver or speed demon. My times at autocross are nothing to sneer at, but wouldn't it be cool if I could get better, better, better? That would be satisfying. I just am feeling queasy, having listened to all the guys at these events talk about what they have been replacing or fixing - and seeing cars towed home as well. It makes my pulse zing with anxiety.
Speaking of brake flush, I composed a DIY to post, but cannot get the images loaded. I will stick a pdf out there and maybe get the rest of it laid out later. Keep an eye out! I was real pleased to learn this simple maintenance.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by husker boxster
FTD, great topic. You have the same thoughts / concerns as I have.

I didn't do DEs with my 01S and I'm pretty certain I won't with my LE. Since this is my DD, the practical side of me can't see wadding it up and having nothing left but 4 yrs of payments. I've seen enough "harmless spins" on TV turn into rollovers. I looked into the Porsche Driving Experience thinking this would be a good way to get some education using some else's Pcar. However, at $3K it's a bit too spendy for me at this time.
Exactly everything in my mind, including looking into Skip Barber and balking at the price.
So, you guys have helped! I think autocross is OK, but maybe my stomach isn't interested at this time in DE. BTW, I bought a second set of wheels for autocross so I don't damage my good looking rims and overpriced tires. I guess I better at least wear out the tires on those extra rims!
Another BTW, we had an autocross today that I didn't go to. There are a few reasons why I didn't, including some related to this topic.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:21 AM   #12
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I have done one autocross, but speeds got pretty high at the event (90+ mph). Great fun, but I did not realize it until afterwards that insurance would not cover ony damage done to the car during an event. I also have concerns on wear on the car, tires are not a small expense in our household, and my Boxster seems to eat the rears.

I think one of the other posters on this thread had good advice, if you cannot afford to fix or replace a car damaged during an autocross or DE event, you probably should not be doing it. In my case, I cannot afford to replace my boxster if damaged without insurance, so I think I am going to cool my jets with autocrossing.....

Ed

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Old 05-04-2008, 08:53 AM   #13
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well, IMHO P'cars are built to be driven fast and the only place I can do this legally is on the track.
I agree with earlier posters: Do a few Auto-X (with PCA) until you get a better feel for the car and at some point you simply know when it's time to try out your "track legs".
Again, do this with PCA, their focus is on safety, safety and safety
Both at Auto-X and track days you will ride with an instructor in the car until they find you are safe to go solo (and they are serious about this).
Initially I also was *very* worried about doing any damage to my daily driver but the car's just as fine and undamaged after almost 20 Auto-X and close to 10 track days as it was before. The reason is that at the end it's YOU who sets the speed in the car (NOBODY forces you to go faster than you feel comfortable). Don't get distracted by all the videos of people flipping their cars etc. Auto-X is EXTREMLY safe and the "flipping car videos" are one in a million examples of people on whom the "red mist" decended.

But on a different note look at the $$$ you have to spend:
For both Auto-X and track days you need a helmet and while some people think the most expensive helmet is just good enough for you, I went with a cheapo $100 helmet

Auto-X: very moderate cost, here in the Bay Area you pay $30 for a day (= 8 minutes of driving time) of Auto-X, you won't wear your tires too much but you'll see more wear, so no biggie here

track days:
usually $250 ~ $400 / day
I usually use on full tank of gas / day
you probably need to stay in a motel
I have special brake pads for the track ($500)
You need driving gloves ($50)
And I just bought a 2nd set of rims ($500) for track tires ($1,000)
and eventually you'll want to buy a timer ($100 ~ $200) and do more modifications (suspension, bucket seat, 6 point harness, etc.)
So considerable more $$$ to spend here....
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:27 AM   #14
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On insurance-
I checked my coverage with Mercury and their policy is clear... If you are taking part in a Performance driving School or Driver Education with no timing involved, even on a racetrack, you and your car are covered. If you are in a timed event like Autocross or Time Trials it is competitive and considered racing... You are not covered. Other insurance carriers may vary greatly from this. Our local track days include PCA liability insurance which covers injuries. You are responsible for damage to the facility, your car, or damage to someone else's car.

On Performance Driving Schools-
The Porsche Driving Experience, Bob Bondurant, and Skip Barber all have great programs with professional instructors but they are very expensive at $3000 per weekend. Both the POC and PCA have local programs based on the same curriculum as the others for $200-$300. Check your local clubs. One of the great benefits of owning a Porsche is having access to some of the best driving instruction available at a fraction of the cost of Barber or Bondurant. Don't miss this opportunity. Here is one example. There are many others.
http://www.pcasdr.org/img/2008/Calendar/DSchool/School%20Ad-%20Spring%2008.pdf
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:00 PM   #15
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I faced the same dilemma, but kept my sportbike. The bike experience so dwarfs my '01 S that the box is relegated to touring, and as such has probably never seen 5k. Ofcourse driving can be a thrill, but I do my own repairs and have really had my fill of engines, gearboxes, and etc. Bikes are cheap and can be viewed as expendables, much more readily than a pristine car, like my S is. Plus its nice getting 40+ mpg, riding in the carpool lane, and splitting lanes, which I hear is only legal in CA. As for the danger, I dunno,maybe I've been lucky. More than 150k miles on LA frwys and not a scratch. And believe you me, I'm not holding up traffic. Experience and common sense, hopefully.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:19 PM   #16
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Bikes are cheap and can be viewed as expendables, much more readily than a pristine car, like my S is. Plus its nice getting 40+ mpg, riding in the carpool lane, and splitting lanes, which I hear is only legal in CA.
Splitting lanes is still legal in GA, as far as I know. There are rules about when you can and how fast you can go, but I never did it. I had a fabulous Honda VF1100 years ago and was sitting in go nowhere traffic on I-20 when the engine started running hot. Rather than split lanes, I got off at the next exit and hung out for who knows how long [a loooong time]. I miss driving a motorcycle. They are a thrill, especially a very torquey one. My last bike made my Boxster seem like my Honda. But traffic here has become horrible and the great mountain roads are plastered with folks that in the last ten years all went out and bought bikes. Boo hoo.
You're right. They are a lot less expensive to fix, although physical injury can be worse.
I miss the gas mileage too!! Maybe I will get a smallish something for commuting. But not for tracking! Yeow! The Box is safer.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:43 PM   #17
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A little off topic but, from a biking perspective, I can't believe how the racers take the corners scraping knees, that is sick! I kind of do that on a racing snowboard, but man, the acceleration and speed that the bikes go is out of this world. Many props for any biker I say. You guys are right, 0-60 in 5s, what is that - that's slooooooow - compared to you guys.

And also I'm am truly amazed when a biker loses it in a corner and just gets up and walks away because he just slides on his leathers - amazing!

Cheers guys
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:01 PM   #18
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I have had the opportunity to attend a 2 day Skip Barber event with the 330, RX-8 and Cayman at Road Atlanta (not on my dime), and other than the skid pad events, I felt I learned more at PCA DE's. The Skip Barber cars are pretty ragged out, and all you have is $2000 of liability if something happens on the track. IFor the money, and if you have interest, attend a DE. Safety is prime objective at PCA DE's. They have speed limits on the beginner groups, they have designated passing zones, and they black flag dangerous drivers. On the other hand, I have been to several Chin Motorsports DE's at Sebring, and safety and sign off time to SOLO is much less than at PCA events.

With every DE I have attended (@ 8), the drive up I-95 to Roebling Road or the drive down I-4 / US 27 to Sebring has been the most dangerous part of the weekend. I suspect one is much more likely to get rear ended or side swiped on the highway and crash at a DE. The only caveat is all my DE's were in a MR2 Spyder (which did not eat brakes, oil, or tires), later this month is my first DE in my 987. I am very excited to take the Porsche out and see how smooth she can navigate the track.

So try it, go slow, don't get upset if everyone passes you on the track, and see if you like it. Jay
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:36 PM   #19
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Good advice, everyone can always learn.

Anyways, cheers

Last edited by eqs; 05-04-2008 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:38 PM   #20
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Doing my first PCA DE at Pocono on July 4th. After reading the Metro NY PCA club DE rules I am very comfortable with their focus on safety first. When I lived in California the normal flow of traffic on the 101 and the 118 was a good 80 Mph. When I went to work at 4:30 am down the 101 in Ventura County I would drive at 80 to 90 and bursts of 100 mph. I feel much more comfortable doing that a the track with an instructor.

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