Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Gift

So, today I gave my 911 away. Not forever, just for the week. My dad, as I have said before, has always loved the 911. Due in no small part to me - putting me through college, helping here and there, and generally the time and expense of raising a kid - he has never owned one. For Father's day this year I gave him my car for the week.

I took the time to wash it thoroughly, vacuum out the grass and other crap inside it and so on. It was not in as pristine condition as I wanted to give it to him, but it was nice. Once I got to his house, I went through all the tricky bits - how to turn on the A/C, how to put a CD in, how to arm / disarm the alarm. Then I told him "The car has 99,000 miles on it, I expect to get it back with at least 100,000." That is my one fear, that he will not drive it at all this week. I hope that is unfounded.

Enjoy Dad

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

1st Track Day

I went to my first track day with the 911 on June 2nd and 3rd. Great day, but somewhat disappointing. I went with very high hopes. The event was held at Nelson Ledges road course, a very fast 2 mile course out in the wilds east of Cleveland. I have been on the course twice before at "fun days" with the Honda Civic. The fun days are fairly simple. Show up, pay your money, attend the drivers meeting, and drive. For as long as you like. I have not done them for a few years, so they may have changed. I loved them and enjoyed really opening up the Civic as much as it could go. I put 130,000 miles on the Civic and so knew the car very very well. I still have photos from those fun days with the car on two or three wheels back in the carousel. I was much less confident with the 911. I have only put 1000 miles on it so far, and I am still not used to the 915 transmission. Up shifts are okay, it is the downshifts that scare me. Very easy to go from 5th to 2nd. Bye bye engine.

So I arrived at the drivers education day expecting something like a fun day. Could not have been more wrong. The event was very well structured. It had 4 groups, with 30 minute sessions for each group. Each group had multiple class sessions. Each driver had a full time instructor. Very well organized and hard to believe they could put it on for such a low cost.

So, time for my first run. I was in the C group - not quite a novice, but still a unknown quantity. I really lay into the throttle, much more than I would on the street. I rip through the gears, up to third, headed into turn 1. I go through turn one as fast as I could, moving into turn 3. Turn 2 is sort of the exit to turn 1 and the run into turn 3. I won't bore you with any more of a turn by turn description, needless to say, I felt like I was really moving. But at the same time, my arm is out of the window letting everyone go by. C4, Boxster, NSX, Focus, Fiero, Subaru, whathaveyou. They all got to experience the thrill of passing a 911. By the end of the last session I took a look at my speedometer through the course. I was significantly SLOWER than I had been with the Civic. I was loafing around the course in 3rd - trying to get used to the car more than get the most power, but I could not get above 95 on the long straight. I used to hit 110 in the Civic on that straight. Even when I changed up into 4th, I did not have a faster end speed. I really need to learn how to corner the 911 better. The RPMs went from 3K to 6K when I remained in 3rd. Only dropped down when I left the last turn, keyhole, then they were 1K. So maybe a drop down into 2nd before I enter keyhole would have made sense. Otherwise, I am not sure that shifting would have given me more power.

One interesting thing to note. On the second day, it rained. In the wet, I was actually doing better than I did in the dry. I was able to actually pass one person! And I was not passed during the rainy session at all.

OK, those are just general 1st impressions of the car on the track. The car shifted much better after the work Steinel's did. The balance of the car felt better and the handling seemed better - more neutral, less under steer than before. I can't wait for the next autocross. I think I may go to BeveRun for the next track day. It depends on how much the AC for the house costs.