2014 NEWS ARCHIVE
Arriving in the early evening, Sunday, December 14, Shenandoah PCA members were welcomed by the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden staff providing us with the ticketing and directional maps to the various garden areas and displays. Mild temperatures prevailed which enabled everyone to stroll through the garden comfortably while viewing the half-million+ lights exhibiting this year's theme "A Legacy of Lights 120 years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden" and celebrating the Garden's 30th anniversary and the founding of the Lakeside Wheel Club by Lewis Ginter in 1895. Click here to see the photo gallery from this event.
Before sunset we went inside the library building stopping first at the miniature model railroad in the education wing. A magnificent display in every detail, by the Virginia Model Railroaders Club, of various O gauge/scale electric trains along with villages, towns, mountains, and a fun park for kids. At one end of the train layout was Thomas The Train character engine with its cars in a separate layout. A special note was made that there were no scale-model Porsche automobiles in the train layout. A very bad oversight by these railroaders! The main library area was filled with dollhouses and a warm fireplace where one can view a 14 ft. tree covered in Victorian decorations and many photographs depicting decades of growth as the Garden has become one of the best in North America.
Leaving the library building we proceeded to the magnificent glass Conservatory which included a 20 ft. tall holiday tree with Ginter family ornaments celebrating the many ways Mr. Ginter made his mark on this city. Also displayed were two model train layouts that showcased an array of local landmarks with a connection to Lewis Ginter.
Completing our walking tour along pathways filled with flowers aglow and bicycles blazing trails we drove to nearby Brookside Grille & Bar for a delicious dinner with fellow Shenandoah PCA members and guests.
Note: The theme this year also celebrates the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Road World Cycling Championships coming to Richmond in September, 2015. This brings 1000 cyclists to Richmond to compete in this international event.
Some interesting statistics of this year's GardenFest of Lights:
2014 Shenandoah Holiday Party
The 2014 Shenandoah Holiday Party was held on Sunday, December 7 at the historic Michie Tavern in Charlottesville. Thank you Sam Morris, Director of Operations and Shenandoah member, for being the great host that you are and opening the doors of the Tavern for your Porsche friends on a chilly, yet dry, December evening! As the guests came up the stairs to the Tavern, one of the Hostesses greeted each person with the door opened for them to welcome each and directed them to registration that was ably staffed by Vice President Greg Glassner, President-elect Clint Schuler, and Treasurer Carey Lockhart.
Phillip and Sue Noel had the Goodie Store open, adjacent to the middle room, along with a kiddie corner. We had a record number of young folks with us this year. Of course I spied a 356 coloring pad but didn't do it for fear of being shown up by one of the "kids"! Sam had a roaring fire going in the fireplace. NOT a phony gas logs thing — a real down-to-earth Tavern Fireplace Fire! Nice touch! Jim Condon provided the pre-dinner entertainment with his slide show pictures of past 2014 activities on a big monitor. Several members were anxiously waiting to see if their car would appear on the screen!
If you missed this event, then you missed a great social in every sense of the word! We started the Party with an hour and a half of gratis open bar to tell stories, meet new friends, and visit with members from over the years! A hostess provided tours of the Tavern Museum for those who had not been there before, and Sam opened the dinner hour with a detailed description of the Tavern and its history! Also, for those who did not attend, the admission fee and open bar was aided by financial assistance from our own Shenandoah Region PCA! Thank you folks! Well done!
Our President Sherry Westfall opened the evening with a few remarks before Johnny Johnson gave the invocation. The final head count of 75 Shenandoah Members, Guests, and their families filled the dining area! Each table was released to the dinner line that consisted of Southern delicacies of fried chicken, pulled pork bar-be-que, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes with gravy, stewed tomatoes, pickled beets, rolls, iced tea and was topped off with peach cobbler a la mode!
After dinner Sherry commenced the program with two drawings for door prizes that included two Single Package gift certificates for the next year's Richmond Porsche Meet (RPM), two Durty Nelly's Pub gift certificates (Thanks Gary Hagar), gift certificates for mechanical services from Overstreet European Motors and Newhall Mobileworks, numerous prizes from OG Racing, a variety of gifts from Flow Porsche of Charlottesville, a gift certificate for two for lunch at Michie Tavern and a tour of the Tavern Museum, and many other nice selections. She also commented on the past four years and the volunteers that had helped her so much and gave special recognition to Phyllis Scrogham. Weldon and Phyllis have been stalwarts of the Shenandoah Region, and I like to look at them as Mr. and Mrs. Porsche of Virginia! Thank you so very much for your loyalty and service!
PCA National President Manny Alban made the junket down from Abingdon, MD, foregoing a night to watch a presentation of The Nutcracker. (Smile) He said that he just couldn't miss the Shenandoah Region Party! Manny's remarks and comments were great and shed a lot of light on the PCA National organization and its size in comparison to other car clubs. Not to mention the nice comments that he had on the Shenandoah Region and Sherry's leadership the past four years! He asked how many had been members for three years. It seems that if you have been a PCA member for that period, then you will most likely remain a member.
Rick Ebinger presented the Autocross awards for 2014. Rick and his cohort Erik Boody set up different courses for each of the autocross events. So, if you have driven one, don't expect to see the same course again! It is worth the time to see the work that Rick and Erik put into these, even if you don't want to enter the event. Notably, Sherry Westfall was recognized as Driver of the Year for her consistent performance and sustainability on the track, plus helping newcomers when she wasn't driving. Well Done Sherry! No wonder Sherry was selected as PCA Enthusiast of the Year in 2013! Jeffrey Elmore was given the Award for the Improved Class driving his 2000 Boxster. It appeared that Rick ran out of Boxster designs for the nicely designed acrylic trophies, so Jeffrey had a 914 on his. Does this mean something guys?
Sherry recognized each of the outgoing officers and commented on their service to the Region, and then she and Phyllis Scrogham introduced the new Slate of Officers — President Clint Schuler, Vice President Phillip Noel, Secretary Lynne Taylor, and Treasurer Carey Lockhart.
Clint and Phillip then stepped up and completed the awarding of the remaining door prizes. It was a wonderful evening, and 2015 is right around the corner. Come on out and join us in the drives, autocrosses, and RPM in June!
Click here to see photos from the 2014 Holiday Party.
Shenandoah Region PCA November 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to two new members and one transfer:
Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.
The ballots have been counted and the results are in. Congratulations to our Shenandoah officers for the 2015–16 term!
President: Clint Shuler of Shenandoah, VA
Vice President: Phillip Noel of Woodstock, VA
Secretary: Lynne Taylor of Crozet, VA
Treasurer: Carey Lockhart of Midlothian, VA
Seventy Porsche enthusiasts enjoyed Shenandoah Region's 9th Annual Fall Foliage Tour, held on October 25th. In addition to driving their Porsches through the Blue Ridge Mountains on twisty scenic roads, the group experienced perfect weather and optimum leaf colors. The event's reputation of being a first-class fun time established it on my "must do" list several years ago. Fortunately the timing worked this year and I got to join several other First Settler Region (FSR) members on the adventure. Thanks to Sherry Westfall and the Shenandoah Region for always inviting FSR members to events such as this and the Richmond Porsche Meet. A special thanks is in order for the event coordinator, Clint Shuler, and Rick Ebinger who helped with route planning and led the drives.
Driving my Porsche in the mountains isn't a daily event for me, since we live in Yorktown, but we do make it a couple of times a year. Having said that, I think I've been on all the roads we traveled on this tour. However, this time was a new experience since I was able to have three people in the Porsche! This was because we took my wife's new Macan S on the trip, vice my Boxster S, and picked up one of our daughters in Richmond enroute to Waynesboro from Yorktown. The Macan S, with all the handling options (for me) and all the comfort options (for my wife, Karen) proved to be a great Porsche to take on the twisties with passengers. We let our daughter, Crystal, ride in the front to get the maximum enjoyment from the tour. To my pleasant surprise, Karen even said the tour was great from the back seat!
Getting back to the tour, for those who weren't able to make it, here is a short description of what you missed. Everyone gathered at 9:30 AM in the Target parking lot in Waynesboro for registration and the drivers meeting. The participants then split into several reasonable size groups as directed and departed at 10:00 AM. Once out of Waynesboro the route headed south on twisty mountain roads along the western base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As we climbed and descended, while constantly tuning left and right, the views of mountains covered with colorful trees kept a grin on everyone's face. As is the case on all Porsche fun runs/tours, the views were made even better by seeing all the Porsches enjoying the twisty roads. The first half of the day's adventure ended at Wintergreen Resort where we all enjoyed lunch at Pryor's Porch.
After lunch, and a driver's briefing for the second half of the tour, we all launched off on even twistier roads than we experienced the first half of the day. We drove down the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, down Rockfish valley, and back over the Blue Ridge to Rockbridge Vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley. I recognized one road in particular during this segment based upon the slow speed climbing tight turns where the road had a lot of camber. Karen and I traveled this memorable road only one time over a decade ago. Remembering a road with such great twisties after only seeing it only once 10 years earlier speaks to how fortunate Shenandoah Region is to have such a great Porsche playground in its back yard! When the drive ended at the Rockbridge Vineyard we were treated to wine tasting, a great discussion about growing wine in that area of Virginia and great camaraderie with Porsche friends. By around 3:30 PM folks started home and continued to enjoy the perfect temperature and great fall colors.
If you haven't taken the opportunity to participate in one of the Shenandoah Region Fall Foliage Tours I highly recommend it. If you have participated in one I'm sure you will agree it is worth doing again. I know we will try to make more of them in the future. Thanks again for the invite to FSR members and for the great event!
Click here to see photos from the October 25, 2014 Fall Foliage Tour.
Click here to see the photo gallery from the October 13, 2014 Euroclassics DE at VIR.
When I stepped out of my room at the North Paddock at Virginia International Raceway well before dawn on October 13th, it was very dark and very wet. Not even the birds or insects were making noise. It was just the sound of soggy. I looked up and down the front straight, trying to see as far as I could, which wasn't far. It occurred to me exactly what I was going to do that day — I would be driving a rain-drenched track I didn't know, with a group of drivers I didn't know, in an antique car whose limits and drawbacks I didn't know. Besides that, it was going to be a breeze, right?
My somewhat-modified-but-not-exactly-dedicated-track-car, a 1980 Porsche SC, which I had driven down from Richmond in the rain the day before, was sitting in the parking lot under a lamp, water droplets running off the light silver paint. The interior had fogged up, thanks in part to no climate control in the car, and no sealed cabin either. But it started right up on the first crank, as if eager to warm up, dry out, and run. I rolled down to the tech inspection station and went through, just to ensure the lugs were tight and the car had four wheels. As the day began to dawn, drizzly and gray, we headed into the bright room for our first driver's meeting. We had introductions and thanks yous and then got down to the business of learning the track. It was apparent most of the crowd had had some experience driving at VIR. I suppose for the advanced groups it was all old hat. Almost all of my track experience had been at Summit Point, in various cars over the years — some serious track cars, and others, basically bread trucks. But VIR is another story altogether — a world-class road track loved by some of the best drivers in the world. So we listed intently as a knowledgeable and enthusiastic Peter Krause explained about the line, apexes, vehicle dynamics, and the like, all the while driving the track in our minds. Perfectly, of course.
The faster groups got in some laps, and then suddenly it was the novice group's turn. We lined up in pit lane, engines idling. I noticed with some trepidation that most of the other cars were much newer, more expensive, faster, and generally more capable cars than mine. But I patted the dash of my little SC, and smiled at the happy exhaust burble. An older instructor sauntered along the line and got into my passenger seat, as if I was giving him a ride to the drugstore. And then we were off. The first session was a blur of a) my "antique" wipers trying to clear drizzle and spray off the windshield b) my instructor telling me to accelerate and c) the gut-clenching feeling of the front and back end slipping and sliding as I tried to keep the car under control in the turns. I cared very little about going fast — my only desire was to avoid skimming off into the grass and having to be towed out, like the first contestant who gets voted off the island.
The next two sessions saw the sky begin to clear and the track dry up significantly. Watching the advanced run groups between sessions was fun and instructive. A veteran, who was driving his own track-modified early 70's 911 in the advanced group, was kind enough to ride with me on the next session. His expert advice about how to drive the track, especially in an "old-school" (shifter and 915 transmission, traction control and ABS-free) 911 quickly erased my novice jitters and replaced them with increasing confidence. The tail-weighted SC was really starting to stick, and I was getting more and more enthusiastic about pressing the accelerator to the floor. At one of my favorite points, coming out of Turn 5 into Straights 6-9, the car absolutely launched forward, and I began to follow the cars in front of me much more aggressively. The SC was coming into its own, and its driver was learning.
Finally it all came together. The track was dry. The sun was out. Well, kinda. At least the visibility was now excellent. After four solid sessions I'd begun to learn the fundamentals of this famous course. And most importantly I'd begun to learn what my 34-year Porsche was capable of. We lined up again, but this time I was solo. (All the instructors were great, but it occurred to me briefly that it wasn't the worst thing to remove 170 lbs from the passenger seat...I mean, weight is weight, right?). And then they flagged us out. My car felt lightweight and nimble but well planted. I accelerated strongly out of Turn 1, tires squealing the whole way, headed for the red flag on the roof at Turn 3, navigated Turn 4, then increasingly on the gas all the way through Turn 5. Heading down Straight 6 and 7, engine screaming up to 6100 RPM, shifting into 4th gear, then blasting up the hill, blipping the throttle at each rumble strip was an absolute blast. Tap the brakes and downshift back into 3rd at Turn 10, dive down into the valley at Straight 10 and then back up the hill to the infamous Turn 11 and 12 combo. Remember the line! Follow your novice inclination — or perhaps the rookie in front of you — and you could be in trouble, or at the very least, sloooooow. Brake straight before Turn 12, then turn in tight and get back on the gas as hard as possible into Straight 12 and 13. Get up to top speed in Straight 13 (I have no idea what that was because my 85 mph speedo was pinned!), up the hill fast, roller-coaster over the crest, then down the backside and on the brakes before Turn 13, steer left, brake hard and straight, then ease into Turn 14, then Turn 15, down the hill, drift left. When you realize between Turns 16 and 17 that your tiny tire patch going to hold and that you will NOT be piloting earth-moving equipment on THIS lap, you make your apex at Turn 17, and pour on the power to keep the back planted and accelerate like a slingshot bullet out onto the front straight and blast through the finish line!
This was my first time driving VIR, but it certainly won't be my last!
A Temple University graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Rachel Clark was destined to do something with automobiles.
"I planned to do something with [automotive] design," she explained about her chosen career path.
"When I graduated from college, I moved to Charlottesville on a whim," she noted. Talk about a whim that steers you right!
Rachel took a job as Service Manager at Flow Porsche-Audi, and there she met her future husband, Michael Clark, who is a Master Guild Audi Technician.
Their shared passion for German automobiles led to marriage seven years ago and then to starting a family and their own business, Perception Motorwerks, on Route 60 in Powhatan.
If their shop, which opened in 2012, has more of a homey atmosphere than most, there is a good reason. Rachel and Michael leave home for the shop each morning and work there side-by-side, along with one other mechanic. And their four-year-old daughter, Willow, is right there with them. Their shop is quite literally their home-away-from-home.
Are they compatible?
"We still spend a lot of time with each other and we are still alive," Rachel said, laughing.
Togetherness also works at the race track, where Michael drives and helps customers with their cars and Rachel is a Porsche Club of America DE (Drivers Education) instructor. She is also a NASA instructor.
That doesn't leave a lot of time for driving, but Rachel has done plenty, at the wheel of an Audi S4 and in friend Mel Brannan's 1991 Porsche 911.
Although Perception Motorwerks has the specialty of extracting more performance from Audis and is Virginia's only Unitronic-Chipped Dealer, they are equipped to work on all German cars, including Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, VW, and the Anglo-German Mini.
"We actually get more Porsches than Audis now," Rachel said.
Their business and their 1984 Porsche 928 led them to joining the Porsche Club of America.
"The 928 isn't running right now," Rachel said. "It was a gift from a friend who already has about seven of them!" she added.
When she drives in DEs she usually runs an Audi S4 with a twin-turbo V6, or she borrows friend Mel Brannan's 1991 911.
Asked about her experiences as a DE instructor since 2012 and whether there were any scary moments, Rachel said, "You have no idea!"
Discretion prevented her from providing any specifics about specific incidents and students, however.
She was willing to shed some light on what goes into being a good instructor, however.
"Having patience and the ability to communicate are important," she said. "I have a four-year-old, so my patience is pretty good," Rachel remarked.
"Every student has a different communicating style and not everyone is receptive to being told where to turn and when to brake. Some of them need to talk things through," she said.
At the beginning of the process, women are often quicker learners than men, Rachel noted.
"I've had a couple of tense moments when men didn't respond to being told where to brake. Ego can get in the way."
Off-course excursions can be the result of this, she added.
"It is definitely humbling," Rachel said.
One of the stock questions we ask on Member Moment is what kind of road music the member plays when driving their cars.
"We almost never listen to the radio," Rachel said. "We like the sounds of the cars."
Rachel did have an answer to our other question: What kind of car would you own if you had an unlimited budget?
"I'd probably get a Porsche GT2, a full-out racer, or maybe a Rauh-Welt 964 or 993," Rachel answered, referring to the wild and sometimes controversial concept cars of Japanese Porsche tuner Rauh-Welt Begriff ("Rough-World Concept").
Incidentally, Rachel Clark may soon have a new student driver to teach. Willow, their daughter, has asked for a kart for Christmas, Rachel said.
For more information on Rachel and Michael Clark, go to: www.perceptionmotorwerks.com.
Shenandoah Region PCA October 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to three new members and one transfer:
Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Porsche 911 vintage racer at Lime Rock concours||Early 911 "needs some work" looking for a new owner in Lime Rock paddock||Intrepid Reporter with Ralph Lauren's RSK|
On display were his stunning 1929 "Blower" Bentley, which legendary "Bentley Boy" Tim Birkin drove to second place in the 1930 French Grand Prix and also ran the 1930 Le Mans 24 hour event. Similarly pedigreed was Lauren's 1959 Porsche RSK 718, which Count Wolfgang von Trips drove to second place in the season-ending Tourist Trophy race at Goodwood. Stirling Moss won that race in an Aston Martin, and the Porsche's finish ahead of the third-place Ferrari, handed the 1959 World Championship to Aston Martin.
Also on display were Lauren's 1956 Jaguar XKSS, his 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, which won 13 of the 19 Australian races it entered, including the Surfers Paradise 12 hours with Jackie Stewart sharing the driving chores. Lauren's fifth car at Lime Rock was a nice but relatively pedestrian 1953 Morgan Plus Four. (The first car Lauren ever bought was a Morgan, thus this car's inclusion in the rarefied atmosphere.)
Since I own at least one sweater, scarf, and wallet with Lauren's brand on it, I thought he might have left me the keys to the Porsche RSK for a spin around Lime Rock Park. Alas, there must have been some sort of misunderstanding.
In addition to Lauren's car, there were five more classic Bentleys on display, ranging from a 1928 4.5 Liter Le Mans to a 1929 Sped Six and a 1962 S2 Continental.
My eye was also drawn to the special array of eight Fiat Abarths from 1956–1962 and a gaggle of Formula Junior racers from the late 50s and early 60s, including one Gemini. (I once owned an Abarth and a Gemini, thus my interest in these displays.)
So I arrived at The Glen early Friday morning and secured a parking space a block off Franklin Street, which closes to thru traffic for the afternoon and where all the action takes place. It kicked off with a mock Tech Inspection at Smiley's Garage, just like they used to do in the 1950s.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|A nice 356 coupe in Watkins Glen concours||Vintage racers head out of downtown onto old Glen road course||Phonetic spelling on stern of a VIR Gold Cup competitor|
Next up was the concours at the entrance to the State Park. In 2014 the featured marquee was MG, so I put up my folding chair near Chesterfield resident David Harrison's very original MG 1.2 Magna, which was a class-winning factory team car in the 1933 Alpine Trials and raced with distinction at Brooklands. The car was brought to these shores in 1935 by Baron Collier, who, with his brothers, founded the pre-war AACA and post-war SCCA.
I know David through the Virginia Jaguar Club, so he deputized me to keep an eye on his car, which was nestled between two other very nice 1933 MGs. This allowed me to play "friend of the owner" and field inquiries from interested spectators. David later took a lap of the old 7-mile course and received a judges award based on his car's patina and history.
As the concours wound down, car clubs drove through town, offering a mobile car show of more modern marques. In late afternoon, many of the vintage racers parked on Franklin Street for collective oohs and aahs and also ran two laps of the old Grand Prix course, which ran through town.
While everything else was going on, a variety of souvenir and memorabilia stands and food and beverage concessions attracted strolling spectators. My very first race at Watkins Glen was in the early 1960s, and this annual September event harkens back to that more informal style of road racing.
If you have never been to the Friday festival at the Glen, make room on your calendar some year.
Classics on the Green
A "light mist" made the Jaguars appear very British indeed, and the serious judged entries were tucked away under cover while the rest of our show cars braved the elements. Early arrivals for the New Kent show filtered in during the day, so we had a nice mix of Ferraris and Jags.
I was feeling a bit flat by the time Sunday rolled around, so I did not give Classics on the Green my full-court press, but it was well worth trundling down I-64 to attend. The classic Ferraris (pre-1980) were a treat and there was a nice array of Jaguars, Porsches, MGs, Triumphs, and Healeys, as always.
The well-turned out Mercedes-Benz 300 SL replica was interesting. If your name is not Lauren, Seinfeld, or Leno, you could not afford the real thing, so a replica with modern running gear makes sense. You could drive it around the block without fear of being T-boned by some pickup truck. More thorough reportage on this show is available elsewhere, so I will leave it to them.
VIR Gold Cup
This year I met a motley crew of enthusiasts at Zion Crossroads, and we picked up a few more in Palmyra on the way down to Route 58.
The enthusiasts car show on Saturday is a nice complement to the on-track action, and I saw my first-ever Evante there. (No, not Avanti — look it up.) We missed the morning races and did not stick around for Sunday's SCCA Trans Am race, which must have been fun.
Still, a leisurely stroll through the paddock and sitting among friends above turns 4–5 and watching a pair of Lola T-70s duke it out is a great way to spend a sunny Saturday in early autumn — and a well-driven Porsche 944 won its race! The next day I had volunteered my 16-year-old XK8 convertible for the parade at the Virginia State Fair. When only three open-cockpit cars showed up, including VJC member George Parker's XK120, I got to carry Courtney Garrett, the reigning Miss Virginia (and runner-up to Miss America) around the one-mile fair loop.
September is indeed a great month for the avid car-watcher.
I often tell people I am the luckiest girl in the world. Case in point — one sunny Saturday in October I was greeted by a plethora of Porsches of various vintages at a local watering hole as my new tribe and I prepared to put our pedals to the metal. Familiar faces made up the crowd as Johnny Johnson, Stephen and Penny Heim, John Nunley, Jason Robson, and Sherry Westfall all made me welcome and introduced me to new fellow aficionados. The camaraderie of the club was apparent as they made me welcome and I knew I was in the right place. There are few bonds that are as rapid and as tight as people that share a passion for cars, especially a particular car marque. The conversations range from the mundane to the arcane and are simultaneously riveting to us and irrelevant to any innocent bystander.
The drivers meeting was called, protocols explained and off we went. A significant advantage to living in Charlottesville is the quality of the roads for serious drivers, and my fellow enthusiasts and I took off for a tour of the surrounding countryside, ultimately ending up at a Free Union farm that houses a stellar private collection of Fords, Packards, and Pierce Arrows. It was a brilliant day — the company, the weather, the driving conditions, the hospitality of our host and the sheer enjoyment of time spent doing what you love. Sometimes in life factors combine to create an indelible memory you carry with you forever. This was that kind of a day.
Click here to see the event photo gallery.
There is a new motorsports complex, including a two-mile road course, coming our way. Dominion Raceway is set to open on or about June 1 next year. Located immediately at the Thornburg exit from I-95 — a short distance south of Fredericksburg — it will also offer a NASCAR oval and a dragstrip, together with hospitality, fuel, repair, picnic, and other facilities and amenities. Steve Britt, the owner operator, told Shenandoah PCA member Randy Bell recently that he hopes to pave in November so that the track will be fully cured by opening time. Dominion Raceway will host SCCA, NASA, NHRA, and NASCAR events as well as car club sessions. Randy interviewed Steve about the new track, Steve's hopes and vision, and his philisophy of motorsports.
Bell: Opening so ambitious and multi-faceted a venture is quite a step. How did you come to this moment?
Britt: In terms of background, I am a motorsports enthusiast and love anything with an engine. I truly believe cars, boats, and motorcycles are works of art. I am enamored with car collecting, and while my collection isn't as big as it used to be, my preference is low-production, exclusive, low-volume modern day muscle cars with a twist. I buy what I like. My favorite car is my 1999 Panoz roadster. The one I have is #2 of 10 that they made at the very end. It is a beautiful car, exceptionally well made and has increased slowly in value since I purchased it in 2003. I also own a 1995 Mustang Cobra R that is new and has never been registered or titled. It's 1 of 250. There are others, but I won't bore you.
There are several major things I like about Motorsports and all of
this leads to my desire to own a Motorsports Facility, so bear with
Bell: Why Old Dominion? It has always been just an oval in Manassas. Is there some special economic incentive driving this investment?
Britt: I purchased ODS (Old Dominion Speedway) in February 2003 and opened it up for my first season in March that year. I can tell you that, without an experienced staff, I would have been doomed. They carried me the whole way. It was thrilling though, and during my first year one of our racers, Mark McFarland, won the national championship in our sanctioned division. It was quite a year. In 2005, the developers — and I mean all of them — came calling wanting to purchase ODS to develop housing on the site. It was like winning the lottery. You don't always ask why, but we signed a sale contract that year, and then the economy tanked. We never got back near where we were in 2003 & 2004, and when we measured opinion in the County and the neighborhood surrounding us, we decided we were on borrowed time. Its was 2011 when we decided it was time to get our rezoning together and get the facility positioned for a sale, and it was April 2013 when that sale was consummated.
Coming off that terrible recession, there was a need for employment,
for economic stimulus. Reasonably priced land was available, and
their was a willingness to consider a new type of motorsports and
entertainment facility, the likes of which I couldn't have even
dreamed up in 2005. I looked for nearly two years before finally
settling in our new location. What is special about DR isn't just
that it has so many offerings but that it contains 43 acres of
commercial land. That commercial land gives us an opportunity to
generate lease or sale income from commercial pad site sales, garages,
storage rentals etc. That additional income makes the spending we are
having to undertake to make the facility unique bankable and our
project viable. The location we have provides for immediate on-and-off
I-95 access, a mile of I-95 road frontage, and 111,000 cars on
average passing by our site every day. I just think the metrics make
sense and will work. I am blessed to have a great partner (Jerry
Evans) who is as passionate as I am about DR. The biggest challenge
has really been financing. Our borrowing is quite large and it takes
a willing bank to see the benefit and merit for what we are doing.
Jerry and I believe that Dominion Raceway & Entertainment is special,
and we hope you and your fellow PCA members feel the same. We are
anxious to complete the project and look forward to sharing it with
all of you for many years to come.
Shenandoah Region PCA September 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to a new member and three transfers:
Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.
A recent trip to east Tennessee took my wife Jeanne and me to within striking distance of the Lane Motor Museum, a place I have had on my "to do list" for a long time. Conveniently located just off of I 40 in Nashville, this oddball collection of 400 cars, of which 150 are on display, is claimed to be the largest collection of European cars in the United States and it is certainly one of the most unique. I actually found it to be more interesting than some collections of rare and exotc cars I have been to.
After meeting up with Nashville friends for lunch and a quick tour of the city, the guys headed to Lane's while the girls headed off to do what they mistakenly thought were more important things. Getting there at 3 PM gave us a couple of hours before the museum closing at 5, barely enough time to see this grand collection housed in a former large bread bakery. Noting that I was a little under the age requirements for the Senior tickets, I gave the guy at the ticket booth $18 and asked for two adults only to be told that they (adults) were in short supply around there. Feeling somewhat like a kid filled with anticipation, I promised that we would try to behave like adults anyway. Upon entering the museum, the first thing I saw was Mr. Lane himself, easily recognisable by his long gray ponytail talking to a museum visitor about one of the cars.
Filling the large open space of this museum are some of the strangest and downright weird cars you will ever see. To quote their website, "The vehicles date from the 1920s all the way up to modern day and feature a varied collection of microcars, amphibious vehicles, military vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, prototypes, one-of-a-kind vehicles and motorcycles. A great exhibit that the whole family can enjoy!"
And I did enjoy all of the unique cars you would never encounter on the road. Ever seen a propeller-driven car? There were three of them there. Amphibious vehicles from a military one the size of a small house to the German Amphicar were there as well as Fiat Jollies and other small beach cars made to provide yacht owners access to the towns of Monaco and the likes without having to use something as common as a taxi.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|A huge amphibious vehicle||The double-ended Citroen||Two Peels|
Since French cars by nature are weird, there were several on hand. A Citroen 2CV is rare enough, but how about a four wheel-drive Sahara version, which uses a second engine to drive the front tires while the rear tires are powered by the normal rear engine. A Citroen with a Maserati engine, an amphibious one, one with two front ends welded together so the French Fire Department could get in and out of alleys easily, a coal-burning version — these are just some of the unique Citroens that are there to fascinate and charm. And other countries were well represented as well, from the English Peel, recognized by the Guinness Book of World records as the smallest production car in the world and familiar to Top Gear fans as the car used by Clarkson to go in the elevator and through the halls of the BBC Headquarters to the Italian Vespa – not the scooter but the car!
When Sherry asked me to write about this museum, I thought "Uh oh, what is the Porsche tie-in?" While Porsche is a unique brand, it is still too conventional to have any examples in the Lane collection. Well, I did find a connection. The featured marque is currently the Tatra from the Czech Republic. This company, named after the Tatra Mountains, produced horse carriages as early as 1850 and motorcars from 1897, making it the oldest car manufacturer in Central Europe and the third oldest in the world after Daimler and Peugeot. To my surprise, I found that Ferdinand Porsche was a big fan of Tatras, and if he did not exactly copy many features for his planned "People's Car" in the 30's, he was most definitely inspired by this unique and forward-thinking manufacturer. To quote from a Petrolicious article, "When all these groundbreaking ideas were first combined under an aerodynamically streamlined shape, the world, including Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche, took notice. It's no coincidence that 1933's V570 (Tatra) bore a striking resemblance to Porsche's KdF Wagen (the car which ultimately became known as Volkswagen), in fact, it was the pattern after which it was molded."
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Two rows of Tatras||Another propeller car|
Here is a link to the Lane Museum's photos of their cars.
We loaded my Roadster into a trailer at Lufteknic on Friday morning
for the 460 mile junket to Fontana Village, NC. Chris Overholser of
Luftekinc, being of more courage than I, drove his 1957 Speedster
there and back-top down! This was our caravan as we 'trundled' down
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
We arrived late, about 8:30 PM just before they closed the dining room for the evening so we got great service. The trend started with the waitress that these 'Old Men and Their Little Cars' would be here all weekend! Saturday morning we unloaded the Roadster from the trailer and headed for the Fontana Dam to have our pictures taken.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
In the afternoon after lunch Dr John Pfeiffer in his C4 with Belinda as navigator, lead us on a junket that simulated the Tail Of The Dragon. LOTS of twisting two lane roads, and across several dams, one where Harrison Ford while filming The Fugitive, jumped from during the filming.
In the afternoon the event Moto Art In The Park had us drive on to the baseball field that was lined off for the 200 some 356s. This gave the folks a chance to see all of the cars displayed, much like our own RPM.
Each person was given a ballot and had the opportunity to vote for the three cars they liked best as they sipped their wine or other adult mountain beverage! The ballots were tallied and recognition was given at the supper in the evening.
Here are a few pics of that event.
Notice our personal picture-taking drone! I wonder if the FAA gave its permission? NAW!
The first yellow car is a 1952 American Roadster owned by Rev Ron Roland, author of "Restored By Hand"! Some of you might have his book! I do! The other yellow car is a T6 "Taxicab" complete with Fare Meter!
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|The drone||Rev Ron Roland's
1952 American Roadster
|The T6 "Taxicab"|
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Continental Coupe||Talking with the Classics & Sports Cars Mag Business Rep.||Look at all those 356s in the parking lot! WOW!|
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Lufteknic guys at lunch||More Moto Art In The Park- and they still came!|
In the evening the field was illuminated with those large white globes.
One could sit on the hill by the firepit and just chill-with a beverage
of your choosing of course!
On the way home we passed several folks who had been at the Holiday.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Even a 912! For you, Deane!||A 356 Coupe||and a Speedster with his hard top.|
Golly, ya all shoulda been there.
Although he has been in the lumber business most of his life, Richard Gray's hobby involves sheet metal and wheels. He loves to restore, show, and drive old cars. I first met Richard through the Virginia Jaguar Club (VJC), where he showed his immaculate 1965 XKE in concours.
Then, at a VJC Slalom a few years back, Richard showed up sans Jag and promptly set Fastest Time of the Day with his 1968 Datsun 2000 roadster, making those of us driving much more modern XK8s and S Types look pretty sluggish — and wondering, "Just what the heck has he done to that 45-year-old car?"
The tame-looking Datsun roadster is not exactly stock, boasting wider wheels, a roll bar, disk brakes all around, and a powerplant and transmission from a Nissan 240ZX. It will soon have a Mazda RX8 rear end in it.
Lately he has been running in Shenandoah Region PCA autocrosses in his Guards Red 2000 Porsche 911 cabriolet and plans at least one Drivers Ed event this year.
Richard is co-owner of Grassy Creek Lumber and Distribution in western Hanover County, a company he and business partner Wayne Pase founded. They have a combined 60-plus years of experience in lumber and specialize in Southern yellow pine for decks and other applications, selling to the treated-wood industry, distribution centers, and truss manufacturers.
Richard is not a single-marque car guy. Having brought his XKE up to 100-point concours standards after years of refinements, Gray is now finishing a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible, a project that has been in his shop for four years.
It will be an updated classic with a Roush 427 V8 pumping out 520 horses, a TKO 5 speed, and modern suspension and brakes as well as a candy apple red paint job with white "Shelby stripes."
Richard started his car hobby as a teenager and his first car was a Datsun 240Z. That was followed in rapid succession by about 15 other Datsun/Nissan Z cars.
"I was in college and I had two credit cards with a [combined] $4,000 limit. I'd buy them, fix them up, and sell them. People think credit cards can get you in trouble but they can also teach you a lot about business," Richard said.
He owned his XKE for 16 years. "I bought it and didn't have the money to fix it, although I can do most of the work myself," he said. Then he started showing it.
"At first I wanted to get it up in the 90s, and when I did that I thought I'd try for 99s. My gracious that can get expensive. After I got three 100s in National meets I decided to sell it," he said.
The challenges had been met but it was too perfect to enjoy driving it anymore. It had also become a major investment.
"I can do all that stuff and I can paint my cars, but I can't do a perfect paint job." To score 100s he had to have professionals work on the XKE.
Having sampled PCA autocrosses, Richard admits he was hooked. He has been making improvements to his 911, which he has owned for over five years. He has added a performance computer chip and adjustable camber, but doesn't want to get it so radical that he can't enjoy driving the car on the street. "We drove it to church Sunday," he said.
Along the way, Richard also worked on a rusty Jaguar XK 120 and even put new floors in it, although he admits he never finished that project. He has fixed up a couple of Mercedes 450 SLs as well but admits parts for them can be pretty expensive.
Cars and lumber aside, Gray is a devoted family man. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 26 years and they have two daughters, Chelsie, a recent Christopher Newport University grad, and Jena, a student at the College of William & Mary. The Grays are active in the church and enjoy going to their vacation house on Lake Gaston.
What's next for this versatile car enthusiast?
"I've always wanted to do a '59 Austin Healey," Richard said.
Every year the First Settlers Region hosts a three day DE at VIR. The first two days (Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21) were on the South Course, and the third day (Monday, September 22) was on the Full Course. This event is especially popular with Shenandoah Region drivers; there were 16 of them this time. Click here to see the all-Shenandoah photo gallery.
The South Course features the decreasing-radius off-camber Turn 1 ("the bitch") that occasionally punts 911 drivers into the grass. It is easier for drivers of Boxsters and Caymans to get around. Apparently the word is getting out, because Boxsters and Caymans are becoming more common at VIR every year. There are no long straights on the South Course, so everybody's brakes and engines get much hotter than on the Full Course. Fortunately, Paul Overstreet of Overstreet European Motors recently installed a third radiator to cool the power steering fluid in the 2007 Cayman S driven by Sherry and me. The engine temperature went almost all the way to the max in the heat of the afternoon, but the power steering fluid stayed cool.
Matt Einstein had wanted to drive his new Cayman S track weapon with a 3.8L 991 engine in it, but the PDK transmission was overheating, so on Monday he brought his new 400 HP Macan Turbo instead. The Macan had street tires, but Matt (a much better driver than I am) kept up with my Cayman S on R-compounds until his tires got too hot and greasy. We were turning about 2:16 laps. Not bad for an SUV.
The Potomac Region's traditional Labor Day DE at VIR was attended by Shenandoah Region drivers Don Coleman, Jim Condon, Clint Shuler, Bill Speidell, and Sherry Westfall. We were joined by many old friends from First Settlers and Potomac. Here is a link to the event photo gallery. The most exotic car was a DP3 Ford Riley. The Porsche and Audi clubs jointly sponsored this DE, so there were also a few Audi R8s on the track.
The weather was variable—rain at night but mostly dry during the day, with a mixture of sun and clouds. The VIR Full Course is so big that during one session it was raining on Oak Tree at the same time the sun was shining on the front straight.
A number of Shendandoah Region members went to the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) near Danville for the 2014 TUDOR races and the Porscheplatz on Sunday, August 24. Click here for the photo gallery that goes along with this article. For another look at this event, see the excellent article by Dave Hogan (Blue Ridge Region).
PCA President Manny Alban was at the Porscheplatz, which was capably organized by PCA National Porscheplatz Coordinator Tuffy von Briesen and Zone 2 Representative Cheryl Taylor. The Porscheplatz consisted of a hospitality tent overlooking NASCAR Bend and special events including the opportunity to drive parade laps on the full course. A highlight of this particular Porscheplatz was a presentation by Cam Ingram of Road Scholars to introduce his new book Porsche Unexpected, which he co-authored with Randy Leffingwell and Michael Furman. Afterwards there was a long line of book buyers waiting to have their copies signed by Cam. Bob Ingram, father of Cam and Rory Ingram, was the Grand Marshal of the Oak Tree Grand Prix feature race. The Ingrams put their historic 904 GTS on display just outside the Porscheplatz tent.
Representatives from Michelin discussed their race tires and how racing informs the design of street tires. They held a drawing for prizes, the best of which was a new set of Michelins. Next, professional Porsche driver Patrick Long and his team talked about driving the factory GTLM (Grand Touring Le Mans) Porsches appropriately numbered 911 and 912.
The morning races included the Prototype Challenge race won by the orange #25 car shown in the NASCAR Bend photo taken from the Porscheplatz tent, the Maserati Trofeo (Italian for Trophy) race, and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo race. These are the Maserati and Lamborghini analogs of Porsche's Carrera Cup race series. Between races were hot laps by instructors from racing schools. The BMWs spent most of their track time sideways, generating smoke and noise.
The cars and drivers lined up in the hot pits for the fans to see them just before the main GTLM and GTD (Grand Touring Daytona) race. Actor and driver Patrick Dempsey was surrounded by fans requesting autographs. Not just another pretty face, he co-piloted his Porsche to a podium finish in GTD.
Shenandoah Region member Cole Scrogham is the team manager for the Tully's Coffee Porsche, and Jay Cottrell (son of Dave Cottrell, owner of Concours Detailing in Richmond) worked in the hot pits to keep their car on fresh tires. Kenny Shreves of Charlottesville continues to spin wrenches for the Flying Lizard team, which is now campaigning Audis instead of Porsches.
The GTLM race was won in a cliffhanger by Ferrari, just ahead of the Falken Tire Porsche. BMW took the GTD race, and Patrick Dempsey's team put Porsche on the GTD podium.
Flow Porsche of Charlottesville generously offered to provide free tech inspections for cars that will be driven in two upcoming High-Performance Drivers Education (HPDE; usually shortened to DE) events at VIR—the August 29–31 Potomac DE and the September 20–22 First Settlers DE. Service manager Glenn Marquis, certified Porsche Techs Richard Jackson and Zachary Dow, two lifts in their service center, and a table of munchies were waiting for us at 8 AM on Saturday, August 16. Flow usually provides a 10% discount on Porsche parts and service to PCA members (Show your PCA card.), but for this event, they offered 20%. To see the photo gallery from this event, click here.
PCA DE's are not races, but they are run at racing speeds, so PCA requires that registered cars be professionally inspected within two to four weeks prior to every DE. The minumum requirements for these inspections are set by PCA, and the region sponsoring each DE may add to them. For example, a few regions require fire extinguishers in advanced DE run groups.
The DE tech inspection covers familiar items found in annual state inspections of street cars: the windshield wipers and brake lights should work, the windshield cannot be cracked, mirrors must be firmly attached, the brake pads can't be worn down too far, etc. We gleaned a couple of extra tidbits of information from this tech session, which were related to Virginia State Safety Inspections. Your car cannot be rejected for the absence of a front license plate or for an unacceptable degree or location of window tinting. These are Virginia state laws and are regulated and enforced independently of the state inspection.
In addition, parts critical to high-speed driving are checked. The wheel bolts should be torqued correctly so the wheels do not come loose. The brake rotors cannot have large stress cracks that might cause them to break apart when hot. In the case of a stock Porsche drilled rotor, heat causes stress cracks to develop beside the holes. The rotor should be replaced before the cracks get long enough to connect two holes or go from a hole to the edge of the rotor. Brake fluid must be fresh because it gets very hot during track use. Brake fluid is hygroscopic (attracts moisture) and eventually gets "wet" enough to boil and cause soft brakes during track driving. Special racing brake fluids (e.g., Castrol SRF) have very high boiling temperatures even when "wet", and they are recommended for advanced drivers. The car battery has to be secure so it won't come loose in a crash or rollover, and the "hot" battery terminal must have an insulated cover to prevent a short circuit to ground and a fire in case the battery does come loose. A big part of the tech inspection is looking for leaks that might drip fluids onto the track, because power-steering fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and gasoline are all remarkably slippery. The throttle return on older cars must be "snappy", to prevent the throttle from sticking open. Suspension parts and engine/transmission mounts need to be tight and in good condition because they take a beating on the track.
Special track safety items are also inspected. Each driver must have a current (2005 or later) Snell-rated SA automotive (not motorcycle) helmet with no cracks. Racing harnesses cannot be older than five years, or worn or frayed; and they can be used only on racing seats with factory guide holes. Racing harnesses hold the driver upright in a crash, so a roll bar is strongly recommended in cars with harnesses. Also, harnesses restrain the driver's body but not his head, so they should not be used without a head and neck support system (HANS) to keep the driver's head attached to his body in a hard crash. Examples of "improved" cars with appropriate add-on safety systems are Hamish Brookeman's Cayman S and Don Coleman's supercharged 996.
I am surprised whenever I hear about some DE driver trying to fake or finesse a DE tech inspection. There are no speed limits in a DE, but the laws of physics are strictly enforced at all times. Worn parts tend to break just when they are most stressed in braking zones and in high-speed turns. Badly designed, installed, or maintained safety systems don't fail until they are really needed, in a crash. I would be afraid to go out onto the track if my car had not been carefully inspected by a certified Porsche tech or a by competent independent mechanic with racing experience. Not all mechanics are familiar with what goes wrong at track speeds. I was pleased to learn that Glenn used to prepare cars for Ferrari's counterpart of the Porsche Supercup racing series.
Shenandoah Region DE drivers Clint Shuler, Jim Condon, Sherry Westfall, Eric Huggins, Hamish Brookman, Bill Speidell, and Don Coleman got free tech inspections. In addition, Flow Porsche helped Jack Adams learn about what engine (and which version of the dreaded IMS bearing) is in his 2004 996 Carrera 4S, and they gave Mark Doherty's 997 Cab a pre-trip checkout. Bill Sanders showed up to get a state inspection done on Jill's Boxster. Finally, Bates and Colin McLain came by to visit and show us a 944-trunkload of radio-controlled airplanes that they planned to fly in the afternoon.
The driving enjoyment in our Porsches is also an invitation for the occasional discussion with a uniformed law enforcement officer about whether or not you were driving in excess of the posted speed limit. Getting caught by said trooper will usually result in a speeding ticket...or worse.
As Greg Glassner, Bob Duntley, and I can attest, receiving such ticket driving to or from a Shenandoah Region event gets your name on our very own Speeding Ticket Trophy. I've been awarded this twice. Greg is now the current holder of the award.
In an effort to educate, the accompanying stories explain the state-by-state speed limits and what happens in certain counties here in Virginia that strictly enforce the reckless driving statutes.
The Road & Track story (link) lists each state's maximum highway speed limit, the reckless driving threshold, and related penalties for reckless driving. Some states appear to be draconian! There is also a nice color sketch of a state trooper vehicle for easy identification, although all appear to be Ford Crown Vics!
The Jalopnik.com story (link) is more interesting. It details what happened to an automotive journalist who was caught speeding while test driving a Camaro ZL1. He was driving in Virginia.
Enjoy the stories and be safe out there!
It was a good time. No! It was the best of times. The tour had the best of features in friends, Porsches, food, mountains to drive, and great weather. All of our friends met on the morning of Sunday, August 3 at the Mountainside Grille near Crozet, where our drive began. We made a stop at Chiles Peach Orchard Market where we bought the most delicious peaches and peach ice cream. (I had multiple scoops.)
No one knew what was in store for us. We drove over 50 miles through some of the most exciting curves, turns, and hills in Virginia. The course was calculated to be demanding while scenic. It not only met but also far exceeded those goals.
Then, we approached Pharsalia! What a site! The estate was celebrating its 200-year existence, and coincidentally, our Shenandoah region was celebrating its 19th. Upon arrival we enjoyed a fried chicken dinner with farm fresh fixin's, including a berry cobbler of which I couldn't eat more than a third helping. It was great! To top off our meal, we indulged in a beautifully decorated cake to celebrate our 19th anniversary.
After lunch, Ms. Foxie, the owner and a descendent of the original Massie family, treated us to a detailed tour of the house to show us what early 19th century life was like. Two notable features of the house stood out to me—a painting of the stunning red-haired beauty in the hallway who spurned George Washington as a suitor, and the icehouse. The ice pit inside was accessible only by a ladder down about 30 feet, where a couple of chairs were set up to a table so the men could smoke their cigars alone without disturbance or interference.
Sated and happy we headed home. A good time was had by all. Thank you Sherry, Deane, and June for putting this event together.
To see the photo gallery covering this event, click here.
Current PCA Shenandoah Region Vice President Greg Glassner has been "a sports car nut" and an avid fan of road racing since well before he got his first drivers license.
"When I was in junior high, a sympathetic pharmacist would stash a copy of the latest Road & Track under the counter knowing I would scrape up enough money and come by to redeem it. He had a Messerschmidt micro car for delivering prescriptions, so I suspect he was a kindred spirit," Greg recalled.
"Through the pages of R&T and other magazines I followed the exploits of Hill, Gurney, Moss, Von Trips, Hermann, Bonnier, and others as they raced Ferraris, Maseratis, Aston Martins, Jaguars and, yes, Porsches, on the great road circuits of Europe and North America."
"We often outgrow our youthful passions as life takes us on divergent paths, but my love of sports cars is one I still have," Greg said.
The first car Greg bought was a 750cc Fiat-Abarth Derivarione, complete with a rollbar decorated with tech inspection stickers from obscure Italian races. That was followed, in no particular order, by a Sunbeam Alpine, four Alfa-Romeos, a Simca-Bertone, three additional Fiats, a Gemini Formula Junior, AC-Bristol/Buick, a dozen assorted Japanese and American cars, and three Porsches.
"Having settled on print journalism as a low-paying profession, I bought many cars used, and a few of them were ridden hard and put away wet before I acquired them," Greg noted.
"My first Porsche was a 1972 914 that I bought new and sold too quickly to buy a 33-foot boat that I lived aboard. I remember it (the Porsche, not the boat) as a solid car with handling that far outstripped its speed."
"I later owned a rust-prone 1966 Porsche 912. It was a lot of fun but very high maintenance. The stinger exhaust also attracted police. After replacing the valves and transmission and repairing the rusty floors and leaking gas tank, I sold it to a German NATO officer's son, who shipped it back to The Fatherland."
"My current 'Poor Man's Car Collection' includes my Guards Red 1983 Porsche 944, a trouble-free 1990 Mazda Miata, a 1998 Jaguar XK8, and a 1993 Alfa Romeo. I also have an SUV for winter driving and boring trips, plus an old RV that gets out on the road about as much as the Alfa, which is rarely."
"The Shenandoah Region is a great club with people who love their Porsches and have a good time using them. Many members have automotive interests as diverse as mine," Greg said. "I also love RPM, our excellent club website, Panorama, and the Porscheplatz and Corrals that PCA sponsors at major road racing events."
What kind of sounds does he listen to when driving his cars?
"A Cheryl Crow album came in the CD player of my Miata when I bought it in 2004, so I play her 'Steve McQueen' in all of my cars as a lucky charm. I also listen to a lot of vintage Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Buffett, The Chieftans, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. For longer trips I get books on DVD."
If he should suddenly strike it rich, Greg said he'd spring for a low-mileage 911 or a Cayenne Turbo S — maybe a designated track-car as well.
"I no longer dream as big as I once did," he added.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region of PCA. Gerg Renssalg is his name backwards.
On the weekend of July 19–20, the Shenandoah Region PCA held a weekend driving tour of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. To see the photo gallery from this tour, click here.
As week-old members of the Shenandoah Region Porsche Club, we had no idea what to expect on our first tour with the group. We signed up for the Shenandoah Valley tour, as this is where we were born, raised, and currently reside. We thought this would be a great opportunity to explore our own backyard.
We were hesitant to join the club not knowing what to expect. We arrived at the Spring House Tavern in Woodstock, VA where we were immediately welcomed to the group as soon as we stepped out of our car. Here we met the group for the first time and we all enjoyed a delightful lunch.
After lunch, we headed out towards Little North Mountain. This was a beautiful drive through winding roads that led us up and over the mountain into Zepp. We headed out through the country and actually passed the family farm where Jen grew up. After some spirited driving and breathtaking mountain views on some great country roads the caravan stopped at Woodbine Farm Market where the group had the chance to purchase local goods.
Next, we moved on down the valley to our next destination, the Shenandoah Vineyards. Here we visited the oldest in the Shenandoah Valley and second oldest winery in Virginia. Our group participated in a tour of the winery and we were shown the wine cellar and the wine-making process. Even though a light rain had settled in, our fun could not be dampened.
Later that evening, after a short break to freshen up, the group hit the road towards Basye, VA where we enjoyed dinner with a view of the ski slopes minus the snow at The Copper Kettle at Bryce Resort. A few members of the group continued on to Orkney Springs where they enjoyed a concert by Rosanne Cash.
Sunday, the group met up for a driving tour to Luray, VA. This drive consisted of many winding roads and scenic views and proved itself as an ideal route for driving enthusiasts. We later arrived in the quaint town of Luray, VA where we concluded the weekend with a wonderful lunch at the Artisan's Grill.
The entire weekend was truly a wonderful experience. We met many Porsche enthusiasts who shared the same passion as us. Our only regret is not joining the club sooner.
For those of us who traveled the beautifully winding roads to Orkney Springs nestled in the mountains on the western side of the Shenandoah Valley to see and listen to Rosanne Cash and her husband John Leventhal, I am sure you were not disappointed — I know I wasn't. Having not seen her perform before, I knew little about her music and past, but for one song and that her father was Johnny Cash, I was captivated all evening. Her music had a "bluesy deep south soulsy sound" as Sue Noel described it, that seemed to appeal to country, folk, and rockers alike. She has such a wonderful way of storytelling that draws you into each one of her songs. She played haunting melodies, sad, and happy tunes mostly from her new album "The River and The Thread," a must for my collection now. Her husband amazed the audience with his skill and guitar. This was just the end of the first day on the Shenandoah Valley Tour.
During the Vietnam War I spent 13 months with the only US Army Transportation Battalion in Thailand. My fellow truckers have been holding a reunion every other year since 2002 and the only one I have attended was one held in Virginia in 2006. When this year's reunion was announced in Colorado Springs on the same weekend as the 92nd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, I could not resist. Why argue with Karma, right?
Because I had never been to the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde, I tacked on a week at a condo in Scottsdale Arizona, home of the Penske Racing Museum. Of course I managed to ferret out a few interesting Porsches at this venue as well as in Colorado.
Penske Museum: As one would expect, any museum owned by Roger Penske is a first-class facility jam-packed with significant cars, including more Indy 500 winners than you can shake a stick at.
Indeed, the collection includes a clone of the McLaren M16B that the late Mark Donohue drove to victory in the 1972 Indy 500—the first of many Penske wins in the Memorial Day weekend classic. It also boasts a 1974 Penske PC-1 driven in Formula 1 by Donohue and John Watson. (Donohue died at the wheel of one of these Cosworth-Ford powered cars.)
The list of Indy winners goes on, but you were interested in Porsches, right?
Why does Penske have a museum in Scottsdale, you ask?
It serves as the cornerstone of his mega-dealership which sells Porsche, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Acura, and even Volkswagen and Mini. The sprawling campus includes a test track, off-road track, and a cafe that hosts car club events. It is a one-stop shop for Arab sheiks and dot-com billionaires.
The gal on the concierge desk in the resort I was staying at told me her husband is the internet sales manager of Penske Porsche and it is a great place to shop for a low-mileage two or three-year-old car since the wealthy customers trade frequently.
Mountain hairpins: I won't bore you with the details of my sightseeing in the Southwest. Needless to say I took full advantage of the unlimited miles policy on my 2014 Ford Fusion rental car and in 11 days logged 2,263 miles before I turned it in at the Denver Airport. (Yes, a few of those miles were driven "con brio" on a twisting road in the Superstition Mountains until I felt the Michelins rolling under me in corning and realized there was no guardrail and a scary drop off. That caused me to ease off and pine for a 944 on that stretch of road!)
Pikes Peak: The morning after my Army reunion banquet I bailed out of bed at 6 a.m. and set off for the fabled Peak of Pike. Yes, I got lost once again, but finally found the hill climb, arriving at the starting line before the first racer tackled the daunting 156-turn, 20 kilometer climb from 9,400 to 14,111 feet above sea level.
The course is the same two-lane road tourists trundle up during the week, so it lacks many of the safety barriers and runoff areas we find at VIR and Summit Point. In many places if you slide off the pavement you leave the mountain. As an East Coaster I was "feeling the altitude" at 9000 feet and confined myself to strolling the paddock, which appears to be hacked out of the forest each year, and to watching from the start line and at the timing line just around the first turn.
Next up were the fastest ten qualifiers on four wheels, and this included two Porsches and one Porsche factory driver moonlighting with his own rally team.
The aforementioned Romain Dumas posted fastest time of the day with a run of 9 minutes, 5.9 seconds (79.15 mph). Dumas was behind the wheel of a French Norma M20 RD, which uses a turbocharged 2-liter Honda HPD pumping out an impressive 450 h.p. This propels a custom chassis that can't weigh much more than a down-filled pillow. (I spotted this car in the paddock before I knew who was driving it and asked a mechanic a few questions, but he either spoke no English or was sworn to secrecy.)
This was Dumas' third try at the hill. He finished second overall in 2012, and in 2013 he broke trying to top French rally ace Sebastian Loeb when he set an outright course record of 8:13.8 under more ideal conditions.
The Hill climb is better known in Europe and Japan than in the U.S. An
eclectic assortment of professionals, dreamers, and schemers bet their
life savings on one run up the hill each year. Only 130 cars and
motorcycles made the attempt June 29. One came from Reunion Island off
the coast of Madagascar. Many others made the trip from Japan and
Strach's 1973 914
It was a perfect evening at the King Family Vineyards, a sunny 70 degrees with just a light breeze. The air was clear, giving a nice view of the fields and mountains. But the people assembled here were not gazing at the distant view, but rather at the new Macan, whose launch was being celebrated by Flow Porsche. There were few among the crowd who hadn't seen some of the barrage of articles that the press (and Porsche) had teased us with for the past year. With whetted appetites and the geniality that good wine brings, the unveiling would be as dramatic as good taste would allow. Assembled on the grass was a picturesque assortment of current models from Flow's inventory. But front and center, there were two shrouded vehicles, Macan S's, the guests of honor awaiting their unveiling. (To see the event photo gallery, click here.)
Meanwhile, at Flow's request, I'm "hiding" in the bushes at the end of the driveway in my new ride, an Agate Grey Macan Turbo, which was only two days old at that point. I was to await the signal (the flourish of the shrouds coming off the Macans), then to drive up alongside and rev the motor a bit for effect. Kind of theatrical, but I was so grateful to Flow and especially Jason Robson for getting me a launch vehicle just the way I wanted it, that I was glad to join their promotional efforts, and to leave it open for the multitudes to clamor about. Defending it against spilled wine and other unhappy occurrences caused me some anxiety, but in the end, it was fun, and no harm done.
So, what's the new Macan like, from a new owner's perspective? Let's get one thing out of the way first: Is it a tall 911, or even carrying the genes of Porsche's sports cars? Porsche itself has said that it's a cross between the Cayenne and the 911! No way... this is silly promo-speak. That said, it would be hard to even imagine a more competent or fun utility vehicle. I also drive a Boxster S 981, and these vehicles are as unalike as any rational person would expect. The only similarities are in the wonderful PDK, and in the extravagant options pricing (!), so let's forget about comparisons. No one but Porsche could have done what they did with this platform. If you've been following the Macan's genesis over the past two years, you know that they really sweated the details and spared no expense. They are fanatics, and we are the lucky recipients.
I've driven Cayennes, including GTS's and Turbos. While great vehicles, they always felt too large and too high for my purposes and preferences. My hope was that the Macan would get me home in the winter (I live in the hills), have adequate room for hauling people and stuff, and, most important, be fun to drive. It will easily accomplish the practical objectives, and so far, the fun factor seems assured! On climbing in, the first thing I notice is that it's higher than I expect. Bit disconcerting! (I'm getting out of a 550 Xdrive Msport). But the seats are wonderful, and the visibility is great. The interior is beautiful and business-like. I'm beginning to feel at home. Fire it up! Vrooom. Sounds good, quite mechanical. Drive off. Yes! This feels good! Very Torquey. Happy tranny always where it should be. Ride...adjustable any way you want it, lively but always buttoned down. Yes. This is satisfying! And the elevated perch, though not sports-car like, gives you distinct advantages for visibility, whether in traffic or on a curvy, unfamiliar county road. It's hard to admit, but it's probably safer. It'll take some getting used to, driving hard from that height. But I'm getting used to it already, and when I get back in the BMW, I feel low and submerged by the high belt line. It's been a great car though, and I'll miss it.
Nits to pick: No surprise, the steering lacks feel. It tracks well, just not enough feedback. A near universal problem these days with electric steering. I also felt a bit disappointed with my 981's steering after my 987 Cayman's hydraulics, but I got used to it quickly, and I enjoy the steering now. Needless to say the Macan doesn't steer as well as the 981, nor would I expect it to. Better tires would help. Also turn-in is a bit squishy initially. I think the tires are the culprits here. About the ride height: Even with the air suspension (which only helps a little bit), I would choose a ride height an inch or two lower. I don't need so much ground clearance. I can't say that the height will impede rapid progress down the road though (!!) as the handling limits seem very high indeed. Out of respect for the break-in, I haven't really put my foot in it yet, but it's apparent that there's some serious scoot underfoot. I've driven it enough to say that I believe my Macan will spend most of its time with the PDK in Sport mode (Sport Plus is too hyper), the Air suspension in low, and the shocks in the middle (sport) position. Everything seems quite perfect here. Very nice indeed. Interestingly, I think it will typically be driven in Auto Mode, as the tranny is very appropriate and entertaining at all times. The great torque and flexibility of the motor means that it feels fast and responsive under all conditions. This contrasts with the 981, which I always drive with the paddles, to enjoy a close relationship with the motor by keeping it in a happy RPM zone. Very different vehicles. Quiet vs. loud, and Torquey vs. Revvy. The Macan simply has bags of power at all RPMs. It never labors. I love the PDK in both cars!
Initially I wasn't too impressed with the sound of the Bose system. It was rather muddy and artificial sounding (my preferences run to jazz and classical). I checked the equalizer and everything said Zero or flat. It was only after a few days that I realized that the default applies a "contour" anyway, unless you go into the menus and select the option "linear". It made all the difference. Not muddy at all... pretty good in fact! This is good to know. I'm happy!
Let me address the wheels and tires first, as I would probably have done something different here. I decided on the 20 inch Spyder Design wheels ($1,650), as I think they are the most attractive option currently available. They come with A/S tires, which seemed fine, as I intend to get aftermarket summer wheels when they become available. I could have chosen the no-cost option of getting summer rubber on the Spyder wheels, which is what I would have done, had I known that the stock A/S's are Michelin Latitudes, which are engineered for SUV's and the like, and are not true high-performance tires, for those concerned about grip and feel. The Latitudes are very quiet and comfortable, but I'm glad to give up some of that for more of the good stuff. You should know that even with the 20's the tires are still 45's front and 40's rear, which is fairly tall (soft), especially when you have a middling tire. There are some excellent Ultra High performance A/S's available, but I haven't checked the sizes yet. As you probably know, the Macan's wheels are staggered, a good thing for handling but trouble when it comes to fitment. When I do get good tires under it, I'll be curious to see what it does for steering feel and turn-in.
Some incidentals: All Macans come with a collapsible spare, (yea!). I decided against the Panoramic Sunroof. It's expensive, extra weight up high (where you don't want it), and I never use them. I would delete it if it was free. Also, open, it disfigures the car with sliding up outside, as with other current Porsches. I chose Piano Black interior trim with my black interior as a no-cost option, as I thought the standard Aluminum would be too garish. I like the result. I'm also glad I got the Cargo Management for $380. It's a very nicely designed package of adjustable bars and nets that seem well worth the money. Ditto with the black roof rails, $630, which are nicely designed and flush with the roof. This is a utility vehicle, after all, right?? I'm still trying to convince myself that the Macan was a practical purchase! Isn't it wonderful that there are talented engineers and great companies anxious to profit from our passions? Much to be thankful for! Are we lucky or what?
Yours in gears and wheels,
Brian Fox (email@example.com) I'm happy to answer any questions not covered here.
The silver 2004 911 cabriolet (a twin-turbo 996) Cam Abernethy has owned for six years is his first Porsche, but it would be fair to say he has had a hankering for one for many years.
"It's been on my dream car list for quite a while," he said. "My Dad was interested in cars, although he never owned a Porsche. So I was around cars growing up, and we talked about cars."
"He was an architect, and we'd go to his office when I was a boy and we'd draw cars together, some of them Porsches. In the early 1970s he built a GT40 kit car with a Corvair engine," Cam said.
"I took some auto mechanics courses in high school and even got an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification and worked at a gas station to be around cars," he added.
Cam's first car was a 1969 Chevelle. "A Muscle Car," he noted.
Cam attended Florida Tech to become a commercial diver and get a degree in underwater technology. After working as a diver for a while, however, "I felt like an underwater laborer," he noted.
So Cam joined a company that became Ocean Engineering, a firm pioneering the use of robotics in oceanography. (As a consequence, he is quite familiar with some of the equipment used in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.)
After about six years of this he became part of an effort applying underwater robotics to perform tasks in nuclear power plants.
In 2004, Cam founded Radium Inc., a Waynesboro-based company that provides products and services to the Nuclear Power Industry.
"Training workers to install and service equipment quickly, efficiently — and safely — in a highly radioactive environment is 90 percent preparation," Cam said. "But it is an adrenaline junkie kind of job," he added.
Perhaps that is why he enjoys working on his Porsche at his own pace. "I have my own shop with a lift and all the manuals. I do a lot of work on my car," he added.
The opportunity to talk to other Porsche owners about their cars was one reason Cam joined the Shenandoah Region of the PCA immediately after buying his Porsche.
"I wanted to meet more people who were like-minded, have conversations about Porsches, and learn more about my car's capabilities," he explained.
That led to enthusiasm for autocrossing. In 2013 Cam won Shenandoah's
P04 Class (911: 1990 and up, including GT3) and was selected
Shenandoah's "2013 Driver of the Year."
He also did a one-day Drivers Education session at VIR and looks forward to more of them.
"I really enjoyed it and I am hooked on that," Cam admits.
For this reason, a second Porsche may be in his future.
"I'd like to have something dedicated to track use, maybe an older air-cooled 911 that is a little lighter. I look weekly for them."
Though a Porsche engine at full song is music to Cam Abernethy's ears, he also enjoys listening to Classic Rock music when driving. "Led Zeppelin and others like that," he said.
Cam and his wife Lisa live in Crozet. They have two grown sons, Tyler, who works with his dad at Radium Inc., and Drew, a student and lacrosse player at Christopher Newport University.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region PCA.
First, let me say that I have attended almost every RPM since 2002. This year, by far, was the biggest and the best ever. Alex Smith is a mastermind at executing the event. I guess it comes from 18 years of practice. Thank you Alex, for all you do. Without your dedication it would never happen. I also know that he can't put it all together without the help of the volunteers. And, that's what I really want to talk about.
In my earlier years of attending RPM, I was all wrapped up in the concours and the autocross. I was quite successful at both, winning every concours that I entered but one. Being first in my class in autocross wasn't difficult either, until Mike Kilmer came on the scene.
After those early years, I just laid back and enjoyed the show. Then there were the years when my health wouldn't allow much activity, but I still attended.
On the two and a half hour ride home, I told my wife that it was the most enjoyable RPM ever. She asked me why I felt that way. My response was that I really felt a part of the event. I was able to make a contribution to the cause. Most of my conversations were with the concours participants, but next year, I want to work the registration tent, so I'll get a chance to welcome everyone.
How about you? What are your gifts, and how can you best use them to help Sherry and our club provide activities enjoyed by everyone?
Think good thoughts, say kind words, and do good deeds,
Andy Turner Broadway, Virginia
Here are some of the concours photos.
On Sunday, May 4, 2014 Porsches and Pastrami met at Brixx Wood Fired Pizza to give our usual host Gary Hagar of Durty Nelly's Pub a chance to take a vacation and to test a new venue that might be able to accommodate larger crowds for future events.
About a dozen people showed up for Dave Lasch's Concours Judging Clinic in hopes of gaining tips to prepare for Shenandoah's upcoming Richmond Porsche Meet on May 31. Afterward, about 35 Porsche enthusiasts gathered on the Brixx patio for some socializing and a great lunch.
Sherry presided over a drivers meeting and explained the route we would be taking through southern Albemarle County on our way to the Satchidananda Ashram (affectionately known as Yogaville) located on the banks of the James River in Buckingham County. Talking Head's "Road to Nowhere" playing over the stereo seemed like a fitting theme as I set off on my first-ever fun run headed to an ashram an hour south of Charlottesville.
Fifteen people were eager to make the group drive. Though once underway, maintaining a continuous Porsche phalanx through the four traffic lights between Brixx and getting on US 29 South proved impossible. I watched the car in front of me just make it through a long yellow light, but the light was firmly red by the time Tom Jeffrey and Harriet Nettles in his 911SC and I made it to the intersection. With the main group far ahead, our two-car chain maneuvered through the interstate traffic to the Scottsville exit.
Route 20 South headed toward Scottsville is a rolling two lane road flanked by younger homes interspersed among elegant, quintessentially Virginian farms. This curvaceous road, also known as the Constitution Highway, is well worth following from its source in Dillwyn all the way to Wilderness on the outskirts of Fredericksburg.
With the SC right behind me, we finally caught up with the string of Porsches, but there were a few minivans preventing the perfect line of German cars that appealed to my obsessive-compulsive proclivities. Eventually the family-haulers veered onto side roads on their way to wherever, and I found myself directly behind a fellow 986S driver who had wisely lowered his convertible top, too. We managed to get six Porsches in succession, and two more made their way in their own mini-convoy.
A few miles north of Scottsville, Sherry and Jim led the group off of Route 20 and onto a succession of back roads. The smaller roads with their tighter curves and pitching hills made for an exciting detour away from the more direct and docile route to Yogaville. As I look at the map of the ground we covered, it seemed much shorter driving it than the map suggests now as I write about the journey. Needless to say, winding through the twisties with the top down, the Boxster's intake snarling, and the SC behind me accelerating sonorously made the miles exceptionally pleasurable.
My incredulity that there was an ashram nestled in the Buckingham County countryside melted away once we arrived at Yogaville's well signposted setting high above the James River. We were met by Jeeva Joseph Abbate who served as our guide during the 90-minute tour of Satchidananda Ashram's three important spaces. A handful of us boarded one of the Ashram's vans while others in the group elected to drive themselves around the grounds. Our guide chauffeured us to the original building the founding Swami used for convening groups. It looked like a comfortable brick ranch house from any neighborhood. But the view over the James and towards the Blue Ridge mountains proved that we weren't standing in just any 'ol spot. The vista was stunning. Our guide used that opportunity to share some tenets of Integral Yoga and the teachings of the founding leader Sri Swami Satchidananda.
Our next stop was at Nataraja Shrine, an outdoor temple honoring several Hindi gods and goddesses. Again, we were all inspired by the expansive views from the bluffs above the James River. From our vantage point, we looked down onto the Lotus Shrine, which is an elaborate circular structure that "celebrates the unity behind the diversity of the world religions." The Lotus Shrine is an impressive structure — even more so with a few Porsches in the parking. Our tour ended after having a few moments to appreciate the peacefulness in that space, which is sacred to many.
Sherry and Jim led a troupe off to dinner at Tavern on the James in Scottsville, but I had to make my way back home all too soon by a more direct route. My first fun run with the Porsche Club was a big success, and I look forward to making future runs, good excuses to drive down roads that seemingly lead to nowhere.
Click here to see the event photos.
Shenandoah Region PCA April 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to the following new members:
At our January Planning Meeting, Paul Overstreet suggested the Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville/Albemarle as a possible club charity venture. His wife Maureen is a volunteer with the group, which tutors students in Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language.
That idea sort of simmered on the old back burner until April, when President Sherry Westfall polled the board to see if we would approve an official Shenandoah Region PCA entry in the Literacy Volunteers' annual Wordplay Competition fundraiser. For a $500 entry fee, which helps fund many worthwhile endeavors, we could field a team of three in the competition Wednesday, April 16 at Charlottesville's Paramount Theater.
PCA is willing to give its regions a subsidy of $450 toward charitable events of this sort, so we as a region, could make a difference in someone's life with our treasury out only $50. The board agreed.
Sherry's email call for volunteers who love words, vocabulary, pop culture, history, literature, etc., was ...ahem... not entirely successful. PCAers are busy folks, after all.
I believe my response was "only as a last resort." I guess that qualified me. Perhaps I will consider a different phrase next time.
Deane Parker came through at the eleventh hour with an enthusiastic, "Sherry, sign me up NOW, as I am ready to rock and roll."
We also needed a team name, so we selected the "Shenandoah Porsche Einspritzers," which loosely translates to "fuel injectors," if memory serves.
So, on the evening of the big event, our blue-ribbon team of Sherry, Deane, and I slinked somewhat sheepishly into the Paramount with photographer and head cheerleader Jim Condon in tow.
We were as ready as possible to do battle with 35 other teams of trivia buffs, educators, librarians, journalists, and assorted pub crawlers and eggheads, many of whom had done this sort of thing before and even hold tryouts and practice sessions before the annual competition.
Me? I prepared by watching "Jeopardy" the night before (my first time in years). When I saw the list of categories, one of which was "Zoom Zoom," I thought we had a shot. Unfortunately, it had absolutely nothing to do with Mazda Miatas or auto racing.
With Sherry recording our responses and Dean and I on each side of her firing off whatever answers popped into our heads, we advanced to the final round tied for 34th out of 36 teams. (OK, not good, but not dead last, either.)
The final challenge was a spelling test, and Sherry and Deane get the credit for saving us on this one, as I am the world's worst speller, depending heavily on dictionaries and computer Spell Check.
We ended up in 30th place, which leaves plenty of room for improvement next year.
In retrospect, it was actually a lot of fun. Anybody interested in tryouts for the Shenandoah Region 2015 Wordplay team? Event photos...
To kick off the autocross season we started on April 12 with a school focusing on the rookies and first timers. We hope to attract new people and new cars to find out how much fun our Porsches are and how much fun it is to autocross. We had about a dozen new participants this spring, and it is always good to see the new enthusiasm.
After the course was set up we began by discussing the basics of autocross and what you could expect for the day. After a good driver's meeting (chalk talk) we walked the course, explaining every part of the 60 second course and what the designer is trying to make you do. There are a lot of things going on in design that an untrained auto-crosser might not be looking for. The discussions are to help the new racer to understand what is going on and how do you quickly get through that section and move onto the next. In my opinion, a good track walk at the beginning can save you seconds and possibly a run or two if you figure things out first before you are on the clock. All these tricks that are taught in the school and help to build your skills to advance up the placement chart.
After discussions and a track walk, it was time to drive. We broke into two groups and tackled some specific areas of the track without the clock. One part is the technical slalom and skid pad, and the other is the full brake area, where you panic stop to feel what your car will do under extreme stopping. Everyone struggles with this, because no one likes to scrub speed so much and it is a little unnatural, although it feels like the only option sometimes in panic stops. I believe this is one of the biggest parts of the school, since you rarely get to do this. It is a tough lesson to master, but late braking can always gain you time when your engine can't—a trick Porsche has mastered and has been a great secret to their success over the decades.
Once the two sessions were complete, we divided up into two groups and ran three runs each so everyone had a chance at the full course. After both groups completed their three (yes, some ran a few more than three passes), fun runs came on and everyone had all the runs they were willing to do. Erik's equipment mastery made the day run smoothly and fun was had by all.
The next autocross is May 10th, the first points run of the season. Please come and give it a try, as I am going to find a way to raise the challenge again this year with different track layouts and challenges you don't expect. I have no idea what I'm going to do, but with that theme it should be worth it to you to come and check out what crazy stuff we will come up with.
On a side note, I was planning on burning up some old road tires on the 914 this year and save the race tires, but the excessive donuts and drifting ended the rear tires, kind of, much quicker than I had planned. I did everything in second gear, never shifted, and ended up having some synchro issues. That was not planned, but with careful digging Erik found that a shifter rod had been repaired prior to my ownership and welded about 15 degrees off from where it should have been. Erik will have it back together this weekend and we will see if I can reassemble before Saturday. If not, the backup car is ready. It was sad and surprising to have that problem, but I am glad for the help of Erik for this hiccup. Looking forward to everyone coming out, see you there.
Richmond's Frank DePew has been spending a lot of time in Florida lately, escaping some harsh winter weather at home and racing his Porsche 911 in vintage/historic sports car events.
I caught up with Frank at Sebring where he was competing in the HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing) enduro on the eve of the 12-Hour Tudor United Sportscar Series race.
While some purists scoff at cars built in the past quarter century being classified as "vintage," no one can quibble over Frank's 993 having an interesting provenance. Frank explained that HSR wants to attract younger drivers and fans, so retired race cars of any age are welcome. "HSR has Vintage and Historic race groups and race classes and has recently added a Global GT class for more recently retired race cars such as Rolex 911s and RSRs," Frank said.
This system does make for interesting pairings, where more modern Porsche GT3 and Cayman Cup cars compete on equal terms with sports racers from the 60s and 70s. In Sebring's Enduro, all of HSR's classes were lumped together, with the exception of open-wheel cars, in a race into the setting sun after Friday's Tudor USC qualification sessions.
Frank had several interesting dices and drove a solid race to fifth place in the large field that included newer Rolex Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes and theoretically faster Porsche 935s and BMW 3.0CSLs.
The team's Porsches went through several bodywork and engine modifications to keep pace with rule changes and Porsche engine development. Frank's car once raced as a twin-turbo "Evo 2" putting out a whopping 750 horsepower.
For vintage racing, No. 72 was retubbed using the original parts and brought back to Evo 1 trim and retrofitted with a single-turbo motor running at 1.2 bars of boost and producing 550 horsepower and 550 foot-pounds of torque. Frank admits the Evo 1 engine provides sufficient challenges for a businessman who races as a hobby.
Frank started out autocrossing with his uncle, John Bergeron, in a Triumph TR4 with the Virginia Motorsports Club when he was a young man.
Then grad school, marriage, and a family came along, and he set his racing ambitions aside.
"In 2001 I took my son to Derek Daly's school in Las Vegas and I enrolled, too. My son still wants to race, and I stuck with it. I ran a Honda in NASA and bought this car in 2008," Frank said.
"I don't get a ton of track time, and it is a hard car to drive. I'll never master it with the big single turbo. It is a real challenge to compete with the 997 and Rolex cars with sequential trannies, a much more stable platform, and throttle-responsive, normally aspirated engines," he added.
In an effort to get more track time, Frank has been bringing the car to Florida in the winter.
He has run the December HSR Sebring race, the PCA 48 Hours of Sebring in January, the Palm Beach HSR race, and the HSR 12 Hours of Sebring, which is held before the more famous 12 hour race every year, sometimes with VIR racing coach David Murry as co-driver.
At Sebring, Frank hooked up with Destiny Racing, a professional vintage race-prep service, which helped get his complicated and sophisticated Porsche to the grid with everything in good order.
He said he enjoys running the HSR enduro. "It's fun with a lot of different stuff on the grid."
Outside of runs at Watkins Glen and Sebring, Frank has done most of his driving at VIR.
This year he wants to be a contender for the HSR class championship and the PCA GT1 class championship.
"I will run the PCA races at VIR, the Glen, and Mid Ohio," he said.
On Saturday at Sebring, Frank did some HSR parade laps before the capacity Tudor USCC crowd and then drove his car through the paddock to the Porscheplatz on turn 17, where it drew many admiring glances from PCA members.
A former pension fund advisor and founder of the Mid-Atlantic Pension Group, Frank started solar-energy development company Urban Grid Holdings in 2010 and serves as its President and CEO. Despite a busy schedule, racing vintage cars is something he very much enjoys.
He said he wants to become more involved in PCA Shenandoah Region activities, and we hope he will display his 993 at the Richmond Porsche Meet on May 31. He will be racing his car at the Road Atlanta Mitty event April 23–27.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region PCA.
Well nothing really, unless you belong to the Shenandoah Region Porsche Club of America. Hosted by our friend and co-owner of Durty Nelly's Pub in Charlottesville, the Club event began with a social meeting to look at all the exciting events coming in 2014 and a volunteer workshop to show us how we can help. After dining on homemade vegetable soup and a genuinely delectable pastrami sandwich, we headed out for the drivers meeting. The route was planned to include 30+ miles of twisties, tight turns, and a few flat outs. Nothing short of what a Porsche could handle. We fired up our engines, turned on the headlights, and headed out. As someone described it: Hearing 16 Porsches all tached to above 3000 RPM for over an hour, created an exhaust symphony that would have had a standing ovation from any enthusiast audience. Music only a Porsche can make. Next we landed at Wild Wolf Brewing Company to enjoy a few local suds, eat a few appetizers, and listen to a local musician. Another highlight, as always, was sitting and chatting with all of the other members of the Shenandoah Region PCA — truly remarkable and wonderful people. We sadly headed to our homes recapping the day and looking forward to our next event: RICHMOND PORSCHE MEET at the end of May. More photos...
The Treasurer of Porsche Club of America's Shenandoah Region is Carey Lockhart, a low-key kind of guy who makes a significant contribution to his fellow members by balancing the books, paying the bills, and keeping the club's finances on track.
A CPA by training, he works for Markel-Eagle Partners, a Richmond private equity fund specializing in real estate. Carey makes quick and efficient work out of tasks that would befuddle those of us who have trouble balancing our checkbooks.
"I am not a joiner by nature. I normally do a couple of driving events a year along with the holiday dinner. This is a way I can contribute something to our club," Carey observed.
Carey and his wife Susan have two grown daughters, Jamie, 27, and Blair, 24. This will be a busy spring for the Lockharts as they plan for Jamie's wedding.
An avid booster of LSU and New Orleans Saints football, he attends a game or two each autumn and seeks out a large-screen TV when he can't be there in person.
In addition, he is an avid long-distance runner, having competed in 15 major marathons, including the New York City Marathon (three times), the Marine Corps Marathon, and the annual Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.
In addition to his Porsche, Carey also owns a nicely restored Triumph TR3-A. He also is a member of a Triumph club.
Lockhart's red 2002 Boxster is his third Porsche. He says that each of them has taught him some lessons on how to buy a Porsche.
"A friend had a new 1983 944 and I got to drive it. I decided I wanted one, so I watched the prices. In 1990 I saw a 1984 944 with 70,000 miles on it. I had a Nissan 280Z at the time and it had no rear seats. My daughters were young enough to fit in the 944's rear seats."
It was a good choice. Carey put an additional 200,000 miles on that 944.
Next up was a 1990 944 S2 Cabriolet that looked good and was faster, but had some problems.
"I got it on eBay and it was not a good experience. I put a lot of money in it and only got to drive it a couple of years. It was the sort of car that would just shut down on you when you were in traffic."
"I practically gave it away. I paid $10,000 for it and sold it to CarMax for $3,500. I would not sell that car to an individual," he said.
Given that experience, Carey flirted with the idea of buying a Nissan 370Z.
"But I also drove several Boxsters and I like the feel of the Boxsters," he said.
When driving his Porsche, he listens to the sounds of his youth on satellite radio — usually Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett.
Carey actually joined PCA back in 1995, "mainly to get Panorama," he said. As someone who lives near Richmond, he was placed in the First Settlers Region but did not participate in many of their events.
"Then I went to RPM (Shenandoah Region's Richmond Porsche Meet) and I was impressed. I met Sherry (PCA Shenandoah President Sherry Westfall) and she made me feel very comfortable.
"I decided, 'I want to be part of this group,'" Carey noted.
And we are grateful he did.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region PCA.
Shenandoah Region PCA March 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to the following new members:
Rubber, Meet Road: Date Weekend at VIR
The paddock that greeted us was a feast for thrill-seeking eyes; an all-you-can-eat buffet of German engineering glory, and Chad devoured it like the addict he is. After purchasing our helmet, getting our car tech inspected, and meeting our instructor, we were amped-up and ready-to-ride.
Rick brought his Lotus Exige to the track, and he was out there driving solo when the fastest drivers hit the speedway. Though Porsches outnumbered the minorities, there was a sprinkling of BMWs, Audis, and various other makes joining the ranks. We were all there to thrash our cars around the VIR track at harrowing speeds, and that we certainly did, with gusto and an idiotic sense of immortality — Chad's fingers are still sore from white-knuckling the wheel on the chicanes and hairpins.
It was a helluva time, and we will undoubtedly be back.
For more photos of the Zone 2 DE at VIR, click here.
Porsche win no. 1:
The Braun/Bennet/Gue Oreca-Chevy took honors in the PC category, which features spec engines and chassis. The similar mount of Ende/Junquiera/Hansson was second.
Porsche win no. 2:
The Sebring win was a first for Team Ganassi, adding to their many victories at Daytona (in Grand-Am and NASCAR), and the Indianapolis 500. (Trivia alert: It is the veteran Pruett's first Sebring victory since a class win he shared with Bruce Jenner in 1986. A former Olympic athlete, Jenner is better known recently as the ex-paterfamilias of the Kardashian family.)
Another tradition is the PCA Porscheplatz at the exit of the final turn. I always make use of its welcome shade, cold bottled water and soft drinks, camaraderie, and interesting speakers.
Shenandoah PCA presence:
The Porscheplatz attendees also heard talks by members of the Porsche North America racing team, Dempsey Racing, and the always charming Vic Elford. If you attend a Tudor United SportsCar Championship race this year, look for the Porscheplatz.
Greg Glassner is vice president of PCA's Shenandoah Region.
Porsches & Pastrami Scenic Drive to "Early Mountain Vineyards"
in Madison, VA
About 45 Porsche enthusiasts, members and guests of the Shenandoah Region PCA, gathered at Gary Hagar's ever-popular "Durty Nelly's Pub" in Charlottesville on this beautiful spring afternoon Sunday, March 9 for a casual lunch and scenic drive, which was organized by Social Events Chair June West and President Sherry Westfall.
After lunch, Sherry held the drivers meeting to go over details and instructions of the trip and emphasized the importance of safety and obeying traffic laws. Followed then with odometers zeroed and head lights on — our caravan of 21 Porsches exited Charlottesville via Old Lynchburg Road winding their way up through the beautiful Virginia countryside passing the Village of Free Union, the Glass House Winery, then pressing on to Stanardsville reaching Vineyard Rd and the "Early Mountain Vineyards", where even more Porsche folks joined us. What a great drive this was! Upon arrival the gorgeous winery building built of stone, brick, and natural timber makes quite an impression. Like WOW! Click here to see the photo gallery.
The welcoming winery staff showed us to our reserved tables and menus with selections of different combinations of wines for tasting along with various choices of delicious cheeses, salads, and sandwiches. John Tracy Wilson played guitar while we enjoyed our wine tastings. In reviewing "Early Mountain Vineyards" and seeing their beautiful grounds with a spacious parking area, I can say it is truly a magnificent facility for a special event, wedding, or meeting.
|Click on any small photo to enlarge it.|
|Plastic Porsches||Cars of Jochen Maas||Ingrams' GS GT Speedster|
And that was only a portion of the Porsches on the grounds. Among the cars Jochen Maas once raced were a 1985 Porsche 962 and a 1985 Porsche 962C. Scattered elsewhere among the 330 Cars and Motorcycles present were a 1957 550A-RS, three 356s, including the 1959 356A GS/GT Speedster from the Ingram Collection in Durham, N.C. and three 911s, all exceptional examples.
Many more Porsches were to be seen at the Cars & Coffee event which takes to the show field on Saturday morning before Sunday's Comncours.
Shenandoah PCAers in attendance:
Other cars worthy of note:
The McLaren section boasted 10 McLaren Can-Am cars from 1966–72, an earlier McLaren-Elva, and several more modern McLaren supercars. Also on display were two ex-Maas McLaren F-1 cars, several McLaren Indy Cars and a 1997 McLaren-Mercedes F-1 car. When the driver of one McLaren fired up its 7-liter Chevy V8 to drive up for a trophy, it caused a small boy to cry and scurry for his mommy's arms.
Maserati's 100th Anniversary was celebrated with 20 street and racing cars ranging from a very rare 1931 Tipo V4 sports car that boasted a 16 cylinder Grand Prix engine driving through spindly wire wheels, through some stunning sports and racing Maseratis from the 1950s to a 1973 Bora.
There were so many other notables that your humble scribe could mention, that I will close with but three favorites: a 1958 Scarab, an ex-Ecurie Ecosse Tojiero-Jaguar, and the fire-breathing pre-WWI Blitzen Benz that Jochen Mass drove about the show grounds.
Greg Glassner is vice president of PCA's Shenandoah Region.
Postcard from Amelia Island 2014: Posted 2014 Mar 17
Erik Boody has one of the most familiar faces in the Shenandoah Region of the Porsche Club of America.
A member since 1998, Erik often can be found hunched over the timing equipment at our autocrosses—or quickly negotiating the cones in one of his 911s.
There are a surprising number of PCA members with two Porsches. Erik was once one of the few with three Porsches.
"I have a 1970 911T that almost nobody has seen, and a 1973 911T. I also owned a 1989 944 Turbo S—had all three Porsches at one time," he said.
In addition to serving our club as Autocross Co-chair (along with Rick Ebinger), Erik fills the equally important position of Safety Chair. Furthermore, he keeps our many event registrations moving smoothly through MotorsportReg.com.
Like a number of PCA members, Erik enjoys working on his own cars and started doing so at an early age. He also had a sound knowledge of air-cooled, horizontally opposed engines before he acquired his first Porsche.
He became involved in autocrossing Volkswagens before graduating to Porsches, he noted. Those were Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events before the Shenandoah Region was founded. "I ran a Karmann Ghia that I had lowered and had a specially built motor," he added.
Over the years, Erik and Rick have divvied up the various duties involved in putting on an autocross according to their substantial abilities and interests.
"Rick likes to set up the courses and I enjoy the technical side of it," Erik said, noting that the timing and scoring of our autocrosses has come a long way.
In the beginning, Erik's wife "BJ" timed the cars with a stop watch.
That evolved over time to a more sophisticated and quite accurate system.
"We got a stand-alone timer, one hooked into a computer. Now we have a wireless timing light," Erik said.
In addition to the parking lot autocrosses, Erik likes to run his 911 out in Drivers Education (DE) events on road courses. It is another passion he shares with Ebinger.
"I do as many Drivers Ed events as I can, and as finances allow," he added.
Although he has lived in or around Staunton since he was a teen, Boody was born in New England and spent part of his youth in Ohio.
His father is a skilled pipe organ builder and co-founded Staunton's Taylor & Boody Organbuilders, the company Erik now works for.
After a three-year hitch in the Army, Erik received a degree in Mechanical Design and Industrial Technology from Blue Ridge Community College. He then worked for McQuay International for 10 years before joining the growing family business.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region PCA.
The Shenandoah Region PCA held its driving tour of Historic Hanover County on Saturday, February 22 after postponement earlier in the month due to wintry weather.
A group of 14 Shenandoah members and guests met at the Oilville Exxon on the crisp and sunny day, which turned out to be perfect for this Porsche event. A couple of others who couldn't join the tour stopped by to look at the cars and socialize. After the drivers' meeting, the caravan proceeded through the beautiful countryside of Hanover County. The caravan arrived at the Town of Ashland for a tour of the Ashland Museum by our own Greg Glassner. In addition to his Shenandoah Region PCA responsibilities, Greg is a board member of the museum and provided the group with a V.I.P. presentation and tour including the railroad caboose located adjacent to the museum. Everyone learned about native son Henry Clay, the importance of the railroad to Ashland's development, and the significance of Ashland's history through the Civil War and into the early 1900's. Click here to see the tour photo gallery.
The Porsche caravan departed Ashland for lunch at the historic Hanover Tavern where Patrick Henry briefly worked as a young man. After enjoying their lunch the group toured the Tavern and then walked across the street to the town square. The town square includes the Old Stone Jail and the old Hanover Courthouse that is now an attraction. At the Courthouse, Fred Hodnett, who is a member of the Hanover Historical Society and is retired from the Virginia Supreme Court staff and is currently the Door Keeper to the Virginia Senate, while Senate is in session, presented to the group the history of the Courthouse and the Hanover Tavern. Mr. Hodnett also explained the role of Patrick Henry, a Hanover County resident and the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The presentation ended with a drawing for local history books donated by Greg Glassner. Before departing for home on the beautiful, sunny day, many expressed their appreciation to June West, Social Events Chair, and Vice President Greg Glassner for organizing the enjoyable day for their fellow Porsche enthusiasts.
Shenandoah Region PCA February 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to the following new members and transfers:
Farewell to the following members:
Although June West joined the Porsche Club of America's Shenandoah Region years ago when she bought her 2005 Boxster, she made the decision to become more active early last year when she attended one of the club's popular Porsches and Pastrami events and the volunteer workshop.
"I was able to meet people and get comfortable with the club. It's a nice group of people—people who have a similar interest. It is a very welcoming group," she said.
June quickly followed that reintroduction to the club by participating in the annual Richmond Porsche Meet, Anniversary Picnic, and the overnight trip to the Ingram Collection and Porsche Design exhibit in Raleigh-Durham as well as several other club activities.
West was so impressed with Porsche people and the welcome she received that she recently agreed to serve as chairman of the Social Events Committee in 2014.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, June has lived in Charlottesville for 16 years, where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.
June is a widow with two grown sons; Benjamin, 34, who lives in Paris where he is the international press and public relations manager for Veuve Clicquot, and Nathan, 30, who owns Mad Hatter Hot Sauces and plays in a popular Charlottesville band.
As a result of her career as well as that of her late husband, who was a nationally known authority on autism, the Wests lived in Knoxville, Tennessee; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Staten Island, NY; Rumson, NJ; and Ashville and Greensboro, NC before settling in Virginia.
Although her blue Boxster is her first Porsche, June said she "fell in love with cars when I was six. My cousin was dating a guy with a 1956 MG TF that was gorgeous. I was in love with the car—and with him—but I was only six."
"My first car was a reconditioned 1963 Ford Falcon Futura convertible. It was black with a red racing stripe," she said. "My husband, when we were dating, had a 1965 Mustang convertible. I learned to drive a standard shift on an ancient John Deere tractor."
June noted that she grew up in a family that championed American manufacturing and married into a family heavily invested in "American Steel." A Porsche would have been considered blasphemous back then.
"When I had a 1974 VW convertible I was the renegade," she said laughing.
When driving her Porsche, June said she listens to the music of Country and Western star Garth Brooks. "There's always a Garth Brooks CD in my Porsche," she admitted. "If not that, it's Frank Sinatra," she added.
One suspects the memory of that MG TF she rode in at age 6 still burns bright.
As Social Chair, June said she wants to put together a diverse slate of events that will appeal to singles, couples, and husbands and wives.
"As a woman, I have found it tough to join a group. It can be challenging. I want our Region to continue to be informal, welcoming, and comfortable." June said.
With the encouragement of President Sherry Westfall, June has already assembled a Social/Events Committee consisting of Dick Pitman, Gary Hagar, and Beverly McNeill. If you have ideas for future events, contact June or any of the committee members.
Greg Glassner is Vice President of the Shenandoah Region PCA.
Shenandoah Region PCA January 2014 Membership Report
Welcome to the following new members and transfers:
Farewell to the following members:
As you all know, the holiday party originally scheduled at Michie Tavern for December 8, 2013 was scrubbed due to inclement weather and later rescheduled for January 18, 2014. There were no weather problems on the newly scheduled day that offered clear skies and a full moon for the ride home. Travel time from and back to Fredericksburg took just 1 hour 20 minutes each way, and only three deer were observed by the road.
A total of 54 members and guests turned out for what was a really nice evening. Jim Condon provided a continuous video presentation of club activities for the prior year that was a big hit with the crowd. The before-dinner fellowship hour was lively and provided a splendid opportunity to meet with old acquaintances and welcome the more than a few new members, as shown in these photos.
The pre-selected menu included Michie's famous fried chicken accompanied by pulled pork barbeque, stewed tomatoes, green beans, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, rolls and corn bread. Dessert was the famous house peach cobbler a la mode. As usual, there was no shortage of food and seconds were available to all.
Following dinner, President Sherry Westfall welcomed attendees and recognized the Board of Directors, Past Presidents, and Committee Chairs present. She then yielded the floor to Autocross Co-Chair Rick Ebinger who presented the various autocross awards from the five events of the year. Next Sherry reviewed region activities for the previous year, recognized and complimented committee chairs and other members who had volunteered time to sponsoring and presenting club activities, announced the 2nd place PCA National website award to Jim Condon, and made mere mention of the PCA National "Enthusiast of the Year" award presented to her at the recent Parade. Vice President Greg Glassner and Secretary Lynne Taylor caused Sherry to pause to allow those present to celebrate this richly deserved award. While praising Sherry and the award, the two presented gifts of appreciation to her for the tireless efforts and numerous achievements she provides to the Shenandoah Region. The evening culminated with the drawings for various gifts made available by sponsors and caring friends. Most attendees left with a gift. In sum, it was another Michie fun evening.
A couple of months ago I made a November trip to Stuttgart & Munich which included (thanks to my great friend, Lin Williams of Jackingram Porsche in Alabama) a guided tour of the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen, a visit to the Porsche museum, and an afternoon visiting the BMW Welt & Museum in Munich. Being that it was early winter there and since I'd driven on the Autobahn before, I elected to travel via trains, S & U-Bahns (subways), and taxis (super expensive!).
After a couple days relaxing (and sampling the Beer Gardens, bring plenty of Euros—they don't take credit/debit cards) I traveled by train to Stuttgart, 2 1/4 hours away and was ready for my 10:00 AM (sharp!) appointment for my Porsche factory tour. I was in a group of 10 other English-speaking Porsche fans. You will note that I have NOT included any pictures of the inside of the Porsche factory. Everyone's smart/cell phone was confiscated prior to the beginning of the tour. One gentleman did not wish to give up his cell phone. He was told that if he didn't he would not be permitted on the tour. Actually you can go to youtube.com and just enter Porsche factory tours and there are several excellent videos available (click here). But nothing can replicate the actual smell and the excitement that actually being there gives you. Watching the meticulous construction of the 911 engine, seeing the 'marriage' of the drive train & body in person and just feeling the pride of the workers is hard to capture in a video. I think that there might be a 991 in my future!
I then crossed the street and spent several hours in the fabulous, new Porsche Museum. I've included several pictures but again, go to youtube.com and key in Porsche Museum (click here) and you can virtually take a 'tour'. After enjoying a great late lunch in the famous Christophorus Restaurant I returned to my hotel and prepared for my return trip to Munich in the morning. Click here to see my photos of the Porsche Museum and other places mentioned in this article.
After a little over 2 hours by train, I was back in Munich. The following day I took the S-Bahn to Olympia Park where I first ventured into the BMW Welt. It's a very exciting place where not only are all the new BMW's (and Minis) displayed but it's also where customers pick up their European deliveries. I then walked over an took a self-guided tour of the BMW Museum, which now also includes a complete Rolls Royce exhibit (since BMW now owns Rolls Royce!). I've included several photos of both the Welt & the BMW Museum.
Finally after spending several hours at the BMW site I walked over to the 1972 Munich Olympic Park. I was completely amazed. Most of the actual venues of this truly spectacular & memorable Olympic games are basically untouched. The legendary Stadium (where Lasse Viren took Gold in the 5k & 10k and where Frank Shorter won Gold in the Marathon), the Swimming Hall (where Mark Spitz won 7 Golds), the Klein Olympia Hall (where Olga Korbet shone in Gymnastics), the Olympia Hall (where the Soviet team upset the US Basketball team after several 'redo-s' of the final seconds), and of course, the famous Olympic Village (where the Israeli athletes massacre took place)—all those venues were there and accessible for virtually nothing! Seeing the Olympic Park really capped off my trip. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip to make. Even though I had done a Euro delivery of a Porsche 944 30 years ago I was amazed how much has changed and how much is the same. It's a great spot to visit for any car (especially Porsche) and/or history lover!
"Doctor" Paul Overstreet (right) of Overstreet European Motors (OEM) is currently performing engine transplant surgery on the 2007 Cayman S belonging to Sherry Westfall and me. Also, the original clutch has about 50,000 miles on it (and many of them are track miles). Paul is installing a new clutch now because it is much easier to do when the engine is out of the car. On the morning of Saturday, January 11 he led a tech session to show us the patient and what the operation involves. These photos illustrate the text in this article.
Paul showed us car parts that we rarely get to see, especially in mid-engine cars such as Boxsters and Caymans. He demonstrated the dual-mass flywheel, the clutch, and the hard-working throwout bearing that separates the clutch plates when the clutch pedal is depressed. He let us see the head from an Audi 4-cylinder engine in which the timing belt had failed and the valves were damaged by colliding with the pistons. He repeated the leakdown test on the bad cylinder of the old Cayman S engine so we could hear the air escaping when compressed air was injected through the spark plug hole. On the new engine, he pointed out the head gaskets, the ribbed belt, and the accessories it drives. All in all, it was an exceptionally informative tech session. Paul not only knows Porsches, he is a racer himself (mostly Miatas). Sherry and I depend on him to keep our two track cars "on track", and he is great for DE tech inspections, brake maintenance, and general track upgrades.
There were many concerned Boxster and Cayman owners present and paying close attention, no doubt thinking "There but for the grace of God go I." However, what happened to our engine is the result of hard track use and shouldn't worry most Porsche drivers.
The backstory began last summer, when Paul installed a pair of GT2 racing seats, Schroth 6-point harnesses, and a Heigo roll bar into our Cayman. Seats and harnesses are both safety and performance upgrades for the track. The centrifugal acceleration during turns at track speeds is about 1 G, and it pushes the driver sideways with a force about equal to his weight. Without seats and harnesses, drivers must fight this acceleration by holding knees and elbows firmly against the car door or center console, hanging on to the steering wheel with a tight grip, and pressing hard on the dead pedal for support. A good seat/harness system holds the driver's body firmly in place, so he can concentrate on driving the car instead of fighting it around corners.
Our first track event with the seats and harnesses was the Potomac Region three-day DE at VIR last fall. As I grew accustomed to the new seat/harness system, my cornering speeds gradually increased. So did the centrifugal accelerations that also push the oil in the oil pan toward the outside of a turn. On the third day, I tracked out of the "Oak Tree" turn (the fabled tree is no more, but its name for the turn lives on), reached the red line in second, and shifted into third. The engine suddenly got very rough and the "check engine" light came on. Not good. I moved off line, showed a "pit in" signal, and limped back to the paddock. The engine was barely running and emitting heavy smoke through the exhaust pipes.
We flat-bedded the disabled car to OEM in Gordonsville. Paul did a leakdown test and found that five cylinders were good but one had no compression, suggesting a bent valve (or worse). The usual way to bend a valve is to over-rev the engine a lot (by accidentally downshifting to first gear from the red line in second, for example), but the "black box" recorder in the ECU showed that the engine was not being over-revved when it failed. Also, I would have known right away if I had downshifted because the engine would have braked the car very hard, the wheels would have locked up and skidded, and I would have been jerked forward.
The engine block and heads seemed intact because there was no coolant mixed in with the engine oil. To investigate further, Paul contacted Porsche and received permission to open the engine without reducing its "core" value in case it could not be repaired. Paul found that the rod connecting the crankshaft to the number one piston had broken. That would explain the bent valve: it was hit by the wayward piston. He also drained the oil and found the broken end of a rod bolt and other bits of metal. The engine would have to be replaced. We decided to buy a "new" Porsche remanufactured 3.4L engine via Euroclassics Porsche.
It is quite possible that oil starvation caused the connecting rod to break. A number of Generation-1 (2006 through 2008) Cayman S engines have suffered engine failures from oil starvation after long high-speed turns at the track because centrifugal acceleration forced the oil to one side of the oil pan, especially if the car is on sticky racing tires, as ours is. This probably will not happen to your car on the street, at an autocross, or even at a DE if you are using street tires. In fact, we had driven our Cayman S on R-compound tires in the "white" and "black" run groups for more than a year at VIR with no trouble before installing the seat/harness system. To reduce the chances of a repeat, Paul is installing a deeper and baffled FVD Motorsport oil pan on our new engine.
The cover of the February 2014 issue of Hemmings "Sports & Exotic Car" magazine features Dick Pitman at the wheel of his Ruby Red 1961 356B Roadster. This car is familiar to everyone who went to the RPM concours in the past few years, where it has been a perennial "Peoples Choice" favorite following its beautiful restoration by Lufteknic. You can see the on-line teaser with photos and part of the article, or pick up a copy of the magazine to read the whole thing on pages 24–29. The article details Dick's history with his favorite car, from the day he bought it as "a young kid, 29 years old." It was three years old at the time and cost him the princely sum of $2,250. Dick kept a logbook on this car from the day he bought it. The car followed him around for 165,000 miles and several decades during his career as a Navy pilot. At the end it started to rust and the engine was getting tired. Chris and Robert Overholser restored the whole car in 2009 and rebuilt the engine with bigger pistons and cylinders to bring it up to 1750 cc displacement and add about 20 hp.
Virginia Living is a large coffee-table magazine that covers all sorts of Virginiana, from peanuts to hound dogs. In the February 2014 issue is the article "Dream Machines" by Clarke C. Jones about Porsches in general and the Shenandoah Region PCA in particular. Clarke gathered material by attending a number of events last summer, including autocrosses, DEs, car shows, and our Anniversary Party at Pharsalia. You can see some of the printed article and photos by clicking here. The printed magazine can be found at Barnes & Noble in Charlottesville and other newsstands statewide. In addition, Clarke wrote an on-line only supplementary article titled Racetrack Confidential giving his impressions as a passenger in Rick Ebinger's 996 being driven at speed at VIR.