The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

PCV Sandown Four Hour Regularity

Regularity events seem to be gaining popularity as a way for various car clubs and their members to get closer to 'real' racing while still being safe and not getting too close to their fellow competitors.

So PCV decided to run their own Four Hour Regularity event last weekend. Teams of four tackled Sandown Raceway trying circulate as close as possible to their pre-determined lap times. Chris in a GT3, Dennis & Adam in glorious sounding 928s and me in my GT3 made up team #18, 'Jive Torque'. Dennis was also able to recruit Paul, an experienced Team Manager and John, his capable pit lane assistant. They kept us well informed all day with relative lap performance which was indicated on a pit board. Excellent work, but trying to find 'our' board while under full power on the main straight, avoiding other competitors and keeping an eye out for the start/finish flag marshals was a bit of an added challenge!

The day dawned threatening but the 90 minute practice session was dry and the entire day was clear. With each of our target times set, we did a little bit of standing around waiting for the first group to grid up and head out. I was the lead car for us, so to the dummy grid I went, was duly waved away a little before midday to do two formation laps behind the Safety Car before the event officially kicked off at 12PM. See, I told you it was like real racing!

I can certainly see what 'red mist' means for racing drivers. The first half a dozen laps were a bit of a haze as the tyres warmed up and I was chasing down the cars in front. Except that I was not supposed to be chasing anyone, but circulating as close as possible to my target lap times. When I settled down, 'it' happened again.

Sad, very sad... (Photo by NikoFoto - 2010)

Braking for the Dandenong Road corner at the end of the back straight, I went to down change to fourth, and thought I missed the gear. So I tried it again (now running out of road) and still nothing just the gear lever feeling like it was stirring porridge, not connected to anything. And the 'kitty litter' and tyre wall were now looming large. With no drive to push me around I had to try to balance the brakes and steering to get me through the corner. Once done, I just coasted to a graceful halt. Not only disappointing for me, but the lost laps while I was being picked up and towed back killed our chances for a decent finish in the event AND while I was being picked up, the Safety Car was out spoiling the other drivers fun as well. Apologies to all.

I knew what the problem was as it happened to me late last year at Calder. Once again the gear linkage cables became disconnected from the gearbox under load / stress. It was a five minute temporary fix with cable ties to get me running again. Thanks to Dean from NinePlus Motorsports for stepping in to assist. Great job. So I was able to get out for my second session in the afternoon but I must admit to not brimming over with confidence every time I reached for the gear lever! I now have the car booked in for the fitment of a pair of GT3 Porsche CupCar gearbox linkage cables (ex Germany) which will fix this problem once and for all and also improve the feel of the gear change, which I thought was pretty good anyway. While it is 'on the hoist' a quick suspension check will also occur and adjust the settings so the car is corner weighted and balanced front to back, side to side. If it is OK now, fine, if not, it should drive better than ever after the balancing. Only wish I could drive better...

And to cap off a miserable car day, I got a decent stone chip right in my line of vision on my first lap out. Oh well...

In the final wash up, "Jive Torque' finished 18th out of 21 teams. Not a stellar result but mechanical disasters notwithstanding, we all enjoyed the day and especially the camaraderie of the our team environment. The structure and organisation of the day was superb and a real credit to all involved. Especially impressive considering this was the first time the club had run such an event. Provisional class results can be found here.

Roll on Bathurst!