Metro NY DE Guide

Metro New York Region

of the

Porsche Club of America

Driver Education Guide

metro new york region pca apple logo

© 2001-2012

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 4
  1. What Is Driver Education ............................................................................................................ 5

In other words ................................................................................................................... 5

  1. DE – Frequently Asked Questions .............................................................................................. 6

Is My Car Eligible? ............................................................................................................ 6

Am I Eligible? ................................................................................................................... 6

Can I Participate If My Car Has An Automatic Or Tiptronic Transmission? ......................... 6

Will A DE Event Harm My Porsche? ................................................................................... 6

Is My Car Insurance Valid While On the Track?................................................................... 6

Do I Have To Make Any Modifications To The Car? ........................................................... 7

Do I need a Helmet? ......................................................................................................... 7

I’m A Beginner. Can I attend A Regular Metro DE event? ......................................................  7

Do I Get Instruction? ........................................................................................................ 7

What are Run Groups? ...................................................................................................... 8

What Happens If It’s Raining? ........................................................................................... 8

Can both myself and my spouse drive at a DE event? ....................................................... 8

Can Family Members Or Friends Ride With Me? ............................................................... 8

  1. DE Event Administration ........................................................................................................... 9

Registering For A Metro NY DE Event ................................................................................ 9

The DE Contact Info  ......................................................................................................... 9

Last Minute Registration .................................................................................................. 9

Event Organization............................................................................................................ 9

  1. Mandatory Safety Equipment ................................................................................................. 11

Helmet ........................................................................................................................... 11

Fire Extinguisher ............................................................................................................ 11

  1. Pre-Event Preparation ............................................................................................................. 12

Accommodation ............................................................................................................. 12

Spectators....................................................................................................................... 12

Technical Inspection ....................................................................................................... 12

Getting To The Track ...................................................................................................... 13

Car Numbers .................................................................................................................. 13

What Do I Need To Bring? ............................................................................................... 13

  1. At Last ..................................................................................................................................... 15

When You Arrive At The Track......................................................................................... 15

Registration .................................................................................................................... 15

Preparation for Trackside Tech........................................................................................ 15

Car Number ................................................................................................................... 15

Trackside Safety Inspection – “Tech”............................................................................... 16

Drivers Meeting ............................................................................................................. 16

Classroom Sessions ......................................................................................................... 16

 

Log Book ......................................................................................................................... 16

Preparation For Driving .................................................................................................. 16

Clothing ......................................................................................................................... 16

The Weather .................................................................................................................. 17

Seating Position .............................................................................................................. 17

Mirror Adjustment .......................................................................................................... 17

Windows......................................................................................................................... 18

Tire Pressure................................................................................................................... 18

Staging ........................................................................................................................... 18

Communicators .............................................................................................................. 18

It’s All in the Mind .......................................................................................................... 18

On The Track................................................................................................................... 19

Flag Signals .................................................................................................................... 19

Passing Zones.................................................................................................................. 19

Passing Signals ............................................................................................................... 19

End Of Run ..................................................................................................................... 20

Condition Of Your Car  .................................................................................................... 20

Your condition ................................................................................................................ 21

Work Assignment ........................................................................................................... 21

  1. Miscellaneous Tips .................................................................................................................. 23

Your Well-Being .............................................................................................................. 23

Lug Nuts.......................................................................................................................... 23

Sneaker Whitener .......................................................................................................... 23

Removable Car numbers ................................................................................................. 23

Keys in car ...................................................................................................................... 23

  1. Safety and Performance Modifications .................................................................................... 25

Harness, Seat and Roll Bar/Cage ..................................................................................... 25

Tires................................................................................................................................ 25

Brake Pads ..................................................................................................................... 26

Brake Fluid ..................................................................................................................... 26

Driving Shoes .................................................................................................................. 26

Driving Gloves ................................................................................................................ 26

Driving Suit .................................................................................................................... 26

Head and Neck Support device (HANS) ........................................................................... 27

  1. Resources .............................................................................................................................. 28

Car Numbers .................................................................................................................. 28

Helmets ......................................................................................................................... 28

Internet .......................................................................................................................... 28

Performance Driving Books and Articles .......................................................................... 28

DE Insurance Resources ................................................................................................. 28

  1. Flag Descriptions ................................................................................................................... 29
  1. Personal Checklist.................................................................................................................. 30

 

  1. Introduction

Welcome!

You may be reading this Metro NY PCA Driver Education Guide as a result of a visit to our web site, or you may have received it in your registration package if you have registered for a Driver Education (often abbreviated to

‘DE’) event. Either way, this text is intended to help you in your preparations and to provide information about what to expect once you get to the track.  If you are considering, or if you have already made the commitment, to do a DE event, please take the time to read this guide. The better prepared you are, the more fun you will get out of the event.

So what’s contained in this guide?

Chapter 2 explains the aims and objectives of the DE event – the ’mission statement’ if you like – both in the official language and a personal, unofficial interpretation.

Chapter 3 gives answers to frequently asked questions about DE events, such as eligibility of car and drivers, what exactly is the “Novice Program” and so on.

Chapter 4 explains how to register and a how a typical day is organized.

Chapter 5 explains about the safety equipment required to participate at an event.

Chapter 6 takes you through pre-event preparation such as what to bring to the track, accommodations near the track and getting your pre-event technical inspection.

Chapter 7 covers your arrival at the track, what to expect and where, how to prepare your car and yourself. This chapter also covers important information that you need to know when you are on the track, such as the hand signals you may give.

Chapter 8 is a gathering place for some miscellaneous tips.

Chapter 9 is aimed at more advanced drivers and discusses some of the safety and performance related changes you may consider making to your car.

Chapter 10 provides a short list of various other resources that may prove useful, from local suppliers of equipment to Internet sites and books on performance driving.

Chapter 11 contains important information about the flags you will see on the circuit.  As a student driver, you must know and understand the meaning of and expected actions for each of the flags.

Chapter 12 contains a summary of the personal checklist (from Chapter 6) of items you may want to take to the track.

 

  1. What Is Driver Education?

The mission and purpose of the Porsche Club of America Metro New York Region’s Driver Education Program is to provide a safe, structured and controlled teaching environment in which participants can learn advanced car control techniques. The Program is designed so that participants can improve their driving abilities and acquire a better understanding of vehicle dynamics and driving safety.  Metro NY Region Driver Education events are not racing, preparation for racing, or a competition of any kind. No times or placings are recorded and no awards or prizes are received by the participants at Metro NY Region Driver Education events. Any conduct considered by Metro NY Region to be either unsafe or inconsistent with the spirit or purpose of the Metro NY Region Driver Education Program as stated herein will not be permitted. The Metro NY Region Driver Education Program is designed to afford participants the opportunity to experience first-hand the capabilities of high performance automobiles in a controlled environment and to acquire skills that will improve their driving abilities.

In other words

Driver Education events allow us to learn more about our Porsches, to learn more about ourselves and, above

all, to have fun. You’ll learn the rudiments of performance driving in a safe, controlled, and non-competitive environment and be able to use the experience to improve your safety and driving ability on the street.  You'll learn, at first, that the limits to how you drive are yours and not your Porsche’s. You'll find you have to push yourself harder to approach the limits of the handling of the car and, with your instructor beside you, you will learn to recognize these limits and to control the car as it approaches them at relatively low speed.

Many of the lessons learned from a DE experience can be carried over to street driving and you should end the

day with an increased confidence level in your own and the car’s abilities.

The events are organized with safety as the paramount consideration and with the aim of providing enjoyment for all.  Driver Education events are not races.  By requiring a signal from the driver in front to permit a pass - and taking cars off the track if they fail to obey the rules – the competitive element is eliminated.  Your ego and pride should not be dented if another car passes you.   On the contrary, you should help the other driver get around you while you concentrate on driving your car totally accurately.  Remember: the only prize you can win is to get to drive your car home in the same state in which it arrived.

If you want a competitive event then why not try your hand at other Metro NY events that are competitive in nature, such as the Autocross program or the Concours program?

 

  1. DE – Frequently Asked Questions

This section attempts to answer some of the questions that many beginners ask about doing a DE event.  Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the terminology in the answers – the terms will become clear as you read through this guide.

Is My Car Eligible?

Generally speaking, any hard-top coupe or soft-top cabriolet with a roll bar is eligible for Metro NY DE events. Hard-top cars do not require a roll bar. Soft-top cars without roll bars are not eligible, except for late model 911 that install a factory hard top. The precise requirement is as follows: “All cabriolets and open cars including Boxsters must run with their top up. All drivers in cabriolets and open cars, including Boxsters, must also meet the "broomstick" rule: The top of the driver’s helmet must be below a line drawn from the top of the windshield to the top of the roll bar with the driver sitting in a normal upright position and properly belted in. Alternatively, cabriolets and open cars including Boxsters can run with their top down provided both driver and passenger have arm-restraints and a full roll cage has been installed.

All 996/997 cabriolets must run with their hard top in place.   All targa tops must be installed, unless there is

additional roll over protection.”

Am I Eligible?

If you are over 18 years of age, have a current driver’s license and are a member of the Porsche Club of America (PCA), then, yes, you are eligible.  If you are a Porsche owner but are not yet a member of PCA, you may read about membership at the Metro NY web site where you may also download an application form. PCA membership allows you to nominate a family member or friend to be a co-member at no extra cost.

Can I Participate If My Car Has An Automatic Or Tiptronic Transmission?

No problem. A manual shift is not a pre-requisite for a DE event.  In fact, as a beginner, learning may be simpler as you do not need to be concerned with shifting gears. Come along and give it a try.

Will A DE Event Harm My Porsche?

Porsche’s have followed a long tradition of over-engineering its components and as a beginner; it is unlikely you’ll be stressing any of its mechanical components.  The old saying that "Every Porsche Built is a Race Car" has a solid foundation. They are built to be driven and are in their element at a DE event. Cars used for DE are often better maintained than street-driven cars with owners ensuring they are in tip-top mechanical condition.  A pre- event technical inspection ensures it is in safe and suitable condition for your DE event.

Some people may be concerned about stone chips or other cosmetic damage. A good coat of wax, along with judicious use of a bra and/or racers tape can all but eliminate any cosmetic damage. That said, if you are overly concerned about an occasional stone chip, DE may not be for you. Come and join in our Concours events instead!

Is My Car Insurance Valid On The Track?

The short answer is ‘probably not’.  This is a constantly evolving area and one of the noticeable trends over the last couple of years has been the addition of clauses in standard insurance policies that effectively exclude coverage at driver education events.  In the past, most policies excluded competitive events (such as autocross and racing) but because Driver Education is not competitive, it was generally covered.

However, in the last few years, clauses excluding accidents on any sort of “racing surface” or “Used in a high performance  driving  or  racing instruction  course  or  school” started  appearing in  the  exclusions  section of

 

policies.  You would be well advised to read the ‘exclusions’ page of your policy to confirm there isn’t language that would exclude DE events (for example, excluding any event on a track).  If you don’t find such language, you may be happy to leave it at that.  And be aware that there have been cases where just asking the question has caused an insurance company to drop a motorist, even from their regular coverage!

Or you may wish to talk to your agent but if you do so, make sure to get the answer in writing from the head- office underwriter.   Be sure to understand and explain that DE isn’t racing; is non-competitive event with no prizes; no placings; etc., etc.  Also realize that answers from agents may be wrong, particularly verbal answers! Don’t assume that insurance companies know anything about DE.

It is possible to get insurance specifically for DE events. See the ‘Resources’ section at the end of this guide.

Do I Have To Make Any Modifications To The Car?

If you are attending a Novice Program the answer is “No”.  Other beginners, attending a regular DE event, do need to install a fire extinguisher, as this is a mandatory safety item for the Metro NY club (see Chapter 5).  This is, generally, a 'bolt-in' addition that can be removed at any time and does not involve drilling any holes in your car.   Once you graduate to higher “run groups” (see the “Event Organization” section in Chapter 4) you may want to add various other safety enhancements.  If you are thinking of installing harnesses, please read Chapter

9 for information about PCA rules for such modifications.

Do I need a Helmet?

Any driver or passenger at a DE event must be wearing a helmet.  For the Novice Program, a certain number of

‘loaner’ helmets are available.  So if you are attending the Novice Program and are not sure if the DE bug will bite, you should contact the DE Registrar in advance and check if a loaner helmet can be available for you.  You may have friends who can lend you one, or you can purchase a helmet.  See Chapter 5 for more detail about helmets.

I’m A Beginner. Can I attend A Regular Metro DE event?

The short answer is yes.  As a beginner you are welcome at all Metro NY DE events with the exception of our Advanced-only  day  at  Watkins  Glen.    In  addition,  Metro  NY  offers  a  Novice  Program  for  first-timers  in conjunction with regular DE events.  The Novice Program allows first-timers to sample a Driver Education event and decide if you like it or not before investing money in safety equipment.  The mandatory safety requirements (see Chapter 5) are relaxed slightly – a fire extinguisher is not required and you do not have to buy a helmet; loaners are provided.

So the only difference between the Novice Program (open to first-timers) and a regular beginner lies in the safety equipment required.   If you just want to give DE a try and are not sure about continuing, the Novice Program is probably for you.  If you are pretty sure you are going to like it or have done DE events before, then register for the normal beginner program.

Do I Get Instruction?

As a beginner you will receive both classroom instruction and on-track instruction.  In the classroom sessions, you will be briefed on the terminology that will be used by your instructor, basic performance driving concepts, safety and flag meanings etc.

An instructor is assigned to all beginners in the Green run group for the day and they will write up your log book at the end of the day, noting your progress. In the Yellow run group for more advanced beginners, some students will have instructors while other students will be just be starting their solo career.

 

What are Run Groups?

The DE Chair, the DE Registrar and the Chief Instructor work together to assign drivers to a run group based on your track driving experience.  You will wear a disposable wristband that indicates your run group color.

The run groups are defined as follows:

Run Group

Description

Instructed

Green

Beginner driver with little or no track driving experience.

Yes

Yellow

Beginner    driver     with    some     performance     driving

experience, still learning basic techniques.  Some Yellow group drivers may drive solo

Yes

Blue

Drivers with sufficient experience to run solo.

Optional

White

Intermediate driver; Drives solo

Optional

Black

Advanced drivers and Instructors

Optional

Red

Instructors

Optional

As a beginner, you start in the green run group, and move to a higher run group as your skills improve.  There is no pre-defined schedule for how long it takes to progress to the next run group. That depends purely on your abilities and the amount of time you practice.

 

What Happens If It’s Raining?

The event is run come rain or shine although if conditions are extremely poor, the DE Committee may cancel run sessions. Of course, when it is wet you will be driving somewhat slower as your tire grip will be reduced.

Can both myself and my spouse drive at a DE event?

In general the answer is ‘Yes’. However, you should check in advance with the DE Registrar who may need to make arrangements so that you won’t both be scheduled on the track at the same time.  Also, read Chapter 4 for more information about registering with a co-driver.

Can Family Members Or Friends Ride With Me?

Only registered drivers are permitted on the track and if there is a second person in your car they must be an instructor. So you won’t be able to go out with your spouse or with friends.  Once you have progressed out of the beginner’s group, why not share your car with your spouse and both experience Driver Ed?

 

  1. DE Event Administration

The  following  sections  deal  with  the  general  administration  of  DE  events.    Learn  about  how  events  are organized, how to book for an event and about arrangements for our Novice days.

Registering For A Metro NY DE Event

The event schedule may be found in the Driver Education section on the Metro NY PCA Web page http://www.metronypca.org   From the front page, click on the “DE (Track)” link.  All details are also published in the Metro NY region magazine, The Porsche Post, each month.

To register for a Metro NY DE event please go here: http://www.clubregistration.net/

If you don’t already have a user account on that site, you’ll need to create one in order to register for events. Please remember to update your user profile with your most current information (i.e., car info, contact info, etc.) for 2012.

Once you are logged in, you can search for our events by first clicking on the “Search for Events” label on the red bar. Then you click on the pull-down menu next to the word “Club” and select “Metro NY PCA” from the list and then click the “Search…” button.

You may share your car with a co-driver if you wish.  The co-driver needs to be a PCA member or PCA family or affiliate member.  Each driver needs to fill in their own form and ideally, the drivers will be assigned different run groups.  For this reason, sharing a car is not recommended if both drivers are beginners.  Each driver pays the event registration fee.

Once your registration has been accepted you will receive an email confirming the event(s).  Those without an email address will receive a printed letter.  If you haven’t received a confirmation within 7 days of the start of the event, call the DE Registrar and leave a message.

The DE Contact Info

The DE Registrar may be contacted by phone (631-780-5516) or by email (  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). You may call and leave a question at any time.  Calls will be returned between 7-9pm.

Last Minute Registration

Events close a week prior to the event (the exact date is given in the event schedule). If you want to register after this date, call the DE Registrar and leave a message.  The DE Registrar will do everything possible to accommodate you, space permitting.  No discounts apply to late registration.

Event Organization

The facility at a typical DE event opens at around 6:30AM.   Trackside tech inspection is usually open from

7:00AM to 7:45AM.  A drivers meeting at 8:00AM is followed by the first run group getting on the track around

8:30AM.   Since most Metro NY DE events now have professional flag marshals (also known as ‘flaggers’), we stop for an hour at lunch and continue until approximately 5:00PM.  All these times are approximate and will vary from facility to facility.

At Metro NY events, only PCA members will be running in either their Porsche or their lesser car (i.e., non- Porsche cars are welcome when driven by PCA members).  The number of cars present will vary according to the track (some can accommodate more than others) and the event itself.  A large event may have 200 cars, small ones maybe 75.

 

All DE entrants are divided into “Run Groups” according to experience and ability.   The Red group is for instructors.  Black is for advanced drivers (some instructors may be in Black).  White is for intermediate drivers. Blue group is for drivers who have recently been signed off to run solo for the first time.  Yellow is for advanced students and Green is for beginners.  Instructors are always assigned to drivers in Green group and most drivers in the Yellow group.  Each run group gets 20-30 minute sessions on the track, typically 4 per day.  When you check-in at registration at the track, you will be given a run group schedule.  Keep it handy so you know when you are due to drive.

 

  1. Mandatory Safety Equipment

The following two sections cover the mandatory safety equipment – a helmet and a fire extinguisher.

Helmet

A  helmet  is  a  mandatory  safety  item  for  DE  events  and  all  helmets  must  carry  the  Snell  Foundation’s certification.  Helmet safety standards are updated every 5 years.  The current standard for car helmets being SA2010, for motorcycle helmets M2010 and for go-karting helmets K2010.  All three types are acceptable for DE events.  Helmets built to the 2005 standard are also currently acceptable for DE events.  Helmets made to the older SA2000 or M2000 standard or older are Not acceptable for PCA driver education event any more.  Read about these standards at the Snell Foundation Web site:  http://www.smf.org/

As indicated above, motorcycle helmets (meeting M2005 or M2010 standards) are acceptable in Metro NY DE events. However, if you intend to do a DE event with a different PCA region, their rules may mandate an SA standard helmet. Be aware.

It is recommended that you do not purchase a pre-owned helmet; if the helmet has been dropped it may be ineffective, despite looking OK externally.

The fit of your helmet is very important and a very personal choice. You will spend a bit of time inside it – some of it in unpleasantly hot weather. Although the Internet does have various fitting guides and you may get a better price, it is recommended that you look at local suppliers where you will be able to try on various helmets and get good advice as to selection. Not all same-sized helmets feel the same and by trying them on, you will be able to make a much better choice. Various styles are available and, again, a local supplier will be able to help you choose. For example, some helmets are designed primarily for open cockpit racing and have a small eye port, others have a larger eye port to take account of eyeglass wearers (if you are an eyeglass wearer, don’t forget to take them with you when you go to buy a helmet), some have full-face protection, others are open- face, some have a visor, others don’t, etc.

Modern helmets can be a little claustrophobic, if you are not used to wearing one.  Your first track event is not the time to find you are uncomfortable.  It is suggested that you practice wearing your helmet at home before coming to the event.  (People do tend to stare if you wear your helmet on the street – although, arguably, it may not be out of place on the LIE.)

At most DE events, Metro NY has some "loaner" helmets for use by Novice Program entrants who have not yet purchased their own helmet.  Please check with the DE Registrar if they will be available at the event you will be attending.

Fire Extinguisher

As with a helmet, the installation of a fire extinguisher is required – except if you are doing the Novice Program, where you do not require a fire extinguisher.   A 2.5 lb. or larger fire extinguisher needs to be mounted on a metal-to-metal support in the car. (Storing it in a seat pocket, even if would fit, is not an option!)

Several options exist for doing this, depending on your car.  Consult your mechanic or the Internet for fitment options.  One very popular method is to use a purpose-built fire extinguisher mount that fits under the existing seat bolts on the driver or passenger seat.  Such brackets do not involve making any holes in your car.

 

  1. Pre-Event Preparation

So, you’ve registered for one or maybe several DE events.   Congratulations for taking the plunge!   Now read about other topics and items that will aid your preparation.

Accommodation

Once you have booked for your event(s), don’t forget to make your hotel accommodations.   Depending on where you live, some events may require you to travel on the day or evening prior to the event.  And if you are attending a multi-day event, you will probably need to stay overnight near the track.  Also consider staying overnight on the final day of the event.   You will likely be tired after a full day of driving and, depending on where you live, may want to consider leaving refreshed, the next morning.

See the DE section of the web site for a link to the Travel page. At the beginning of each season Metro NY negotiates group rates at hotels close to the various tracks and these are listed on the page. Don’t forget to tell the reservations agent that you are with the Metro NY Porsche Club. (If they can’t find the group rate, try ‘Metro NY PCA’ or other combination!)

There are plenty of alternative hotels and motels near tracks (the web site has links to full listings) so if you’ve left your registration a little late, don’t worry.

Spectators

Spectators are welcome at Metro NY DE events. If you want to bring along a spouse or a friend please feel free to do so.  Some tracks are more 'spectator friendly’ than others; Lime Rock is particularly picturesque and the whole track is easily accessible on foot.  Other tracks, however, comprise large areas of asphalt with not much in the way of distractions for spectators (Pocono springs to mind).  We require all visitors to sign a PCA waiver of liability once they arrive in the paddock area and track management will typically require each person entering the track premises to sign their own waiver of liability at the track entrance.  If any minors will be accompanying you to the track, at least one legal guardian must be present to sign a waiver of liability to cover the minor.

Technical Inspection

In general, your car must go through a Technical Inspection (‘Tech’) before each and every DE event – a safety inspection at a Metro-approved tech site or individual approved by the Metro NY Club.  This is an important part of your preparation and you must bring the completed Tech form with you to the event.

A list of approved Tech locations may be found in each copy of the Porsche Post or in the ‘Tech sites’ link from the DE section of the web site. The web site (or Porsche Post) also contains the Tech form that you need to complete (look for the ‘Forms’ link). Print or photocopy the form, fill-in the top section, and present it with your car at the inspection station.  Each event requires a separate tech form and the car must be inspected no more than 2 weeks prior to the event.  If you are in any doubt about who may tech your car, call the DE Registrar and leave your question and phone number.

Note that you cannot do the inspection checks yourself and you cannot sign the tech form yourself unless you are an approved instructor.  Metro NY does require that you get your car inspected at an authorized location.

You can save yourself some stress by arranging your tech inspection in advance of the DE event, and by getting any remedial work done early.  Don’t leave yourself open to disappointment by leaving the inspection till the last minute, only to find you need some work done which may mean you miss the event.

 

Getting To The Track

Look at the ‘Track Info’ link on the Web site for driving instructions for getting to the tracks.  A road map will not go amiss either! Sometimes the track entrance for cars is at a non-too-obvious location! If you are going to your hotel first, don't forget directions to it as well.

Remember that we all enjoy the use of our host tracks.  Please obey speed limits and other traffic directions so that we may continue to have the support of the local communities.  It is not unknown for the local constabulary to post speed traps when they know the club is at the local track!

Car Number

When you register for your first Metro NY DE event, you are assigned a car number for the event.  This number is on your confirmation letter/email.  This number is permanently assigned to you for all subsequent Metro NY DE events you enter.  You may request a particular number on your application but don’t assume you will be assigned it until you have your confirmation for the event.  Once committed to doing several events, you may want to consider acquiring some detachable numbers (see “Miscellaneous Tips” ).  On the other hand, Novices may not want to go to this expense and may use masking tape, painters tape or ‘no lift’ racers tape etc. to form the numbers on either side of the car. The tapes all have less adhesive than duct tape (for example) and will not damage the paintwork of your car.

What Do I Need To Bring?

A summary of this list is given in Chapter 12. You may want to print it as a checklist.

Driver's license and PCA membership card

Completed Tech Inspection Form

Maps and directions to the track and hotel

Paper towels – useful for window cleaning, mopping up oil drops etc. Window cleaner – you’ll pick up a few bugs during the day!

Tire pressure gauge – essential to get the maximum grip from your tires

Duct tape – for covering headlights and protecting them from stone chips

A penknife or similar to cut the tape

If you don’t have pre-made numbers, some low-adhesive tape to form the numbers on your windows

A quart of oil and a funnel. (A rolled paper plate can be used as a standby funnel) White shoe polish for checking tire rollover

Plastic bags for storing the contents of glove compartment, door pockets etc.

A tarpaulin, ground sheet or large garbage sacks for placing your belongings on and to cover them if it rains. Also useful on wet days for keeping mud off everything.

Helmet

Sun protection such as a wide-brimmed sun-hat, sunscreen and an umbrella for shade (not red or yellow) Insect repellant. At some tracks you may be glad you brought it with you!

Rain  protection  such  as  a  poncho  or  waterproof  outer  clothing.  An  umbrella  (not  red  or  yellow).

Thundershowers can occur in the middle of summer. Pack your rain protection even on hot days just in case you are on flagging duty when that shower arrives.

   A folding chair – particularly if there are professional flag marshals at the track, you will be glad to have somewhere to sit down between runs.

   Appropriate clothing: The clothing you wear is intended to keep you safe and comfortable. For driving, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, both made of natural fibers such as cotton or linen, are required (Jeans work well).  Shoes should also be made of natural fibers and should have a flat sole.  Tennis shoes

 

or leather driving shoes are ideal (not jogging shoes with their thick soles).  Shorts, short-sleeved shirts, sandals or other loose fitting shoes are not acceptable driving attire.   Bring a change of clothing for when you are not driving – whatever is comfortable and suitable for the prevailing weather.  If you are assigned to flagging duty such colors may confuse drivers, it is recommended that outerwear is not colored red or yellow.

   Cooler with drinks and ice – You will get dehydrated at the track so you must drink plenty of liquid. No alcoholic drinks are permitted at the track for either drivers or spectators until the end of the day - but remember that alcohol can affect your judgment for up to 24 hours so at a multi-day event be careful.

   Food & snacks. Most tracks have a canteen open for at least part of the day but don’t rely on it.

More advanced drivers may also consider:

A torque wrench, jack, jack pad, jack stand etc., if you will be changing tires at the track

A can of brake fluid and spare brake pads

Air tank

 

  1. At Last……

The day of the DE event has arrived.  Read about what goes on and what you’ll need to do.  The sections are presented in more-or-less chronological order.

When You Arrive At The Track

Get to the track early and with a full tank of fuel (you’ll use it a lot faster than on the highway and you wouldn’t want to get towed off the track on your first day, would you?).  The track typically opens at around 6:30AM and that is a good time to be there.

At the entrance to the track, the track facility will need you and any accompanying spectators to sign in.   An insurance waiver is presented for your name(s) and signature(s).  If family or friends will be turning up later in the day, please check if the track needs their names in advance on a guest list.

Enter the track paddock area and find a parking place.  Just look where other cars are parked.  Leave adequate room around the cars to allow for trailer loading, belongings on the ground etc.  Early birds may find a covered space at some tracks and Metro has covered garage spaces available for rent at Pocono and Watkins Glen.

Registration

Go to the Registration desk. You may need to ask where it is. There you will: Sign the PCA insurance waiver

Receive the run group schedule for the day, a track map and list of your fellow DE drivers

Receive a colored wristband according to your run group. Wear it on your left wrist.  It is waterproof and should be left on overnight for the second day, if you are attending a two-day event.

Preparation for Trackside Tech

Return to your car and empty it – empty it of everything.   You don’t want that old coke can under the seat rolling under your pedals on the first lap do you?  Or that old kids toy on the back seat hitting you the first time you  brake  hard?    Check  the  trunk(s),  the  door  pockets,  glove  compartment,  remove  your  E-ZPass,  radar detector, seat covers and any other loose items.   Double check under the seats! If you have detachable floor mats, they must be removed from the driver’s foot-well area.

Use your duct tape to cover the headlights and fog lights to protect them from any stone chips or debris on the track.  Some people also tape the leading edge of the hood and the side view mirrors. You may have a “bra’ on the front of your car for debris protection when on the street.   FYI at high speed, bra’s can sometimes flap around and actually cause more damage than debris. It is advisable to tape down a loosely fitting or a magnetic bra.

 

Car Number

 car number example

Place your pre-made numbers on both sides of the car, or use masking tape to form your assigned number.  Make sure they are as large as possible (and at least 4 inches high - and preferably somewhat larger) so flag marshals can easily identify your car.

Car numbers must be displayed in three locations: On the left and right side – either on the body panels or the rear side windows – and in the upper windshield corner on the passenger side.  The numbers must be in a contrasting color to the tint of the glass or the body panel color.

 

Trackside Safety Inspection – “Tech”

Place your pre-event Tech form under the windshield wiper; put your helmet on the passenger seat; leave the trunk and engine lid unlocked; and drive slowly to the Tech line.  Here the “Metroliners” – the trackside tech inspection crew - will greet you, descending on your car to check the torque of your wheel nuts, the state of your brake pads, that your car is empty of junk, that it has its numbers etc.  You will probably be asked to use the brake pedal so they can check your brake lights and also ‘blip’ the throttle so they can check the throttle return is working correctly.  A small sticker will be placed on your windshield indicating you have passed Tech. Return to your parking place and check that your engine lid and trunk are locked closed.

If you are attending a multi-day event you will need to present your car to trackside tech each morning. Don’t

forget morning tech inspection on the subsequent days.

Drivers Meeting

You may have a few minutes to spare to have a quick breakfast, but check your timetable for the Drivers Meeting.  Don't be late – it is embarrassing to have 100+ pairs of eyes on you as you stroll up late!  All drivers gather and you will be told about the track, any special conditions on the day, the location of the passing zones, how the flags are to be used, etc.

At Metro DE events, instructors and students are paired prior to the event.   The type of car you drive is also taken into account and efforts are made to pair you with an instructor familiar with your type of car.  Instructors are given a card with your details and they will come and find you.   Depending on their workload (some instructors may have two students) your instructor will find you, either prior to the first session, or if not, at staging for your run group.

Classroom Sessions

Metro NY has  recently instituted  a classroom session  for  all  beginner-level  participants. The  schedule you receive at registration will specify the time and place of this session. Again, being on time is strongly suggested.

Log Book

The Metro NY club issues beginner drivers with a logbook.  Ask for one when you register for the first time. Y ou and your instructors will be able to record your progress as you do DE events at different tracks and as you progress to “going solo”.  The entries will also assist your instructor(s) at subsequent events in understanding your progress thus far.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your log book is filled in at the end of each day by your Instructor.  If you are staying for a multi-day event you will probably have a different Instructor on each day, so make sure you present your log book (and a ballpoint pen) before you leave the track each day.

Preparation For Driving

Let’s now go through some topics in preparation for actually getting out the track.

Clothing

You have, of course, read the pre-event preparation section so will have brought the correct clothing.  Metro NY requires that you must wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants made of natural fiber.  Shoes should have a thin, flat sole with adequate grip so they don’t slip off the pedals.  Worn sneakers or ‘boat’ shoes work well for many drivers.  Thick-soled shoes are not recommended.  You ‘communicate’ with your car through the seat of your pants, your hand and the soles of your feet.  You’ll get messages from your Porsche more easily if you feet are not insulated from the car by big thick soles.   Leather-soled shoes tend to be too slippery and are not recommended.

 

The Weather

Take account of the weather:  If it is hot and sunny, as it invariably is at Metro events, apply your sun protection now, before you get sunburned.  Perhaps even more importantly, you need to keep yourself properly hydrated throughout the day.  By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated and this can seriously impair your judgment and safety on the track.  Remember to keep drinking liquid, even when you don’t actually feel thirsty. This cannot be stressed highly enough.

There are still a couple more items that need attention before you get on the track.   Depending on your schedule, you may want to do these earlier, as you prepare the car for trackside inspection.

Seating Position

The seat position you use for DE is unlikely to be the same as you use on the street. The majority of drivers position themselves too far back or with the seatback reclined too much.  The correct seating position takes into account how you contact the seat, leg position and arm position.  In order to get better leverage on the steering wheel and in order to get a better "seat-of-the-pants" feel of the car, it is usual to sit a little further forward and more upright, and perhaps a little lower than you may do for street driving.  Try following the recommendations below.

Depending on your height (with your helmet on) and whether the car has a sunroof or not, you may find it necessary to lower the seat.

Sit in the seat by pressing into it so that you maximize your body area in firm contact with the car.   Pressing down snugly will help you to feel the car communicating with you.   Your back should be flat against the seat back, you backside firmly wedged in the right-angle between seat back and seat cushion and the underside of your legs should be in contact with the seat.  Put on your seat belt and ensure it is a tight fit - you don't want to be sliding around the seat at the first sharp corner.

driver sitting position exampleAdjust the forward/rearward position of the seat so that you can move your feet easily between the pedals with clearance under the steering wheel. There should be a moderate bend at the knees when you fully depress the pedals with the ball of your foot (not the toes).  Adjust the seatback angle so that with your arms extended and without pulling your shoulders away from the seat, your wrists should be able to rest on top (12 o'clock position) of the steering wheel.  Your arms should be bent when your hands are placed on the steering wheel at the three o'clock and nine o'clock positions.  This slight bend in your arms, even when being fully outstretched during cornering, helps prevent the arms from getting tired through overextension.  This same position should also and allow you to change gears without needing to lean forward.

Your seating position can best be tried in advance of the event.

Mirror Adjustment

Having probably changed your seating position, you now need to adjust all your mirrors to ensure they cover their areas properly.

 

Windows

The driver’s side window must be all the way down; the passenger’s side window can be either all the way up or all the way down, but not in between. Your instructor may have a preference though.

Tire Pressure

With the tires cold in the early morning, check the tire pressures all round. As a starting point ensure they are

set to the recommended values given in the car’s handbook.  Air is available at all tracks – just ask where it is.

Staging

“Staging” is designed to minimize the time between run groups by ensuring that the next group of cars is ready to get on the track as soon as the previous group is off.  At the drivers meeting, there will have been instructions on how and where to stage.  Prepare for your run beforehand.  Go to the bathroom if you need and ensure you are in the staging area with several minutes to spare.   Generally your instructor will meet you at staging, although he/she may have made arrangements to meet you in the paddock area – it tends to depend on their workload and number of other students assigned to them.

Communicators

Your instructor may be equipped with a two-way communicator to help in-car communication.  He or she will give you an earpiece attached to a boom microphone.   Put your helmet on first, then take the earpiece and gently insert it inside your helmet between your ear and the helmet padding.   The boom microphone will be naturally positioned in front of your mouth.  At the end of the run, remove the communicator by grasping the earpiece. Do not pull the connecting wire - they do not last long if you do.

If your instructor doesn't have a communicator, don't worry - you will still be able to hear their comments and instructions.

It’s All in the Mind

So now you’re ready for your first track sessions.  But as the TV detective Colombo made a habit of saying “Just one more thing, Sir...”

There are (at least) a couple of ways you can approach your first few track events.  Let’s call the first the 'male' approach.   You’ve figured out a way to get to drive your Porsche on the track.   You've only got a handful of sessions and you want to make the most of them.  You want to get out there and you do everything you can't do on public roads: pushing the car's limits as much as you can; trying to squeeze every tenth of a second out of it that you can -- full on the gas; full on the brakes; catch that guy in front etc. etc.  On your first day at DE, a guy can't help but think (however irrationally) that he's going to be the best and bravest, driver out there.  A Schumacher or Senna in the rough, so to speak.

This is fine and may be a lot of fun, but it will only get you so far.  It's like trying to lift the absolute maximum weight you can manage on your first trip to the gym, and then calling that a workout.   It's utilizing the perpetually-12-year-old part of your brain.  Before too long, you'll have ‘pushed' the car as hard as it will go, and

-- what the heck?  Guys in lower-powered cars are still overtaking you.  You walk away scratching your head, or writing a big check for a new set of pistons and cylinders.

Or... you stumble on the second way of approaching a Driver Ed event.   Let’s call this the female' way, since women are often better learners at performance driving.  It's linked to the “you'd go a lot faster, if you'd just learn to slow down” school of thought which experienced drivers will be able to tell you about.

 

The smarter way of approaching a Driver Ed event in your first season is to leave your ego in the paddock and see what you can learn from your instructor - your mind as a blank slate, open to listening and learning. Learning the best possible line through each turn at lower speeds will help you get a sense of the subtler relationship between driver inputs and the way the car reacts.  It's a slow process. And you've got to accept the fact that the faster guys are faster because they've been doing it longer, and have taken the time to figure out the less fun parts of the equation. Beginners always try to sort out the difference between fast and slow lap times based on the specifications of the cars involved. It's the Viper mindset. The more experienced guys know that horsepower doesn't matter very much -- that 90% of the journey is learning how to drive, and the other

10% is about having a fast car.

Hopefully, you’ll soon realize that you're just starting out and there’s going to be a long and fun road before you.

On The Track

It's quite simple really: Remember "Asphalt - good, Grass – bad."  Seriously though, remember the aims of DE (learning about your Porsche and yourself and having fun), listen to and obey your instructor and enjoy yourself.

As this guide has tried to emphasize, the better you are prepared, the more you will enjoy the experience. There are many books and articles as well as Internet sites that explain the principles of performance driving.  Some are listed in the Resources section at the end of this document.   If you have the opportunity, you are recommended to read some of these.

Flag Signals

It’s no use cresting a hill, wondering why the flag marshal was waving a yellow flag!  By the time you see the car stopped in the middle of the track just over the brow of the hill it will be too lat.

Understanding the flags and knowing what action to take when you see one is vital.  Please take a few minutes now to read Chapter 11 now, test yourself on the flags for a few minutes and then return here.  As it says there: Read, Understand and Memorize.

Passing Zones

You are only permitted to overtake or be overtaken in designated passing zones, generally the long straight- aways.  Higher run groups are permitted to pass in additional areas. At the drivers meeting you will be informed where the passing zones are at ach facility.

Passing Signals

In DE events it is not permitted to pass a car without receiving a hand signal from the driver being overtaken.

This applies equally in all run groups.  The passing signals are as follows:

"Overtake me on the left" – point your left arm straight out of the window

 passing signal overtake left

"Overtake me on the right" – point your left arm over the roof of the car

passing_signal_overtake_right.jpg

Each of these signals indicates to a single car behind you that they may overtake.  If there are more cars behind, wait until the first car is starting its overtaking maneuver, then give the same signal for each subsequent car. You may need to back off the gas momentarily to allow a safe pass.

If the car in front of you signals you to overtake, it is your decision as to whether to take the opportunity.  You are not obliged to pass and you should not pass if you feel at all uncomfortable - for example, you may be nearing the end of the straightaway.

End Of Run

At the end of your run you will see the checkered flag.  Slow down (but not to a crawl) and use your brakes as little as possible to allow them to cool during the remainder of the ‘cool-down’ lap.  Approaching the pit area clench your fist and hold your left arm straight up, out of the left window to indicate you are entering pit lane. Use this signal if you need to pit-in during a run as well.

pit in signal   
The “pit in” signal

Drive back to your parking spot, still trying to use the brakes as little as possible.  The rotors will be very hot and you want to avoid transferring this heat to the brake fluid in the calipers.  When you stop and switch off the engine, leave the car in gear to prevent it moving and do not rest your foot on the brake pedal.  Do not engage the parking brake.  Your instructor will often want to sit with you for a couple of minutes to discuss the run.

Condition Of Your Car

After a run, it is wise to check your car in preparation for your next outing.

   Tire wear - Check your tires after every session for nicks, punctures, or worn areas.

 

Tire pressure - Check tire pressure before each session. Tires typically increase more than 5 PSI during track sessions so if your tires have increased pressure this is normal.  Check with your instructor if they think you should bleed off the increased pressure to bring your hot tires back towards their normal cold pressure.

   Oil level and temperature - Check the oil level every couple of sessions and add oil if needed. Get in the habit of checking the oil pressure on the track and monitoring oil temperature.

   Coolant temperature - As with oil, monitor your coolant temperature regularly while on the track. If you get a reading in the red zone or no reading (too little coolant), you should end your session early and let things cool down.

   Fuel level – As a beginner, a full tank in the morning will generally get you through the day but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can go through gas.  Check at lunch time and if you’re not sure whether you have enough to make it through the next sessions, get more gas.   You don’t want to take up everybody’s track time getting towed off the track.

   Brakes – Track driving takes its toll on the brakes. You may have an indicator light that warns you when

the brake pads are getting thin, but if your car doesn’t have one, you should learn to examine the brake pads yourself.  Ask someone to help – they’ll be only too willing to show you how.  While driving if ever the brake pedal starts to feel soft or spongy, tell your instructor and come into the pits immediately.  A soft brake pedal happens shortly before the pedal goes straight to the floor without any resistance – not a fun experience.   This happens when your brake fluid boils and can be easily rectified by “bleeding” your brakes. This is a simple process – again, ask someone for help if you need to do this.

Your condition

Are you sweating after your run? Don’t for get to keep properly hydrated! Drink a little, often.

Work Assignment

Metro now use professional flaggers at all our DE events.   Work assignments are not, nowadays normally expected. (Not so many years ago, club drivers performed various work assignments, including manning the flag stations, controlling pit-out etc.)

In the interest of completeness and on the off-chance that professional flaggers are not available for a particular event, a description of each work assignment follows:

Staging – helps to marshal the cars in staging and checking them for safety items: There are several items to check and there may be a fellow worker to divide the tasks with.

Check each car to ensure the numbers are readable.

Check that the car has a tech inspection sticker on the windshield. Check that the front and rear hood covers are closed.

Check that the driver’s side window is completely down and that the passenger window is either fully up or fully down. Some cars may have a window net. If so, the net should not be interfering with the driver making overtaking signals.

Check that the driver is wearing their helmet and seat belt correctly and is wearing a long sleeved shirt. Check that the driver has a wristband for the appropriate run group.

If there are two people in the car or if the driver has a Yellow or Green wristband then there must be an accompanying Instructor (Red wristband or Black wristband together with a Red/White checkered wristband).

 

Pit Out – where the cars move from the staging line(s) out on to the track. You will signal the cars to enter the track.  You will need to time the signaling so that entering cars do not interfere with any cars already on the track and approaching at high speed.

Flag Station - an assignment to a flag station is a vitally important, safety–related task and needs to be approached with care and responsibility.  It is not an opportunity to catch up with the newspaper, make a few phone calls, chat with a friend, etc.  Understanding the meaning of the flags and using them correctly is vital for a safe event.

When you are on duty at a flag station, it’s no use wondering which flag to show when you see oil on the track. By the time you have figured it out cars may have already spun. When on the track, a driver expects and relies on timely information from you - the flag marshal. Chapter 11 contains descriptions of each of the flags you’re likely to use

A flag station worker is issued a radio for communication with track control.  If professional flaggers are not in use at an event, you will be given general procedures to follow while at a flag station and directions about how to properly use the radio.

 

  1. Miscellaneous Tips

The following sections are an accumulation of distilled knowledge that didn't belong in prior sections. They are however, valuable tid-bits that may prove useful to you at some stage in your DE career.

Your Well-Being

At summer events, you need to be aware of the effect of heat and sun on your body and take measures to cope. The tips below may sound like common sense, but people have been known to get dizzy from heat exhaustion.

Apply sunscreen liberally.

As stressed earlier, dehydration leads to deterioration in judgment, concentration and mental performance.  Medical studies have shown that fluid loss exceeding approx. 3% of bodyweight impairs reaction time, judgment, concentration and decision making.

In fact, feeling thirsty is not the best indicator because by the time you experience thirst, the body is already dehydrated.  Drink 16-32 ounces of cool fluids each hour, even if you're not thirsty; thirst is NOT an accurate indication of dehydration.

   Be alert and if you notice any of these symptoms of heat exhaustion pull into pit lane and let someone know: Dizziness, Headache, Heavy sweating, Muscle cramps, Nausea, Weakness.

Lug Nuts

For those of you who change tires at the track: Most early Porsches have light, aluminum alloy lug nuts.  Along

with the wheel, these lug nuts will get hot during your run.  Do not try and remove them when hot.  If you try and remove them with the commonly used soft-socket-with-a-plastic insert (to prevent damage) the plastic may turn to a gooey mess. If you use a regular steel socket it is easy to break the neck of the lug nut from the collar. Removal of such a destroyed lug nut is not generally something that can be done at trackside and you’ll be on an early journey home! Wait for the lug nuts and wheel to cool, or alternatively use open, steel lug nuts.

Although later Porsches like the 996 and Boxster utilize steel lug bolts, it’s still advisable to allow the wheels to

cool somewhat before attempting to remove them while very hot.

Also on newer cars equipped with center-lock wheels, we ask that you remove the dust covers before bringing your car to track-side tech inspection each morning.  That way, we can visually inspect the mechanism to see that the locking ring is fully engaged.  We also have a center-lock nut torque tool available trackside in case you want to check your wheel torque.

Sneaker Whitener

You’ll often see recommendations to write your car number on the body or windows using sneaker whitener. Treat such recommendations with a pinch of salt.   First of all, if it rains you’ll have a runny mess on the car. Secondly, when you subsequently rub the sneaker whitener off with towels and window cleaner, any specs that get on the bodywork (and they will) are very difficult to remove! Use masking tape to form your car numbers.

Removable Car numbers

Once you have made a commitment to do several DE events, you may want to consider getting you assigned car number made up on a removable decal. Numbers should be at least 5 inches high.  You may choose numbers made from magnetic material, or vinyl numbers stuck on to a magnetic background circle.   Remember that a magnetic decal may come unstuck at high speeds.  It is therefore recommended to use some masking tape to secure the leading edge of the decal.  This is especially true for magnetic panel numbers; less of a problem for individual magnetic numbers.

 

Keys in car

Leaving your car keys in the car while you are away from it is a personal choice, but bear in mind that in the event of a sudden summer thundershower while you are away from the car, a helpful colleague may be able to get your windows and sunroof closed and save your interior from a drenching.

 

  1. Safety and Performance Modifications

The following topics are not a concern for the Novice or beginner driver.  Once you have several events under your belt, you may want to consider some of the changes mentioned below. The paragraphs below are placed in no particular order.

Harness, Seat and Roll Bar/Cage

These three topics are all covered here because current thinking considers them all as part of a safety system.  A harness may not be used without seats designed to accommodate them, and if you do have an appropriate seat and harness, a roll bat or roll cage is recommended to complete the safety system.

Once you have done a few events and your cornering speeds increase, you may find yourself bracing yourself against parts of the car. The stock seat belts are good, but cornering and braking from high speed ideally calls for a harness to keep you firmly in your seat. Most popular nowadays are 5-or 6-point harnesses (4 point harness are not safe and are no longer permitted).  If installing a harness, ensure you install it for the passenger too. Most regions require the same restraint system for both occupants.   After all, if it's good enough for you, it should be good enough for your instructor.  Nowadays, harnesses may not be used without seats specifically designed to deal with them – see below.

National PCA requires that all cars equipped with a 5 or 6-point safety harness must have appropriate seats.  You may not use a 5 or 6 point harness with stock factory seats unless the seat contains routing holes that help position the harness. A seat specially designed for harnesses must be installed if you do not use you stock seat belts. These generally provide more support when cornering and may be lighter, saving some weight compared to the stock seats.  However, they may not be so comfortable for those long drives on the street.  Porsche now makes as a factory option, a sport seat that has the correct routing holes for use with a harness.  Other drivers will be happy to discuss their choice of seat with you and allow you to see how you’ll ’fit’ in their car.

The likelihood of a rollover accident is very small but it can happen.  If you have installed seats and harnesses, you will be firmly strapped in your seat and may find it difficult to bend out of the way of the roof.  While the roof pillars on your Porsche are very strong, a roll bar or roll cage may be installed for extra safety. A roll bar is typically a steel hoop bolted or welded to the body and extending above (and behind) the driver.  A roll cage extends the roll bar along the roofline, down the windscreen pillars and usually anchoring on the front door sills. Roll cages are primarily intended for dedicated race cars and are not generally used in street cars because of the difficulty of getting in and out of the car and the fact that unless strapped in with the racing harness, there is the chance of hitting the steel tubing in the event of a street accident.

Tires

Good quality street tires are entirely adequate for DE events.  Without any track experience, you won't be using any tires to their performance limits.  Indeed, modern, high-performance street tires are probably better than dedicated racing tires from a decade ago.  Learning the feel of your car through street tires aids learning and will teach you how the car feels and behaves as you approach the limits of adhesion.  Also, starting out with your car in stock configuration will give you a baseline for comparison so that once you get some track experience you will be better able to judge the impact of a tire upgrade on your performance.   Any of the high-performance street tires will give you very good performance on the track in dry and wet conditions and will allow driving to and from the event without worry.

As you become more experienced, you may want to try tires with higher performance (more grip).  If your car is also used on the street you have a few choices; you can fit high performance street tires, you can fit R- compound track tires that are street legal (but which wear more quickly than street tires), or you could get a

 

second set of rims and fit dedicated track tires (slicks).  As you attend more DE events, ask plenty of questions and make your own decisions.

Brake Pads

Stock Porsche brake pads work well on the street but for most early cars they are not optimized for the heavy braking you will be doing at the track.  After several events, as your speed increases, you may find that you want to try a pad more suited to DE events.  However, the brakes on late models such as the 996, 997 and Boxster have brakes that are generally adequate for your first season of DE events.    Several upgrade options are available – from out-and-out race pads to ones suitable for mixed track/street driving.  In general, track pads need to be hotter to get maximum braking effect, which is why they may not be completely effective on the street on a cold winter morning. They will also tend to be tougher on the rotors than stock brake pads.

Changing pads is such a simple job; it is practical to have one set for street and a second set for the track.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid used to transfer pressure on the brake pedal into the clamping action of the brake

pads onto the rotors.  Driving at the track causes brakes to get very hot.  Some of the heat is dissipated by the large metal mass of rotors, some is dissipated by the airflow over the rotors, but some heat is transferred through the brake pads to the calipers and the brake fluid in the calipers.  Unfortunately, brake fluid absorbs water from the atmosphere (in technical terms it is “hydroscopic”) and the longer it has been in your brake system, the more water it will have absorbed.  Brake fluid has a very high boiling point (often over 400 °F) but water doesn’t (212 °F).   If the heat transferred to the fluid causes any water in the fluid to boil, steam  is generated and air bubbles form in the brake fluid.  Brake fluid is not compressible (that’s why it’s used) but air bubbles are.  The end result is that the brake pedal will start to get “soft” and will eventually go to the floor with no braking power at all. (If ever you feel your brake pedal going soft, slow down, pump the pedal a few times to get full braking effect back and pull in at the pits as soon as possible.)

If you become a DE regular, change your brake fluid often and use a high-quality, high boiling-point, brake fluid.

Driving Shoes

Purpose designed and made for performance driving, although they may still be worn around the paddock, they

provide excellent ‘feel’ through the soles.

Driving Gloves

Driving gloves serve mainly to allow you to keep a good grip on the wheel.  Good gloves, typically with leather on the palm and fingers, give you a good feel on the steering wheel while also absorbing the sweat from your hands. Choose a contrasting color to your car to help other drivers see your passing signals.

Driving Suit

Primarily of utility to those drivers taking part in Porsche Club Racing, a good quality driving suit can provide several seconds of protection to the driver in the very unlikely event of a fire inside the car.  Think of it as extra insurance!  The more expensive suits are made from an inherently fire resistant material, (Nomex, Kevlar, PBI), while cheaper ones are made from treated cotton fabric (Proban, Fireware).   Generally speaking, the more layers of material, the greater protection is offered.  Besides the fire-resistance of the material itself, the air gap between the layers is also important.

If you go down this route, remember that the driving suit is just one item used for total body protection. The other items include: helmet, head sock (balaclava), helmet skirt, HANS device, gloves, underwear, socks, and

 

shoes.  All these items must work together to achieve total protection.  If any one part is inadequate or fails, it will undermine the effectiveness of the whole.

Head and Neck Restraint device

You may see some drivers wearing an odd shaped contraption attached to their helmets and extending down over their shoulders. This is a head and neck restraint device designed to stop the head from "whipping forward" in a crash. Mandated by many race series, these safety devices are now within the budgetary reach of DE enthusiasts.  However, the use of such a device might require the installation of other safety devices such as a harness for it to function properly.

 

  1. Resources

Where local resources are available these are mentioned.  Remember, your monthly copy of The Porsche Post

contains useful advertisements and articles.

Car Numbers

A local sign shop may be able to help you.  Alternatively contact K.Fab on (212) 229-0722 and ask for Metro NY member George Grenier.  “Solotime” also offers a wide selection of car number solutions at reasonable prices (see advertisement in Panorama).

Helmets

For helmets and other driving apparel and accessories try Dennis at Oval Speed Unlimited (516) 541-7920, or

Victor at VAS Enterprises (516) 775 1060.

Internet

On the Internet there are a plethora of sites dedicated to Porsches.  A small selection follows:

www.metronypca.org - Your own club Web site. Check it periodically for updates

www.pca.org - The Porsche Club of America site. It has useful links to Web sites of all other clubs and regions. www.rennlist.com - The premier Internet resource for the Porsche enthusiast

http://platz.com - Links to everything Porsche on the Internet

Performance Driving Books and Articles

(In no particular order)

Secrets of Solo Racing by Henry Watts

Driving in Competition by Alan Johnson

Going Faster by Carl Lopez/Skip Barber Racing School

Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook by Vic Elford

Speed Secrets – Professional Race Drive Techniques by Ross Bentley

DE Insurance Resources

http://www.everittboles.com

http://www.wsibinsurance.com

http://www.capcoverage.com/motorsports.html

 

  1. Flag Descriptions - READ...UNDERSTAND...AND MEMORIZE

If you are viewing this on a screen or have a color printer the flags below are shown in glorious Technicolor.  If you have a black and white printer use your imagination

flag types descriptions

  1. Personal Checklist

Please feel free to print copies of this for future use

Packed

Item

 

Driver's license

 

PCA membership card

 

Completed Tech Inspection Form

 

Helmet

 

Maps and Directions to the track and hotel

 

Paper towels

 

Window cleaner

 

Tire pressure gauge

 

Duct tape

 

Car numbers or materials for making them

 

Quart of oil

 

Funnel

 

White shoe polish / sneaker whitener

 

Plastic bags; A tarpaulin or large garbage sacks

 

Sun protection: sun screen and a sun hat

 

Insect repellant

 

Rain protection

 

Folding chair

 

Driving clothing

 

Non-Driving clothing

 

Cooler with drinks and ice

 

Food & snacks

 

A pocket knife

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