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Old 11-07-2015, 06:56 PM   #1
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Thoughts on Porsche Experience

Today my daughter and I did the Porsche Experience Center with a program that had us both driving a Cayman S, Boxster GTS, and finally a GT-4.

We had a blast, and learned a few things about the new generation cars:

1 - The Cayman S & Boxster GTS understeer strongly with OEM suspension settings (no surprise there). The GT-4 quite a bit less so. The GT-4 has a lot of suspension adjustment available compared to the others, but the instructors didn't really know the settings.

2- Porsche has done a phenomenal job with the nanny software (PSM in the lower cars and ECS whatever that stands for in the GT-4). They have made these cars almost idiot proof when the nannies are turned on. The Porsche software is tuned to still allow some significant sliding while maintaining speed. The DSC software in my old M3 would keep you out of trouble for sure, but at the expense of being very slow in on a race track or autocross. The new Porsche software on the other hand is very fast.

I had noticed that some guys with 2012 and newer cars were doing a pretty good job of keeping up with my lap times, and a couple had told me that they kept their PSM on all the time. Now I understand why - Watson is for real!

3- At the end of our session, the instructor took me on the main course with him driving "to show me what was possible". He was more aggressive than me on a semi-wet course, to the point where he was depending on the GT-4's ECS to kick in and save us, whereas I had generally been trying to keep the ECS from coming on. This is a completely different performance driving style, where the driver simply pushes the car over the edge, and depends on the software to catch it.

I'm not sure I really like this new world. Tomorrow it's back to my old school 986S, with no PSM / ECS, or anything else to save me from myself. Call me a control freak, but I kinda like that.

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Old 11-07-2015, 08:00 PM   #2
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Sounds like a blast. My family and I are going to Road Atlanta the 21st & 22nd and are going to try and hit the center that Monday on the way back. Did you do the simulator or any of the indoor stuff? I think they even have a workout program.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:04 PM   #3
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Very cool! Well thought out summary and conclusions. Much appreciated.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:15 PM   #4
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Thanks for this report on the Experience.Hope to attend next year.Some have said that all of the electronic control devices are placing us in the position of riders rather than drivers.I'll have to see.
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for your report.

Think this is a very intersting topic. Specially for a "sports car" manufacturer like Porsche. I think the problem is that if you can afford a Porsche that doesn't mean you can drive a sports car at its limits.

So the electronic gizmos prevent to kill some of the owners themself. That's OK i think.

Personally i think that most people are completely unable to cope with cars going to the limits that have no assistance systems and more than 250 HP. Maybe not on big long straights in the US, but definitely on small, slippery black forest roads over here in Germany.

I don't use my car for racing on tracks, or competition. Only on street legal normal roads and sometimes on track days and yearly driver trainings.

Personally i don't like cars that understeer and have too much electronic assistance. My 04 Box has also understeer. But that is OK, because it is a mid engine car. So the car tells me something, before something will happen. And i think that's the important part.

My 03 Box (US 04) has PSM you can switch off. But you can not totally switch it off. It falls back if you're in really limited situations. And i have to say i like that, because for me it's useful not to lose the car completely and getting a little help before it's to late.

Have test driven the 987S and 981S on legal roads. Both nice cars. The 981 is very fast. But still a fan of my 986S. It's a lot rougher and direct and i like that. It's not only the power, it's the driving experiencea and bringing the thing to my personal limits. And i personally drive for fun and not for competition. So the 986S fits for me.

Totally agree with you concerning driving style. If you push the electronic systems to and over the limit to be fast, that has nothing to do with driving skills. People who do that shouldn't call themself driving instructors. Just my 2 cents.

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Old 11-08-2015, 04:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallblock454 View Post
And i have to say i like that, because for me it's useful not to lose the car completely and getting a little help before it's to late.
+1 My thoughts exactly. I like to use my PSM to help me find the limit w/o going over the edge. Turn 9 at my local track is particularly tricky. When I first started doing DEs, I would kick the PSM in on that corner 1 or 2 times per session. Now I can go an entire w/e w/o it kicking in. But it helped me learn.

From Famous Racing Quotes: "You have really good car control, Too bad you have to use it all the time"...Terry Earwood, chief driving instructor for Skip Barber.
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:08 PM   #7
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It happens so fast. Lesson learned in heavy traffic on a slick I-10. '89 Targa, quick turn of the wheel to the right, ease off brakes and OOPS! 540 deg. later I told my wife not to worry, "I can drive backwards through this". No serious damage thanks to the mud - but it happened so quickly. I like my traction control and anti-lock brakes.

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