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Old 06-30-2005, 10:35 PM   #1
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Driving Fast...and Safe

I was wondering if anyone can initiate me with info on track driving my box. I live in LA and want to check out the scene. Any good tracks nearby that will point me in the right direction? What is the best way to get started?

Am I likely to tear up or otherwise crash/damage my car by tracking it? Is there such a thing as driving conservatively on a track to avoid such a fate; all the thrills with none of the spills?

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Old 06-30-2005, 10:54 PM   #2
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As I mentioned on another thread, I just saw PCASDR autocrossing down here in San Diego last w/e. It was at Qualcomm stadium parking lot, and there were 3-4 986s on the grid. Apparently Autocross is like level I racing (against the clock). These dudes were definitely NOT taking it easy on their cars and it was apparent that they:

1. Love driving their cars like a bat out of hell
2. Aren't worried about the next RMS reseal

The PCA website lists the clubs in Zone 8, socal, many of which have their own sites. But PCASDR (san diego) is very active and their website has beaucoup information on the various stages of organized vehicular hooliganism.
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:55 PM   #3
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Yes there is

- keep your distance to other cars
- when others cars don't keep distance to you, let them overtake you
- don't run lap, after lap, after lap. Start with sessions of three laps or so. Start slowly and built up gradually. After three laps or when you collect sweaty hands and get more and more "moments" of "hmmm, that went just about right". STOP. Take a break, drink some water and start a new session 15/30 minutes later, SLOWY.
- don't race others. Don't compare results to others. Just be there for your own pleasure, get to know the car, its limits and more importantly YOUR LIMITS.
- look carefully at each part of the track. Where are the high curbs to trash your suspension, where are the rails near the track to trash your car, where is enough room for error / spins. i.e. push the car on the right curve / peace of track and not the wrong one where error means new car.

Basically very simple. But try to remember when the adreline start pumping. That's the difficult part !

Mark.
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Old 06-30-2005, 10:57 PM   #4
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oops, forget one important thing

- Warm the car / oil up (and when you are a bit more experienced, warm up the brakes, and tires too) before hitting the rev limiter / limit.

Basically see it all the time. Cold engine. Pit lane. Driver gets in and pulls away at maximum revs. Brrrrrrr


Mark.
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Old 07-01-2005, 06:32 AM   #5
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It is amazing to me how often I see this. The car is barely down the block and the pedal is to the metal. What don't these guys understand about the physics of engines?
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Old 07-01-2005, 10:54 AM   #6
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Thanks for the tips. I am not afraid to say that the prospect of getting on a track is exciting, but at the same time, quite intimidating. I will check in with the San Diego folks.
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Old 07-01-2005, 06:05 PM   #7
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I am assuming that Porsche builds their engine and drivetrain every bit as good or better than Honda.

If so, then in my experience you can thrash the hell out of them daily and it will be fine as long as you don't abuse them.

My Civic and Accord from the 80's were redlined several times a day EVERY DAY (maximum acceleration at every opportunity!) just for the fun of it and because their engines were so small that doing so didn't result in too much wastage of gas. No problems whatsoever. Note: I changed the oil at the "dealer recommended" intervals...which is DOUBLE the manufacturer recommended intervals... but hey, oil is cheap.

By the way, I consider "abuse" to be:

1) reving past the redline
2) crunching the gears
3) flatspotting the tires due to lockup or spinning out (note: spinning the TIRES is ok)
4) hitting anything with the car

If not any of the above, then I am trusting Porsche to have done their job (like Honda evidently did) and we can HAVE ALL THE FUN WE WANT for the pretty inconsequential amount of money it takes to buy gasoline.
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Old 07-02-2005, 08:18 AM   #8
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> By the way, I consider "abuse" to be:
>
> 1) reving past the redline
> 2) crunching the gears
> 3) flatspotting the tires due to lockup or spinning out (note: spinning the TIRES is ok)
> 4) hitting anything with the car

I'd add reving the engine above 3/4k rpm the first 15 minutes after cold startup.
15 min. or so whould warm the engine up gradually and get everyting, including the oil, to the working temperatur.

I'd also add powerdrifting on dry tarmac. Puts a lot of strain on rear suspension and diff. Note drifting in the wet is fine :-)

Last, related to drifting, clutchdumping. A nightmar for the whole powertrain, engine, clutch, gearbox, diff, etc.


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Old 07-02-2005, 08:47 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that engine life is inversely correlate to average RPM over the life of the engine.

So, if you routinely take your Box to readline you are shortening its useful life. Nothing wrong with it, just useful to know.
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Old 07-02-2005, 08:59 AM   #10
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The only thing harder on a vehicle than racing, is war.
Set up a budget for brake pads, rotors, and tires ... and that's just the start.
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Old 07-02-2005, 12:50 PM   #11
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Most road tracks offer Driver's Ed events, and the classes are required before racing. The day includes classroom training and on-the-track instruction with an instructor in the car. Passing is strictly controlled, so the chances of crashing are minimized. Of course, it's still possible to spin out and hit something, but I felt safer on the track than I did driving to the event. Your local SCCA chapter or PCA club can steer you in the right direction. Much info is available on line thru the SCCA and PCA websites. Also yor local track website.
The school will monitor your prograss and sign you off for progressively more challenging activities when they feel you are qualified. You can then move towards a solo event (racing the clock) or head-to-head racing if that's what you choose.
The Boxster is a great car. I wanted to push it to the limit and beyond, and I'm just not comfortable doing that on public roads. The car's a blast on the track.
Cost for me was $200 for a one day driver's ed course, with 80 minutes of track time.
Note though, that as other's have mentioned, the cost of brake pads, rotors, clutches, etc. is not included in that figure. My local Porsche shop (non-dealer) says I should get 3-5 DE events on pads, and about 2-3 sets of pads then rotors.
One good thing about Driver's Ed as opposed to racing - you can go at your own pace. You don't have to burn up your car if you don't want to.
The grin that comes with diving into a corner smoothly & on line is automatic. Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2005, 06:19 PM   #12
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Lots of good advice so far in this thread. I personally think it's a good idea to get with PCASDR and go autocrossing with them. I plan on doing that eventually--will take the traction control off and learn how to drive the car.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend taking it out to WSIR or Buttonwillow immediately as those have the potential to cause major damage to the car if something goes wrong. Learn what you're doing by killing cones first then try the real tracks.

Oh, and get a good helmet. If you have a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet, but if you actually like your head...
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:39 AM   #13
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on the subject of warmup abuse

An earlier post mentioned 15 minutes of warmup is best before hard driving...

Welllll.... I do wait 3 or 4 minutes, and let the temp get up a ways, but its not quite yet at the operating temp of 180ish. Even then I only do a high rev freeway onramp, or other merge maneuver, and then calm down again.

Am I nuts or is that reasonable?
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:00 AM   #14
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Personally, I never hammer a car unless it is at full operating temp. Why risk it?
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Old 07-11-2005, 05:52 AM   #15
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Learn to drive a kart.. You'll get a real education in driving

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