The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

My first DNF...

I guess it had to happen sometime, but I have now had my first DNF at a track day.

A fellow GT3 owner and I attended an open practice session on the National Circuit at Calder Raceway today. The day dawned hot with a forecast temperature of 36 C. After a slow 90 minute drive across town in peak hour traffic in the GT3, I arrived at Calder around 8.30 to be greeted by my mate who was paid up, kitted up and raring to go.

So I found the office, paid my fees, and had my car and safety gear scrutineered. So, all good so far. The order of running on these days are alternating half hour sessions for open wheel cars followed by saloons, starting at 9AM. The safety officer duly advised us that as there were no open wheelers present, the track was ours! With only our two GT3s on the track, it was a great feeling. The surface felt a bit slippery but after about four laps my confidence was growing and then it happened. Entering Turn One, I down changed to fourth, then third, accelerated through, went for second for the tighter turns Three & Four and the gear lever felt like a spoon in a bowl of jelly. So with the car still in (and stuck in) third, I sadly made my way back to the pits.

No noises, no smells and upon inspection, no dropping of oil or fluids. My mechanical skills run to having my Porsche service folks on speed dial. I duly leveraged those skills only to be informed that most of them were at another track day at Phillip Island. A brief over-the-phone diagnosis indicated that it might be the gear selector cable coming unclipped from the gearbox. Sounded too simple. Luckily, a Porsche Melbourne mechanic was there and I asked to borrow his jack so I could check under my car (yeh right) and he offered to take a quick look. A clip which presumably was holding the cables on in the first place, was lying under the car (lucky or what) and he was able to clamp & crimp the cables back on well enough for me to make a nervous drive back to my service guys for a permanent fix. Many thanks to Porsche Centre support! Only 10 minutes of effort but 100% skill!

Regularly readers of this site will know that I have been a bit critical of Calder Raceway in the past. Sure the facilities are under going (and need) some updating but I must say all the staff I dealt with this morning, Bill on the gate, Robbie in the office and Peter, the safety officer / track time scheduler were extremely welcoming and efficient. And, for the clincher, as I had left early after my incident, I was offered a free replacement session. Great customer service!

Sadly, I let my Porsche buddy down today as we were looking forward driving the track 'together', comparing notes, lines. times, tyre pressures etc. and are now planning to go back on December 11. I am looking forward to a few more laps next time.