The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

Some Porsche humour

In the absence of any real news of mine, I thought I would reproduce a wonderfully humorous, but perceptive take, on our favourite automotive brand.

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Whoever said 'you can't put the cart before the horse' obviously never worked in Zuffenshausen!

PCV Club Sprint - Sandown Raceway


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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.

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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.


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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.


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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


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Posing in the pits - Photo by Robin Humphries 2016


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Seeking the apex…. - Photo by Robin Humphries 2016


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


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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

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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.

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PCV President's Day

The PCV on-track events calendar concludes every year with President's Day at Sandown Raceway in suburban Melbourne. It is a non-competition event and the only track day where passengers are allowed to be taken. In fact, they are compulsory so family and friends are encouraged to come along and participate.

Lee Gray of Kyron Audio organised a number of his business partners to come along and have a ride, plus I had a couple of friends lined up to attend. The day seemed well planned and I was looking forward to it. The reality, as usual, turned into something different!

In the first session, I 'lost' one of my exhaust silencers that are necessary to keep the exhaust note under the track noise limit of 75dB. I alerted Robin to the issue in her role as Assistant Clerk of Course and she sent the hard-working safety crew out to scan the circuit for loose items (on safety grounds) and fortunately they found it somewhere around Turn 4. While not a large item, it is made of heavy steel and would easily cause damage to another car if struck. It did come back with some battle scars however.

Anyway, in conjunction with the guys from Fitzgerald Racing Services, we decided to take the other silencer off just to see if I would be detected / penalised for noise as I had never really checked before. Lee joined me for session 2 and sure enough I received a 'warning' that my car was indeed too loud and if I got a second bad reading after attempting to address the noise levels, I would be suspended from participating for the rest of the day. This is a Sandown Raceway management requirement that PCV has no control over. So the silencers went back on for session 3.

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Slightly second hand but survived the day - 2015

Well, there almost wasn't a session 3 as a couple of Lee's contacts were unable to make it on the day due to illness and other commitments, so I had to take a club member around just so that I could have another run and check the noise levels. So the brave soul hopped in and we were having a nice time until Lap 5 when the car felt really strange in Turn 1 and then on braking for Turn 2 immediately snapped into a 90 degree slide / spin for no apparent reason. This was bad news as there is another rule on President's Day where if you spin, you get sent home. It is all about driving within your capabilities on this 'social' day and making safety paramount. I really thought something broke on the car so came slowly, and it must be said sheepishly, back to the pits, apologising to my passenger (who seemed quite excited by the spin!) and awaited a visit from the officials who I was certain would kick me out. And I had rides lined up for the afternoon. Aaargghh. Then I heard that the session had been cancelled. Surely not because of me as I immediately got going again after the spin so I wondered what happened? Unfortunately one competitor had an engine incident and spewed oil all over the track from Turn 1 to somewhere past Turn 4. I had spun on his oil and it was deemed by the officials NOT to be driver error. I am still in the game. Yippee!


Fancy steering wheel work - 2015

I sat out the session immediately after lunch while digesting my pizza (the offical race food of champions) waiting for my next passenger to arrive. By early afternoon the field was starting to thin out and the event changed to an 'open' pit lane where you were able to go out at anytime for as many laps as you wanted. So when David arrived, we strapped in and had some decent laps following in close company with a couple of other cars but it started to drizzle for the first time for the day. The car still felt all right then coming up to the fast left hander at the end of the back straight the rain got a little heavier and wipers were required. I briefly thought about staying out for one more lap, but took a late decision to dive into the pits and not risk it. Probably wise however that was the end of my day as the rain sprinkled for another 30 minutes or so before subsiding.

By this time the track was closed and the canapes and refreshments were being served to celebrate the end of the competition season.

All in all an eventful day and thanks to James from FRS for his support and a big thank you to the brave passengers for coming out with me and seemingly enjoying themselves (well mostly anyway, looking at you now Lee!).

Circuit Tools now on Mac

The Racelogic VBOX data logging & video recording technology I have in the GT3 has previously been a Windows-only suite of software tools. While still predominantly on that platform, one of the most used components, Circuit Tools, has been ported to OS X and can now be run natively on the Mac. This is GOOD news.

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The Mac version of Circuit Tools - 2015

The reason this is good news is that Circuit Tools is the most file handling and manipulation intensive app of the Racelogic suite and often taxes my Windows skills beyond their limits. And while I have VMWare running Windows 7 on my Mac for this stuff, it is slower than the native apps.

Further evaluation of the Mac version of Circuit Tools to come..

PCV Combined GT3/Turbo Registers Run to Woodend

Due to a packed PCV calendar and a couple of scheduling conflicts, the GT3 and Turbo Registers got together to share a brunch run in mid October. Schatzi's Restaurant in Woodend was the chosen destination.

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Some of the group with Tony S's new 997 Turbo - Photo by Julie Mason 2015

Some 18 attendees in 12 cars arrived on a cool and overcast Sunday morning at the Rockbank meeting point for the prompt 8AM departure. The route over mainly Victorian country B & C roads initially took us west towards Anakie before heading north to Woodend.

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The initial roads were predominantly open and flowing and with relatively light traffic the convoy stayed pretty much together and made good time. After about an hour, the route turned to more hilly country bordering on state forests and the pace was a little more subdued but more picturesque in terms of terrain. Through this section the group broke up a little bit with 'team orders' giving way to 'natural selection' with some folks taking a more accelerative view and overtaking some of their colleagues and disappearing into the distance. I am delighted to report all cars ran well, and arrived in Woodend within minutes of each other although some drivers decided not to follow the numbering system of the Main Street to find the restaurant and decided to park a couple of hundred metres away instead…

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The big table - Photo by Julie Mason 2015

Gorgeous spring sunshine greeted us as we made our way to the venue. Once seated inside, the food started to flow. And flow and flow… Our host Frank warned us to bring our appetites but at a relatively modest cost I wasn't sure how much fare could be provided. Platters of mini egg & bacon rolls, potato rosti, bratwurst pastry pin wheels, roasted tomatoes, steamed spinach, mini filo quiche cups, sautéed mushrooms, apple cake and tea & coffee were all enjoyed.

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Feedback on the duration, format and venue was positive I am pleased to say. Special thanks to Julie Mason for the photos and to Robin Humphries for putting maps and run instructions together. And finally a big thank you to everyone for joining in and making the brunch run a most enjoyable morning.

1997 911 Turbo Refresh

Our 993 Turbo is going as well as we can remember but there are just a couple of niggling mechanical and cosmetic issues that could or should be resolved to turn it into one of the best air-cooled Turbos going around.

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The 'Before' image - 2015

So I took the car to Stuart Drummond of Nineauto Porsche Service in Highett to get the process started. I will update this post when recommendations are made and work gets underway.

We are looking forward to this classic being back in our hands in a month or two.

PCV Sprint at Calder

It has been five or more years since I have had a drive at Calder Park Raceway. Some ownership squabbles have meant that the circuit and facility hasn't been kept in the most pristine shape.

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At rest - 2015

At the start of the day, Peter Fitzgerald talked his customers through the complexity of the circuit, particularly the 'bumps' and the risks of the high kerbs which can unsettle the car resulting in an unwanted meeting with the many concrete walls around the circuit. It took me a couple of sessions to get the hang of the track again. It is a bit tricky with some tight second gear corners and a couple of long straights where you need to focus on getting a good run to maximise top speed.

Sessions three, four and five saw some progression and on the last lap of my last session I managed a 1.05.59 which was a Personal Best by about 2 seconds. Mission accomplished for the day. Thanks to Peter Fitzgerald, the FRS crew and Robin for their support.

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Car & driver - 2015

PCV 40th Anniversary Lunch & Tour

Story to come.

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Parking with the Turbo group - 2015
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Robin & Peta Garriga (left) and Peter Fitzgerald (right) - 2015
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Vintage Porsches at Rochford Winery - 2015

PCV Sprint at Phillip Island

I was very much looking forward to a run at Phillip Island again. After a slow start, I finally got my act together as the day went on.

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Packed and ready to go - 2015
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The GT3 in the garage waiting - 2015

On the last lap of the day, I got a good run, saw that I was under my previous best lap and just kept my right foot buried into the firewall. As I crossed the line I glanced at my data logger and saw a PB time come up! Awesome! I finally got under 1 minute 50 seconds. Check out the video below.


Nice lap finally! - 2015

Thanks to Peter Fitzgerald, the FRS team, Linley Baxter and Robin Humphries for their support on the day.

PCV Sprint at Sandown Raceway

Last Sunday was the Porsche Club of Victoria Winter Sprint event at Sandown Raceway in suburban Melbourne. It is a great facility and a fast track that suits my car, if not my skill & bravery level!

Any outdoor event in Melbourne in late June is always at the risk of poor weather but I am delighted to say that the weather, although cold, was fine and clear for the duration.

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In the pits - 2015

I had some hopes of a good day with a Personal Best clearly in my sights. Those ambitions took a hit in the first session when I floundered around some four seconds adrift of a decent time. Coming back into the pits I discovered that over-pressured tyres were limiting my grip and making the car feel pretty 'skittish'.

With a pressure adjustment prior to the Session 2, the car immediately felt more stable and after a couple of laps I managed a 1.22.1 lap which was in fact equal to my PB from early last year. I had another go before lunch and could only do a 1.22.3. Consistent but not quite quick enough.

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Waiting on the grid - 2015

After some pizza (the traditional luncheon of champion drivers) I tried again but was back in the 1.23s and decided that I used the best of the tyres, the track condition and my concentration levels.

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The flying #48 Kyron Audio Porsche GT3 - 2015

So I packed up and went home, pretty happy with day and confident that I can build on this current benchmark. The car ran faultlessly and thanks to the Fitzgerald Racing Services team and Robin for their support on the day.

PCV Sprint at Winton Raceway

The highlights? A PB on the Long and Short tracks. Not special times mind, but heading in the right direction. More details to come.

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Taking service - 2015

Winton is a super little track and as usual the Club ran the Long Course in the morning and the Short Course (actually the original layout) in the afternoon.

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The rig at the Comfort Inn, Benalla - 2015

Food is always a highlight in Benalla and surrounds.

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Scaloppine with La Zona Arneis at Georgina;s, Prosecco at Dal Zotto's Winery & breakfast at the Art Gallery - 2015

PCV GT3 Register Run to Trofeo Estate

The first Porsche Club of Victoria GT3/RS/RSR Register event I had planned for this year was a breakfast run to the Whispering Vines Cafe at Trofeo Estate Winery in Dromana on Sunday May 31. With the support of Chris Mason and Robin Humphries we chose the venue, planned the route and developed the maps and detailed run notes. So all good so far until the weekend weather forecast came out. Oh dear… On the Thursday prior a member rang me from Albury and was worried that the weather would be too bad to make the trip down worthwhile. I gave whatever meek assurances I could that the planned roads had never flooded to my knowledge and it will be a great day with the fellowship of Porsche drivers and that we would enjoy a fabulous breakfast at the end. A rumour was also circulating that there was an email hook-up between three GT3 owner / drivers a day or so before to lay out contingency vehicle selection plans for the Sunday should the weather be as feared. And without any further correspondence, all implemented their Plan B! How weak were we, sorry, I meant they….

Sunday dawned clear, windy but very cold. Nineteen folks in ten cars duly met at Dandenong, (with one car meeting us at Hastings), all on time or early (thank you) so with minimal fuss and fanfare we were on our way on schedule at 8 AM. And congratulations to Colin and Vince for actually having the courage to attend in their splendid GT3s (and later to Sven for bringing his superb 993 RSCS).

The first part of the route was a highway touring stage to the Hastings Marina for a rest stop and photo op. We made great time due to the drivers utilising the great traction of the Porsche
marque and demolishing the exits of the eight or nine roundabouts on route while still staying inside the speed limits.

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The obligatory group photo (it was cold!) - 2015

Then we were off to the cafe for breakfast driving through some interesting and undulating roads across the Mornington Peninsula. Due to the relatively early start, we were into the meat of the run by about 9.00 AM and we had an almost traffic free outing, able to maintain an enjoyable pace while taking in the lovely late autumn scenery and vistas that the Peninsula has to offer.

Some minor navigational challenges were encountered but all cars arrived at the venue within minutes of the appointed time. Due to a logistics failure at the interim stop, the rest rooms were a popular first point of call!

Our long table of twenty (and a half!) quickly raised the dB levels in the room once the coffee / teas / juices were served. They were followed by fruit, granola and yoghurt. All seemed to be going well when the toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato and grilled mushroom platters arrived accompanied by some tasty baked beans. The conversation lulled a little while the group tucked in.

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Ready for the food - Photo by Julie Mason

Common feedback from attendees on the day indicated that they enjoyed the breakfast / brunch format which avoided weekend traffic as much as feasible. This made the drives a little shorter than the typically longer lunch runs leaving more time in the day for other activities either in the touring area or back at home.

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Porsche & Vines - Photo by Julie Mason

Many thanks to Linley & Helen,Vince & Phil, Ken & Barbara, Robin, Chris & Julie, Fred & Monika, Susette (with extra thanks for making the effort from Albury), Colin & Margot, Michael & Judy, Kane & Douglas and Sven (& Sven Jnr) for attending and contributing to a most enjoyable morning.

And
then the rain came!

Changes to the tow rig

As much as I enjoy driving the Cayenne as my everyday road car, there was one issue I needed to get fixed to make it a more user-friendly tow vehicle. And that is the the addition of a rear view camera. Of course it is useful to navigate the beast in small city parking lots, but I really wanted it to be able to easily line up the tow bar on the car with the ball on the trailer, turning it into a one-person job.

After some research I visited the good folks at Freeway Car Audio in Dandenong who quickly found a solution that integrated the display into the existing PCM screen and gave a clear view of the tow ball. The job was promptly scheduled (with a home pick up and delivery service I might add) and completed as planned with no fuss or bother at all. Great job!

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Very neat, very functional - 2015

The other change to the tow rig was not to the car but to the trailer. A few DNFs had us concerned about the usability of the portable 'PullZall' winch we previously bought plus there was nowhere to store my second set of wheels with slicks attached. Plus a spare or two. So again after some searching and discussion we went ten kilometres down the road to Transmend Panels in Somerville for a custom tyre rack and integrated winch (with battery backup and a wired and wireless remote control) to be added to the existing Featherlite trailer.

The chief designer, engineer and co-owner Phil did some research online, sketched out a design and fabricated the uprights and racks in house and the winch and rack installation looks first rate.


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Again nice work - 2015

Although Robin is often around and willing to help (as are club members at the track), if I can be self-sufficient in loading the trailer and car without the need for external support the more comfortable I will be to venture further afield and do so more often with the 'big rig'. I just need to sharpen up my trailer reversing skills now…

My next outing the Queens Birthday long weekend at Winton and I looking to both the racing and enjoying the news mods.

A day out with the 4S

The weather here has been a little average recently but a brief sunny spell was enough to get the coupe out. It needed a quick wash then off to enjoy the sunshine and take in a lovely lunch with friends. It also seemed too good a photo opportunity to let slip.

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PCV Phillip Island Sprint

The 2015 PCV competition season officially kicked off at the fabulous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, February 1.

Now my car is back, I have had a couple of practice runs and am starting to feel a bit more confident and I was looking forward to maybe even challenging my PB time.

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Trailered-up and ready to go 2015

Although the drive down was sometimes through heavy rain, the circuit was dry to start off, and the day was not impacted by weather at all.

Trying to manage my tyre warm-ups and pressures a little differently after my most recent tyre failure, the first session saw me out with plenty of pressure and not a lot of grip as the car became more difficult to drive over the course of the session. I then fixed the pressures for the second session and my best time came down to a somewhat sensible level as a starting point. Sadly, over three more sessions for the day, I didn't improve, in fact I got progressively slower. Maybe the tyres have had it. Maybe the driver has also!

So the positive was I got five full sessions of driving, and the car went back on the trailer under it's own steam and in one piece. I just need some more pace, and that will involve some driver training. Bring it on!

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Waiting on the grid - Photo by Robin Humphries 2015

Bad luck continues...

I took the GT3 to Sandown raceway on Thursday December 18 to have a run in The Formula Company's track day. Always a great event, well run with professional drivers and instructors on hand. At the most basic level, I also wanted to just have lots of laps to get myself back into some sort of driving rhythm, sharpness and fitness.

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In pit lane at Sandown Raceway waiting for kick-off - 2014

On arrival I was delighted to see Peter Fitzgerald, mechanic Clem and some of his customers there so a 'team' environment would make the day even more enjoyable. With a sunny day in prospect and unlimited access to an espresso machine what could be better!

After a solid first session of 10 laps or so the car gelt really good. I came in, adjusted tyre pressures and was really looking forward to getting out again and bringing my times down slowly but surely. Two laps into Session 2, I was already down to my best time of the day. Then a missed downshift coming into the Dandenong Road corner 'buzzed' the engine and a fairly nasty vibration from the engine / drivetrain somewhere forced me back into the pits.

Expert opinion at the time was a pressure plate and / or clutch failure resulting from the over-rev. Bugger!

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A 996 GT3 Pressure Plate

Now there are some logistical challenges to get the car to Fitzgerald Racing Services for repair as I didn't have my tow car and trailer on hand as I drove to the track. Robin saved the day again! The next issue was FRS were closing the following for the holiday break and were not re-opening until January 12 which meant that I would miss another planned track day at Phillip Island on January 9. But great work by the FRS crew replaced the pressure plate and turned the car around in under 24 hours. It is now back home ready for it's next outing.


Fingers crossed 2015 brings me some better luck!

The #48 Kyron Audio Porsche GT3

My good friends at Kyron Audio were looking at ways to promote their brand and we decided that running some signage on the GT3 at Porsche Club days might help their visibility. So the GT3 is now back from 'WrapMyRide' with the new Kyron Audio livery applied. And looks pretty special too!

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More pictures at my Flickr gallery here.

Maserati & Presidents Day Update

I have now been on track in the new beast! That is the good news. The bad news is that I seem to have forgotten how to drive…

It was my first track day with the Maserati Club and I must say it was pretty well run. Passenger laps in the morning and timed laps (via Dorian) in the afternoon. In summary, I started slowly, then tailed off! The car was fine, but my lines were rubbish and I was still feeling my way with the gearbox and new ratios. There was a lot of traffic on the circuit and I couldn't get enough free track to find some rhythm and pace so I retired gracefully early in the afternoon ready to fight another day.

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Where did I go wrong? - Photo by Robin Humphries 2014

That day was 48 hours later when I fronted up for the annual PCV Presidents Day. I had a couple of passengers lined up and was looking forward to some fun. Some early rain made conditions somewhat treacherous so as usual I showed extreme courage and stayed in the garage until the track dried out. Leon was my first brave passenger and I fumbled around for a couple of laps then thought I would have a bit of a 'go'. Well, coming into the tight Dandenong Road left hander, one of my better corners I must say, something strange happened. Braking hard, the car seemed to stop braking and gently go straight ahead almost in slow motion towards the 'kitty litter'. And, for safety reasons, an off-track excursion on Presidents Day gets you automatically sent home… Somehow I just got the car turning left before all four wheels left the circuit…. Leon bravely took this incident very well indeed!

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Probably should have let Leon's kids drive, they may have been quicker than me - 2014

By the end of the day I was driving much better but the car seemed a little down on power. I had been having intermittent battery / electrical issues since the rebuild as well. All this combined with a small oil leak meant that I took the car back to Fitzgerald Racing Services the following week and they ascertained that the failing electrics were forcing the ECU in the engine to cut power resulting in my lack of performance. Another dyno test showed the car was producing all that it should.

GT3 Dyno Pic

Roll on my next outing. I am feeling confident. Again!

I'm back!

I am back! My Porsche GT3 engine and gearbox rebuild has now been completed by Fitzgerald Racing Services. I need to get ready for the Maserati Club Day at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Friday and the PCV Presidents' Day on Sunday. Wow, I better get on it!

GT3 w:SuperTraps

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Love those Supertrapps! - 2014

GT3 visitation rights at FRS

I visited the GT3 at Fitzgerald Racing Services today to get a first hand update of the progress (and issues) associated with the engine and gearbox rebuild of 'Nemo'.

The car is now in one 'piece', and is pulling excellent numbers on the dyno, but it managed to 'lunch' the old exhaust system, so much so that it burnt, well severely singed and deformed the rear bumper... Plenty of options exist to resolve this issue of course, and unsurprisingly none of them are cheap!

I have an old Starr Performance exhaust system here, which is fabulous, but loud, and we have decided to instal that on the GT3, and to fabricate a pair of external silencers for 75db track days or to be ultra noise sensitive for the road.

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'Nemo' exposed... - 2014

The advantages of this approach will be that it is a 'throughput' benefit allowing the engine to breathe / exhale better than the standard system and that it is reasonably cost effective using existing parts and simple add-on components.

In addition to the 'core' repairs / upgrades, I will be adding a new Schroth 4-point drivers harness, additional roll cage protective foam, re-fitting of the standard GT3 steering wheel (while the MOMO Porsche Cup wheel gets 're-skinned)' and instal an upgrade to my VBOX Race Logic data capture and analysis in-car software.

We are now just a week or so away from the car being back in my hands. I have entered for a track day at the Philip Island Grand Prix circuit with the Maserati Club on Friday, October 31.

Happy days ahead!

GT3 Cup Challenge - Queensland Raceway

We had our annual holiday to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast again this year. As luck would have it, the GT3 Cup Challenge had a round of their series at Queensland Raceway while we were up there and my GT3 Porsche specialist Peter Fitzgerald was competing. So we decided to drive the two hours each way to support Peter and watch the other events at this Shannons Nationals event.

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Prepare to race - 2014

We watched a few practice and qualifying sessions of various classes while waiting for the GT3 twilight endurance ever to begin. The Shannons V8s were exciting, the Formula 3s were very fast, the Formula Fords ferociously competitive for first place and for last (literally) and the Sports Cars with the outrageous Alfa GTV were a visual and sonic delight.

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Robin giving Peter some support or making him very, very nervous... - 2014

Peter qualified P2, only a poof-teenth away from pole. The start dropped him back to third and after 20 or so laps was still in the top 4, but a spin and some other 'operator errors' dropped him a little further down the charts by race end. The winner, John McCorkindale, a youngster from New South Wales, drove a stunning wire-to-wire victory.

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Peter F @ speed - 2014

We really enjoyed the day. A sparse crowd was to be expected but you could mingle amongst the cars, chat to drivers, take pictures and generally have fun.

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Twilight + Porsches = Awesome spectacle - 2014

GT3 Engine Rebuild

Following on from the previous post, I am saddened to report that the engine damage could hardly be a greater disaster. In the words of 'Bob, the engine builder at FRS', it is the worst engine damage he has seen in a 996 GT3. At least I am at the top of the table of something...

After much consideration I decided not to top myself but to rebuild the GT3 engine and give the work to the guys at Fitzgerald Racing Services. A few key reasons. I believe they do very good work, the new engine will be an absolute cracker and deliver me significantly improved performance and the 'investment' will ensure premium support from the FRS team at future PCV track days.

So as of now, poor 'Nemo' is in bits (ruins?) in an industrial alley in Box Hill for a couple of months. Be brave my friend. All will be better soon!

GT3 @ Fitzys

The planned rebuild is for a slight capacity increase to deliver improved power and torque. The 'base' rebuild costs silly money, and to deliver tangible improvements over and above 'almost' seems reasonable...

I am please to report that Robin has been a key part of this decision-making process. Perhaps as one who has a passion for 'expensive' hobbies she was sympathetic to the issue, recognised my performance improvements this year and we both recognise that I have, say a five year improvement horizon in the 'sport' and I can't afford (performance-wise) to wait too long. The window shall not be missed!

I am feeling really bullish about the future!

Update: I have 'taken the opportunity' to have the gearbox rebuilt and refreshed in addition to lowering the ratios of the 3rd / 4the / 5th / 6th gears to ensure the car is more often in the peak power / torque curve. After all, it is only money...

A most unfortunate PCV Sprint event at Sandown

With the new tow car, I was very excited and looking forward to a competitive outing at Sandown Raceway. The weather was poor for the week leading up to race day, but the Saturday dawned cool and overcast but dry fortunately.

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Awaiting the off - 2014

I was seeded in Group 1 and planned to sit back in the pack and hopefully watch and learn a few tips and lines from the quick guys (and gal). Almost turned out to be true.

The session commenced (after one false start) and I was behind a tricked-up 996 Turbo. Pushing on the out-lap I was keeping somewhat in touch when I felt some strangeness in the clutch / drivetrain which forced me to drop off the back of him. Another half a lap of trying, the clutch felt very weird and then went completely to the floor and stayed there. I managed to coast back to the garage where the Fitzgerald's mechanic manually pumped the pedal by hand and at least got the pressure and the pedal back to 'normal' height. I was ready for the next session.

As I started the car to head out into pit lane, the car developed a longer start-up 'rattle' than is normal. It disappeared when I pressed the clutch in but returned with the clutch out. I felt uncomfortable. It had already been a slow day with a couple of incidents requiring fence repairs and recovery vehicles and I didn't want to have a failure or incident on track and delay the event further so I parked the car for the day, pending future repairs.

Luckily we had the car on the trailer and were able to deposit the GT3 at Fitzgerald's workshop on Saturday night after the event for inspection and repairs

I received the dreaded phone call on Tuesday. The good news was the clutch is fine, but the bad news was the engine is damaged. Flywheel / crankshaft issues necessitating a tear down and rebuild, the size and scale of which is still TBD. What I do know is that it won't be cheap and the car will be out of action for a couple of months.

Watch this space for more details as they come to hand.

The tow rig is go!

After some good advice from Jocaro Motors and a great auto electrician in Mentone, the car and trailer are now talking to each other and the rig had it's first outing to Sandown last Sunday.

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'Czar' with 'Nemo' in tow - 2014

The Cayenne is a very comfortable tow vehicle, the steering brakes and overall mass controlling the weight at the rear very capably. And in all modesty, the combination looked very nice in the paddock area. They blended in superbly...

Although I need more practice to hone my tow car driving skills, it is an excellent partnership so far!

PCV Turbo / GT3 Register Run to Drouin

On Sunday morning, some 15 optimistic souls met at McDonalds in Mulgrave to prepare for our advertised early morning 'experience' to Drouin for morning refreshments. With the race tyres and wheels still on the GT3, I had to apologise to my GT3 Register members and drive my 993 Turbo on the day. It didn't feel too much of a hardship en route however...

As a responsible car club, it is important that our members obey all road regulations at all times. So with that we sent one of the Register Co-Captains off to lead the group to our destination. What a monumental mistake! There is slow and then there is REALLY slow! It would not be appropriate to mention names but his initials are... Rowan Burnett... He will never be allowed to lead again, or else members have the right to run him off the road!

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That aside, the route was delightful out through the outer eastern suburbs ending with a great run on the Nayook to Noojee Road across to Drouin. Recent rain made the surrounds green and a visual treat. The bakery in Drouin provided great service and good food to the hungry (if frustrated) drivers!

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Thanks to Julie Mason for the photos, and to David Mallinson for organising the day and for ensuring Rowan got out alive!

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The Master and yes, well, er Rowan...

2009 Porsche Cayenne Diesel - Welcome Czar!

With my renewed focus on motor sport for at least this year and next, combined with Robin's recent successes and enthusiasm for more equestrian competitions, I am now without a tow car and driver. Tragedy...

So I started looking around for something that can tow 3500 KG, that I can afford and would like to drive.... After some searching, I ruled out the X5, various Audis, an ML, the Jeep range and then started to worry. Of course I would like a Porsche, but they are a bit pricey and I wasn't sure that even if I could afford a diesel I wasn't sure that I would like to own it / drive it. And the sharp-ish looking current body shape was well out of my price range (sorry to continually sound cheap) which left with a superseded looking model. And a diesel. A re-think perhaps...

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Fortune favours the fortunate... Calvin, the former owner / principal of the Porsche service specialist that looks after the Boxster, Bruiser and 4S (and the former 'keeper' of my GT3) was selling his 2009 Cayenne Diesel and wondered if we would be interested. What can I say to be polite.... Robin likes Calvin and the great work he has done looking after our cars over the years, and STRONGLY suggested that we should have a test drive. Totally unprepared for the event I agreed.

For such a Porsche fan as myself, I am surprised that I should have been shocked at how well the vehicle drove. Nearly five years old and 145,000 kms there was not a rattle, the interior and exterior were in fantastic condition for age / usage, the standard / optional kit seemed extensive and the performance was most impressive. A second drive a few days later clinched the deal and on March 27 we were the proud owners.

So what is it? It is a 2009 Porsche Cayenne, with a 3.0 Turbo diesel engine, six speed Tiptronic transmission. Sand white exterior over black interior with aluminium highlights. Included features to name a few: Porsche Communications Management (PCM) with bluetooth phone, satellite navigation, CD/DVD-A stacker, iPod and auxiliary inputs, heated / folding side mirrors, roof rails, aluminium look roof rails, front & rear parking sensors, Porsche carpet mats (plus additional rubber mats) and moulded cargo area insert, rear cargo blind, cruise control, dual zone climate control, colour-coded front and rear valances and headlight surrounds, tinted glass, rain-sensing wipers, factory-fitted Porsche tow bar and integrated electric brake controller and more I am sure! The only component that may be deemed 'low rent' are the standard 18" wheels which Calvin assures me are a much more practical options than the 20" inch-ers that he tried.The included Pirelli rubber is near new.

What is most surprising is the way it drives. Compared to Robin's wonderful 200-series Toyota LandCruiser Sahara diesel, the Cayenne steers and stops like a sports sedan, albeit weighing 2,300 KG. The Bruiser, a twin turbo diesel V8 certainly has the Cayenne for outright torque but drivability easily goes to the Porsche. After just a few days I am not missing the smoothness and luxury of the Lexus (as sweet as it is) as the Cayenne isn't tangibly behind in driver comfort or overall performance. It is not going to win any 'traffic light Grand Prix' but at 80-90km/h the overtaking torque is powerfully reassuring.

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OK, all good so far, but is there anything not to like? The most obvious weakness is the low-speed speed ride. Most reviewers have commented on this aspect of the car's performance and the description is 'jiggly'. Mostly suspension related plus a little drivetrain 'roughness' on very light throttle opening. From a personal point of view, I have to get used to the size of this beast, especially without the benefit of a reversing camera (a la Lexus). At least the parking sensors are very loud!

The rest of my 'complaints' are about the vintage of the vehicle versus newer models. It could be more fuel efficient, newer models are more attractive (both inside and out) and are packaged more efficiently. Just pay twice the price!

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While I am sure that 'Czar' will be a keeper, one can only dream about how special the current model Cayenne Turbo must be...

The next step is to check the mechanical and electrical coupling with our Featherlite car trailer. Fingers crossed! More pictures and ownership comments as they come to hand. Colour me happy so far!

PCV Club Sprint - Sandown

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My Porsche GT3 in February sunshine - Photo by Ron Widdison 2014

More to come, but here is a summary of events from a stressful day:
- I was over second slower than my new personal best from yesterday's Open Practice. I was hoping to actually go quicker...;
- After lunch my 'Check Engine' warning light came on. Usually not a good sign;
- Grasping for switches in the cockpit at speed, I disturbed a tray holding two small remote controls and now appear to have 'lost' one of them somewhere inside the car...;
- While waiting for the 'Check Engine' warning diagnostics, the driver's side rear tyre was observed to be pretty flat and after removing it we found the tread was lifting off the sidewall. Again. Thanks to my Porsche Club buddy Chris, we were able to drive back home to pick up one of my old spare race wheels and return to the track and get the GT3 mobile again;
- The engine lid / cover refuses to lock shut. Again. It has been repaired at least four times to MY knowledge;
- Somehow at lunchtime I lost my prescription glasses;

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The 'Flying 48' getting some diagnostic 'love' from Harris of FRS - 2014

After all that, believe it or not, I had a good day. Although my times were off, I learned a bit about the car, myself and some techniques required to get some speed and half decent lap times even when I don't have my A-game.

PCV Open Practice - Sandown

A key component of my 2014 motor sport plans is to have more seat time combined with driver training to improve my skills, consistency and ultimately, speed.

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The mighty '48' - 2014

The plan started off well at the first event at Phillip Island a couple of weeks ago and I was looking forward to keeping the momentum going at Sandown.

The outing started slowly with early drizzle and after a couple of sessions I wasn't improving on my previous best. Close, but not close enough. After a couple of tyre pressure adjustments and with the fuel load coming down i managed to pull out a 1.22.1, besting my previous PB by nearly 1.5 seconds. And of course I thought I could go quicker.

And of course, I didn't. Tried too hard (or not hard enough) and couldn't get back down to the 22s for the rest of the day. But I went home happy and looking forward to the official club competition on Sunday.

PCV Club Sprint - Phillip Island

The first competition event of the year was at the magnificent Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on, strangely enough, Phillip Island, some 100 minutes south-east of Melbourne. The weather forecast was for hot and dry conditions, no surprise as the Island can be very hot or very cold. Looks like it might be a tough day for drivers and cars...

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Exiting Siberia - Photo by Steve Duggan 2014

I was delighted with the car preparation by Fitzgerald Racing Services. The GT3 felt 'tight and right' driving home after the service and setup work and I knew it should be good and safe for the day, particularly with fresh Yokohama R-spec rubber on. I was less confident in my own readiness. I hadn't driven on track since October and this was my first outing after the November surgery. And I was carrying a few extra kilos...

The first session saw me caught up in a gaggle of energetic early 911s and I didn't seem to have the power down the straight and confidence into Turn 1 to overtake them. So I paddled around for a lap or two and saw a 1min 55 sec lap time come up on the dash. Mmmm. That is only 1.5 seconds outside my PB and I felt that I was being held up literally everywhere.

Back in the pits, a quick check of the hot tyre pressures saw them 2 - 3 psi too high, so I dropped those in readiness for the next session. Also some discussion in the garage led to a new braking point and approach into Turn 1 and with some confidence I ventured out for Session 2. I queued a little more forward this time and even on the warm up lap I managed to 'monster' a couple of cars that kindly waved me by and I was able to get on it reasonably quickly. While the car felt 'nice' at modest pace in Session 1, as I stepped it up it just felt even better. The more I pushed, it just pointed, stayed flat, gripped up and kept going forward at a nice pace. I have to say the car felt way better than I have ever driven it. It could not have been me as I was almost a spectator in the driver seat.

So I pressed on and with my predictive lap timer working well, I came around the last turn and saw -1 sec on the display. One second under my personal best! I was delighted. This was way more than my expectation for the day. But even in the heat, I felt OK in the car and kept going. With little or no traffic in front I tried to stay smooth, brake late, keep the car straight and accelerate as early as I dared. I cursed under my breath a couple of times as the car just pointed so quickly a couple of times I needed to release the steering and turn again to get around but the car was at least still flowing. I tried to concentrate hard into Turn 12 (the last turn before the main straight) and gassed it up under the bridge and glanced at the lap timer which said -2 sec!!! In real terms that was -2 under my last lap meaning -3 seconds under my previous event best lap. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I crossed the line but I felt that was enough, breathed out and came in. By my humble standards, that was a real thrill!


Video of the 1:50.62 lap, a personal best. - 2014

It wasn't all plain sailing however. After a break, some lunch and another tyre pressure adjustment I went out again in the heat of the afternoon looking for more speed. After a couple of laps I was a second or so adrift and pressed on. Then a bad vibration started in the rear of the car. I wasn't sure if it was marble pickup after going offline to pass another car or something worse. The vibration was getting more severe and I came in to the garage only to find that I had badly blistered and distorted the driver's side rear tyre (the 'working' side at Phillip Island) and my day was over.

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That 'lump' on the top left is non-standard.... - 2014

Although I was disappointed with the tyre failure, given the heat on the day. I was probably going to park it early afternoon anyway. So with a great time (for me) in the bank I was happy just to pack up and smile!

Phillip Island 1.50.6 PB

The tyre will be replaced so roll on Sandown Raceway in late February. I am keen!

Change of Porsche Service Specialist - FRS

When considering my competition plans for 2014, I came to the conclusion that I had I had to do something different to either me, the car or both in order to achieve better results. One way to achieve both aims was to move the preparation of the GT3 to a service organisation that not only provides track side car support but assisted in driver training and physical & mental preparation as well.

One such organisation in Melbourne is Fitzgerald Racing Services in suburban Box Hill. The founder & principal, Peter Fitzgerald is a former professional Porsche sports car champion and current PCV member.

He supports a 'stable' of 12 or 15 drivers regularly competing at club events who all seem to be improving and enjoying their club-level motor sport. Why not try my luck with 'Club Fitzy'.

So today my GT3 goes in for an annual service, safety check, a Phillip Island suspension setup and new Yokohama 'R' spec tyres. I am looking forward to my first event a Phillip Island in early February!

I will keep you informed of my progress.

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