Monday, December 31, 2012

Tribute to a Car guy

Posted this over on www.Planet-9.com Here is the link. Please support the site with a click through.

http://www.planet-9.com/robert-turner/77549-between-lines-tribute-car-guy.html
The column is my tribute to my Step-Dad, a car guy through and through.

Monday, November 19, 2012

US F1 Race in Austin TX


Austin. It is kind of a state of mind. It has a cool vibe that has to be felt to be understood. From the food to the live music, from the gigantic University of Texas campus to the pink granite State House, it distills all that is best in Texas. It is not all roses though, unbridled growth has made Austin traffic tough to deal with and (compared to the rest of Texas) the housing cost and price of living make cities like nearby San Antonio look positively cheap.

But a couple of years ago a former racer and promoter by the name of Tavo Hellmund had the unlikely dream of bringing Formula One to the Heart ‘o Texas. Really? Austin is known for a lot of things, but racing ain’t one of them, unless you count racing round town trying to track down and score admission to the hippest night spot. So against all the odds - working with the flakey and money grubbing Bernie Ecclstone, navigating Texas politics and a general population that did not know the difference between Formula One and Tito’s Vodka - Tavo got the whole project on track…

The bad news? Tavo got it rolling, but big money got it done. Tavo got kicked to the curb when Bernie Ecclstone (who would kick his own child out of the way to grab a shiny coin off the ground) finally connected with the money guys (namely mega car dealer Red McCombs). But $450 Million later, Austin got its track and the US got it Grand Prix back.

Flash forward to November 18, 2012, the sun rose of a frosty track just a few miles southeast of Austin now called The Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The chilly air gave way to a beautiful sunny day in the mid 70’s. A packed house greeted a Porsche GT3 Cup race and a Ferrari Challenge race before things spooled up for the big show. The F1 boys and their steeds were getting ready to roll.

Now if you take a stroll back through my previous posts you will know that I love cars (duh…) and racing (especially F1), so I was eagerly anticipating this race. I decided not to go and this caused more than a bit of consternation when I discovered that the Porsche Cup Car race had been added. I should have been there covering it for 9 Magazine. Lesson learned.

So to compensate, I hit Twitter hard - had three computers showing different in-car camera shots, plus the Formula1.com lap timer and the Speed TV coverage, I guess you could say I had it covered. I will tell you that the track, weather, crowd and the actual racing were top notch. Lewis Hamilton had the bit between his teeth and tracked down and passed Red Bull racing ace (and two time defending F1 World Champion) Sebastian Vettel and won the inaugural race. It was the second time he won in the US, the previous time being in 2007 at the USGP in Indy.



During the awards podium presentation, I loved the big Pirelli Stetson cowboy hats that Hamilton, Vettel and Alsonso wore on the stage. And we were treated to a living legend - Mario Andretti doing the post race interview (comment by Jeremy Clarkson notwithstanding). Fact was, Texas does it right and the first race at COTA proved it beyond a doubt.

Hats off to the COTA team, they were awesome. But note, the bar has been set very high. Hope they can repeat next year. And I hope I discover that there is a Porsche Cup Car race before race weekend. That way I can attend and have a hell of a lot more to write about! And a hell of a lot more fun attending the race, versus watching it on TV, even if I had a multitude of computers surrounding me.

And on that exhaust note, see you next time.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

INCREDIBLE ASSEMBLAGE OF MORE THAN 40 PORSCHES AT MECUM'S MONTEREY DAYTIME AUCTION

You have got to check out this link and click on the PDF. The story and photos are AMAZING! If you love the Porsche 917 (I know I do, this is a great story). The Mecum event at Monterey promises to be a Porsche Fest.

http://issuu.com/mecumauction/docs/porschecanam/21




Can-Am Champion L&M 917/10 Headlines Largest Porsche Offering on the Peninsula

Walworth, Wis., July 27, 2012 - Mecum Auctions will be offering an incredible assemblage of more than 40 prize Porsches during the 4th annual Mecum Monterey Daytime Auction, August 16-18, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf course. In addition to the famed 1972 Can-Am Champion L&M 917/10 Spyder (Lot S123), this largest single auction offering of Porsches during the Monterey Vintage Week includes a number of other historically significant racing Porsches from the comprehensive Steve Goldin Collection.



Excitement is building around the premier offering of what is perhaps the most recognizable Porsche 917 in the world. The Penske Racing-prepared L&M 917/10 Spyder occupies a special position in racing history as the car that earned Porsche its first Can-Am Championship, once again demonstrating the German automaker’s formidable engineering capabilities and its pioneering developments in turbocharging. It is without doubt one of the most significant cars in all of racing history.



Seven historic Porsches from the Steve Goldin Collection will be offered on Saturday, August 18. Ranging from Al Holbert’s 1973 911S personal daily driver (Lot S114) to Bob Akin’s famous Sebring-winning 1986 962 (Lot S113), these world-beating machines span fifteen years of Porsche racing glory around the globe, their collective heritage also tied to other legendary champions of the marque - Hurley Haywood, Emerson Fittipaldi, the Kremer Brothers, Rolf Stommelen and Bobby Rahal, to name but a few.
                                                                                                                                                                                          
Of course, Porsche is not just about racing, as the Monterey Daytime Auction’s vast array of fabulous road-going Porsches attests. There is something to fulfill every collector’s desire; the lasting appeal of cars such as Lot F132, a meticulously restored and documented 1957 356 Speedster; the quick, nimble and extremely rare 1973 911 Carrera RS Lightweight (Lot S157); the exhilarating power of the Le Mans-inspired 650 HP 2005 Carrera GT (Lot S156). Together this offering of Porsche’s finest is characterized by superb quality and extensive documentation, in many cases including a factory-issued Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

The complete lineup of rare collector Porsches, including histories and vehicle specifications, is available for perusal at www.MECUM.com.

Monterey, CA The Daytime Auction
August 16-18, 2012
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa
on Del Monte Golf Course
1 Old Golf Course Road
Monterey, CA 93940

Preview: Gates open at 8 a.m. Thursday thru Saturday
Auction: Thursday thru Saturday 10 a.m.
Live TV Times: Thursday thru Saturday 12-6 p.m.

(All Times Pacific)


About the Mecum Auction Company
The Mecum Auction Company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars for 25 years, now offering more than 10,000 vehicles per year.  Mecum Auctions is the world leader of collector car, exotics, vintage motorcycles and road art sales.  Auctions are held throughout the United States and broadcast live on Discovery’s Velocity Network. For further information, visit www.Mecum.com or call 262.275.5050. You can also find us on Facebook at facebook.com/mecumauction or on Twitter @mecum.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top 10 Porsches that you can actually own and put in your garage…


The last  blog post featured a bucket list of my all time favorite Porsches. Those are some great cars. Something you can be proud to own, that is if you can afford any of them. The problem is, for most of us anyway, we don’t have the checking account balance that allows us to write a check with a bunch of commas and zeros in the CA section. CA section? Ding, ding, ding…it is time for today’s acronym lesson. CAR stands for Courtesy Amount (or the number you write in the little box on a check). That is different from the LA or legal amount or the written out amount of a check. Example: CA = $1,000,000. LA = One Million dollars and 00/XX. Fact is I do not have the CA or LA to write a check for any of the cars listed in the previous blog.

So in the spirit of doing another bucket list, I thought it would be fun to put together  examples of Stuttgart’s finest. But let’s put this list within reason. How about a budget of $50,000 max. That should cover a few cars that are pretty serious, but leave enough in my bank account / 401K to retire at the age of Seventy-Eight. So here is goes…

10. 1970 914-6 (if you can find one) – You may have to buy a conversion, but the fact is the 914 is coming back around. It is no longer just a VW/Audi, but is being seen more and more as the Porsche that it truly is. The 914-6 sported a tiny 2.0 liter flat 6, and many have been upgraded to larger engines. But the simple timeless design is just right 40 years on. There are several examples that can be had in the $30-40K range and the price will just keep going up. Snag one now and hang on to it.




9. 1988-1989 944 Turbo S – I have owned several 944’s (a 1987 944S, a 1986 Turbo and a 1993 968) and I really love this platform. It is balanced and still to this day pretty quick, two plus decades later it still turns heads. And from 1986 on the interior was so elegant in its minimalist simplicity, everything right where it needed to be. And if you are patient, have the right tools and access to a vast amount of internet based knowledge, easy to work on and modify. In 1988-89, the Turbo model was available as a special “S” version (in ’88 it was called the “S”, for 89 it was just a Turbo). It had  250 hp stock and an updated sport suspension. It is the one to have.




8.  1965-1969 912 – Want to own an old 911, but still want that connection to the 356? Than the 912 is for you. It was built as an entry level 911. Porsche saw that the 6-cylinder version was a bit expensive and wanted something that was less expensive, more accessible for prospective Porsche owners. So they put the old 4-cylinder from the 356 in place of the very expensive 6-cylinder and the 912 was born. It was built from 1965 to 1969 and a special one-off year in 1976. They are much lighter, simpler and more tossible than the 911. But prices for good ones are creeping up, better get one soon.




7. 1987-1991 928 S4 – The 928 is such a divining rod among Porsche owners and non-owners. It was futuristic when it came out and when you see on today, it still looks like nothing else on the road (but in a very good way). A lot of “Porsche people” hate it, saying it is fat, ugly and ungainly and it has the engine up front (eek gad!). Funny, these same people say the same thing about the new Panamera. But others love it for what it is, a car so advanced, that some car companies are still trying to play catch-up. The GT and GTS are maybe more desirable, but the prices on them have remained quite high. For the rest of us? The S4 represents the best combination of drivetrain and exterior lines. Better snap one up!




6. 1992-1995 968 – Yeah I owned one. And will probably own one again. The ultimate version of the 924/944 line. The 928 / 993 design elements make this look very distinct, it was the most grown up looking model in the 944 series. What it had was a HUGE 3.0 liter 4-cylinder motor making 236 hp. This was the highest specific normally aspirated 4-cylinder motor ever produced. It also had a 6-speed trans-axle and Vario-Cam valve adjustment to optimize combustion. The problem? When it was introduced, it was very expensive. The Dollar – Deutsch Mark exchange rate killed it. Dark days for Porsche, but you can buy a really nice one for way under $20K.





5. 1978-1983 911 SC – The mid-70’s 911’s with their 2.7 liter motors where know for many case problems. And most of the survivors have case bolts that solved the issues. But the SC’s? They were solid in every way. The SC is way to have an iconic 911 for way less money than late 60’s “S”. It is for many people, the one 911 to own. It was less cranky than the earlier carbureted and MFI (Mechanical Fuel Injection) versions. The newer version? It had CIS or Continuous Fuel Injection, this remained in production for ten years, finally replaced by the fully electronic Motronic. But I digress, the SC has great balance, decent power and so many mods available it is just stupid.



4. 2000-2004 986 Boxster S – Some say it’s a girls car. I disagree! The original 1997 Boxster was brilliant! Mid-engine balance, 201 hp and the looks of a show car. And it had two trunks to boot (Get it? Boot…British for trunk). Then Porsche upped the ante and came out with the “S” version. Output was bumped up to 250 hp, it had a six-speed trans-axle, bigger brakes, and an up-rated suspension. The Boxster was so popular, Porsche built ten’s of thousands of them to keep up with demand. They actually had to bring on a second factory in Valmet Finland to keep up. But the point is, there are deals to be had on really excellent examples. Shop right, shop smart and get the maintenance records and you can own one too.




3. 2006-2008 Cayman S – This car is currently in my garage. Gotta say, it is the best Porsche I have owned (so far…). Stock 295 hp (although mine as a few more HP courtesy of mods), fantastic balance and a great interior, it is great both on and off track. So far, I have done about fifteen track events, so I can tell you it is just about perfect. I love the looks to. But for some strange reason, I keep thinking about getting a Lotus Exige, but then I remember the full race exhaust I briefly installed on my Cayman S. It was fantastic, the best sounding car on track. Then there was the other 99% of the time. I think the Exige would be exactly the same thing. I will stick with my Cayman S.




2. 1976-1977 Turbo Carrera (930) – Owned one of these too. Still kicking myself for selling it. Problem is, these are starting to scrape my $50K ceiling and I fear that they will keep going north. So that means only one thing – you should go out and find a good one and buy it right now! Porsche introduced the concept of the Supercar in the mid-70’s, right in the middle of the Oil Embargo too. When it came out in 1975 it was like nothing else on the planet. Of course it was also really scary, many went off the road backwards being piloted by people that did not understand the concept of throttle-off oversteer (also called trailing throttle oversteer). Porsche did not think they would sell enough, but thirty seven later, they are still making them. Yeah people voted with their wallets. The 930 Turbo is one fearsome and incredible car and it all started with the 1976 Turbo Carrera.




1. 2004-2005 996 GT3 – Yeah I know, try to find one under $50K. Well I did, there is one for sale locally for $49,500 and yes I would buy it in a second if the lovely Ms. T gave me the open to buy. Uh, may have to wait a while on that one. This car really gets me going. A race derived motor, no drivers aids, big brakes, track optimized suspension, it is a drivers car pure and simple. A lot of them have been driven on the track pretty hard, but as long as the owner has kept after the maintenance, they can take it. As much as I love my Cayman S, I would replace it in a second with a GT3. Now about that $49,500…



And on that exhaust note, see you next time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Top 10 Porsches of all time…at least according to me!


Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to see some great Porsches. Rennsport Reunion, Brian Redman’s Targa 66, as well as events I have attended in Texas and it got me thinking. There are so many great cars throughout the decades, maybe it was time to put together a list; what I needed was a Porsche bucket list. Actually two of them. The first (this one) will be my all time favorite Porsches. The next post will be from a slightly different perspective. Won’t say what it will be, you will have to visit the blog to check it out for yourself.

So here it goes…my list of The Top 10 Porsches of all time.

10. 911 RSR–How could you go wrong with this? Back in the early 70’s Porsche wanted to take the 911 racing, so it built enough cars to race in several FIA GT race classes. This is called homologation, meaning that a manufacturer has to build a certain amount so that the car will be legal to race. Nevertheless, the RSR was the outright winner of the 24-hour of Daytona in 1973 beating out several prototypes from competitors like Ferrari and Matra. Not bad for a racer based on a road going chassis. My research shows that a stock RSR recently sold for $455,000. And a one-off version that was the prototype for the turbo charged 934/935/936 that would follow would sell for a record $3,245,000! Not bad, I’ll take two!



9. 962 – This car dominated sports car racing for more than 10 years. In IMSA GTP and European Group C the 956 (and then the 962) dominated on every continent. Porsche built 91 chassis, but some teams felt the frame was not stiff enough so they built their own frames and mated them to the reliable Porsche turbo charged flat six motors. So besides the factory teams, these cars won in the hands of Kramer and Deuer. The car had almost outlived its usefulness, but managed to snatch a Daytona -24 win away from Ferrari in 1996 and even the new factory Porsche Sypder effort in the 1997 Le Mans race. It was indeed a mighty racer. One recently sold at the Gooding and Co. auction following Amelia Island concours for $1,925,000. Well bought I say!



8. 935 – The racer based on the 930 Turbo was unstoppable. A natural development of the RSR; turbo charging was still a bit of an unknown quantity in the mid-70’s when Porsche tasked Norbert Singer to develop a racing program for the 911. The first effort (the RSR) was a complete success. But it was the 934 and 935 that really knocked out the competition. From 1976 to the early 80’s the brigade of 935’s won most of the events the cars were entered into. Porsche won the World GT Championship for makes in 1976 and 1978 and scored an outright Le Mans win in 1979. One recently sold for $2.530,000. Still kicking tail to this day!



7. GT3 RS 4.0 (2011 version) – I have to put a couple of street cars on this list. And this one just makes my heart ache. It is the ultimate version of the normally aspirated 997 GT series cars. This is probably the closest you can get to driving a GT3 Cup car on the street and still pass inspection. 500 HP, 0-60 in 3.8 sec and with a top speed of 190+, you can almost see yourself racing this thing in ALMS, Rolex Grand AM, GT3 or any number of worldwide racing series. God bless Porsche for building it!



6. Carrera GT – When I see one of these it takes my breath away. Just look at it! I am willing there are police that would give it a speeding ticket when it is sitting still. Which come to think of it, is not very often. Porsche wanted to show the world that it could build supercars. They were overdue, since the outrageous 959 had been unleashed on the world over 10 years earlier. So this was kind of a halo car for Porsche, using a racing derived V10 pumping out over 600 HP, the tiny multidisc clutch could fit in your hand and requiring a deft touch to get the car launched. The thought of how much one of those costs to install makes me a bit light headed. Anyway, they sold for $400,000 when new and regularly sell in the mid-$300,000 range. But with only 1,270 built, they will be sure to become sought after (read increase in price…). Better buy one now.



5. 550 Spyder – Yes, yes, I know they were the devil (James Dean was killed in one) and a saint (because they conquered so many races). I think the term punching above their weight can easily be applied to the 550. Ferry Porsche wanted a racer to take on the giants of the day. He turned to factory engineer Wilhelm Hild. He in turn took Porsche’s trademark engineering philosophy to heart – mid engined, light weight, aerodynamic shape and agile handling were the hallmarks of this amazing little car. I have seen several over the years and they are tiny. Funny that something that is so small can carry such a big stick in motor racing history. One recently sold for $3,685,000 (from the Drendel Family Collection) at the recent Gooding and Co. auction at Amelia Island.



4. 917/30 CamAm Sypder – In the hands of Mark Donahue and Geroge Folmer these cars had 1100 HP in engine saving race tune! 1500 HP for qualifying! I just had to list both because they are still such crazy numbers to this day. At the end of 1971, the 917 was a thing of the past. The FIA had made it illegal, so Porsche turned it’s attention the North American racing scene and Can-Am. There chassis numbers 917/30-002 and 003 were campaigned by Penske Racing for Porsche and in 1972 and 1973, these won basically everything. In ’72 Donahue only lost one race, he won the rest. Porsche owns chassis number 002, but another chassis, 004 was never delivered and has passed through several owners, most recently the Drendel Family collection. That car just sold for a staggering $4,400,000 at Gooding and Co. following Amelia Island.



3. 908 – I love this car. I have seen it in coupe and Sypder form as well as the purpose built 908/03 built for the ’70 and ’71 Targa Florio. Brain Redman won that race, it must have been amazing seeing him fling the 908 around the wicked roads hugging the Sicilian mountains. Funny thing, it is actually very small, tiny even. I had the chance to interview him a couple of months ago and he told me the car was scary. The pedals and drivers feet were in front of the front wheels, a wreck would have shattered feet and ankles…or worse. What the 908 did for Porsche was to help the marque win it’s first World Makes Championship in 1969. Amazing racer, and one that helped announce to the world that Porsche was not playing in the big time.



2. GT2 RS (2011 version) – Another street car, but so close to something you could actually race, it is almost criminal.  Six hunnert and twenty horses (620 HP)! In a street legal Porsche…from the factory. Zero to 60? 3.4 seconds. Top speed? 205!! IN A STREET LEGAL PORSCHE...FROM THE FACTORY. There are carbon fiber bits all over it, and they are not even painted. I think you have to pay extra to get them painted. I am good with taking them the way they are in all their carbon fiber-ness. Point is, for the lucky (and well heeled) few that could afford to buy one, they got an instant classic. Wow, I’ll take one in what ever color you have laying around please!



1. 917 LMK – Well duh! This race car is on my computer screen, hat, tee shirt, you get the point. What it did for Porsche cannot be measured, it is most likely the most famous race car ever. Now don’t get huffy – Ford GT40’s, various Ferrari’s, Lola’s, BMW’s may take a poke at the top spot. But they all come up short, not able to get up to the top of that very tall mountain. Drivers were afraid of it (the 917’s handling was described as “darty”), but they did like the winning part. Imagine piloting this beast at 236+ down the Mulsanne straight. It liked to wonder over the surface of the track. I am telling you, those guys were crazy, crazy fast and crazy brave. 917’s do not come up for sale often, but when they do, expect there will be lots of commas and zeros attached. Still want one? The folks at Vintage Racing Legends in Florida can build you a replica for about the same price as a new 911 Turbo. With it, you can go historic racing. Imagine that!



Well there you have it. My Top 10 Porsches of all time. You may have others you think are worthy…so let the debate begin. Stay tuned, there will be another list in a week or so.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting your track wheels to the track - the great trailer debate

Once again, it has been a long time since I have posted a blog entry. Yeah, yeah, guilty as charged. No excuses other than I have been busy writing for 9 Magazine, Planet-9.com and trying to get The Driver Book III finished. No big deal...

I did my first track event this year. It was a Mustang Fest down at Texas World Speedway (TWS) in College Station, TX. Other than a huge off and getting stuck in the mud, I held up the Porsche end of the bargain. But one thing is tugging at the back of my mind. My two track buddies are looking beyond doing track events. One has his car for sale and the other wants to dial back events so he can focus on his start up business. Each of these guys has a big Ford F-250 diesel and a trailer to haul their race cars. That also means space, as in they have the space to haul my track tires, tools, floor jack, jack stands, air can, tools, etc. Bottom line...there is a lot of gear that needs to be hauled to a track event and their trucks do the heavy lifting (pun intended...).

So where does that leave me? I have two choices. One is to buy a truck and trailer to tow my Cayman S (CS) down to the track. The other is to figure out a way to install a trailer hitch on the CS and tow my own track gear to the track. You can imagine the response I got when I outlined my options to the lovely Ms. Turner. Ahhh, the truck / trailer option isn't gonna happen. So I did my research and found out it could be done. There are ways to install a hitch on a Porsche, none of them are "sanctioned" per se by Porsche, but they seem to do the job.

Here is the other point, I already have a trailer. Back in 2008 I bought a set of tires and it came with a trailer. At the time I had a Porsche 968 and we figured out a way to build a trailer hitch. My Brother in Law bulit it up for me. I actually used it a couple of times, but the 968 went away and the hitch I built up was not a part of the sale.

I still have the all the parts for the hitch so I have a lot of steel that can be used to build up something new for the CS. I spent the past couple of weeks reading about what others have done, I think I have a pretty good handle on what it will take to build up a hitch for the CS.

So to make sure I still had a trailer to use, I went over to one of my race buds house (where the trailer has been sitting for a couple of years) to see how bad it is. And I am glad to report, it looks pretty good. I do plan to repaint it, refinish the wheels, put new tires and safety chains on it to give it a new lease on life. But overall? We have the technology to make it better...

Next up? Take off the rear bumper cover and remove the bumper itself and see what we need to do to make a hitch work.

I will post up in the next couple of weeks to report how the integration of the hitch is going. And I promise...there will be pictures.

And on that exhaust note...until next time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It is hard to keep a good man down…



You know, for the first time in many years, I was Porscheless. Is that a word? It could be. Denoting not having a Porsche in your garage, not having that wonderful sound of a flat –six motor fill your ears when you mash the go pedal. Could probably go on, but I think you get the point. I was now the proud owner of an Audi A3, but at least an Audi A3 with the very cool paddle shifting DSG transmission. DSG (which is short for a very long sounding and technical German name) means that the clutch is automated and there are two input shafts for the gears. Actually, more or less it is two transmissions housed in one case. You may think that everything should be double the size, but those smart German engineers figured out a way to make every thing fit, but all the gears and shifty bits are really tiny. You do not want to have to take apart one of these things without a very good manual. A very, very good manual. Well, to be frank, you do not want to ever have to take one of these things apart ever. So when you are driving with the DSG and you have a gear engaged, the other shaft is spinning, ready to slam home in the next gear you choose. It is pretty quick too. OK, OK, since you insist…DSG stands for Direkt-Schalt-Getriebe.



Today a lot of serious car manufacturers use DSG or something close to it – VW, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Maserati, Aston Martin - pretty much all the bigs. But in 2006, there were just a few and my A3 was one of them. It was white with tan leather interior and the sports package (DUH!) with sports seats and other sporting stuff that was supposed to make a 4-door semi sports wagon feel well…sporty. You may sense vagueness here, like I was not convinced about its sporting pretentions. I wasn’t. It was very small on the inside with basically zero back seat leg room (can you imagine my 6’7” son trying to wedge himself back there? Neither can I.) But it was pretty quick and did have some aggressive Dunlop rubber. But a track car? Ahhh, not so much. Trust me, I tried it on the track…twice. Not that it was not bad, but it did not replace the feeling of the Porsche. Any Porsche… In the photo below, you can see (kinda) the small silver paddles behind the center spokes of the steering wheel.



The first time I ran it on the track, on my Birthday no less, I finished the track event and headed home. Since it is a front driver (also known as Front Wheel Drive), there is more weight over the front axle and unless you get all the braking done before you turn in, it wants to push or understeer. That means as you turn the steering wheel, the car wants to go straight. After a bit of time, you adjust your braking and turn-in points and get used to it. A couple of days later, the low oil light came on the dash. Immediately I stopped the car and checked the oil level. Bummer, it was at the lowest point on the dip stick. I bought a quart of Castrol Syntec 5W-40 and added it to bring the level back to normal. Then I realized, that the 2 liter Turbo motor used a lot of oil at the track. I should have know and would not make that mistake again.

I do remember giving a guy in a Boxster S fits in the Audi, he just could not pull me. I was on his rear bumper lap after lap. When doing a track event or track day, the slower car is supposed to let the faster car (in this case my A3) pass him on a approved passing area like a longish straight. But he never acknowledged the waving blue flags with diagonal strips, the passing flag. If it is being waved at you, it means that there is a faster car behind and you should let them pass. It is also called the invisible flag, I think the Boxster S guy was in this category, he never saw it. Although I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot, he would have been very upset that a slower car would not let his Porsche pass. It kind of reminded me of the old joke about Porsches – goes something like this: What is the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche. The Porsche has the prick is on the inside. Wait a minute…I am a Porsche guy. Hmmm, maybe that does not apply to all of us. I went to talk to him about his on track manners after the session, but since it was the last one, he exited the track, headed for the exit and just kept on going. I complained to the folks that ran the event and they did not seem to care too much either, saying that it was the last session of the day and all. Have not been back to an event they run.

So I ended up toasting the set of OEM Dunlop tires on the car and replaced them with very sticky rubber Falken Azenis RT-615’s but as usual, new tires on one of our cars means that its days are numbered. About the same time, we started having massive AC issues with the car. Had to have the compressor replaced 4 times in less than 3 months. I tried to get Audi to do something about it, like extending my warranty on the AC system, but they said fat chance. We traded it, I mean literally. Picked it up from the service drive, went to the front of the dealership, found another car that we liked and got rid of it that same day. It was still under warranty so figured that Audi would no doubt fix the issues before they resold it.

The Sales guy that handled the trade ended up buying it for his wife. I found out later that he got rid of it too, something about the AC not working correctly. Go figure.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.