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Old 11-04-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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DE Track Days - Set up advice needed

I have been running a turbo Miata for DE track days and have not been able to keep the car track reliable, so I am starting to consider using my 2005 Boxster S instead. I have a bunch of questions and would appreciate any advice.

Roll Bars:
What roll bar or roll bar extension are necessary for tracks like VIR? I found the Brey-Krause R-3010 Boxster Roll Bar Extension; however, it says that it will only fit the 986. Apparently, it will not fit the 987. Please let me know any recommendations.

Rims and Tires: I use Toyo R888's on my Miata. What do you recommend for the Boxster? I have 19" rims; however, I am considering getting a set of 18" rims for track use to save on replacement tire cost. Any thoughts?

Break Pads: ????

Seats and Harnesses: ????

Anything I am forgetting????

All recommendations are appreciated?

Thank you...

Greg Savoie

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Old 11-05-2008, 08:34 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Brakes pads--Carbotech XPS 8--awesome!

Track Tires--Nitto NT-01; sticky, cost effective.
2013 Boxster S
2006 Boxster--sold
1999 Boxster--sold
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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You don't say what your experience is regarding DEs but based on your questions I'll assume you haven't done many. I instructed a student with a turbo Miata last summer and he was continually fighting overheating problems. He installed an oil cooler that solved an oil overheat problem but blocked part of the radiator and then caused engine coolant to creep up into the danger zone. We would play in the twisties and coast down the straight to cool things off. Not very confidence inspiring.

Most of your questions regarding set up requirements can and should be addressed directly with the organization running your schools as each school is most likely different in the details. Furthermore, the logic of some specific requirements may defy logic on first glance but they all come from the organizers wanting to provide a safe, fun school environment. If you plan to drive with several different schools, check them all as some requirements may be mutually exclusive.

For instance, many BMW schools no longer accept convertibles of any kind (at least most chapters in the Pacific Region) while PCA still allows cars like the Boxster. Specific rollover protection requirements and installation requirements will be found with the the school organizers. Some schools will use the classic SCCA "broomstick" test while others do not, or have a variation on the test.

BMW will accept harnesses properly installed while PCA has very specific harness requirements that must be adhered to. I believe these are national but I can't be certain every chapter has adopted these standards:

Quote from the Pacific Northwest Chapter:
"No four point systems are allowed in Porsches because of the integrated headrest supplied by the factory. In addition to the standard SFI and/or FIA approved five and/or six point system, the standard will allow a four point system in non-Porsches that meets the following requirements: 1. Meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 209, 2. Attaches to the factory seat belt mounting points, 3. Each belt is designed to work in a specific vehicle and that vehicle tag must be attached to the belt system. An example of a system that meets the above criteria is the Schroth Quick Fit system.

If the participant chooses to install a 5/6 point driving harness, several changes to the automobile must be made to create a safe occupant restraint system. Harnesses must include an antisubmarine strap and be mounted in an approved manner consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions. The Harness system must be used in conjunction with a seat which has the supplied routing holes for the shoulder and anti-submarine belts. A one piece seat is recommended but not required for it may interfere with the operation of the OEM three piece belt required for street application. All pieces of the restraint system must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

This means that a seat is required to have the proper routing holes for the harness as supplied by the seat manufacturer for the shoulder, lap and anti-submarine straps. The shoulder straps should be mounted at 90 degrees to the axis of your spine or at most 40 degrees down from horizontal. Because the addition of the harness system means that the occupants are fastened upright in the vehicle, a properly padded roll bar or roll cage is strongly encouraged to complete the SYSTEM. The use of one without the other may result in an unsafe environment and is not a COMPLETE SYSTEM. Due to UV degradation and wear the harness webbing must be replaced every five years.

Belts must not be frayed or showing friction burns and the buckle and release mechanism must be in good working condition. Old cars with belts mounted to the seats (1969-73 911 & 912) will require special attention to seat rails, stops, and adjusters on both seats.

Equal Restraints
Both student and instructor shall have substantially the same restraint system. All vehicles must be equipped with a properly installed lap and shoulder restraint system."

Tires - If you are driving at the upper level of your driving schools, then a dedicated track tire may be warranted. However, if you have only one or two year's experience with DEs, stay with your street tires. DOT track tires like the R888 provide substantially more grip which is great, but drivers with less experience may find themselves well over their head when things go wrong. And things do go wrong. The higher corner speeds associated with track tires mean that if corrections aren't made correctly and quickly you can end up hurting your car or yourself. Take the time to build your skillset on street tires before jumping in with track tires. Again, check with the organization you will be driving with as some may even exclude track tires unless you are running in the faster run groups.

Brakes - if you are on street tires, OEM pads may suffice (I drive an M3 for schools so don't have direct Boxster recommendations) but a track pad better suited for the higher temperatures of DEs may be needed. I use Hawk HT-10s on the M3 with good results. Porterfield and others make equivalent pads. Plan on switching out the pads at the track or the night before/after as these pad materials are not wheel and paint friendly - especially if it's wet.

I hope this helps.

Walt Conley
01 Boxster - Meridien silver
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