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PCV South Australia Tour

Let me tell you a bit about our recent Porsche Club of Victoria tour to the South Australian wine districts.

Stamford Grand Rooftop Car Park - Glenelg SA

The Porsche Club of Victoria organised a five day trip to the South Australian wine districts. Some 25 cars / couples signed up. While some left Melbourne before or after the official kick-off morning, some ten cars met at leafy Deer Park at 7.30 AM sharp, ready for the drive west. Following the obligatory drivers briefing we were also told to contact Alf, senior member and our-meister if we had any issues. Hard to do if you weren’t face to face with him as our enterprising leader left his mobile phone on the charger at home. Not a great start. But I can tell you it was the only issue we encountered all trip. The rest of the organisation was truly first class.

Nothing wrong with the organisation or instructions, but plenty wrong with drivers & co-pilots willingness to listen, understand and follow some pretty simple navigation information. Although a few times, well intentioned plans to drive in convoy were folied by Adelaide’s frequently changing traffic lights.

The driving highlight was the joint run with the Porsche Club of South Australia. We met on Sunday morning in the Adelaide suburbs before some 65 cars set off for a morning of touring through the Adelaide Hills via Hanhdorf for morning tea, then on to our lunch destination at Mt Barker. The roads were superb including the ‘Corkscrew’ and Gorge Roads. Fantastic, spectacular and challenging enough while adhering approximately to the speed limit!

Greg & Robin at Hardys Winery, Adelaide

The dining highlight (a tough call by the way) was dinner at one of Hardys Wines original wine cellars. The ambience of the cellar, the perfect size for our group and the food and wine combinations were beyond reproach.

Some photos can be found here:

Car Stuff

Good morning,

As usual, plenty happening on the car front. In mid September Robin and I were invited to the launch of the new Porsche 911 at Porsche Centre Melbourne. The showroom was filled with eager-ish Porsche--ophiles interested to see and hear about the new model. Finger food and champagne was on tap ad a good time was had by all. I hope several sales were made on the night because I suspect sales will be a bit more tricky now.

Later in the month saw some 80 PCV members head off on our ‘Spring Run’ taking a circuitous route through the Macedon Ranges to the Harcourt Valley vineyard where a Greek-style BBQ awaited the starving drivers & crew. The weather was magnificent for al fresco dining. We got lucky as it snowed the day before! And the estate grown wines, both reds and whites, were excellent.

Cargraphic Twins - The 996 Carrera 4S Brigade at Harcourt Valley Winery - 2008

John Bowe Performance Driving Course

I have been a bit disappointed with my lack of speed in the GT3 at the PCV track days.

As per the previous blog post, the dyno day proved that my car makes plenty of power. Some query on the quality of my tyres saw me strap a new set of Dunlop R-spec tyres on. The final variable must be me.

So I enrolled in the John Bowe Performance Driving course at Sandown Raceway in late August.

I was fortunate to get Luke Youlden (a current V8 Supercar driver and former Carrera Cup pilot) as my instructor (a great ratio of one instructor to four student drivers btw) and after touring around with me for three or four laps, signalled me in for a de-brief. His feedback was initially positive. I drive OK, smooth, good lines, safe and capable. Excellent. But, I drive too slowly. Not hard enough (late enough) on the brakes, must heel & toe on downshifts for faster corner entry, and use the kerbs more aggressively to get on the power faster. Oh, so not so good after all! Actually, good news for areas of improvement.

Having little experience of track driving, I obviously looked a little vague, so Luke suggested he take me out for a couple of laps to show me some limits of the car and what you need to do to build up speed and maintain momentum.

Holy sh*t!

Even with Luke analysing my driving and trying pretty hard, I didn’t get too hot & sweaty. After half a lap in the passenger’s seat I was wiping the sweat from my eyes and we had a couple of laps to go!

Suffice to say I was stunned by the smooth, controlled brutality of the way Luke man-handled the car around Sandown. Luke said he wasn’t trying too hard as it wasn’t his car...........

Although tiring, my times improved a bit in the afternoon and I left Sandown with plenty of things to think about and lots of scope to improve my on-track performance. Thanks to Luke and the whole John Bowe Driving team for a safe and enjoyable day of instruction.

GT3 Dyno Day

Recently the GT3 Register of the Porsche Club of Victoria arranged for a dyno testing day at Fitzgerald’s Racing Services here in suburban Melbourne. A 997 GT3, two 996 GT3 Mk1s and a 993 RSCS turned up to test their mettle.

I had never understood what happens in the ‘black art’ of engine performance assessment and now at least I have some idea what goes on.

For each vehicle, the dyno was appropriately calibrated then the car is strapped onto the dual rollers, front wheels chocked, cooling and extraction fans activated to ensure the engine’s remain at a comfortable operating temperature during the run. The technician proceeds to ‘drive’ the car, changing up through the gears, to get to maximum power (at 7500 rpm in 5th gear in my car’s case).

(‘Nemo’ on the dyno - August 2008)

At this limit, the car was screaming and subsequently ‘blew’ 218 kilowatts at the rear wheels which is about what you would expect for a ‘chipped’ Mk 1 GT3. Word is the drive train takes about 30% of the published approx. 265 kilowatts at the flywheel.

Thanks to Fitzy for the BBQ lunch and the tour of his facility, and to Clem for looking after the cars on the dyno. It was also enjoyable meeting and chatting with a number of other PCV members.

Some Further Track Time

The GT3 recently had a routine service to make sure all was ship shape for the upcoming track events. Pleased to say just a tweak and no major maintenance (read expensive work) was required. Even the tyres and brake pads were OK. A clear sign that I am not trying hard enough!

Two events recently were at Winton Raceway in northern Victoria on June 9 and Attwood, just north of the city on May 4.

The Attwood event is held on a ‘circuit’ owned and operated by Victoria Police who normally use the facility for their advanced driver training needs. It is basically a one lane piece of tarmac that loops up and down for a maximum of a kilometre with a speed bowl in one section. The club usually cuts the course in half and has a top loop and a bottom loop with different cones, chicanes. You get multiple runs over each loop for the day. Quite challenging and great (low speed) fun. In fact one driver in a new GT3 ran the entire track in first gear! I ran both courses only using 1st & 2nd gears. On the first run, I ‘missed’ the cones after the first left hander and was hit with the appropriate penalties which ‘killed’ my day from a points point of view, but over the rest of the event my times were almost competitive!. Makes for a nice change.

Then on to Winton. The less said about this outing the better. I was so embarrassingly slow I wanted to sell the car. Well it couldn’t be me, could it? Of course I know it is me, but I just can’t seemed to get UBC-222 around the very tight layout in anything like a competitive time. Oh well, more lessons and practice I guess.

The next meeting is Phillip Island (yeah!) on July 6. Fingers crossed for a dry day.

PCV 996 / 997 Register run to Marysville

The 996/997 Register of the Porsche Club of Victoria planned a 95 km drive to Marysville on Sunday April 6, so on Saturday we washed and polished the Carrera 4 S for the big day.

Some 15 cars were at the meeting point in Nunawading at 9.30 am on Sunday (including some 'stray' 993s & Boxsters), detailed maps were subsequently handed out for the drive to Warburton, then up the Reefton road prior to a final sprint to the Lake Mountain village before making our way back to Marysville for lunch.

The initial part of the drive to the base of the Reefton climb was pretty average. Varying (low) speed limits and not much of interest to look at. Even the Warburton township didn't hold much interest. But once on the Reefton climb, things got much more 'interesting'. What a fantastic piece of road. Not sure of the exact length but smooth, winding and interesting from the drivers or passengers seat! The recent storms laid plenty of debris over the road which moderated progress a bit (luckily) but didn't lessen the enjoyment. The run up to Lake Mountain was taken at a subdued pace due to a very large amount of debris and the sign-posted speed limits. But a pleasant short sprint just the same. And I have to say my car went superbly. I hadn't given it a good squirt for quite some time, and the sharp corners, short straights, sticky Conti Sport IIs, and slightly moist surface was just ideal territory for the 4S to operate in.

(Cars & drivers at the Reefton turnoff - 2008)

Lunch was organised at the Marysville Patisserie. Gorgeous home-made meals sourced from local produce. The coffee was hot, the sauv blanc was chilled. And did I mention the outstanding desserts and specialty fudges? With great service, what more could you ask! But wait there is more!!

(Our Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S @ Marylands Country House - 2008)

Robin and I took a room at the Marylands Country House for the evening. Yesteryear style, grace and pace. Very relaxing. Highly recommended. After lunch, a walk up & down the main street (that didn't take too long), a visit to Steavensons Falls (excellent), dinner at the pub then a cleansing cocktail at the country house bar before retiring. Superb. Monday was a gentle drive back to Melbourne with lunch at Healesville completing a great weekend.