The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

PCV President's Day 2013

My GT3 wasn't in good enough shape to drive at President's Day this year. So I just wandered around with a camera and offered to 'help' as pit crew for Team Mason.

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Chris Mason circulating at speed in the 997 Turbo - 2013

My Flickr set of the day can be found here.

PCV Mid Week Run - Yarra Glen

The PCV Mid Week Register had a lunch run today to Yarra Glen. And a most enjoyable day it was too!

Full report to come soon.

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Our Mid Week Register Captain, Robert Fairley, in Yarra Glen - 2013

2003 911 Carrera 4S spring change

Not a very exciting sounding blog post I know, but it could be an important one for the car stable here at Humphries Towers. After a recent service (and with a pricey IMS bearing upgrade looming) it is decision time whether to keep the car and drive it more frequently (probably at the expense of the Lexus) or sell it and move on. We love our C4S, but modern car parks and 'public spaces' have made it's sportiness (read very low ride height) less practical for use as a daily driver.

A very kind PCV club member offered me a set of his 996 Turbo springs which would alter the ride height but shouldn't be so drastic as to lose the C4S's edge. Now the original Cargraphics springs have been replaced it has made a significant difference to the look and feel of the car. Read on for my thoughts so far.

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First off, the car looks like it is on stilts! The back looks 'jacked up', the front less so but overall it looks much taller and narrower… The tape tells a slightly different story. Measurements taken from the top of the wheel arches front and rear have them now about equidistant from the ground, whereas previously the front was actually 10mm higher than the rear accentuating the rear squat. In total, the front has risen about 17mm and the rear 27mm. It is amazing how a change of about an inch in the old money can have such a profound visual effect. The jury is very much out on the new 'look'…

I haven't found a steep driveway / speed hump to check the front clearance yet, but gains of around 17-18mm should help considerably in all but the worst of inclines.

In terms of drivability, after a brief 15 minute test late yesterday afternoon, the car drives quite differently as well. It has a noticeably smoother ride, with the bumps still clearly felt, but the regular 'crashing' over the worst imperfections seems to have gone. This improves the quietness of the cabin as well. The steering is now less razor-sharp and slightly lighter at the wheel giving the car a more touring feel. Added to that is some increased body roll in corners and greater 'dive' under hard braking. All that sounds a bit negative but it isn't. The car was previously quite extreme, and I guess it is now just on the sharp side of normal.

So to summarise, our 911 C4S is now more practical and in many ways drives better but looks clearly worse. As a car we bought because it looked so awesome, this is a difficult situation requiring more time to come to a final position. Worst case scenario is a modest invoice to revert back… Then go to Plan B...

Thanks to the team at Jocaro Motors for their prompt installation work and measurements, and to David for the offer of the springs.

If my impressions change over the coming weeks, I will post updates here.

Update #1: Robin drove home from dinner tonight (Tuesday) in the C4S and her views were not at all similar to mine…. Perhaps the changes were more subtle than I had previously hoped / reported.

Porsche High Performance Driving - Level 2

Just back from a thrilling 'half day' High Performance Driving Course with Porsche Cars Australia at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

With high hopes, Chris Mason and I left the Mornington Peninsula early in the morning (for me) for the 75 minute drive to Phillip Island. With a following wind, and it was really windy, we had time for a coffee in San Remo to share our plans and expectations of the day ahead.

And our highest expectations were probably exceeded.

On arrival we were directed to an upstairs 'retreat' where we signed in, had real coffee, and chatted while the rest of the group arrived. Meanwhile, unbeknown to us, our cars were being checked over by a Porsche mechanic, especially wheels & tyre pressures. The prospect of bad weather, some previous car problems and work commitments kept numbers down to ten for the day.

The instructors were exceptional. Craig Baird, Luke Youlden and Daniel Gaunt, all current / prior Carrera Cup drivers and current V8 Supercar co-drivers were on hand and the team was superbly led by Tomas Mezera, the 1985 Bathurst 1000 winner amongst other career highlights and now head of Porsche Australia's Driving Academy. Not only were they talented, but they were all personable and friendly to boot!

The day started with a Swerve, Correct and Braking drill. Tomas was the instructor and gave each driver clear directions, set expectations and encouraged all to push past their comfort zone to get a better 'feel' for the car under load / stress. A challenging and enjoyable session.

So as not to get too stressed, we came in for morning coffee and tea, fruit, water, muffins etc. With a chill wind outside, several were keen to stay inside but two more drills awaited us before lunch.

The next drill, led by Luke & Daniel, was a simulated wet road / skid pan exercise designed to enable the drivers to get a feel of correcting the car in a slide and 'aim' it towards an exit point some 50 metres down the track. With adequate power and no traction control, the GT3 was big fun!


A very brief clip of lots of arm work and facial distortion, but the right result! - 2013

The last session before lunch was a motorkhana run through an 'Out & Back' course through cones laid out over some 400 - 500 metres. The purpose of this exercise was to carry as much speed as possible butt to look up and forward at the 'gaps' between the cones and not at the cones themselves. This was to re-enforce the message that you aim and drive (and end up) where you look.

Then it was time for lunch, and what a spread it was. Felt more like a 4-star restaurant meal than a quick bite at a race track. Sadly while we were enjoying the feast and chatting about the morning's training, the weather closed in. To put it mildly. Torrential rain reduced the track to more of a lake than a road.

Hoping the weather would lift, Luke Youlden took the opportunity to drive three students around the sodden track in a new Cayenne S. This experience alone was worth the price of admission. A bellowing 2+ tonne beast, driven hard in extreme conditions, with the driver calmly talking through braking markers, entry points, apexes etc while mentioning 'it is really slippery here' as the full mass of the Cayenne moved gracefully across the track before being rounded up and herded towards the next corner at full noise. Total respect for the capabilities of the Cayenne and the talent of the driver. Truly memorable.

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A wet Phillip Island - Photo by Chris Mason

In the early afternoon for safety reasons, Tomas called the day off. Our disappointment was somewhat softened by the offer of some credit against a future course at the Porsche driver training facility at Mt Cotton in Queensland. To a person, everyone in the room was making mental plans / developing excuses to be able to attend one of those sessions.

The Porsche events often seem expensive, but I have never attended a Porsche Australia activity or function and left anything less than fully satisfied and impressed. The Level 2 driver training course was no exception. Thanks to the team for making it such an enjoyable experience.

PCV Combined Turbo / GT3 Register - Mitchelton

The following text and pictures were submitted to the PCV magazine as a record of the day.

"On Sunday the 22nd of September, the Turbo and GT3/RS Registers decided to make a full day of it after successfully sharing an early morning run earlier in the year.
We set off from McDonalds on the corner of Smith Street and Victoria Parade with 17 cars registered, including 8 Turbo’s, 2 GT3’s, 1 GT2, 3 from the Boxster/Cayman Register, one from the Modern Register and two from the Mid 911 Register. These numbers are a little misleading with Greg Humphries (our GT3 Captain) unfortunately splitting one of his GT3 wheels at the Island the week before and had to fall back on his trusty 993 Turbo to at least try and fit in…

Of the 17 cars entered a couple of our Turbo members elected to meet us at the restaurant (one due to feeling a little sluggish after a big Saturday night). And another Turbo pilot Robert Cameron, attending his first PCV event (welcome Robert), arranged to meet us en route as he resides in Northern Victoria.

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An Arc of Porsches - 2013

Our first checkpoint was at St Andrews which turned out to be a good reflection of how the day would transpire with a few of members clicking over some additional K’s as a result of a short detour caused by a front car taking the wrong turn and the ‘sheep’ following.

The group then set off from St Andrews in warm dry spring conditions with the countryside looking magnificent, As his usual co-pilot decided to purchase and drive his own 911, our Turbo Captain ended up driving this event ‘solo’ and thus had to rely on others for navigation. Needless to say, there was a lead group of some 11 cars that departed, dutifully following the mapped route, thus enjoying some great roads, arriving at Mitchelton without any further mishaps. Sadly, three ‘tourists’ took a major deviation thereby discovering some magnificent roads out the back of Broadford which apparently will be incorporated in a future run. Every cloud has a silver lining (or a sensational driver's road).

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Stunning 911 GT3 RS 4.0 - 2013

In spite of the group splitting, the cars arrived at Mitchelton at broadly the same time. We were treated to a very tasty two-course lunch, complimented by excellent estate wines. Major renovations have seen the restaurant, along with the tasting room, moved into the old storage/gallery building under the iconic tower. Parking was arranged in front of the this building and provided some fantastic photo opportunities.

The ‘Why-Me’ award for the day went to an early model Turbo owner who decided to try his remote anti-theft device for the first time EVER at the St Andrews stop. Suffice to say that it did at least lock the driver’s door and he spent the rest of the event crawling in and out over the hand brake, gear lever and passenger seat. And always with a smile!

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Turbo & Tower - 2013

Thanks to all for contributing to a great joint register day."

PCV Spint - Phillip Island

I hadn't been on track for some months so I was looking forward to a great day at the fabulous Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit with the Porsche Club in early September. It didn't end well.

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The car and the cracked wheel - 2013

I had a very slow start to the day. While everyone else was setting personal bests, I finally found some rhythm with correct tyre pressures by lunch time. I thought that good times were ahead in the afternoon.

In the first session after lunch I went out and immediately felt a very bad vibration in the car. Thinking it might be rubber pickup, I persisted for another slow-ish lap but then decided something must be wrong and I came back to the pits. My mechanic took a look at the car and found a cracked rear wheel and I was most surprised to say the least. It was cracked right through but still holding together. Just. A very kind club member offered me a loan of a spare wheel and tyre to get me home.

A very disappointing day for me unfortunately. But as they say, that's motor racing!

PCV GT3 Register Run - Jindivick

The following text and pictures were submitted to the PCV magazine as a record of the day.

"September’s GT3 Register event was a Brunch run to the scenic town of Jindivick with our mid-morning refreshments to be taken at the delightful Jindivick Harvest Kitchen.

When planning the register calendar for the year I was surprised to find an ‘empty’ slot in early September. Only recently did I discover that September 1 was in fact Fathers Day. Oh well on with the show. Even if we get just a few cars, a good time would be had by all. Early on, bookings were slow to arrive (as expected) but closer to the day entries relatively flooded in.

So on a sunny spring Sunday morning some thirteen cars and 18 drivers / navigators arrived for the day. Six GT3s, four Boxsters, and three Turbos made up the field.

PCV members are renowned for travelling long distances to enjoy club events and the fellowship of other members. But we may have a new record holder. One Vince D’Rozario decided to attend the September 1 run in his 997-2 GT3 Clubsport. Nothing special in that I hear you say, except that Vince lives in Singapore!

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The navigator-friendly route for the day (about 111 kms) took us out on the Maroondah Highway through Lilydale, then turning towards Warburton. After the recent winter rains it was no surprise that the pastures, paddocks and vineyards all looked green and splendid from the road. A right turn at Woori Yallock on to the Pakenham Road had us upping the speed and enjoying some open and sweeping roads this time through more heavily forested areas. Just short of Pakenham we diverted on to the old Princes Highway, crossing the new freeway to Nar Nar Goon to join the Railway Road for a straight sprint for a few kilometres. Crossing the freeway again we joined the Labertouche Road before turning onto Jacksons Track for the uphill, winding sprint to Jindivick.

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This was one of the few runs that I have been on where we managed to stay pretty much in convoy for the majority of the route and looking in my rear vision mirror, the cars made a great sight snaking back around the curves.

Once at the brunch venue, tea and coffee orders were quickly taken and the group settled down for some serious conversation and local produce. Charred bread accompanied tasting plates of assorted dips, spreads, pickled veggies, salmon and dusted prawns Then the charcuterie plates arrived. Ham, prosciutto, terrine, chorizo and more. A sumptuous and tasty spread for modest dollars I thought.

By the volume of the conversation and the rapidly emptying platters, I concluded that a good time was had by all.

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At the conclusion of the brunch, some folks took the opportunity to visit the nursery next door. One couple, who shall remain nameless, decided to buy a six foot tall metal garden ornament and take it home in their 911. There was much mirth in the car park watching various permutations of said piece sticking out of the sunroof, out of the passenger’s window before finally settling on dash to parcel shelf location inside the car. I assume everything arrived home in one piece, including the leather interior!

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A big thank you to Julie Mason for providing the fabulous pictures. And thanks to Vince, Brent & Ann, Fred & Monika, Barry & Annie, Ken & Harriet, Peter, Frank, Malcolm & Steve, Chris & Julie, Dejan and Robin for coming along and making the GT3 Register Fathers Day run a resounding success."

PCV Club Sprint - Winton

Another fun weekend in Benalla so it must be another PCV event at Winton! We always look forward to the Winton events. Even if I have a 'bad' day on the track, the social side seems to make up for it, vowing to perform better next time.

We trailered-up to Benalla on Thursday to unpack, settle in and focus ahead of the 'Test and Tune' practice day on Friday. A delightful Thursday dinner at 'Georginas' got the extended weekend off to a great start.

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The Friday practice was OK, but with a lot of traffic on the track it was hard to get a clear lap. Which was my excuse for a terrible first session! Perhaps my head was still in high-speed Sandown mode. I needed to adjust to the tight and twisty Winton layout. The second session was better but still nothing to show for it time-wise. Still playing with tyre pressures saw me head out again and got down to a 1.40 which was at least in the ball park for me. The final session of the day I got down to a 1.39 which is only a bit over a second off my PB. Now that I was 'dialled in', hopes were high for the PCV event on Saturday.

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Your humble correspondent 'at speed' - Photo by Julie Mason 2013

Dinner Friday was a most elite and private affair shared with the Masons and the Garrigas at 'Raffetys'. As always the dinner was excellent, and only a very small amount of outstanding wine was consumed in readiness for the next day's competition.

My high hopes were dashed early when I couldn't get the car around in any sensible fashion. I thought I was well prepared, but maybe trying (too hard?) and after two sessions, I was still above the 1.40s. After lunch, the day's competition switched to the short course taking away two straights (usually good for me). Gulp...

After wallowing around in the first session, a rear sway bar and tyre pressure change saw me head out, find some clear track and have a go. My previous best time was 1.11.2 on the short course and it was 'blown away' with a new mark of 1.10.5. Another PB! Well a mini-PB maybe. Don't get too excited sports fans coz that is still a VERY slow time. I think the best time for the day on the short course was around 1 min dead. Mmmmm. More work for me to do then…


My best lap on the Winton Short Course - 2013

My friends, Peter Garriga in his 1984 3.2 911 and Chris Mason in his recently purchased 997.1 Turbo, both acquitted themselves well on the day. Great work guys!

After the Winton competition on Saturday, the weekend event moved to the DECA driver training facility in Shepparton for a motor-khana event on Sunday. Not for me however, I was just an innocent bystander. Two short asphalt courses out the back, and a large skid pan awaited the drivers on the day. The afternoon head-to-head event is worth of the price of admission alone. Great viewing and I am sure fun driving. Maybe I will have a crack one year with the Boxster…

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Lining up at DECA - 2013

The weather was very kind over the whole four days and I had heaps of fun. That is all that counts at the end of the day.

PCV Club Sprint - Sandown

Getting track bookings this year has proved difficult for our PCV Competition Committee to arrange so yesterday's run at the recently re-surfaced Sandown Raceway was only our second circuit event of the year. Some 75 cars were in attendance .

I was looking forward to it, if the track was dry. I haven't had a timed run in the dry at Sandown for a couple of years and was interested to see how I would go. On the Friday prior the weather was terrible, but thankfully the forecast was correct and Saturday was dry and sunny. Any existing damp spots on the track dried out by late morning. I was hoping I could get near my previous PB and record a best lap somewhere in the 1.25 region. Really just hoping…

At the driver registration, I was shocked when my grading came in and I was seeded in Group 1 wIth all of the fast guys (and gal). I must admit I was a bit apprehensive, made worse when I tried to hang back on the grid only to be shuffled forward to start in the middle of the 'angry' 18 car pack.

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Couldn't resist taking a 'happy snap' of #48's first foray into Group 1...

In my first session out with a couple of damp patches still present I did a best time only .3 second outside my personal best which was most encouraging and frankly surprising. I put it down to having a very clear run, with no one in front or behind to distract me. During the second set of laps I had traffic behind and spent the first lap or so warming up and letting some of them go by. I found a gap and had three decent laps and was happy when another 1.25-something came up on my data display, then excited to see 1.24 on my next lap, and totally shocked with a 1.23.6 on the next. So shocked I think I was still shaking when I butchered the downshift into turns One and Two on the next lap, so I aborted the session and came in happy! Session three was awful, I tried too hard and didn't get close to my earlier times. After taking one of our hard-working marshals around for a few Hot Laps in the luncheon break, I parked the car for the day, enjoyed a nice spit-roast lunch, chatted to some folks and returned home most satisfied.


My fastest lap of the day: 1.23.69, a Personal Best!

Another reason for me to be happy is that there have been no recent changes to the car this year. Also I am probably adding negatively to the power-to-weight ratio of the car as well! So it looks like some recent driver training is helping. I now look forward to Winton later in the month with some renewed confidence.

PCV Club Night - Royal Yacht Club of Victoria

The first PCV Club Night of the year was held on Tuesday evening at the wonderful Royal Yacht Club of Victoria at Williamstown.

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The always photogenic Chris Mason (left) and the always talking Social Director Felix (right)

There was obviously some pent-up demand for an 'outing' as an extremely large group was in attendance. While the weather could have been a little kinder, there were opportunities to head outside to take a look at some of the gorgeous boats and to get a super view of the Melbourne skyline from a different perspective for us south eastern dwellers.

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Yachts by night

Some fine food, and superb company made for a great few few hours. Thanks to the Social Committee for organising such an enjoyable event.

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Mark Behan desperately grasping my wife, Robin, or vice versa!

John Bowe High Performance Driver Training

On Monday I attended a John Bowe High Performance Driver Training Day at Winton Raceway in northern Victoria.

My GT3 buddy Chris and I drove up Sunday afternoon, got squared away in our motel in Benalla and set about planning the day ahead over a quiet beverage. We then joined a number of the other drivers for an enjoyable dinner at 'Georginas' before retiring early.

A desirable collection of cars turned out, the majority of which were Porsches of various models & vintages, but also included a vintage LHD fastback Mustang, an XT GT Falcon, a GT-86 Toyota, a Lotus Elise, a BMW M3, a couple of FPV and HSVs, and a Turbo Astra. Interestingly no Evos, WRXs, Ferraris, Mercedes or Minis amongst the 26 attendees.

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Early morning at Winton - Photo by Chris Mason 2013

Very warm conditions greeted all drivers on the day and the shade of the garage with a cold water bottle in hand was a popular pastime throughout the day. My Winton best is 1.38.1 and I thought I would be happy if could get in the 1.39s and delighted to repeat a 1.38. Little did I know how hard it was going to be... I participated in the warm up, although untimed, I felt pretty good in the car. So I confidently ignored the detailed track inspection preferring the aforementioned shade / water. Interestingly, a number of drivers complained of motion sickness, especially in the morning. with one being so bad he had to retire before lunch.

Once broken up into groups with our instructors, we were sent out to set a baseline time. Mine was 1.41.7, pretty ordinary but I claim that I only got one clear flying lap so I was sure that better times were ahead. Then my instructor Dean got in with me for a few laps, and I ploughed around doing nothing better than 1.43. Back in the pits Dean proceeded to describe the litany of things that I was doing wrong.

Time for lunch, a fine BBQ with salads was enjoyed but I didn't eat too much as immediately after lunch I was due to head out with Dean driving just to show me what should be done. And wearing a full face helmet, I didn't want things to get 'sticky'.

He did three quick laps although outright times were impacted by traffic it really showed me (again) what my car was capable of. And it is always nice to see a professional at work. So after a suitable cooling off period, I had another go. Another three flying lap stint, and I am not sure that I saw better than 1.43 again. Oh dear, getting hotter, going slower and becoming more depressed! As you do, I then stood around the garage lamenting with other drivers about the 'difficult' conditions etc when it came time for our last official instructor timed run to see if we had improved.

Well, it is now or never. With a couple of line changes and a higher gear through the sweeper planned in my head I set out with only modest hopes. Started with a 1.43, then a 1.41, a 1.40.2 and with one last gasp trying to be as smooth as possible I managed to pull out a 1.39.7 on the very last lap of the day. I was stuffed when I got out of the car.


Thanks to my instructor Dean Sammit for his professional support, bravery and guidance. I really enjoyed the camaraderie and chat with the other drivers which made the day a lot of fun. So overall, another enjoyable and safe day at the scenic Winton track.

PCV Club Sprint - Phillip Island

Yesterday, I attended the PCV Club Sprint Day at the recently resurfaced Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Starting out the day with high hopes, I left with my tail slightly between my legs. Again.

Some video with more detail to come.

PCV Marshall's BBQ

The PCV Competition Director and his wife hosted a BBQ for the marshals and officials to thank them for past efforts and motivate them for the season ahead.

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A fine rural setting - 2013

The event was held at their country retreat out of Gembrook and it was a most spectacular location.

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Horsepower of a different kind - 2013

Porsche Forum Get Together

The Porsche Forum Australia guys hold regular 'meet & greet' events aimed to just get together and chat about Porsche cars. Sounds pretty boring ah? Actually it is nothing of the kind. A passionate bunch of guys (and one gal this week) turned up in 14 vehicles to enjoy fine conversation and a gorgeous sunset at the North Rd Brighton beachside car park.

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Doug's gorgeous black beauty - 2013
I have attended a couple of these events in the past and it was good to renew some old acquaintances and meet some new folk. A most enjoyable evening indeed.