The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

PCV Club Sprint - Sandown Raceway

In the pits at Sandown Raceway - 2016

Greg Sandown Sketch
Gratuitous selfie - 2016

PCV GT3/RS/RSR Register - Lunch Run

Register captains and organisers do go to some lengths to ensure that their runs go off as smoothly as possible. Various contingencies are planned for, in the hope that everyone will enjoy the day however, the one thing the organiser can do little about, is the weather. The days leading up to our run to Kyneton were borderline abysmal, and the forecast for Sunday was just as miserable. Oh well, I did my best good weather dance. Lo and behold, the day dawned relatively clear and stayed that way throughout the day. It must be said that it was cold, like bitterly cold, with drivers and passengers almost needing to be bribed to get out of their cars for a photo op at Wallan! We lost a couple of cars before the start, maybe victims of the forecast but some 16 hardy souls in 9 cars departed Croydon. Congratulations to Rowan Thomson, Steve Porter, Chris Mason and Linley Baxter for actually bringing a GT3 to the GT3/RS/RSR Register event, comprising 44% of the entry list. Must almost be some kind of record for the Register! If only the Captain could get his act together and produce his.

A cold photo-op! - Photo by Julie Mason 2016
Our route took us through Yarra Glen, Christmas Hills and across the northern plains towards Wallan for a comfort stop and photo opportunity. There were some challenging navigation components in this first section but drivers and navigators coped superbly. There was also a pretty simple right turn onto a national freeway on-ramp that seem to tax a couple of the brightest in-car minds (not sure why you would turn south to go north but…) The highlight of the drive for me is the bridge across the Campaspe River just short of Redesdale. A beautiful old stone & steel structure, the likes of which you can be sure will never be made again. One tricky 'non-turn' in the main street of Kyneton caught out a couple of cars but generally all arrived on time at our luncheon destination, the Albion Hotel.

Spectacular old bridge over the Campaspe River - Photo by Julie Mason 2016
I was expecting us to be seated downstairs in the hotel dining room, but instead we had a private room upstairs with our own dedicated serving staff. After some initial wrangling of the heater, we were comfortably seated and the noise level increased as the conversation fired up, assisted I suspect, by some local wines and other assorted beverages. Our meal started with some dips, followed by hearty mains and tasty desserts. I took note of the state of the plates as they were returned to the kitchen and I was thinking of asking for a refund on the washing up as most were very, very clean indeed! After helping ourselves to tea and coffee the group began to scatter, some to the bespoke and eclectic stores in Kyneton, others to nearby locales and the rest taking to easy freeway run back to the city.

Eager eaters - Photo by Julie Mason 2016
Many thanks to Dennis & Margaret, Ken & Harriet, Linley & Helen, Chris & Julie, Steve, Leigh & Dianne, Tony and Rowan & Nella for joining Robin and I in making the day a success.

PCV Club Sprint - Winton Raceway

Posing in the pits - Photo by Robin Humphries 2016

Seeking the apex…. - Photo by Robin Humphries 2016

All good things come to an end! - Photo by Robin Humphries 2016

Robin & Helen post breakfast at the Benalla Art Gallery Cafe - 2016

PCV Club Night - The auction!

For various reasons, it has been many months since I last attended a Porsche Club of Victoria Club Night. I was persuaded by Chris and Julie Mason to attend this one with the offer of being chauffeured to and from the event. How could I refuse!

We arrived a little early, so we ventured into the Prince Patrick Hotel for a pre-event cleanser and we were offered a Victorian high country Cortese (an Italian white varietal) instead of our usual Pinot Grigio and it was very pleasant indeed. Off to a good start!

Time to head across the road to Porsche Centre Melbourne for the Porsche Club of Victoria Club Night. It was great to catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen for many months. After 45 minutes or so of lively conversation it was time for the buffet dinner, a tasty selection of roast beef and chicken with salads and vegetables. The formal presentation of the evening was a travel report from the President and Competition Director following a recent excursion courtesy of Porsche AG to the Porsche ice driving program in Iceland. Apparently it was cold!

As I was relatively unprepared for the evening, I had no idea what was coming next. Well, it was an auction, with the club selling off 'special' membership numbers of Porsche models (987, 956, 964 and 996 from memory). Funds raised were to be shared between the club and our not-for-profit partner of choice, the Country Fire Authority. The first few numbers were bid on and sold reasonably quickly. I had no interest in them as they didn't match any cars that I owned. But then number '996' was offered. I actually have two 996 series 911s. Perhaps I should bid I thought. So I bravely raised my hand for a modest amount mentally setting an upper limit in my head. As this is a popular series of 911 there was actually spirited interest from the floor but I 'won' luckily with my maximum bid. My euphoria was short lived when there appeared to be an outstanding bid from the floor that the 'auctioneer' missed. After some frantic negotiations, bidding recommenced and I am now the under bidder but over my upper limit. So I stayed silent. However, my good friend Chris Mason saw my reticence as a sign of shyness and decided to be my proxy bidder and increase my final bid by some 33% which trumped the opposition and saw me duly win. His excuse was that he didn't want to see me miss out for want of just a few extra dollars in the bid. After all it wasn't THAT much extra over and above my committed maximum…. Thanks, I think…. I will forever now be known as PCV Member Number 996!

With my helpful 'bidder'… Photo by Julie Mason 2016

You probably had to be there, but the conversation in the car on the way home, the retelling of the auction process and events of the night were hilarious. I had a ball!

Evolve Driver Training - Sandown

As it had been some six months since the GT3 and I were on track, I really needed some 'seat' time to refresh my skills and get used to the physical and mental demands of driving at speed before the next PCV club event. So I signed up for an Evolve Driver Training day at Sandown Raceway, talked my fellow GT3 buddy, Linley Baxter into joining me and a very pleasant day was in prospect.

Serviced, washed, packed and ready to go - 2016

It was a really good day. The organisation was excellent. Two briefings, one on safety and one on ‘driving dynamics’ were Ok and not too laborious, considering Dean does have to cater to his customers that range from experienced club guys to first timers on track.

Both Linley and I had Tony D’Alberto as our instructor. Tony was excellent, patient, a good communicator and was able to focus on a couple of key areas we needed to improve rather than the twenty things we were probably doing wrong. That in turn gave us some confidence to go out and concentrate on his key messages.

I swapped an in-car session for a 15 minute sit down detailed discussion of the track, best lines and specific areas where I needed to improve / change. I have a good set of notes from this that helped me yesterday (when I was concentrating properly!), and will be of benefit in the future.

It was great to be on track at the same time as Linley and we had a couple of different sessions where we followed each other around in close company. I think he had had me slightly in the corners, but as you might hope, my car was probably a little quicker on the straights. Overall, pretty close and it was cool to chase the Orange Pearl Queen!

Key learnings for me were that I was braking too late, unbalancing the car and slowing down too much and squaring off a couple of key corners where I should have been flowing the car faster through the mid corner. Also Tony noticed that on most left hand corners I was not close enough to the apex, a common problem for amateurs sitting on the right hand side of the car. Also I need to manage my brake pressure better, especially when heel/toe-ing on the downshifts as I don’t keep a consistent pressure on the brake, leading me to potentially over-run the turn in point.

There were relatively few cars in each group and the other drivers stayed well out of our way which was courteous. Throughout the day the refreshments were ample and lunch was adequate and tasty. 

So in summary, five sessions for the day, and could have had more given the low numbers, but I was very happy with the amount of laps I got in and certainly achieved my objectives of getting back in the car again, finding some confidence and consistency (if not outright speed) and enjoying myself.

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Linley's Zanzibar Red GT3 with my Kyron Audio GT3 - 2016

A quirky thing happened in the middle of a 'normal' driver training day, and that was the arrival of three very attractive young ladies at lunchtime. When they joined 'my' table I had to ask 'What are you doing here?' Turns out one of our Porsche club members has a new sponsor for his GT3 Cup Car and the promotional girls were in attendance to add some glamour to the marketing materials that were being shot on track and with the car in pit lane. Certainly brightened my day!

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'My' girls - 2016

Thanks for a great day Dean Sammut, very well organised indeed. And a very special thanks to Tony D'Alberto for being such an outstanding driver coach and for being brave, especially when my foot slipped off the brake pedal in Turn 3!

GT3 breakfast run fail...

The GT3 hasn't had a run for six months so I figured we could take it for a breakfast run on Sunday morning and blow out some cobwebs. So I rose early, washed the car, checked tyre pressures and planned a short trip to Balnarring. The data below then lists the sequence of the 'morning'. Happy reading!

Robin working the phone for help - 2016

The sequence of events - Sunday:

- Greg up early, started the GT3, wiped it clean, put air in the tyres and drove to the front door
- Robin joined and at 8AM we left for Balnarring for breakfast, stopping off at the Shell Servo on Moorooduc Road for fuel
- After refuelling, the car wouldn't start so we pushed it out of the way to the back of the forecourt
- Waited awhile tried it again, no go, now not even a click
- Called you
- Chose to call a taxi to go home, get a second car and jumper leads to see if it was battery related. No good.
- Drove home in the second car to get the third car and the trailer
- Plenty of room to park the Cayenne & trailer and push the car towards the ramps
- Ran the cable out full length and winched the car towards the ramps
- Slowed down steadily to make sure the car was lined up on the ramps straight
- Got to the start of the ramp (with me in it steering) and the winch quit. Investigation showed blown fuse on the winch motor
- No problem have a spare 30A fuse, put it in, untwist the tow hook let the car gently roll back and line it up again
- This time I steered from the outside to put less stress on winch motor
- At the start of the ramps the winch died again. No more fuses
- The Shell servo didn't have large 30A fuses, so we had to uncouple the car, drive to Autobarn buy ALL of their 30A fuses and return to Shell servo
- Plug in new fuse, car moves forward then winch dies. But fuse still OK
- After some head scratching, now out of ideas. If we flat bed the GT3, should we take it home (no real value except removing it from Shell)
- The FRS team are all at Haunted Hills with PCV but I call Peter  who calls Carol F to see if she is available to open the workshop
- Carol calls me back, yes happy to help just ring again when 30 minutes away so she can drive across
- Robin calls RACV on my City Club membership card and is told I am not covered for any roadside assist or towing etc
- Robin either calls back for another operator or sweet talks them with her membership and arranges a flat bed (she gets two free tows a year apparently)
- My new best friend, Trevor from Sheens Towing turns up promptly, is excited about getting such a nice car on his truck
- He turns out to be a prestige / competition car loading expert, took his time to line up ramps, check for potential scrapes etc. Did a great job
- I rode with him to FRS, he kept the conversation going all the way across Eastlink
- Got safely and quickly to FRS, Carole arrived and we had the car put in the garage within 5 minutes of unloading, rolled it down the drive and swung in reverse in one go (phew)
- And Robin arrived to pick me up at 2PM.

Six hours of our life gone, never to be returned!

On the way to Fitzgerald Racing Services - 2016

The sequence of events - Monday
- No word yet from FRS on the car, I will call tomorrow
- Took the trailer to our guy in Somerville this morning
- Basically it was a low trailer battery charge issue which was driving up the current draw from the car and blowing the fuse
- Then at some point, it blew the protective maxi-fuse in the Cayenne (installed to protect the cars electrics from external issues like this, so it did it's job) which was why there was no more juice flowing through the Anderson plug from the car to the trailer at the end
- A relay and cut out switch has been ordered to provide and re-settable circuit breaker, the Cayenne goes to an auto electrician in Somerville for the maxi switch replacement Friday morning (need to remove passenger seat to get at the  car battery and maxi switch)
- Also now need to keep the trailer battery charged so found out how to remove it and it is now on a trickle charger in the garage

Finally many thanks to Carole and Peter Fitzgerald for opening their workshop on a Sunday to receive the 'broken' GT3 and for the timely service and repair.

Update: The problem was the starter motor. It was sent out for refurbishment and now starting issues have disappeared. The car fires on first turn. Obviously this was the problem all along.

Porsche and iOS whimsy

In the spirit of trying to eke out some increased value from my iOS devices, I had a little play with screen shots, home screen locks and watch faces recently to celebrate my love for the Porsche brand. Here are a few samples of my efforts.

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For the lock screen on iPhone 6 - 2016

Custom face for Apple Watch - 2016

Peninsula drive - Arthurs Seat

Celebrating my discharge from hospital, I took advantage of some glorious late summer weather to drive the Boxster around the Mornington Peninsula and stopping off at Arthurs Seat to enjoy the spectacular view.