Thinking About Trying Your Car on the Track? Read this…

With DE season and the Club’s first track days rapidly approaching, here’s a look at how the Club’s mentor program makes it easy for drivers to get involved with performance driving on a race track.  This piece is largely based on an article written for the Air Cooled Advertiser by John H. Shafer.  John served as HCP’s track mentor for a number of years and is currently the 2016 Class C Porsche Club of America Club Racing champion.  Thanks to John for his work on the initial article.

You’re staring at your Porsche in the driveway thinking about how you’ve never really experienced  the car’s full performance.  Hey, if you bought the car to impress your neighbors, it can sit in the driveway. But if you really want to explore what your car can do- along with experiencing the supreme adrenalin rush from finding out, you need to enter the world of Driver’s Education and head to the track.  If  you’ve thought about the track but aren’t sure how to get started and what’s involved, the HCP PCA mentor program is there to help.   The program is straight forward- novices are paired with an experienced driver.  The goal of the program is simple- to provide drivers all the assistance they need to get on world class race track- and to make sure their experience is as exciting and rewarding as possible.  The Club benefits from the program as well. Sponsoring track days is expensive for the Club and costs need to be covered.  If the mentor program increases member participation in DE events, they become economically easier to sustain.

 A primary goal of the track mentor is to increase the comfort level of first time DE participants.  This is done in a number of ways. The mentor ensures a car is track ready by going over a checklist with the mentee before the tech inspection that is required for all cars participating in a DE event. Not sure where to go for a tech inspection in the Capital District?  The mentor knows.  Questions about readying your car, such as, “ What brake pads should I use in my 911?” are questions the mentor can answer. The mentor also provides  a list of items that should be brought to the event to maintain the vehicle and the driver throughout the day.

The mentor also helps create an increased mental awareness in the novice driver by reviewing a list of expectations and requirements  for  the day at the track.  Information about track etiquette, classroom attendance, track rules, the when’s and where’s, and proper nourishment needed to sustain a day of driving is all provided by the mentor. The mentor explains  driving groups and the qualifications and requirements for placement in each group.  If the  mentee has procedural or technical questions but isn’t sure whom to approach, the mentor provides that information.  The mentor also deals with  questions about car performance and concerns about other students and instructors.

The mentor is also concerned with the comfort of the new driver at the track and can provide information on all matters logistical. Where to stay and what’s the  best way to get there?  What’s to eat in Mt. Tremblant?  What is the best route to Mosport, Ontario?  Do I need a passport to enter Canada? Why does Google Maps show a barn where the raceway in Palmer Mass. is supposed to be? What can I do with my family when off track? Who else is going? Can I caravan with someone?  Any logistical questions- the mentor is there to help.

Finally the mentor acts as a companion- someone to “hang out” with before, during and after run sessions;  someone with whom to share dinner; someone to travel with to the event; someone with whom to share tools.   

If you’re ready for the track, the mentor program will help you get there with ease and assurance.  With the help of your mentor, you’ll be able to focus on the reason you decided to try DE in the first place: experiencing the true performance capabilities of your car- and becoming a much better driver in the process.  Linda Klapper is currently the Club’s track mentor.  Linda is an experienced and accomplished driver.  Shoot her an email at and she’ll get you started.  John Shafer is now a racing champion.  He got started at Lime Rock Park.  He writes, “At my first event on a Saturday at LRP, my knees didn’t stop shaking until about Tuesday; I was hooked.”  Get in touch with Linda.  Maybe you’ll be hooked too.


Note:  If you’re interested in DE, keep the DE information session at the Century House in Latham on March 11 in mind.  The session starts at 2:00 pm at the conclusion of the new member’s luncheon.

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PCA-Pacific NW Region Announce 2017 Porsche Parade

Here’s a link for more information on the Parade: Porsche Parade Spokane

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HCP Member Phil Caruso Receives Lifetime Achievement Award [Updated]

For his thirty-five years of work with some of the biggest names in the film industry, HCP member Phil Caruso was recently  honored by the Society of Camera Operators with its lifetime

Phil Caruso with his award

achievement award.  Here’s a piece written by Paul Grondahl of the Albany Times Union that describes Phil’s experiences and accomplishments.  The photo for this post was provided by Phil.  In his words, “It is from a movie with Chris Rock, “I Think I Love My Wife”.  We staged a portion of the NY Auto Show during the summer about 10 years ago.  Porsche contributed a major portion of the background with cars and advert material.  I took the time to photograph Kerry Washington all around the cars and a crew member snapped this one of me, albeit I should have been wearing a cap.”

For more on Phil, his work and his award, visit his website:

Averill Park’s Phil Caruso reflects on Hollywood life


Paul Grondahl

“Photographer Phil Caruso, of Averill Park, has spent 35 years working on movie sets. He silently positions himself just out of range when cameras are rolling, behind the cinematographer’s shoulder, trying to capture lightning in a bottle through a Leica lens during the ineffable alchemy between actors. He made still images during the scenes with screen legends Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro in their only film together, “The Score” (2001). He photographed Tom Hanks running through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine during one marathon Sunday for the cross-country jogging sequence in “Forrest Gump” (1994). He shot stills of DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman acting in “Wag the Dog,” a dark political satire directed by Barry Levinson that wrapped in a remarkably compressed 30-day shoot. It’s Caruso’s work you see on giant movie posters at the cineplex and in promotional images that run in newspapers and magazines.

He’s worked on dozens of feature films with a stellar list of directors, including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis and Terry Gilliam. For the past three years, he’s gravitated to television series that film in New York City, including “Blindspot,” “The Affair” and “The Blacklist.”

His deepest creative collaborations have been with Scorsese and DeNiro, with whom he worked for many years across the span of 25 movies. They’re known as Marty and Bob to Caruso, who also served as DeNiro’s on-call photographer for years at many appearances with the Oscar winner.

On Saturday, Caruso, 60, will receive a still photographer lifetime achievement award from the Society of Camera Operators at a black-tie affair in the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Michael Keaton will receive the Governor’ Award.

He’s been having an out-of-body experience reviewing thousands of film images for a retrospective of his work that will be shown at the awards ceremony. “Oh, my God, I’ve been doing this so long I’ve forgotten more than I remembered,” he said. “I’ve got amazing memories from all the remarkable people and travel I’ve been exposed to, pardon the pun.”

Caruso is short, funny and naturally caffeinated. He’s been referred to as the class clown on set, a stand-up comic with a Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad or Fujifilm camera slung around his neck. He learned when to crack everyone up to relieve tension among cast and crew. He also understands when he needs to hit the mute button and disappear in plain sight.

“It’s about gaining trust and respect,” he said. “I try to anticipate and capture moments on the set and reactions between actors. They have to feel safe and comfortable with me. I’m the observer, careful not to interrupt that moment between the actors and the director.”

In the industry, he’s known as “Still Phil.”

“Phil’s not near the top; he is the top among still photographers,” Jane Rosenthal, a film producer and co-founder with De-Niro of TriBeca Productions film studio in New York, told the Times Union for a 1996 Caruso profile.

He’s credited as a pioneer of digital photography in the film industry, starting in the early 1990s. He’s a self-described technology geek and early adopter. Starting five years ago, he swapped out his DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras for Nikon and Fujifilm mirrorless digital cameras that work in silence without a shutter’s click — crucial on a set with cameras rolling.

During a New Orleans childhood that resembled “Cinema Paradiso,” Caruso was allowed to operate his father’s 16mm film projector starting at age 7. His parents invited friends to the house on screening nights. His father, Vincent Caruso, an entrepreneur who made documentaries and also ran a catering hall, died of a heart attack at 41. Phil was 8. His world was shattered. He escaped to the movies.

“I can remember being blown away by ‘The Magnificent Ambersons,’ a black-and-white film by Orson Welles. I analyzed Welles’ lighting and angles and how he structured the set. I was 10,” Caruso recalled.

He inherited his father’s extensive collection of film and photography equipment. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans and started a production company with two buddies in his hometown after graduation. He got his early break with Howard’s creation of Imagine Entertainment and worked on Howard’s early movies, including “Backdraft” (1991). Caruso is still in touch with his New Orleans photography pals. Several will travel to L.A. to see him receive the lifetime achievement award.

“I’m incredibly proud of Phil receiving this award. It’s an endorsement of his accomplishments from peers in the industry and that means a great deal,” said his wife, Kathy Caruso. The couple met on the set of “The Age of Innocence” (1993), directed by Scorsese. She worked as a production assistant and several scenes were shot in Troy. They married the following year.

The couple will travel to the Hollywood ceremony with their children: Vincent, a Marist College sophomore who hopes to become a lawyer; and Sarah, a senior marketing major at Manhattan College who has an internship at Paramount Pictures in Manhattan, focused on distribution. They keep it all in the family. Their children’s grandfather is Bill Kennedy, novelist and screenwriter, who lives just down the road in Averill Park.

“Bill writes the scripts, I’m on the production side and Sarah’s in distribution,” Caruso said.

Roll credits.”

Posted in Featured Story, For Our Members | Tagged | 1 Comment

February’s Drive and Dine: Back to The Roaring 20’s

Join Andy Dorman and Amanda Brinke at Roxxi Tart’s 1920’s Speakeasy Review and step back in time for an evening’s entertainment 1920’s style.  The Review is packed with chills and thrills, music and dancing, and magic and comedy- all wrapped in the setting of a 1920’s speakeasy.   Guests are encouraged to come dressed for the period and join in the fun of reliving the roaring 20’s!

The show is Saturday, February 25th at Hudson Harbor Steak & Seafood, 351 Broadway, Albany.  Doors open at 7 pm, show starts at 8 pm.  For additional information please visit the Review’s website:

Dinner is available if you want to make it a “Dinner and a Show” evening.  Check the restaurant’s website for their menu:   The restaurant offers a full bar.

The cost for the show is $20, payable at the door.

If you’d like to attend please make your reservation with Andy Dorman  [ ] no later than 2/20/17

If you have a question about this event please call Andy at 518 573-5176




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Monthly Dinner-Business Meeting Date Announced

Here’s a list of Club dinner-business meeting dates and sites for 2017.  This info can also be found on the blog calendar.

No meeting January and February.  All meetings are on Monday unless noted.  Monday meetings begin at 6:30 pm.

  • March 3- New Country Porsche of Clifton Park
  • April 3- Bavarian Rocket Science
  • May 1- Bul Automotive
  • June 11- Picnic [Sunday]
  • July 10- New Country
  • August 7- Bavarian Rocket Science
  • September 11- German Auto Parts
  • October 2- New Country

November- Banquet  December- Holiday Party  Details TBA

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A “Thank You” from Saratoga County EOC

HCP’s 2016 charitable efforts included a gift of $1040 to the Saratoga County EOC to support that agency’s wide ranging efforts to help those in need in Saratoga County. Here’s the “Thank You” note our president, Jim Morgan, recently received from the agency.  Our gift, which will do so much good,  represents the proceeds from the silent auction that was conducted at the annual banquet in November.

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The New Year is Here: First Drive and Dine of the Season is Scheduled

Kick off HCP’s 2017 activities calendar and join your fellow club members for Sunday Brunch @ the finish line of the 55th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Sunday January 29 from 10:30-2:40 pm. 

This event will be held at Prime @ Saratoga National ( ) We have secured the luxurious, heated back patio overlooking the golf course for our private event.  For those who want to socialize in comfort, the patio will have plush couches and have private access to the outdoor fire pit.  For those who will be entranced by the race, there will be a huge flat-screen TV for the Finish of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, North America’s premier sports car event. ( )  This does not even begin to describe the amazing Sunday brunch (click on link to see brunch menu) and other SURPRISES.   In preparation for Prime National to be able to give us the utmost service, I will need to give them a headcount.  So, it is very important that you RSVP no later than January 23, 2016 to .  Estimated cost including tax and gratuity will be $40.00 per person paid on the day of the event.

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Improving the 996 / 997 Turbo Wing Lift Mechanism

David J. Cooper

Rally Sport Region.


A few years ago, my Porsche® 996 Turbo’s hydraulic wing lift system failed… twice…  The first failure was before I bought the car.  I purchased my 2002 Turbo knowing that the wing did not go up and down as it should.  Being an engineer, I thought it must certainly be a rather simple repair.   Researching a few popular online 996 Turbo forums, there was quite a bit of advice on how to fix the problems with the hydraulic wing system. 

Step 1 was removing the 3-piece hydraulic mechanism from my Turbo’s back lid and disassembled it on my work bench.

Removal of the 3-piece hydraulic system and subsequent troubleshooting took quite a bit of effort – and was a very messy job with power steering fluid leaks and drips.   But I was driven to find the root cause of failure and finally discovered plastic components that had partially melted inside the 12V motor along with the PS fluid leaks.  It was clear that the system was never intended to be refilled, much less regularly maintained.  Once the motor was repaired and the hydraulics refilled, bled, tightened up and bench tested, the mechanism was installed back into my Turbo.  Problem solved…I was proud of my repairs.







Just a few months after the rebuild, one of the hydraulic rams catastrophically failed, leaking PS fluid down the back bumper and into the engine bay.  The wing was stuck up on one side and wouldn’t move.


Further research verified that the hydraulic ram cylinders cannot be rebuilt without cutting them apart to replace leaking internal seals – then resoldering the assembly back together.  From stories on the forums, it became apparent that there are a quite a few failure modes:

  • Drive motor overheating (my root cause problem)
  • Leaking ram o-ring(s) (my other root cause problem)
  • Leaking banjo fitting(s)
  • Leaking syringe pump seal(s)
  • Broken plastic plunger block
  • Malfunctioning micro-switch(es)
  • Broken ram spring(s)
  • Deteriorated shaft wiper seal(s)
  • Contaminated fluid
  • etc.

Why would such a failure prone mechanism ever be installed on the 996 Turbo?  Further research revealed that Porsche® designed and patented a “Motor vehicle with a rear end spoiler device”, or the bi-wing design, that for the first time provided negative lift (or downforce) on the Turbo.  Porsche needed a dual cylinder lifting mechanism for such a wing and went outside to find the mechanism.  A hydraulic mechanism was designed, patented and supplied by a German supplier to Porsche in time for the 5th generation water cooled turbo production start in 2000.  This same hydraulic mechanism was used for the Carrera GT wing and again for the 6th generation 997 Turbo wing.  It was clear to me that there had to be a better device for raising and lowering the wing.

My engineering instincts kicked in, causing me to wonder how to improve the overly complex, and failure prone hydraulic wing lift mechanism.  

My goal was to design and build a simple all-electronic wing lift mechanism for my car that is robust, yet easy to install and work on without special tools.  I searched for a 12 volt electric ram and found devices that are used to position photovoltaic panels in the desert.  Perfect for placement under the Turbo’s lid!  I then designed CAD prototype parts and had them machined for trial fitting.  A local water-jetter and machinist were secured to produce the various prototype parts out of billet aluminum:













The next challenge was figuring out the electronics, which was the most time consuming piece of the puzzle.  In the stock Turbo, should the wing not move, or extend up all the way, or take too long to deploy, the dreaded Spoiler Warning is displayed on the instrument cluster.

It was necessary to understand the switch logic and reverse engineer what the original programmers had coded into the cluster ECU in order to circumvent the warning.  After completing the ladder logic, I made a prototype electrical gizmo with relays and programmable timers mounted to a plywood board for in-car testing.  It functioned perfectly to circumvent the warning. 


The final challenge was figuring out how to fit all of the electronic components into a small waterproof box – with that piece done, it was mission accomplished:  Lighter, More Robust, 3 Heights, Virtually Plug & Play and NO MORE HYDRAULICS!

After all this work, I wondered if an electric wing lift mechanism might be desired by other 996 Turbo owners?  As it turns out, the 4th most popular post on a well-attended 996 Turbo forum, at 55,911 views, is “996 TT rear spoiler problems – Help!”  The original idea was to improve upon the factory hydraulic system in my car, but maybe others would benefit from a solution to replace their dysfunctional spoiler mechanisms. 

To find out, I created a post on the same 996 Turbo forum titled “Beta Testers Needed for Electric Spoiler Rams”.  In short order, 24 fellow 996 turbo enthusiasts stepped up to test out my new wing lift kit and provide feedback.  Currently, my “Beta Testers” post is in the top 15 with 27,958 views. 

I had my answer.  Early in 2015, I created a company called Rennkit to provide a replacement electric actuation system for the wing hydraulics on 996 Turbos.  Any new company must hand out titles.  I chose President, and my wife was awarded the title of Chief Bubble Wrap Officer (CBWO).  The first “eRam” kit was installed on my 996 Turbo in March, 2015, followed closely by the two dozen beta testers.


The Rennkit website was launched to explain the infamous factory hydraulic system and failure modes and to provide details about the distinctive eRam wing actuation system.  The electric wing lift mechanism was unique enough to file for a provisional patent.  The final check was high speed track testing; which took place at our club’s annual Grattan Raceway DE event and again at another club’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course weekend DE event.  The highest extension version is the 4” eRam, which added more rear downforce to improved lap times.

With Rennkit up and running, the next development was for the 997 turbo eRam kit, which was accomplished 6 months later.  The first 977 turbo eRam beta tester claimed 200 MPH runs with his 3” eRam kit installed. 

At the moment, I don’t have any plans to develop a kit for the Carrera GT, unless that one-off request comes in.  So, what quirky part on your Porsche® should be reimagineered? 

Editors Note:  If you’re interested in Dave Cooper’s wing lift mechanism you can email him at or visit his website at Dave offers  a 5% discount to PCA members.


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2017 Autocross Schedule Announced

Autocross chair Matt Rutten has announced 2017’s autocross schedule.  Events are planned for May 7, June 18, September 10 and October 8.  All dates are Sundays.  Currently plans call for all events to be held at the McCarty Ave. parking lot in Albany; however, Matt is working on securing the SPAC parking lot for the May and October dates. Stay tuned.  Autocross dates as well as the dates for all other club activities can be found on the blog calendar.  The entire schedule for 2017 should be posted soon.

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John H. Shafer Does It Again

Congratulations to Hudson Champlain member John H. Shafer for winning the 2016 Class C Porsche Club of America Club Racing championship.  It’s John’s third consecutive victory driving his 1984 928S.  Here’s a press release announcing John’s victory:



A Warner Bay, Lake George, man has won the Class C national championship in the Porsche Club of America Club Racing program for 2016, for the third year in a row.  The award will be presented on Feb 2 at a dinner in Sebring, Florida prior to the first Porsche Club Race of 2017.

John H. Shafer, 79, in his third year competing, won the award by accumulating the highest number of points nationally over several road races on four different race tracks.  The second place driver is from the Rocky Mountain Region of the Porsche Club of America.   Shafer drives a 1984 Porsche 928S that has been modified from a street GT car to a race car fully meeting the Porsche Club’s stringent equipment safety standards.   Points are awarded for entering and finishing a race as well as for finishing position in each race.  Shafer earned points in two races at

John’s son passing him on No Name Straight during this year’s race at Lime Rock Park. Photo courtesy CVR.

Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and at Summit’s Point Raceway in WVa.  He also earned points in races at Watkins Glen International and at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Mosport, Ontario, Canada.  Again in 2016, Shafer and his 928 also was given two Corner Workers Award, one at Mosport and one at Summits Point.  These awards, coveted by the racers, are based on voting by the dozens of volunteers staffing the safety flag stations around the race track.  Voting is based on the cars appearance, safe driving during the race and other personal factors.  

To enter Class C, with a weight to horsepower rating of about 13, the Porsche 928S has to be basically stock and weigh a minimum of 3401 pounds.  In addition to a roll cage, harnesses and other safety equipment, modifications may be made only to the suspension and exhaust systems.  At each track, several classes compete in the same races.  Most classes are faster than Class C, and as an example, Shafer says: “At Watkins Glen I’m on track racing with 70 other cars.  Reaching over 120 miles per hour and being passed by other cars in faster classes is a great adrenalin rush, even at my age”.  “PCA officials love to see the 928 racing as there are not many still competing with the newer models.  With headers and a straight exhaust, that aluminum V8 sounds like a NASCAR, everybody loves the sound”, Shafer said.  

Shafer’s son John S. also races a Porsche, most time in the same races.  Shafer Sr. says: “it is a great father/son activity.  While I have more horsepower, I still can’t keep him behind me, particularly in the corners.  He’s a better driver and thank goodness he is in a different race class”.  
Prior to his current position as President of Spectra Engineering, Architecture & Engineering, PC, Mr. Shafer retired from the position of Executive Director of the New York State Thruway Authority where he is credited with rebuilding the travel plazas, several highway safety features on the superhighway and also bringing EZPass to the Thruway and the toll roads in the northeast.


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Got New Mexico?

Here’s an announcement from our sister region out west.  If you’re thinking of a road trip in your Porsche next season, Fiesta New Mexico looks like a great time.  

The Roadrunner Region of the PCA is proud to announce the 2017 Fiesta New Mexico, a four day, multi-activity event to be held in Santa Fe, NM on May 25 – 28, 2017.  You are cordially invited to to visit the Land of Enchantment next May for what promises to be a truly exceptional event.


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It was all going swell, until the bolt head sheared off….


Allen Schwartz makes another stop along his “Long and Whining Road” as he tackles his first brake job…

You may recall my post from last spring when I lamented the fact that I was raised in NYC by a father who was mechanically challenged.  I grew up in a tool-less world, no garage, no parts lying around to fiddle with, no one fixing anything, showing me how to use a wrench or telling me what a Philips was.  The result was a lifelong challenge as to all things mechanical; when something needed to be fixed, I “paid other men to do that.” It’s not that I didn’t want to do these things (like hang wallpaper, build a table, or change my oil), or that I was unable to when given the chance and a bit of guidance.  It was simply that I never developed the skills or confidence to do them. I was envious of guys who could.  I always longed to get my hands really dirty.


When I joined our club, I met several men who were the exact opposite of me. (Note to feminists: there are no doubt many mechanically gifted women in the club too; I just haven’t met them yet!)  These are men who know how to take things apart and put them back together again without losing anything, or bleeding!  They don’t worry when something breaks, or doesn’t work right away, or even fit together. They keep at it, figure out work-arounds, and simply assume they can do it.  They are imaginative and confident, and usually succeed.  And…they have tools.  Lots and lots of tools.


So I was signed up for a DE day at Limerock this past August, and the mechanic who does my tech checks said I was going to need new front brake pads and rotors in order for him to pass me. I mentioned this to two friends in the club, John Pellerin and Matt Rutten, asking them where they go to get a good, inexpensive brake job.  To my utter amazement, they both chimed in, “Al, we’ll do it for you. You won’t believe how easy it is!  It’ll take an hour!” 


I was incredulous and unsure if I should accept the offer. I’m conditioned to pay for work!  My lovely wife was skeptical. “Wait, let me get this – you’re going to fix your own brakes, and then expect me to get in the car with you?  Yeah, that’ll happen!”  But both guys insisted that they actually enjoyed doing brake jobs, and that it would be fun showing me how! Imagine that. Now you see why I don’t do these jobs myself: I would never describe working under a car as fun.  Repairs make me nervous.  But what did I know?  So I accepted with gratitude. I would finally learn the secrets of my Boxster’s front end, and just maybe I’d get my hands really dirty.


John told me the parts to buy. I needed obvious things like German-made brake pads and rotors to fit my exact model Porsche. But I also needed to get weirder things like “rotor retaining screws,” “caliper bolts,” “caliper spring clips,” “spring retaining rods,” and my favorite, “cotter pins for the spring retaining rods.”  Whoa!  I was actually going to find out what these parts did!  During the week, I visited German Auto Parts (GAP). A small bag with tiny screws, springs, rods, clips, and pins cost $78!, but John and Matt reassured me that I probably would not need this bag because some of my existing parts could be reused.  This alarmed me. I don’t reuse dental floss, but I’m going to reuse parts that brake my car from 100 mph?  Okay fine.  The guy at GAP said if I didn’t open the bag, I could return it; so I bought it.  But reusing brake parts would take some convincing.


I drove my car up to John’s house in Saratoga on a bright Saturday morning, parts in tow. (Unfortunately, Matt could not make it, but he loaned us a T-55 Torx bit and brake pad spreader which are indispensable for this job.)  I took my jacket off and said hello to John’s wife Fran in the kitchen. By the time I got back to the garage, John had already jacked up the left wheel, placed a stand under the frame, and was removing the tire and rim.  “Wait,” I said.  “I want to see how you did that!”  So John patiently lowered the car and showed me what he had done in those five minutes.  Given those same five minutes on my own, I would have made two mistakes, cut my finger, and needed to go into the house for a bandage.  But John has been working on cars since his mid-teens, and over the years has done all kinds of repairs and modification projects. He was impressively fast and confident.  It was soon clear that my role was going to be keeping track of what we were doing, handing John parts and tools, and holding the flashlight.  I did this very well. That was fine with me, because soon John was on his back under the front end, looking up at things and poking around.  Now, I can definitely lie down on my back under a car.  It’s just that lately, getting up is the problem. So I resigned myself to watching, learning, and trying to be helpful.


With the wheel removed, John exposed the brake rotor (or disk) and caliper, revealing how the caliper is secured to the wheel carrier (the thing that the wheel sits on). The rotor is held on with two little retaining screws (Note: tiny replacements are found in my $78 GAP goodie bag). “They don’t really do anything,” John said of these screws. “The wheel and wheel bolts actually hold the rotor, but these screws just keep it in place while you put the wheel back on.”


It was time to remove the rotor retaining screws. The first screw came off the rotor easily.  But the second screw resisted.  John twisted the screw driver harder, and then suddenly the screw driver broke free; the Philips head had been stripped!  “I stripped the screw head!  Whoever put this on never applied anti-seize! But no problem, we’ll just extract it.”  John looked through his hundreds of tools, neatly arranged in his five-foot-high tool chest. But no extractor!


Off to Home Depot for our first trip (can you see where this is headed?).  I offered to buy the extractor, but no, John said he needed one, so he paid for it. We were home in 20 minutes.  The extractor did not work.  After some thought, John grabbed his Dremel tool and cut a slot in the screw head, converting the stripped Philips head into a conventional slotted screw head.  Brilliant solution! A large screwdriver and penetrating oil ultimately took care of that second screw.


However, before removing the rotor, we had to move the caliper brake assembly off the rotor and swing it out of the way, because you can’t slide the rotor off while the brake pads are holding it.  John used a large wrench (the one we got from Matt) to un-torque the caliper bolts that hold the brake assembly to the wheel carrier. These are 3½ inch long heavy black bolts that seemed just right for my brakes – heavy, dark, and strong!  And these bolts, we were told, are never to be re-used, which seemed smart. They only torque properly once.  I had bought four of these bolts for $3 a piece as replacements (the Porsche dealer wanted $7.50). John removed the bolts and handed them to me, reminding me to keep them separate from the new bolts, which looked identical.  Having freed up the caliper brake, John slipped it off the rotor, and artfully hung it from a twisted wire shirt hanger off to the side (yes, a wire hanger, like duct tape, can do so much!). 


One last maneuver was necessary. A flexible brake line for the left front caliper runs down to the wheel (this hydraulic tube activates the brake pistons when you want to stop, thereby squeezing the pads hard on the rotor).  That brake line is held in place by a bracket that screws into the wheel carrier, to keep the line from getting twisted, crimped, or otherwise interfering with the nearby wheel spinning at high revolutions.  John carefully loosened the screw that holds the brake line bracket in place, and moved the brake line out of the way. 


Before getting to work on the brake, with the caliper off of the rotor and out of the way, we put on the shiny new rotor on and attached it with two new rotor retaining screws, given that the original ones were well mangled in their removal.  Now, we could finally put our effort on the caliper itself – the guts of this job! 


I’d heard about caliper brakes, seen them through the rim, but never naked and out in the open like this! It was like watching an operation once the surgeon has moved the intestines away, revealing a liver for the first time!  The worn pads and other parts of the disk brake were easy to see. The pads were the size of small kitchen sponges and had sensors on wires that detect when they were worn out. A very clever mechanism, part mechanical and part electronic, but easy to understand. In order to take out the worn pads, you have to remove all those little parts that come in my $78 bag – a cotter pin, then the rod it holds in place that presses down on the “pad springs” that hold the pads in, then the wear sensor, and finally the worn pads. When all these little parts were removed, the pads slid out easily. I could not believe it was actually happening just like it was supposed too!


Things were going quickly now. John showed me that those old little rods, springs, and pins were fine to reuse, and he cleaned them to the point where they looked exactly like the new ones in the bag. That was $78 back in my pocket!  He quickly slid the new pads in place, inserted the sensors, put back the spring assembly, retaining rod, and cotter pin.  He swung the caliper assembly into place on the new rotor, with the brand new brake pads straddling it.  He then took two of the new black caliper bolts and torqued them into place at precisely the recommended pounds of tension to secure the caliper assembly. He was about to put the wheel back on when suddenly, he took a deep breath and muttered a mild expletive. To our dismay, he had forgotten to put the brake line back in place and reattach the bracket screw! He tried to do that without removing the caliper assembly, which was blocking his hands and his vision, but in the end he had to remove the caliper we had just installed, meaning that those new caliper bolts, the ones we were never supposed to ever re-torque, would have to be purchased and reinstalled again. (By the way, no one else thought that was really necessary, since the bolts were never driven on, but John would not let me drive at Limerock with caliper bolts that had been torqued twice!)


Are you following me so far, because I’m beginning to impress myself!  It turns out you can understand how a car works when the curtain is pulled away and what you’re seeing is explained to you by someone who knows what he’s doing.  And I was doing a spectacular job of holding the flashlight.


So the caliper was removed a second time and John found the hanging brake line with the bracket and tried to screw it into the wheel carrier.  It was at a very awkward angle, and the screw kept dropping to the floor.  Finally, John seemed to get it aligned with the screw hole and it began to go in.  He turned it and turned it and then suddenly…oh no!…the screw head twisted off.  Broke right off!  Unfortunately, that screw had gone in at a slightly bad angle, so that it cross-threaded and as John pressured it, the head twisted right off.  More gentlemanly expletives followed.


John was annoyed with himself.  He had done this job 20 times and wanted to show me how easy it was.  Never had things quite like this happened on his 911 brake jobs. Instead he seemed to be confirming that even experienced engineers have problems fixing things. At this point I would have given up, towed the car to the dealer, and let him fix it for $600.  But John was totally unfazed — just pissed off.  The problems we encountered were mostly because whoever had done my last brake job hadn’t used the right fluids to lock screws in place in a way that allows them to be removed when the time comes. You see, in order to do mechanical work on cars correctly, aside from tools you need fluids!  John had six different spray cans that allowed him to lubricate parts, clean parts, release screws, hold them in place when you tightened them, and so forth.  Blue sprays, red sprays, clear sprays, even sprays (I showed him) that were banned for sale in the United States because they cause infertility in mice.  But those were European mice. I digress.  So it turns out to work on a car you need dozens of tools, liquids, nuts, bolts, screws, lights, stands, sleds, lifts, vise grips, rags and so many other things. Too late for me.


John tried in vain to extract the headless screw shaft that was left in the thread hole (yes, using the very same extractor from our first Home Depot trip!), but nothing gripped.  So, off to Home Depot for the second time where he would now buy a “tap and die,” a tool that allows you to create a screw thread precisely the diameter you need, or in this case ream out the existing screw thread and make it usable again. (Honestly, have you ever made just one trip to Home Depot to finish any job?)  John really knows what he’s doing, having done this type of tool work in physics labs during his training as a material science engineer. By the time he consulted with the tool guy at Home Depot, found the right tap and die set, and we returned home, we were three hours into the job and still on the first wheel.  John was falling short on his one hour time estimate, but I felt quite the opposite. I got the chance to see a skilled mechanic deal with adversity. Despite my anxiety, he was always certain he could fix it.  He kept going, step by step, and in the end he succeeded. That’s a very good life lesson.


The rest of the repair is easy to describe. It went perfectly. John created a new thread for the bracket retaining screw with the tap and die, secured the brake line bracket, re-installed the  caliper assembly (properly lubricated for the next guy doing the job, probably not me!), and put the wheel and tire back on.  He torqued the lug nuts to the proper tension.  Twice!  Left side done!


The identical job – replacing the right front brakes and rotors — took 30 minutes, just as he had expected it would.  Not a single snag.  John is not a man who makes the same mistakes twice.  We were done with the whole job in four hours — three for the left side, one for the right side.  Then John took me out for a ride and showed me how to “bed” the pads by braking hard from increasingly higher speeds.  Later on in the week, at John’s insistence, I brought him two new caliper bolts and he replaced the ones on the left side that he had torqued twice.  He could now breathe easy.  If I killed myself at Limerock, it wouldn’t be because of his front brake job!


I’ve been driving on those front pads and rotors for five months now, on the track, at Autocross, and in my normal driving. They perform perfectly. Every so often, I am awestruck by the fact that we did this ourselves (“we” may be somewhat generous, but I was there!).  If I could roll back the clock, I’d have liked to tear down an engine in my life, and see how all those pieces fit together. Or a transmission or a clutch.  It’s all fascinating to a guy like me from the Bronx, that you can actually trust your own work if you do things right.


I want to thank John (and Matt) again for taking the time to demystify my Porsche by showing me how these things are done.  As a fitting coda to the story, I took my car back to my mechanic to get that tech check before Limerock, and he asked me who had done my brakes?  I told him that a couple of guys from the club showed me how to do it.  Rather than seem impressed, he just shrugged.  “Yeah, It’s pretty easy, isn’t it?” 


If you’re not from the Bronx, it is.




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Sarartoga County EOC Says “Thank You” For Our Club’s Recent Donation



HCP President Jim Morgan recently received this letter from  the Saratoga EOC thanking our Club for our $1040 donation raised from the silent auction conducted at our  2016 banquet held on November 5th.  As Ms. Jo Anne Hume’s letter indicates, our contribution will help over 600 families have a happier Thanksgiving.

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What Cars Do the Affluent Purchase?

So what vehicles are affluent car buyers purchasing  these days?  Jim Gorzelany, writing for TMW Features, answers the question by offering a list, compiled by Edmunds, of the best selling cars among buyers with annual incomes over $250,000.   So, what would be on your list of the top-ten selling vehicles?  Click  the PDF link below to see how well you did picking the winners.





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Update: HCP Charity Efforts for 2016

A lot of kids will be warmer this winter thanks to the work of HCP members on this year’s Coats for Kids drive.  The campaign collected an astounding seventeen bags of winter coats, hats and gloves that Jim and Kerri Morgan and George Earle delivered to the City Mission of Schenectady on behalf of HCP.  In 2015 the Mission provided over 35,000 nights of shelter to community members in need.  Along with short and long term housing the Mission also offers food and clothing to those who stay at the Mission’s shelters.  Last year the Mission distributed over 1000 coats.  HCP’s seventeen bags of winter clothing will be well used.

Of course, the Coats for Kids drive is only one part of HCP’s charitable efforts.  Donations to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York at this year’s annual picnic totaled $477.  The Food Bank, which distributes food to shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens and other locations where there is a need, estimates each dollar donated enables the distribution of ten dollars worth of food. Picnic contributions also supported Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  The $824 donated will support the breeding, raising and training of dogs that are provided to visually impaired people.


HCP President Jim Morgan and EOC Community Program Director Lillian McCarthy

In addition, the silent auction conducted at this year’s banquet raised $1040 for the Saratoga County EOC  which has been the community action program in Saratoga County for over 42 years.  HCP’s donations will help the EOC continue to offer a wide range of services.  The agency provides counseling, training, and advocacy programs,  maintains  a food pantry, operates a soup kitchen, supports families in need at the holidays- and much more.

HCP members have one more charitable opportunity this year. If you’re coming to the annual holiday party, please don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy which will be donated to the Marine’s annual Toys for Tots drive.

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HCP Members Come Together for Annual Banquet

It was a long and winding road, er, driveway, that brought 120 HCP members to Malozzi’s Clubhouse for the 2016 edition of the Club’s annual banquet.  A cocktail hour and a chance to socialize gave way to an excellent dinner and a PowerPoint presentation that offered members a recap of another successful Club year: DE from Watkins Glenn to Lime Rock; Drive and Dines from Polo to antique cars; a snowstorm threatened October get-away to the 1846 Islands and a June picnic with weather reminiscent of February.  All based, as Treasurer Will Waldron reported, on a sound financial foundation.  The silent auction that accompanied the dinner continued a tradition of HCP giving, this year’s proceeds going to the Saratoga County EOC. Look for another chance to support the Club’s charitable efforts at the December Holiday party.  Admission to the event is a new, unwrapped toy which will be donated to the annual Toys for Tots drive.  Watch for an email from Jim with details on the get-together. 

As this Club year comes to an end and most of us contemplate a winter with our cars in the garage, take heart.  Next year offers another wealth of activities- among them, for the first time, a spring  weekend get-away.  Activities Chair Louis Dahoda is hard at work planning an overnight trip to Lake Placid and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.  Should be a great time.  Stay tuned.



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HCP’s Weekend Get-Away: 2016 Edition

Clayton, New York:  Birthplace of 1000 Island Dressing and the destination for 2016’s HCP Get-away weekend.  Actually, the Iroquois arrived in the area a bit ahead of the Club, hunting and fishing in the region as early as 700 AD.  They probably didn’t arrive in Porsches and it’s unlikely they plied the waters on an Uncle Sam’s paddle wheeled tour boat. They did recognize the area’s grandeur, naming it Manitouana- the Garden of the Great Spirit.

The Garden, given special biosphere reserve status by UNESCO in 2002, stretches fifty miles from the point at which the St. Lawrence flows from Lake Ontario to the Canadian city of Kingston.  Across those river miles lies the archipelago dubbed the “1000 Islands”- a misnomer since there are actually 1864 islands in the chain.  They vary in size from forty square mile Wolfe Island to those that meet the minimum island definition- at least one square foot, above water year-round and able to sustain at least one tree and one plant [some say two trees].  A few are man-made. Two thirds of the islands belong to Canada, the rest are in U.S. territory.  

The highlight of the get-away was a two-hour “Two Nations” cruise on the St. Lawrence which crossed the international boundary line running down the river- generating cell-phone messages warning of international data use fees.   The majesty of the river wasn’t diminished by the day’s cold, raw and windy weather; it was clear why so many were drawn to live along it and why so many have chosen to build homes on its islands- the most spectacular of which are found on the islands of “millionaires row”, off the shores of Alexandria Bay. These residences, built around the turn of the 20th century, are paeans to the immense wealth of the captains of industry and finance who commissioned them:  Frederick Bourne, president of Singer Sewing Machine Company; George Pullman of rail car fame; John Noble, the founder of the Life Saver candy company and George Boldt, the millionaire proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City- among others.

Boldt’s castle on Hart [originally Heart] island may be the most renowned river home.  Ironically, no one has ever lived in the six story, 120 room Rhineland-style castle that Boldt commissioned as his family’s summer residence in 1900.  With the death of his wife Louise in 1904, Boldt ordered all construction stopped, unable to imagine his dream castle without his beloved.  For seventy-three years the unfinished castle languished, subject to the elements and occasional vandalism. In 1977, the 1000 Islands Authority took possession of the castle for one dollar and began restoring and rehabilitating the structure- but only to the point at which construction had ended in 1904.  To honor Boldt’s wishes, the castle will never be finished.  Over 200,000 people visit the castle annually- its yearly economic impact on the region estimated at $40 million.  Being a seasonal attraction, HCP members weren’t able to tour the home; still, views of the castle from Uncle Sam’s boat were stunning.

Not all island homes are residences of the very wealthiest.  The cost of building and maintaining a house on an island aside, some residences are truly tiny, occupy virtually all available land and are home to a wide variety of folk including the guy who just wanted a good place to fish.  Here’s a look at some of these smaller homes:

The forth heaviest October snow on record fell  in the Capital Region on the eve of the trip, making it fitting that the group stayed in a hotel built on the site of the former Frink Snow Plow Company.  It was Carl Frink who gave the world the double-winged V-plow.  By the morning of the trip, a Frink plow wasn’t needed; still many members left their Porsches home.  The specter of salt on a Porsche is an ugly thing.   The hotel,  likely familiar to Club members who’ve stayed at its twin sister in Watkins Glen, proved a gracious host, providing a beautiful setting for the thirty-four Club members on the trip to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

So, 1000 Island Dressing.  The story, which may be apocryphal as no written documentation exists, goes like this:  Sophia LaLonde, wife of fishing guide George LaLonde, concocted the recipe to serve at dinner to George’s clients and other guests- one of whom was actress May Irwin.  So impressed was Irwin with the dressing, she requested the recipe and passed it to along to George Boldt, of castle fame, who instructed his maitre de hotel to put it on the Waldorf-Astoria menu in 1894.  This Club member never saw a drop of it on the trip.  Certainly a reason to go back next summer.


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Running Out of Garage Space?

If you are looking for more garage space, or are just curious to see what is out there, here is a sample!  I am a Realtor, and thought our members might like to see what’s available; so, with permission of the board, I will compile a weekly list for the blog.  I am happy to assist you with any of these properties (, or you can forward the information to a Realtor of your choice.  The link is to where you can get a description of the property and see pictures. This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed as it is provided by the listing agent and can be changed by that agent and the seller at any time.  They are listed here with the permission of the listing agent.

Amanda Brinke

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Blake, REALTORS

1745 Rte 9,  Clifton Park, NY 12065

518.371.5830 fax

“I appreciate your business and will work for your referrals!”

Click on the address for pictures and more information about the property.

MLS # #Garage Spaces Price Address City/Town County BdRms Baths A/G SQFT Acres Age Taxes DOM
201610544 5 $169,900 372 Halbert Hill Rd.  Butternuts Otsego 3 2 1725 22.07 46 $4,184 145
201614007 6 $319,900 330 Quaker Rd. Pittstown Rensselaer 4 2.1 2608 22.22 10 $10,135 102
201620198 7 $257,500 3330 Route 9N Greenfield Saratoga 3 2 1640 5.74 46 $2,300 24
201607332 5 $299,000 615 FAYVILLE RD Providence Saratoga 3 2.2 2300 0.44 11 $6,251 181
201615671 6 $329,000 187 POTTER HOLLOW RD Providence Saratoga 3 1.1 2100 24.51 22 $5,232 81
201613579 5 $270,000 172 DE DEES WAY Princetown Schenectady 3 3.1 2656 5.63 30 $8,836 89
201522012 6 $265,000 1485 GROVENORS CORNERS RD Esperance Schoharie 4 2 1360 5.4 42 $4,875 374
201610759 5 $299,900 187 FEUZ TER Esperance Schoharie 3 2.1 3106 3.5 31 $11,529 144
201615153 6 $249,000 3336 EAST SCHROON RIVER RD Horicon Warren 2 1 1000 1.5 62 $2,600 89
201619279 6 $289,000 2299 COACH RD Argyle Washington 3 1.1 1326 9.78 216 $2,886 31

Editor’s Note: This post is intended as a service to HCP members; we hope you find it helpful.  Be sure to check the blog for Amanda’s updates.

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Leaf Peepers: HCP’s October Drive and Dine

Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh have a way of picking great roads and places to eat.  How they managed to arrange for a top-down day going into the last part of October- they still have to explain that.  Notwithstanding an explanation for the weather, the Hollenbaughs led a caravan of twenty-two Porsches from the Stuyvesant Plaza parking lot through Rensselaerville to the home of the Calamari King in Ravena on the last Drive and Dine of the season.

According to Bryan, he and Joyce liked the route they laid out so much they drove it again the next day.  It certainly was a drive made for Porsches.  From the sweeping turns on the climb into Rensselaerville on the Delaware Turnpike to the twisting road through the wooded landscape along the Hauverville Creek on descent into Livingstonville, the route constantly served up an interesting driving experience.   Even after leaving the densely forested Helderbergs and the hamlets time seems to have passed by, the route continued to challenge.  The day was planned as a leaf peeping excursion; the autumn  tinged foliage,  lit up by the sun that poked in and out the clouds, added a perfect counterpoint to roads that often demanded a driver’s full attention.

Punctuated with a much needed pit stop at the Milk Run outside of East Dunham, the drive ended at Yanni’s Too along the Hudson in Ravena.  Known for its seafood, and especially its calamari, the pub-themed restaurant offered members a chance to kick back and enjoy lunch and conversation while watching traffic move up and down the river.

Thanks to Bryan and Joyce and to activities chair, Louis Dahoda for their work planning the event.  If you weren’t able to join the Club for the day but are interested in doing the drive, here’s a copy of the route you can print out: leaf-peeping-route

The October Drive and Dine…

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Some Advice for Caring for Your Car’s Most Important Part

Open Roads visits the archives to rerun this bit of technical advice from Tom Dobush at R&D Automotive.  The article first appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of the Air Cooled Advertiser.

Let’s Get Technical…What is the most important part of your car? Give it some thought. Which part is needed in order for all of the vehicle’s systems to operate to their maximum performance and efficiency? When you whittle it down the answer becomes clear. The engine? No. How about the brakes? Negative. Suspension? Transmission? Nope and nope. All of these systems cannot function properly without tires. After all, the tires are the only part of a car that actually makes contact with the road surface.

When you take the example to the extreme it becomes easier to understand. For instance look at any type of auto racing these days, tires are always a big talking point. Differences in brand and compound, whether or not to run slicks, intermediates or full on rain tires. When it comes to the last ten laps of any race, the car with the freshest or best managed tires has the advantage. You can have the most powerful engine on the planet, but if you do not have the correct tires to handle all that power, pretty soon you will just be spinning your wheels.

Big brakes are great, but are only effective when the tires they are connected to have grip. Suspension and steering are equally connected. Tires are at the root of all of these important systems. So if tires are the most important part on any car, why are they so often over looked? It is all too common in the auto repair industry to see very nice cars with either neglected, worn out tires or simply the wrong tires. Discount tire centers are very popular these days as there is a ton of competition in this market segment. Usually good for consumers, competition drives prices down. However in this scenario, it may have pushed prices down too far.

Let me explain. Nowadays, many folks allow their price sensitivity to persuade them into saving a few dollars on brand X tires that are cheaper and supposed to last longer. More bang for your buck, right? Not exactly, the rubber that the tires are made of have a maximum shelf life of five years, and sometimes they sit on the shelf for a year or two before they get sold and installed. Many folks purchase high mileage tires that are supposed to last at least fifty thousand miles, but only drive 5-10 thousand miles per year at most. The math doesn’t quite add up. Why not choose tires that have more grip and performance (read: shorter stopping distance, better cornering feedback, i.e. safer) that may only last two years or twenty thousand miles, but increase driving safety and enjoyment dramatically. Over time the cost differences become negligible, especially since the other systems in your vehicle will be operating more efficiently and therefore wear at a slower pace. If this is true for regular daily drivers, it is only exaggerated further in sports cars and weekend toys. Bottom line: tires are the most important part of your vehicle. Period. Don’t skimp on them. Now that we’ve established that fact, the next point of discussion is how we approach taking care of our tires.

Let’s talk tire pressures. There are many schools of thought here and we could discuss this all day but the basics are all you really need to know. Every vehicle has a factory recommendation for correct tire pressures usually located in the owners’ manual, on a sticker in the door jam, trunk or deck lid or in some cases on the gas flap. Do you know what your factory recommended specification for cold tire pressures is? Most drivers do not. If you do, good for you, you are ahead of the game.  If not, find out. An under inflated tire not only wears out more quickly and unevenly but most importantly is a very common and huge safety risk!

Do yourself a favor next time you fill up your gas tank and purchase yourself a stick or pen type tire pressure gauge for a dollar or two and keep it in your glove box or tool kit. Tire pressures should be checked at least once a month at the very minimum. Ideally, you want to check it every time you drive it, just like we would with a race car. This might not be practical or realistic everyday so a fair compromise is once every week to two weeks. Basically as often as possible, even if you have to ask a technician or gas station attendant to do it for you. Do not rely on the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) if your car is equipped with one. It usually states this right in your owners’ manual. The TPMS is meant to supplement an actual gauge. While these systems are helpful in avoiding driving on a flat tire, most systems are not very accurate and will not alert the driver to a slight tire pressure change, which could cause a tire to wear out prematurely or unevenly. Also make sure you have caps on all of your valve stems. The cap is what actually holds the air inside of the tire, the little shrader valve inside the stem is only for letting air in and out and not intended to keep the air in forever..

Let me also address over inflation. It seems many folks see a flat tire warning light and add air to the tires to make the warning light go out, unfortunately it is often way too much! The factory specs are very specific to temperature and load, while the tire often has a maximum inflation pressure on the sidewall. This maximum is not equal to the recommended pressure! Tires that are over inflated will wear out just as quickly as under inflated tires and are just as dangerous because of a reduction in the amount of tire that makes contact with the road. Really, you do not want to be off from the factory specs by +/- 2 psi! The next order of business concerning proper tire usage, wear and safety is your car’s suspension health and alignment. The state of your suspension and alignment can completely change the character of your vehicle from confident to downright dangerous. [Editor’ Note: We’ll be posting Tom’s tech article on suspension and alignment in the near future.]

As always, I greatly appreciate your questions and feedback and can be easily reached at Thanks for reading and happy motoring!

Tom Dobush

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October AC at SPAC

Performing arts of a different sort could be found at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center as twenty-one drivers descended on the SPAC parking lot to test their driving skills at HCP’s last autocross of the season.  It was the Club’s autocross debut at the parking lot.  HCP Autocross Chair Matt Rutten and Club member Laird Conover captured the action with their cameras.  From their photos and Matt’s video,  it appears the parking lot allowed for a challenging course and a good bit of driving fun.

Here’s a look at the day and the results of the action-  hcp-autocross-results-10-2016

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The Last Cars and Coffee?

Say it ain’t so Christian.*  Say it ain’t the last Cars and Coffee of the season.  The rain  held off and the temperature rose into the mid-sixties as four-score or more people hied themselves to Porsche of Clifton Park for the October edition of the dealership’s monthly get together.  Will November’s weather be as kind?  Will there be another C&C this year? One can only hope.

As always the coffee, bagels and pastries offered a treat for the taste buds.  The cars folks drive to the event always offer a treat for the eyes. It’s an eclectic and often exotic collection of vehicles that park in the dealership lot. An unofficial concourse of automotive nobility: Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes, McClaren, Lotus, BMW, Rolls Royce, Ford GT and Mustang, BMW, Jaguar and of course, Porsche.  But the day is really about more than cars and coffee.  It’s a chance for HCP-PCA Club members and car enthusiasts to get together to talk cars – and just maybe, about something else.

Here’s a look at some of the vehicles that made it to Clifton Park on the second Saturday of October:

*Since the baseball playoffs are upon us, it seems fitting to dig into a little history and remember Joseph Jefferson Jackson.  From the day a fan heckled him for batting bare-foot because blisters forced him to take off his cleats, he entered baseball legend as “Shoeless Joe”.

Jackson started playing baseball at thirteen; by twenty-one he was paying his dues in the minor leagues.  He found himself in the American League in 1911; his was an impressive debut. Shoeless Joe’s .408 batting average was second only to Ty Cobb’s and he led the league in on-base percentage.  WWI kept him out of baseball in 1918 but he returned the next year as strong as ever.  As impressive as his .351 season’s batting average was, it was eclipsed by his play in the 1919 World Series- a performance considered one of the greatest in baseball playoff history.  Ironically, it was that series that ended his career.  His heavily favored Chicago White Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians, raising allegations that Jackson and seven of his teammates, the Black Sox as they were dubbed, threw the series in exchange for $5000 bribes.  A  Chicago jury exonerated the men; never-the-less, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis imposed a life-time ban on the eight.

As the story goes When Jackson left the criminal court building in the custody of a sheriff after telling his story to the grand jury considering indictment, he found several hundred youngsters, aged from 6 to 16, waiting for a glimpse of their idol. One child stepped up to the outfielder, grabbed his coat sleeve, said: “It ain’t true, is it, Joe?” “Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is”, Jackson replied. The boys opened a path for the ball player and stood in silence until he passed out of sight. “Well, I’d never have thought it,” sighed the lad.

It’s a poignant story that’s forever sewn into the fabric of baseball lore; but the encounter never really happend. The truth is a bit less dramatic.  After the grand jury returned its indictments, Charley Owens of the Chicago Daily News wrote a regretful tribute headlined, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.” The phrase became legend when another reporter later erroneously attributed it to a child outside the courthouse.

Casual observers of baseball may remember Jackson solely for the Black Sox scandal.  Serious students of baseball know Jackson as one of the all-time greats.  Sporting News has him as number 35 on its list of the 100 greatest players of all time ; but, banned for life, Jackson can not be found in the Baseball Hall of Fame- despite repeated appeals to have his expulsion recinded.  The U.S. House of Representatives even got into the act, passing a non-binding resolution in 1999 urging Major League Baseball to reinstate Jackson. Jackson came from a poor family, starting work in a textile mill at age six.  He never learned to read.  His illiteracy made it almost impossible for him to get a fair hearing before the grand jury that indicted him.  His wife signed much of his memorabilia.  In a testament to his legend and his greatness, the few baseball cards he managed to sign sell for well over $40,000.

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Club Members Come Together for One Moe Time

Moe’s Mexican was on the menu for October’s business-dinner meeting hosted by Porsche of Clifton Park, the last such meeting for 2016.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that members were braving a most unwelcomed six inch snow storm to get to April’s meeting at the dealership.  Sandy Denny once sang, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”  Good question.

img_1036It’s been a good year for the club. Treasurer Will Waldron reported over $85,000 in the Club’s bank account and membership chair Karen Blass announced the Club’s steady growth continues with another four new members.

Although the end of the season is upon us, there’s still a good bit of activity ahead.  Twenty-five cars and forty-eight members are in for October’s Get-Away weekend in the 1000 Islands.  There’s still a chance to hop on the trip- contact Jim Morgan if you’re interested.

A caravan of cars is also expected for Drive and Dine through the Catskills on October 16th.  The trip will feature fall foliage, some interesting driving roads and lunch at Yanni’s Too.  The restaurant is described as a lively, nautically themed seafood img_1039joint at a marina with a pub-grub menu & outdoor dining area. Hard to go wrong with that.  A week before the Catskill drive on Sunday the 9th is the last HCP autocross event of the year.  AC chair Matt Rutten has negotiated use of the SPAC parking lot for what should be a great conclusion to the AC season.

Make sure November 5th and the Club’s annual diner is marked on your calendar. Invitations will soon be arriving in the mail- cost $40 per person.  Even if you aren’t planning to attend the dinner, please consider contributing to the evening’s silent auction.  The auction is traditionally the Club’s largest charity effort of the year; you can help by asking folks with whom you do business to donate a good or service that can be auctioned.  The Club’s annual Coats for Kids drive is also underway.  If you have a coat you no longer wear, consider donating it to the drive.  Cold weather is coming and the need for coats is great.  Last year seventy coats were presented to the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany.  The last Club charity effort of the year will be the Toys for Tots drive conducted in conjunction with the Club’s annual holiday party.  Questions on any of this- contact Jim Morgan for more information.

A couple more events to consider: Porsche of Clifton Park is sponsoring what may be the last Cars and Coffee of the season, this Saturday 10/8.  Stop by for coffee, pastries, bagels, some good conversation and what usually turns into a mini car show.  Speaking of car shows, Porsche of Clifton Park is  sponsoring a show in Ballston Spa on Sunday, October 9th.  The town’s main street becomes a parking lot with over 300 cars on display.  If you’re driving AC that day, check out the show when you’re done.  It’s just a short hop down Route 50.

There was no trip into the garage for a tech session to end the year’s last meeting.  This evening it was all about the man who conducted so many of the sessions for the Club. Porsche of Clifton Park general manager, Christian Trujillo, announced the retirement of Gold Miester Certified Technician Mark Bonesteel.  Mark’s certification makes him one of a very elite group of Porsche technicians worldwide.  He’s been working on Porsches for thirty-four years.  He’s worked on many of our cars.  He certainly deserves the applause he received when his retirement was announced.  Best wishes to Mark.



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A Ferrari Family Car?

This one caught my eye.  According to a CNN report,  Ferrari is making a family car. The company unveiled the V-8 equipped GTC4Lusso T at the Paris auto show this week. According to the company, the car is intended to provide a fun and exciting driving experience, even at low speeds.  Huh? Low speeds with a car that puts out 602 HP and races to 60  mph in 3.5 seconds?  Make sure the kids are buckled in their car seats the dog is tied down. Although it’s a family car, it’s unlikely that many families will be cruising to the beach in one given the car’s $260,000 price tag.  Will a station wagon be next?

If you’re the sort that thinks Ferrari and family car don’t belong in the same sentence, take heart.  The company also brought its newest convertible to the Paris show, the LaFerrari Aperta.  The car is the soft-top  brother [sister?] to the  hybrid LaFerrari, a 950 HP supercar that will reach 217 MPH top and drain $2.2 million from your bank account.  Not to worry though- all of the 200 LaFerraris offered for sale were snatched up  before Ferrari even announced the car’s debut.

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Speaking of Paris…

Ferrari isn’t the only car company making a splash at the Paris auto show.  Porsche brought two exciting new cars to the event.  Here’s the company’s press release from Atlanta, Georgia:

Two worlds, two global debuts: At the Paris Motor Show, Porsche is celebrating the debut of two sports cars with completely different characteristics – the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and a 911 racing car. The new sports sedan combines a performance oriented hybrid powertrain and sustainable e-mobility with dynamic handling and luxurious driving comfort. By contrast, a new edition of the world’s best-selling race car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, is reserved exclusively for the race track. The new Panamera range as a whole and the Macan Turbo equipped with the new performance package will also be unveiled to the public in Paris for the first time at the Paris Motor Show. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid delivers a system power of 462 hp thanks to the combination of a 2.9-liter V6 gasoline engine with an output of 330 hp and a 100-kW electric motor. The maximum torque of the vehicle is 516 lb.-ft. with an electric range of up to 31 miles.

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Open House at Unobtanium Revisted: New Photos Added

If you frequent Porsche events in our region, chances are you’ll run into Adam and Matt Wright, owners of Unobtanium.  As restorers and resellers of vintage Porsches, specializing in pre-1974 356s, 911s, and 912s, the brothers make a point of being active participants in the Porsche community- including hosting an annual open house at their garage in Ravena, NY.

As the Wrights tell it, in 2006 they decided to leave unsatisfying jobs in the publishing world and turn their love of old Porsches into a business.  Starting in Brooklyn where they restored and sold their first Speedster, they quickly outgrew their space.  A 10,000 square foot former glove factory in Gloversville, NY with more than a half a mile of shelf space became their new home.  Expanding their business even further, the brothers opened a 5000 foot restoration facility in Ravena, NY- the site of this year’s open house.  The event, attended by Porsche enthusiasts from around the region, featured some good food and a chance to see some of the garage’s restoration projects. According to their website, the Wrights scour the country for the rarest of the rare.  Here’s a look at some of the cars in Ravena thanks to Paul Scoville and Brett Devine.

Slideshow photos by Brett Devine

Thumbnails thanks to Paul Scoville

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A Volunteer’s Look Back at June’s Clash at the Glen

Here’s a look at June’s Zone 1 Clash at the Glen from a volunteer’s perspective provided by Club member Laird Conover.  Laird’s photos and video capture the excitement of the race and the rewards of volunteering.  Volunteers are always needed; contact Club president Jim Morgan if you’d like to get involved.  If you’ve never driven a DE event, Laird’s photos may be the stimulus that will get you on the track next season.  Keep an eye on the blog and calendar for information on next year’s DE events.



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October Drive and Dine: Leaf Peeping Through the Catskills

The changing of the season is upon us and one of the true jewels of living in our region comes with the changing of the leaves.  To enjoy this annual spectacle, we’ve scheduled a terrific D&D over the Helderberg escarpment and across the northern reaches of the Catskills Mountains.  Plenty of scenery to enjoy, complimented by stretches of hill-outlined straightaways and a variety of winding roads through hamlets ending in “Ville” and “Hollow”.  It’ll be an enjoyable two hour run, culminating with a stretch along the Hudson River and ending with lunch at Yanni’s Too, at the Coeymans Landing Marina.  Chef Mark Yanni is known locally as  “The Calamari King”, offering several variations to choose from.  But the menu also plays to mass appeal, with any type of surf, turf or vegetable dish that might take care of your appetite (

The plan is to meet by 10 am at Stuyvesant Plaza, in Albany (1475 Western Avenue, if you’re plugging it into your GPS).  If you’re not familiar with where it is; it’s where the Northway (I-87 South) drops down into Route 20 (Western Ave).  The plaza is just two minutes south of I-90 and has several options for breakfast (Starbucks, Bruegger’s Bagels, Peaches Café and Bountiful Bread).  If you’d like more specifics, feel free to contact Bryan Hollenbaugh (

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Rural Albany and Schoharie Counties

If you’re looking for a longer drive, here’s one that will take the good part of a day, especially if you take in some of the sights along the route. Should be great in leaf season. It starts across from Crossgates Mall in Guilderland; however, the focus of the drive is rural Albany and Schoharie counties, starting on Rte. 85 in New Salem.  Use the accompanying directions to get to New Salem or choose your own route if you don’t want to start at Crossgates.

Suggestions for customizing this route to match your interests are found in the directions which are included as a PDF file to allow you to print them and take them with you on the drive.  Depending on the route you choose, highlights of the drive include:

The Huyck Preserve:  Located in Rensselaerville, NY., the preserve offers twelve miles of hiking trails and easy access to the beautiful Rensselaerville Falls.  A hike up the trail along the falls ends at Lake Myosotis and a nice setting for a picnic. To swim in the lake it is necessary to be a member of the Huyck Preserve.

The town’s early history can be viewed in the Gristmill Museum, operated by the Rensselaerville Historical Society.  The museum is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer season and by appointment at other times.

The Palmer house in Rensselaerville has a long standing reputation as a fine restaurant.  It was a favorite of Andy Rooney.

Vrooman’s Nose:  A spectacular outcropping of rock that sits 600 above the Schoharie Valley.  The Nose is reached via a relatively easy 1.5 mile trail.  The views down the Schoharie Valley from the Nose are spectacular.

Barber and Shaul Farms on Rte. 30 West.  Incredible produce grown from the rich soil of the valley. The Barber Farm operates the 1857 Distillery which makes small batch vodka.

The Christman Sanctuary.  Located off the Schoharie Turnpike in Duanesburg, the sanctuary is a wooded nature preserve straddling the Bozenkill.  A 2.2 mile trail, described as suitable for a variety of skill levels, ends at a 30’ waterfall.

Middleburgh and Schoharie are quaint villages with a  variety of places to eat.  History buffs can visit the Old Stone Fort. . The Carrot Barn in Schoharie is also worth checking out.

N.B.  I’ve driven or ridden my bike on virtually all of these roads; however, I have not done the entire drive, from start to finish as it is described.  I have not driven on Cotton Hill Road or Rickhard Hill Roads.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve been on Westfall.  Feedback on the suitability of these roads will be greatly appreciated as will any other suggestions for improving the drive- the editor.

Here’s the route: rural-albany-county

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Zone 1 BBQ Cancelled

The Zone 1 BBQ scheduled for 9/30 – 10/1 in Saratoga has been cancelled.  It will be rescheduled in 2017 as the the Zone 1 Getaway.  Details will be posted on the blog as soon as they become available.

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Saratoga Auto Museum Hosts Monthly Dinner-Business Meeting

img_1029He’s written a book on model railroading and worked with the Tour de France; but he’s best known for his career in auto racing.  Starting as an amateur sports car racer, Sam Posey established himself as one of America’s racing greats.  Professionally, he made his mark racing Ford Mustangs and Dodge Chargers in the Trans Am series competing against the likes of Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones and Jim Hall; drove in the USAC Championship Car Series, including a start at the Indy 500; raced in two Formula I World Championship events and entered the NASCAR fray driving in the first Grand National event of 1970.  Retired from racing, Posey went on to a career as a race reporter, analyst and broadcaster- in addition to pursuing his other interests.  He also amassed an amazing collection of race cars, some of which were on display at the Saratoga Auto Museum, the site of the Club’s September’s dinner-business meeting.

While members dined and enjoyed Posey’s cars,  club officers brought them up-to-date on HCP happenings.  The club, now at 618 strong, continues to add new members.  With over $80,000 in the bank, club finances remain strong.  The remainder of the year’s calendar offers much to do and planning for new year’s activities is well underway.  Of note:

  • Rooms are still available for the Club’s weekend get-away to the 1000 Islands, October 28-30. The trip includes a stay at the beautiful 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, dinner and two breakfasts at the hotel, a boat trip on the St. Lawrence River and optional tours of Boldt Castle and the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY.  Contact President Jim Morgan if you’re interested-
  • The annual Club banquet will be held Saturday, Nov. 12th at the Clubhouse Restaurant at the Western Turnpike Golf Course on Rte. 20 in Guilderland, NY.  The Clubhouse is operated by the Malozzi family so expect great food- and a great evening getting together with other club members.
  • The banquet features a silent auction, proceeds going to local charities.  Members are encouraged to consider approaching businesses with which they have a relationship for donations to the auction. Goodie baskets, gift certificates, bottles of wine, pet grooming, car related products- they all work.
  • The Coats for Kids drive, another of the Club’s charitable activities is about to begin. If you have a winter coat at home you no longer wear, consider donating it to the drive.  You can also participate by helping place donation boxes in various locations in the community.  Contact Sharifa Perry at if you’d like to help with the Club’s charitable efforts.
  • A leaf peeping drive is scheduled for Sunday, October 16th. Watch for a Club email with more information.
  • The new member luncheon will again be held at the Century House in Latham. If you’re a new member make it a point to attend.  Great food and lots of club info.  Saturday, March 11th.
  • Next year’s social calendar will kick off in January with Sunday brunch at Saratoga Prime and a viewing of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Our activities chair, Louis Dahoda, is looking for suggestions for Drive and Dine activities for February and March, months when most of our cars are still in hibernation.  Contact Louis if you have any
    Last year’s activities included a play at the Little Theatre in Saratoga and a session at Price Chopper’s Market 32 cooking school.
  • The season’s last autocross will be held the weekend of October 8-9. Autocross chair, Matt Rutten, is working on staging the event at the SPAC parking lot.  Matt say the condition of the lot promises a great day of autocross driving. Things are still in the planning process. Check the blog and your email for updates.
  • The last dinner-business meeting of the year will be held Monday, Oct. 3rd at New Country in Clifton Park.

Finally, watch for some great new blog content.  We’re working on ways to post alerts of Porsches on sale in our area and of available garage space for winter storage.  We also hope to launch a marketplace where members can buy, sell and trade all things Porsche.  Keep checking the blog for updates on these additions.

A look at the meeting and some of Sam Posey’s cars on display at the museum…

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Porsche Introduces Eco-Friendly Panamera Hybrid

Sustainability and performance – no contradiction for Porsche

From Porsche Cars N.A.: Atlanta, Georgia.  The Paris Motor Show will see Porsche unveil the next model in the all-new Panamera line: the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with standard all-wheel drive and an electric range of up to 31 miles (50 km). The plug-in hybrid vehicle generates 462 hp of total system output and delivers impressive fuel consumption of 2.5 l/100 km, which corresponds to only 56 g/km of CO2 emissions. All figures to date are based upon the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

Performance Hybrid
At Porsche, the term “hybrid” is synonymous with sustainable mobility and performance – most recently displayed with the back-to-back victories of the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and 2016. This philosophy is now also defining the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.

The new Porsche plug-in hybrid always starts in electric mode and continues as a zero-emission vehicle with a maximum all-electric range of 31 miles and a maximum speed on battery power of 86 mph. And yet, this Panamera is still a sports car among luxury sedans: the all-wheel drive four-door Porsche achieves a top track speed of 172 mph and delivers a total system torque of 516 pound-feet without hesitation. The torque is transferred to all four wheels, while the standard three-chamber air suspension ensures an optimum balance between comfort and performance at all times. The newest plug-in hybrid sports sedan breaks the 0-60 barrier in just 4.4 seconds.

New hybrid strategy based on the Porsche 918 Spyder
The superlative performance is no accident: the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a hybrid strategy never before seen in this segment – a strategy based on the 918 Spyder. The 887-hp 918 Spyder is the fastest series-produced vehicle ever to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The record lap time of 6:57 minutes is in part attributed to the additional power provided by two electric motors.

As with the 918 Spyder, the power of the Panamera electric motor – 136 hp (100 kW) and 295 pound-feet of torque – is made available as soon as the driver touches the accelerator pedal. On the predecessor model, the pedal needed to be pressed at least 80 percent of the way down to unleash the additional power of the electric drive’s “E-Boost” mode. Now, the electric motor is available to deliver additional power at any time. Together with the performance characteristics of the new 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 (330 hp and 331 lb.-ft.), this generates an impressive boost scenario based on the electric motor and turbochargers.

In the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the electrical energy is also used to increase the car’s top track speed. At Porsche, this new type of “E-Performance” – more power, more driving fun, lower fuel consumption – is seen as the performance kit of the future.

New hybrid module and fast-shifting eight-speed PDK
Together with the combustion engine decoupler, the electric motor heralds the next generation of the Porsche hybrid module. In contrast to the electro-hydraulic system of the previous model, the decoupler on the new Panamera is actuated electromechanically by an electric clutch actuator (ECA), resulting in even shorter response times.

Similar to the other second-generation Panamera models, a new, efficient, and extremely fast-shifting Porsche eight-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission is used to transmit the power to the wheels. This transmission replaces the eight-speed automatic torque converter transmission in the previous model.

The electric motor is supplied with power via a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. And despite the increase in energy content of the battery from 9.4 to 14.1 kWh (integrated under the luggage compartment floor), its weight has remained the same. The high-voltage battery takes just 12 hours to fully charge via a common 120 V, 10 amp connection. If the optional 7.2 kW on-board charger is utilized instead of the standard 3.6 kW unit, the charging times decrease to under three hours with a 240 V, 40 amp connection.

The charging process can also be initiated using a timer via Porsche Communication Management (PCM) or the Porsche Car Connect app (for smartphones and Apple® Watches). Additionally, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features standard auxiliary air conditioning which can cool or heat the passenger compartment during charging.

Porsche Advanced Cockpit with hybrid-specific displays
One highlight of the second-generation Panamera is the newly designed display and control concept in the form of the standard Porsche Advanced Cockpit with touch-sensitive panels and individually configurable displays. Two seven-inch screens either side of the analog tachometer form the interactive cockpit, and in contrast to the other Panamera variants, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a power meter tailored to hybrid operation. The intuitive operating principle of the hybrid-specific displays is similar to that used in the Porsche 918 Spyder hypercar. The power meter provides data such as the amount of electrical energy currently being used as well as the amount recovered through recuperation.

A 12.3-inch touchscreen functions as the centralized Porsche Communication Management (PCM) control and display unit. The driver can access various items of hybrid-specific information both here on the display and in the instrument cluster. The boost assistant and hybrid assistant are both practical and informative. The former display shows the energy available for boosting, while the latter provides various visual signals for regulating the electrical drive power.

Ultimate efficiency in “Hybrid Auto” mode
The Sport Chrono Package, which integrates a mode switch into the steering wheel, forms part of the standard equipment on the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The mode switch and PCM are used to activate the various driving modes. These modes include the familiar “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes from other Panamera models equipped with the Sport Chrono Package. The hybrid-specific modes are “E-Power,” “Hybrid Auto,” “E-Hold,” and “E-Charge.”

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid always starts in “E-Power” which puts the powertrain in a pure electric mode. The “Hybrid Auto” mode is a completely new development which adjusts and combines the internal combustion and electric mode drive sources automatically for ultimate efficiency.

The “E-Hold” mode allows drivers to conserve the current state of charge of the lithium-ion battery. This will allow the driver to utilize electric mode (and therefore drive with zero emissions) in an environmental zone at their destination, for example. In “E-Charge” mode, the battery is charged by the V6 engine; to achieve this, the gasoline engine generates a higher level of power than is needed for driving.

The highest level of drive performance is made available in the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes. The twin-turbo V6 remains active in these modes. In “Sport” mode, the battery charge is maintained at a level to ensure there is sufficient e-boost capability when needed.

Finally, “Sport Plus” mode is all about maximum performance and allows the Panamera to reach its top track speed of 172 mph. This mode also recharges the battery as quickly as possible with the help of the twin-turbo V6 engine, while also dipping deeper into the power reserves to ensure maximum e-boost is available.

Panamera 4 E-Hybrid availability and pricing
The new 2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is expected to become available in North America by the summer 2017. Pricing will be announced at a later date.



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World’s First Electric Ferrari

An “obscene concept” is how Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne describes the conversion of a classic 1978 Ferrari 308GTE into an electric vehicle.  It’s certainly not the “Magnum P.I.” car driven by Tom Selleck.   As reported by Matthew Knight for CNN, the car is the work of Eric Hutchison and the crew at California based Electric GT.  Purchased for $10,,000, the Ferrari was a burned out wreck, the victim of a fuel leak and fire, abandoned on a California highway.   It was the perfect vehicle for electric conversion, an idea that was hatched during a conversation over beer between Hutchison and a few friends.   Hutchinson claims the Ferrari’s tube frame is ideal for handling the power and torque produced by the three Hi Performance Electric Vehicle Systems AC51 motors that propel the car.  According to Electric GT,  the motors produce the equivalent of 415 hp and 330 ft/lbs of torque.  Currently the car’s range is only 150 miles but the Electric GT team is working to expand that.  The 308’s power and upgraded suspension make it a great car for the track.  In this year’s Leguna Seca Re-fuel Races, the car placed third in the event’s conversion class, clocking a 2:11:648 lap time.  A Honda fit EV, running in the Production GT class posted fastest time, lapping the track  in a bit over 1:56

Electric GT says it’s committed to converting classic cars into electric vehicles.  For more on the company and  the world’s first electric Ferrari here’s the Electric GT’s website:

Want to read Matthew Knight’s original CNN story?

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Lime Rock Historic Festival 34 – Sunday in the Park

Thanks to the folks at Lime Rock for providing a look at this year’s festival.  Tropical storm Hermine stayed away, the skies were blue and the cars were outrageous.

All photos by Greg Clark and Casey Keil except Russ Truelove [#226], by Michael DiPleco.  All Historic Festival 34 is presented by the Prestige Family of Fine Cars

Here are the Award Winners and a slide show of some of the participants…

Best of Show [Featured Image]
1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage #2452, Tony Wang, Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.
Though Wang has raced this Birdcage at the Lime Rock Historics previously – 2010 and 2012 – he’s not racing it this weekend, but did enter it into the Sunday in the Park Concours “Pick of the Paddock” class

People’s Choice
1912 Thomas Flyer 6-40, John F. & Carol A. Jones, Prospect, Conn.
This imposing machine wowed the spectators: It’s a 6-cylinder, 7-passenger Thomas that had previously won Most Outstanding Vintage Car 1912-1920 at Greenwich in 2008

Peter Brock Award
1968 Fiat 850 Spider, Jane & Jerome Roth, West Cornwall, Conn.
This was the car Honored Guest Peter Brock chose as the car he’d most like to own, telling the crowd he was so impressed with its lithe line when he first saw one in Europe years ago

John Morton Award
1938 Marchese Special Indy Roadster, Jerry Lettieri, Rocky Hill, Conn.
Honored Guest John Morton chose the Marchese as the car he would love to take home. Morton told the crowd he was stunned when he came across this Indy car on the concours line: it was the very car he saw win a race at Milwaukee when he was a boy

Wayne Carini Award
1935 Ford Deluxe 3-Window Coupe Hot Rod
Always a fan of the everyman’s car, Honored Collector Wayne Carini loved this extremely well-executed rod with its worked flathead V8

Skip’s Sunday Best
Like a kid in a candy store, Historic Festival 34 Patron and Lime Rock President Skip Barber awards “Skip’s Sunday Best” trophies to machines he would like in his garage…

1951 Jaguar Mark V Cabriolet, Chris Owen, Stockbridge, Mass.
1964 Porsche 356C, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.
1967 Gurney Eagle 67 (AAR #42) Indy car, Rob Dyson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
1968 Corvette Sunray DX L88 race car, J.R. Amantea, Meriden, Conn.
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 25000 Sport Touring Superleggera Berlinetta & 1931 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Dual-Cowl Phaeton, Dragone Classic Motorcars, Bridgeport, Conn.

Inaugural Russ Truelove Award
Waterbury’s Russ Truelove, one of the first NASCAR drivers, has for years been bringing his crowd-pulling, crowd-pleasing authentic 1949 NASCAR Mercury Monterey stock car to Lime Rock Park. Going forward, the Russ Truelove Award will be presented at Sunday in the Park to those demonstrating exceptional dedication to the car-showing hobby. Russ is delivering the Monterey to Daytona this fall, and he’ll fly down rather than drive down when the Frances ring him up…


The Word’s First Wheels
1931 Buick 56C, Allan & Pat Kehrley, New York, N.Y.

Gatsby’s Delight
1930 Aston Martin International (Open Tourer), William King, Redding, Conn.

Off to Work
1967 Ford Fairlane 500XL Ranchero, Kevin Biebel, New Milford, Conn.

Risky ‘n’ Racy
1965 Shelby G.T. 350 “Snoopy” drag car,  Robert Walls, Rochdale, Mass.

Rallyist’s Revenge
1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Hans Abrahams, Riverside, Conn.

Speed & Agility
1947 Cisitalia 202SC Vignale Spyder, Henry Miller, Greenwich, Conn.

Dashing Between the Drops
1957 BMW 507 Hardtop Convertible, Jeffrey McAllister, Ridgefield, Conn.

This Weekend’s Racers are Rewarded
1954 Lancia D50, Peter Giddings, Danville, Calif.

Shiny Side Up
1965 Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroruote Zagato, Joe Nastasi, Long Island City, N.Y.      

For the Fun of the Drive
1969 Porsche 912 Targa, Jim & Wendy Petty, Weston, Conn.

Carry Your Weight
1967 Ford Ranchero (390 V8 w/4-speed), William Kokko, Milford, Conn.

Speed, Sport & Spirit
1984 Chevrolet Corvette targa, David Dennis, Thomaston, Conn.

Just a Little Faster
1966 Triumph TR4-A, Steve Francis, New Milford, Conn.

The Historic Trans-Am Race Group
1968 Mark Donohue Sunoco Camaro, Tom McIntyre, Burbank, Calif.

The Tin-Top Race Group
1973 Ford Escort, Ross Bremer, Jacksonville, Fla.

Style, Comfort, Pace
1954 Lancia Aurelia B20S, Chris Robins, Rye Brook, N.Y.     

A Businessman’s Express
1967 Porsche 912, Pam & Peter Antosiewicz, New Milford, Conn.  

Speed Breeds Success
1974 “Lincoln-Mercury” DeTomas Pantera, Robert DuQuette, East Hampton, Conn.

Outrunning the Wind
1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible, Tom Fuller, Lakewood, Ohio  

The Weird and/or Exceptional
1996 Porsche 996 GT3, Steven Harris, New York, N.Y.         

Weather-Permitting Performance
1941 Packard Model 110 Robert Neubert, Amston, Conn.

Comfort, Class and Wind in the Hair
1961 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible, Jack Haverty, Pleasant Valley, N.Y. 

Life at the Top in Comfort & Style
1949 Cadillac Sedanette, Andrew Benenson, Darien, Conn.            

Just as We Found It
1910 Rover 8 h.p., Dirk Burrowes, Ashburnham, Mass.       

A Fresh Approach
1961 Jaguar Mark II (resto-mod), Scott Lyman, New Canaan, Conn.           

Hot Rod
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop Convertible, Howard Block, Plymouth, Conn.    

Up on Two Wheels
1967 BMW R27, Rick Bell, Salisbury, Conn.  

Domestic Dynamite
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/RS, Tom Petrasek, Huntington, N.Y.   

Pick of the Paddock
1954 Lancia D50 Recreation, Miles Collier, The Revs Institute, Naples, Fla.

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Helderberg Jaunt

If you’re looking to get out in your car on a nice day and don’t have a lot of time, here’s a relatively short drive into the Helderbergs.  It starts in Albany across from Stuyvesant Plaza can end either in Schenectady or back where you started.  The drive travels some pleasant roads through Voorheesville, New Salem and New Scotland and then heads into the hills, bringing you near the entrance to Thatcher Park.  Beaver Dam Road, Route 256 and Old Stage Road offer some particularly interesting driving.  If you’re not in a hurry, Voorheesville offers places to grab a bite to eat including Smith’s Tavern; or take 157 into Thatcher Park for a picnic or a stop at the overlook.  Your might check out the Mio Vino Wine Bar and Bistro in Altamont if you’re looking for a place to have dinner.  The restaurant gets some good reviews.

Here’s a printable version of the drive: Helderberg Route

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Great Driving: It’s All About Being Smooth

A number of readers have requested articles on improving driving skills.  Well, we aim to please.  Here’s a look at what separates a good driver from a great driver written by Chief Driving Instructor Van Svenson for the fall 2009 edition of the Air Cooled Advertiser.

What separates good drivers from great drivers? The answer is: smoothness. Perhaps you’ve heard this from an instructor, perhaps from a race commentator on TV or perhaps from a buddy in the pits. It’s true – speed comes with the ability to drive smoothly. What exactly is “smooth driving”? Before tossing out a definition, let’s first review some basic race car physics.

The car has four tires. As each tire touches the pavement, it deforms a little bit, making a “contact patch”. The “traction” a car can make, or, more specifically, the friction generated between the rubber and the road, is dependent on how large the contact patch is and how much force is pushing down on that contact patch. Wider tires yield a larger contact

patch and therefore have the capability to produce more traction. Fine tuning the car’s alignment and suspension can also help define the size of the contact patch, yielding more traction. However, we’ll make those topics a discussion for another issue. Putting a wing on the car, to generate aerodynamic down force, will push the tires against the road more, generating more traction. However that’s impractical for most cars, except the most dedicated race cars (and it won’t make you a better driver). So, the key here is: what can you do as a driver to change or manipulate the forces pushing down (or pulling up) on tires.

As a car changes from accelerating to braking to turning left to accelerating again, and so-on, it goes through a series of transitions that change how much weight is pushing down at each tire. To answer the original question, “what is smooth driving?” I am ready to tell you the answer. Smooth driving is controlling weight transfer in transitions to maximize traction of the tires.

How this works is probably best illustrated through examples. Let’s start with a turn at the end of a straight – accelerating down the straight will transfer weight towards the rear of the car. The car will literally “rock” backwards (kind of like going up a hill) which will make the rear wheels feel more weight and the front feel less weight. If the car weighs 3,000 lbs, and it has a 50/50% weight distribution, there will be 1,500 lbs on each axle.

Accelerating aggressively can transfer several hundred pounds –  yielding 1,300 lbs on the front wheels and 1,700 lbs on the rear wheels. Taking one’s foot off of the gas pedal and coasting will transfer weight back to the front. Applying the brakes will transfer more weight to the front. Again, we’re accelerating down the straight, transferring weight to the rear of the car. Now we brake and transfer weight to the front of the car – while we’re braking we start turning a little bit. If we haven’t reached the absolute traction capacity of the tires with our braking, we’ll have some traction available for turning. As we turn, weight is going to transfer to one side of the car.

Let’s say we’re turning right. If we’re braking and turning, our left front wheel is going to have the brunt of the car’s weight on it. This will also give this tire the most traction, but two things might happen. We might exceed the traction available to us and that wheel will start sliding towards the outside of the turn, or the left rear wheel, which doesn’t have much weight on it, but which has to help support the car against the sideways push caused by centripetal force, might start to slide because it does not have enough traction.

Quick action by the driver to get back on the gas might cause the opposite scenario. The weight transfers back, and the front tires no longer have enough traction to keep the car turning – the car starts to go straight. The idea of smooth driving is to transfer weight and load tires progressively. I once had an instructor tell me: if someone comes up to you and quickly shoves you, you might fall over; but, if that person starts to gradually push against you, you’ll start pushing back– pushing progressively harder.

Cars have mass and it takes time for that mass to move, so there’s a little delay between when you ask the car to do something and when it does it. Braking is more effective when it’s done progressively so the pressure on the brake pedal increases as the weight transfer to the front of the car increases. The increased weight on the front allows the tires to provide more traction, thus providing more braking force. Easing up on the brakes as you start to turn the car will give the front wheels added traction to initiate the turn, but weight has to transfer rearwards so both outside tires can provide maximum cornering force.

If you’ve selected a good line (remember how important it is to drive the right racing line?) you’ll be able to progressively apply the throttle mid-way through the turn which will transfer weight away from the front wheels and reduce their steering ability. If the line is chosen well, the car can gradually transition out of the turn to the next straight at maximum acceleration.

Driving smoothly, meaning, with a focus on transitions that do not upset the balance of the car and giving care to ensure weight transfer maximizes the traction of each contact patch will increase your enjoyment, reduce the stresses on your tires and car, and ultimately make your lap times lower. I’ll meet you at the apex!


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Macan Turbo with Performance Package Tops the Model Line

 More power, bigger brakes and sportier suspension calibration

Press Release from Porsche Cars North America:

Atlanta, Georgia. 

As the sports car of the compact SUV segment, the Macan has been setting standards in terms of driving dynamics since it made its debut. Now, Porsche is upping the ante: equipped with the Performance Package, the Macan Turbo now sits at the top of the model line, highlighting increased power and agility, with an exclusive interior package.

The newly calibrated twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers 440 hp. With 40 more horsepower than the Macan Turbo, the Performance Package offers a corresponding performance improvement of 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds (a reduction of 0.2 seconds), and a new top track speed of 169 mph (an increase of 5 mph). The maximum torque has also risen to 442 lb.-ft. (an increase of 36 lb.-ft.) and is available to the driver across a broad rev range from 1500 to 4500 rpm.

However, it is not just engine power that is given a boost in the Performance Package equipped Macan Turbo – a newly developed brake system, a lowered sport chassis, the Sport Chrono Package, and a sport exhaust system are all fitted as standard. The front axle features grooved brake discs with a diameter of 390 millimeters – 30 millimeters larger than the discs fitted on the standard Macan Turbo – and are gripped by six-piston brake calipers painted red. Additionally, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with air suspension is available at the push of a button to deliver an exceptionally sporty feel on the road. This system has also been optimally tuned to the the vehicle, which has been lowered by 10 millimeters. Air suspension also features a self-leveling function and height adjustability.

With the Sport Chrono Package, drivers can ramp up the performance of the Macan Turbo even further. In Sport Plus mode, this package ensures the chassis, engine, and transmission are tuned to the most dynamic level – accompanied by an even more emotional sound from the sport exhaust system. The seven-speed PDK double-clutch transmission delivers even shorter response times, with optimum gear change points, and increased torque during gear changes for maximum acceleration.

To customize the Macan Turbo with Performance Package, a range of tailored equipment options are available, such as the Turbo Exterior Package. Options available with this package include 21-inch 911 Turbo design wheels with spokes painted in high-gloss black, LED headlights equipped with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) Plus, and numerous other black elements. The Turbo Interior Package delivers a black leather interior with Alcantara® elements, color appliqué in numerous areas and carbon elements such as the door entry guards with the model logo lit up in white.

The Macan Turbo with Performance Package is available to order now and starts at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $86,445, excluding title, tax, registration, dealer charges, and delivery, preparation, and handling fee.

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AC Returns to McCarty Ave.

It’s been a busy time for autocross.  A week after the Zone 1 competition in Ayers, MA,  activity shifted to the McCarty Ave. lot for the third event in this year’s HCP autocross series.  Thanks to autocross chair Matt Rutten for the photos and results.  Matt maintains autocross is the most fun you’ll have in a parking lot with your clothes on.  The HCP series wraps up on Saturday, October 8th at the McCarty lot.  If you’ve thought about trying autocross, come to the last session and see what Matt means.  Cost for the event- a reasonable $30.

August 2016 AC Results

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Great Day for HCP Team at Zone 1 Autocross

Could it have been the new team t-shirts?  Most likely, it was the skill of the drivers that lead the HCP  autocross team to finish an impressive fourth out of eleven teams in the recent Zone 1 competition held the Ft. Devens airfield in Ayers, MA.  Thanks to Matt Rutten, here’s a look at some of the competitors and a run around the course.

The first results posted on the Zone 1 site:  Zone 1 Results

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What a Drive!

A drive of not much more than five minutes.  It will cost you fifteen bucks, twenty if you have a passenger. Is the 5.2 mile trip to the top of Mt. Equinox on Skyline Drive, the longest private paved toll road in the country, worth it?  Every penny.

IMG_1020Starting at the Toll House on Route 7A in Sunderland, Vermont, Skyline Drive ascends 3248’ through a series forty-one turns, twenty of them sharp switchbacks. Each year the drive, described as  some of the trickiest miles in any form of racing, lures sports car enthusiasts from across the country to the annual Mt. Equinox Hill Climb- a time trial to the top of the mountain.  Originally a Sports Car Club of America event, the race is now sponsored by the Vintage Sports Car Club of America.  Joel Finn driving a Cooper Formula 1 owns the race record, reaching the summit in 4:28, an average speed of over 60mph.

My wife Judith and I recently joined Paul Budlong and his wife Patty for a trip up the mountain.  It was the most intense drive I’ve ever done [Jude closed her eyes a couple of times].  Straight sections of road and long sweeping turns are punctuated by extremely sharp switchbacks with steep grades that demand first gear.  The drive asks for everything your car has to offer.

IMG_1021The road winds through a deciduous forest, occasionally breaking into the open, rewarding the driver with spectacular views.  The mountain’s 3,848’ summit is the highest point in the Taconic IMG_1023range and there’s a ten degree temperature differential between the base and the summit. Winds of 121 mph have been clocked on the peak.   The view from the top and the St. Bruno Viewing Center is a breathtaking panorama. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Montreal’s Mount Royal.

A few things to keep in mind: The drive is a popular attraction- there is traffic on the road [On the way up, a Ferrari passed us coming down. What that car was doing there I have no idea].  Although a number of cars were parked on the summit, we were fortunate to have the road to ourselves on our ascent. Generally the road is in good condition.  A few washboard sections caused by frost heaves and some patched potholes don’t diminish the driving experience. The posted speed limit is 20 mph.

IMG_5129From the mountain it’s a short drive into Manchester Center where you’ll find good places to eat and a variety of shops, including a number of factory outlet stores and the Northshire bookstore.  Also, check out Orvis and the store’s trout pond.  This side of Alaska, the pond has some of the largest trout you’ll ever see.  If Herman Melville had visited the pond, he might have written something other than Moby Dick.

Here are a couple of links if you’re interested in the drive.

The website for the attraction:




A video taken by a motorcyclist ascending the mountain.  It doesn’t really capture the intensity of the drive with its demanding turns but you can get some idea of the entertainment the drive provides:





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Refinement- At What Price?

Every now and then Allen Schwartz and I do our own Drive and Dines.  We agree on an interesting route, pick a spot for lunch and head out on the road.  The gods willing, our tops come down.  Allen drives a 2005 Boxster.  I drive a 2013 Boxster S.  On a recent outing, curious about my car, Allen asked if we could swap vehicles for a bit.  It was an interesting and eye-opening experiment. But first a little history.

It was the summer of 1989.  My wife and I were in the queue waiting to drive our car onto the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.  It was then I saw my first Mazda Miata. It was in line ahead of us. It was stunning. By October, a Miata was sitting in our driveway.  For twenty-five years that car provided an incredible amount of fun behind the wheel.  Many times drivers of cars with great handling say, “it’s like driving a go-cart.”  The Miata was a go-cart.  Of all the cars I’ve ever driven, only the 2005 Boxster S that replaced it in the fall of 2014 could surpass it.  The Boxster, our first Porsche, was a Miata on steroids- precise handling, amazing balance, and considerably more power than the 115 hp cranked out by the 1.6 liter Miata engine.  The Boxster did have its shortcomings though- particularly, seats that were unkind to sensitive backs on long drives. In March of 2016, with comfort in mind, our Boxster became part of a trade for a 2013 Boxster S.

HCP members know their cars, so it’s probably old news that the 2013 Boxster [a 981 in the somewhat arcane  language of Porschespeak] marked the last major remake of the flat-six powered car before it was replaced by the current four cylinder, turbo-charged 718.  Compared to 2009’s redesign of the car [the 987-2], the 981 offered significant changes.  While its wheelbase was a bit longer, Porsche engineers managed to decrease its weight by seventy-seven pounds and increase torsional stiffness by 40%.  The suspension was reworked, 19” wheels became standard and the front brakes were beefed up. Hydraulic steering gave way to electrical assist.

The effects of the redesign are clear in the car’s performance stats; compared to a 2009, an eight foot shorter stopping distance from 70, .5 more g’s on the skidpad, and two-tenths of a second faster to sixty.  Against our 2005 S, the differences are more dramatic- 35 more horsepower, 25 more lb./ft. of torque and .4 seconds quicker to 60.  According to Porsche, our 2013 S accelerates to 60 over a second faster than Allen’s 2005.

So Allen and I traded cars.  The experience defied the numbers. Allen’s car felt more responsive and incredibly quick.  I was back in a go-cart.  Sure, the ride was a bit harsher but the road feel was greater.  With its hydraulic steering, Allen’s car seemed to respond instantly to driver input.  Was I imagining things or was I actually having more fun driving his car? Why was I thinking about the S we traded in?

It’s a funny thing about our 981.  Put it on a track against a 2005 and it’s no contest.  Yet the refinement of our car almost hides it’s superior performance.  You have to pay close attention to appreciate what the car is doing- and it is doing great things.  But, the immediate, visceral feeling of the 2005 is gone.  The 911 turbo that was offered for test drives at the Gideon this summer stuck me the same way.  It was a world class sports car and, at the same time, a luxury car with technology to control the car’s aggressive instincts.  Hit the turbo boost button and there was no denying what the car could do.  Yet in a way, the car’s Dr. Jekyll somewhat isolated you from its Mr. Hyde.

Make no mistake, it’s a pleasure driving our Boxster.  It’s a refined and extremely comfortable car.  The seats are kind to sensitive backs and the suspension makes rough roads a bit more tolerable- important for driving in Schenectady.  The performance is certainly there.  But sometimes, every once-in-a -while, I miss driving by the seat of my pants.


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The Quail

Courtesy of CNN, here’s a Monday morning fix for those in need of viewing some beautiful automobiles.  The cars are displayed at the Quail, a function that’s part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  This year the Quail attracted 5000 high-profile guests who sipped champagne and ate caviar while viewing 250 extraordinary cars.


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Fall Get-Away Announced: 1000 Islands Weekend

This year for our Fall Getaway we are going to the 1000 Islands!  The trip will begin on Friday afternoon, October 28th with a pleasant drive to Clayton, NY where we will check in to the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel.  (  Our dinner that evening is included as is our breakfast on Saturday morning.  After Saturday breakfast we will make the short drive to Alexandria Bay for some free time to walk around and grab lunch before boarding a boat at 12:30 for the 2 Nation Tour. (  This 2 ½ hour tour will take us on a 22 mile trip through US and Canadian waters with a guide to provide a narrative of the sights and sites of the St. Lawrence River.  On the way back, the boat will stop at the Boldt Castle for an optional tour.  Saturday evening we will join together for an ala carte dinner at a local Clayton restaurant.  Sunday morning will begin with breakfast (included) and an optional tour of the Antique Boat Museum, (, after which we will depart back to the Albany area.

The Fall Getaway Package includes two nights’ hotel accommodations in either a two queen or single king room, dinner on Friday night and breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.  The package price is $407 single or $484 double occupancy and can be booked directly with the Harbor Hotel by phone at:  (315) 686-1100.  Tell them you are with the Hudson Champlain Region, Porsche Club of America group.  The boat tour is $21 per person and you will pay for that separately as we have received a group rate discount.

I have reserved 20 rooms for this trip and I expect them to sell out, so don’t wait until the last minute to make your reservations.  This hotel is really a first class operation and is the sister hotel of the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen where many of us stay when we go to the track.

If you have any questions about this, or any thing else, please don’t hesitate to email or call.

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September Drive and Dine: Lime Rock Historic Festival 34

Join us on September’s Drive to Lime Rock Park for Sunday in the Park and Historic Festival 34; then finish the day with a optional meal at the Black Rabbit Bar and Grille.  Day starts at 7:45 am, ends at 4:30… or later if you join us for dinner.

This event will start at (Exit 12 of I-90) Park and Ride on Route 9 south at 7:45AM leaving at 8:00AM.  We will head south to Lime Rock Park for Sunday in the Park Concours and Gathering of the Marques.  (A special Porsche area will be reserved.)  This is a spectacular show as there will be over 1000, yes I said, 1000 cars on the track for display. (

Wayne Carini will be the Honored Collector for Historic Festival 34 Presented by the Prestige Family of Fine Cars,He is the charismatic host of one of the most popular cable TV shows in America, the HD-only “Chasing Classic Cars” on Discovery Channel-owned Velocity.

Wayne Carini is not only a widely recognized TV personality, but a highly regarded restorer; a pre-eminent Ferrari expert; a much sought-after concours judge; and owner of F40 Motorsports (buys and sells vintage and classic automobiles), Continental Auto, Ltd. (high-end and exotic automobile repair and bodywork), and Carini Carozzeria (restoration shop where Wayne spends much of his time). Carini Consulting advises and manages collections for clients around the world.

Wayne’s personal car collection has never been seen publicly, but he enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to bring a half-dozen of his favorite cars, a half-dozen motorcycles, and a very special “hauler-and-racecar” combo to Lime Rock Park for the Festival when he accepted Sunday in the Park Concours organizer Kent Bain’s offer to be the Honored Collector.

For Historic Festival 34, the Honored Guests are none other than John Morton and Pete Brock.  Among Brock’s numerous accomplishments is, of course, his designing the Daytona Cobra Coupe and founding his wildly successful Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE)… for which Morton was asked to drive and together, they won prodigiously between 1969 and 1972 in BRE Datsuns in C-Production and 2.5-liter Trans-Am. Morton will race a BRE Datsun 240Z over the weekend, too.
Click here for Historic Festival 34 Presented by the Prestige Family of Fine Cars ticket information.

Youths 16 and under admitted free (General Admission) with at least one accompanying adult.

Advance Price: Ends Friday August 26, 2016
Sunday In The Park $30.00

Gate Prices: Begins August 27, 2016

Sunday In The Park $45.00

After the show, by popular demand, we are heading to the Black Rabbit Bar & Grille for dinner. We had a great experience there after the Porscheplatz last month. ( )

Please email me at if you are interested in having dinner with us after the show. I need an accurate headcount by August 31.


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Polo: August’s Drive and Dine [Without the Drive!]

August Drive & Dine – Sunday August 14, 2016, 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. 

Welcome to SARATOGA POLO!  Barrantes Cup Tournament Finals this SUNDAY AT 5:30PM August 14, 2016 

This event will be held at Saratoga Polo Field at the Whitney Field, 2 Bloomfield Road, Greenfield Center, NY.  We have secured a parking corral and sitting area on the club house side. This event will be different in that we will meet at the Polo Field (NO DRIVE)!  Saratoga Polo offers a wide array of food, so come hungry.   


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Glenville Hills – Charlton Drive

Following up on Paul Budlong’s Adirondack Drive [March 2016], here’s another drive that should appeal to members looking for some interesting roads.  It runs up and down the ridgeline that stretches along the Mohawk River from Schenectady to Amsterdam and ventures into the historic village of Charlton and some rural roads of southern Saratoga and eastern Montgomery counties.  The route features challenging driving [Johnson and Waters are serpentine with significant elevation changes] and a variety of places to explore. The drive begins off Route 5.  The starting point can be easily reached by taking  890 west from Schenectady or by taking the Thruway to exit  26 and following the signs to Route 5.

If you haven’t already, give Paul’s Adirondack route a go- and please, if you have a favorite drive, submit it to the blog.

Points of interest on the Glenville Hills-Charlton Drive include:

Nightengale’s Sugar Farm [Jersey Hill Rd.]- Purchase maple syrup and a variety of confections.  Nightengale’s is open year round; their website advises calling ahead just to make sure someone is in the store.  The farm offers tours during the spring tapping season.

Top Notch Tavern  [Rte. 45, Hagaman] The tavern has a reputation for its prime rib and its burger night.  It doesn’t open until 5pm on weekdays so a stop there for dinner might mean doing the remainder of the drive as it gets dark.  Not recommended for Waters Road.  However, the tavern does open at 4pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday.

The Charlton Tavern [Charlton Rd.]-  Located in the historic and picturesque village of Charlton, the tavern is a great place to have lunch during the drive.  The tavern also serves dinner.  You’ll find it closed on Mondays.

The Green Corners One Room School House [Potter Rd./Green Corners Rd.]- A representative example of early nineteenth century one-room schoolhouse architecture in the town of Glenville. The school was constructed around 1825 and functioned as a public school for grades one through eight until it closed in 1946.

If you’re interested in visiting the school, contact the Glenville town historian for information on visiting days and hours.

Wolf Hollow Brewing [Rte. 5]  A microbrewery with a rapidly growing following. It’s open Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm-10pm and Saturday from 12pm – 10pm.  Tours are offered Saturday at 2:30. The brewery features food from Buzzard’s Bay Barbeque.

I’ve included several versions of this drive in PDF format so you can print them and take them along for reference.  Each version features different combinations of points of interest.  Choose the one that includes the things you’d most like to see or do.  The roads are still fun and the drives are pleasant even if you don’t stop anywhere. The short route is a little over 30 miles and includes only a stop at the Charlton Tavern.  The longer routes are approximately 60 miles.

If you do any of these drives, comments and suggestions will be appreciated.


Short Drive- Charlton Tavern

Long Route Includes Top Notch With Short Detour to Nightengale’s,Brewery

Long Route with Charlton Tavern,Nightengale’s,Brewery

Long Route- Includes Nightengale’s, Charlton Tavern, Schoolhouse, Brewery


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Corvette Karma

Jeffrey A. Meyers treats us to a day at the Monticello Motor Club…


Flashback: twenty-seven years ago, my nineteen year old eyes welled with tears of joy as I tore open the envelope from the Skip Barber Racing School at Lime Rock Park.  I poured over the one page letter that read something like this:


You are to report to Lime Rock Park on Saturday, September 28, 1987 for a full day course including instruction on the race track.  You should arrive at 8:00 am for a briefing.  Please bring this letter with you as proof of payment in full . . .


I stared at the letter in disbelief and asked myself “How did this happen?”  My mind raced as I searched for answers.  My parents!!  Of course!  My incessant whining about going to a driving school finally paid off.  I ran upstairs to thank them . . . but they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about.  The wheels in my head spun as I tried to figure who my racing benefactor had been.  I struggled with names, none of which I believed actually could afford the cost of this class.  The weight of this puzzle began to feel heavy.


Now this was the moment, with 20/20 hindsight, that I should have just taken the letter with me the day of the class and fulfilled my fantasy.  Alas, I didn’t.  I was afraid of traveling the 2 ½ hours to the track only to be turned away.  So, I called.  My fear was realized when the woman on the phone revealed that all of this was a mistake.  I was on their mailing list, it seemed, and they pulled the wrong name.  No apology, no offer of condolences, or, gasp, a free course anyway.  Nothing.


I could still feel that Skip Barber letter in my hands 27 years later when I received another letter just a few weeks ago, this time from Chevrolet. It was an invitation to attend the Stingray Precision Drive event at the Monticello Motor Club.  On the track.  With instruction.  With food.  For free.  It seems that karma has come back around, Corvette Karma.


Ninety seconds later, I was signed up online.  It all seemed too good to be true, but confirmation emails and reminder emails gave me a pinch and assured me I was not dreaming.  My friends were like “What the F%$#!??  I just grinned ear to ear. “Karma, my friends, karma.”  How did I get so lucky?  I am still not sure.  In today’s tech world, the electronic universe probably tracked the fact that I have a 2000 Porsche Boxster.  Perhaps unbeknownst to the electronic Gods I purchased that car used in 2008, the only way I could afford it was after the original owner ate more than 50% in depreciation.  Could it be that the marketing gurus tracked that I have a law degree?  If so, they likely missed that I am a New York State employee not earning the big bucks of New York City lawyers.  I prefer to believe it was just that tidal wave of karma that couldn’t be held back.  It really doesn’t matter.  I was so happy I could pee myself.


Speaking of which, at the gate at Monticello, I am now holding in my power drink and green tea after my two hour drive.  I am waiting amongst Ferraris, Bentleys, BMWs, Jaguars, other Porsches, and of course, some Corvettes to get inside for our afternoon session.  I could hear the roar of the 2014 Stingray’s enormous 6.3 liter 460 hp V8 going around the track at the end of the morning session.  It is a perfect day.  Sounds trite, but really, it is perfect.  Blue sky, 65 degrees, fall colors on the trees, drying leaves rustling.  Top down, the sun warms my head.  One of those days that reminds you the northeast is a great place to live.


Just as I start scanning for a discreet shrub, we roll.  We funnel down into a single line, jostling for position as Type As are wont to do.  The anticipation is palpable.  We all just can’t wait.  The Corvette crew awaits us with smiles as we register and work our way into the lounge area for introductions and food.  We are given white, red, or black rubbery wrist bands and separated by color.  We learn about the new Corvette in a briefing and are told about the three “modules” that will make up our day.  Some classroom, some driving, rinse, and repeat.  Snacks in between.  Sweet.


My module starts with the “Precision” course, a short clockwise loop with several right hand turns of varying complexity and a few nice straight portions.  We are encouraged to pick third gear for the manuals, which I greedily requested because I consider myself a “true” enthusiast, even though the fastest cars on earth these days are sophisticated automatics.  Our leader suggests we stay in third saying the big V8 has enough grunt to pull out of the turns.  We can downshift into second if we want, but no need.


We do an orientation lap first, with the lead Chevrolet driver talking to us through his headset and broadcast on our stereo systems.  He tells us where to look, where the turn-in points are, where to brake.  Then he amps it up for the second lap.  The car is firmly planted, the tires feel like velcro against the pavement.  Turn-in is crisp and precise.  As I downshift (I know, I don’t have to, but I can’t resist), I don’t have to “heel and toe” to match the engine revs as the car does this automatically.  When I grab second – the exhaust growls like the car is pissed.  I am giggling like a school girl.


I am third in line, in front of me is Yuki, a fellow I chatted up while waiting in line.  Nice guy, but Yuki is a bit overwhelmed by the track.  I can completely understand this – on a track you get to use the entire width of the pavement, there is no center line to guide you; it’s visually intimidating.  Nevertheless, I am respectfully glued a car length back from Yuki’s rear bumper as the lead driver eggs Yuki on to close the gap that is enlarging between them.  “Come on car two, close up the space!”  I am still giggling, tossing the Stingray into the turns with wild abandon, egging it on to slide . . . or push . . . or something.  It won’t – and it is not because I am such a wonderful driver.  This is a hero car; it turns mere mortals into racer wannabes who can really race.  I start wondering how I can get me one of these and do track days with it on the weekends.  I start calculating payments, the costs of tires, brakes, track memberships.  The g-forces in the turns and the way the Vette slams me back into the seat is like crystal meth – addictive at its very core, making its user do anything possible to feel that rush again and again.  Lap three, lap four, MORE. . . but then the session is over.  Thankfully we have two hits of meth “modules” left.  I check my teeth in the mirror to see if they have gone dark and crackly.


Then we are shuttled back to the home base and half of us pile into waiting Chevy Suburbans so we can go to the second module, the “Track” portion.  I feel like a snitch for the DEA, going to meet my handler as I duck into the third row of the big black ‘Burban, the tinted windows ensuring the street punks and dealers don’t know I am out to get them.  Monticello is a configurable track, something the Chevrolet crew worked artfully to ensure that we had minimal downtime between sessions.  It is big enough to contain the 2.5 mile loop for the Track Module while running the Precision and Skills modules simultaneously for other attendees.


Half of our crew heads on track, while my group heads into the waiting trailer to meet with Adam Andretti for some coaching.  Yes, that Andretti family.  Adam enthusiastically talks about increasing radius turns, decreasing radius turns, the best way to brake (in a straight line prior to turn-in), the power of being smooth, setting up the suspension by deft inputs to throttle and steering.  He further enlightens us with the engineering achievements of the new Corvette including the massive Brembo brakes that he points out are 13” in diameter, the same diameter of many economy car wheels only 25 years ago.  “Have confidence in the brakes, run these cars – abuse them – that’s why we are here!! Use our gas, tires and brake pads while you can!”  My hands started to shake toward the end of the classroom session; I needed another bump.


I beg the organizers to be placed behind the lead driver, this time the 1985 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Pancho Carter in a silver Camaro SS.  I am in a manual Stingray again, purely by luck due to it’s placement behind Pancho – I am not complaining.  Pancho guides us around an orientation lap as we had done before, but this orientation lap disorients me with g-forces.  Pancho is running 2/10ths, I’m running 6.  This is going to be interesting.  Poor Yuki is with us too – this time in the fourth/last position.  Lap 2, I am starting to hoot inside my helmet with glee as I struggle to keep Panchos 5/10ths pace – I’m at 9.  “Car four, come on and keep up!” I hear Pancho bark over the audio system.  I see Yuki pull into pit lane at the end of lap two and start to worry – not so much for Yuki, I must humbly admit, but for myself.  Pancho dials it up to 6/10ths . . . I am at 11.


The big Vette refuses to become unwound even under my unartful turn-ins, ham footed throttle and brake inputs – I’m “braking bad” here – seriously.  Aware there is a heads-up display within my line of sight, I still see right through it other than the tach as Pancho pulls away on the straight.  I refuse to let Pancho bark at me.  I try to look far ahead for the entrance cone and apex markers.  The blood inside my head is pushed to the right, then left, then right again through the corkscrew portion.  I run over the striped curbing waiting for traction to let go.  The sticky Michelin Pilot Supersport ZPs, made specifically for this car, refuse to give.  On one lap I am so determined to stick with Pancho, I forget to downshift through that corkscrew – I lumber through it in fourth – the motor doesn’t care, but I do and grab third after the last transition and am thrust back into the newly designed seats.  From what I have read, these are vastly improved over the old – all I know is that I am planted in them while being coddled at the same time.  I like.  At one point, I am convinced my blunt force inputs are going to pitch me off the course and onto the grass – I brake lightly while the wheel is turned.  My stomach turns, but the car is un-phased – had this been my electronic nanny-free Porsche Boxster, assuming I could have accelerated that hard to get up that much speed, I am fairly sure I would have been spinning.


At the end of the session, I am chatting with the others as we wait and I am asked how fast I hit on the straight.  Pancho says he kept his Camaro in third which redlines at 110 mph on the straight.  I realize I never looked.  I was so focused on Pancho, the race line, the fact that I was off of the race line, shifting, forgetting to shift; bummer.  Good thing there were not only one but two in car cameras – one pointing at me, the other pointing through the windshield.  The video records images of me, my view of the track, and contains data including gear position, speed, engine speed, track position, and more.  I can’t wait to see it.  I can’t wait to share it. I can’t wait to see how fast I actually went down that straight – I know I was deep into the rev range of fourth gear at one point and redline in fourth is  a whopping 143 mph.  Hey – who knows, I may have even hit . . . 115!!


At the end of the session, we shuttle the Corvettes back to the club house.  I drive an automatic for the short jaunt.  It shifts beautifully – better than I do, of course.  At this point, we have some down time before the next session.  Conde Nast magazines partnered with Chevrolet for this event and I got to wander around and grab swag from Wired, Golf Digest, GQ, Bon Appetit and Architectural Digest.  Golf Digest has this really cool configurable putting green and free Adidas hats.  Wired has an awesome prototype of a virtual goggle that took us outside the 80th floor of the freedom tower.  Bon Appetit helped bring fantastic food (even for us vegetarians) and Nespresso coffee – yum.  I waddled back to my car with my arms full of magazines, hats, golf balls, and other goodies. Gotta get while the getting’s good!!


The author with 1985 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Pancho Carter

The author with 1985 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Pancho Carter

The third and final module is the “Skills” portion and contains a small loop with two cone weaves set up.  I anticipated that this would be a bit anti-climactic after the second session, but I was wrong.  We were instructed to start out in “Eco” mode which not only adjusts the engine management settings (allowing the car to obtain a stellar 29 mpg on the highway) but also the magnetic suspension settings.  After the briefing, I GP sprint to the car just behind the lead driver (I know, I am a pig).  We tool through the weave at a decent pace and I am greeted with a cushy ride, yet still capable of aggressive turns.  The second lap, we toggle the mode to “Touring” and repeat.  A bit firmer through the cone weaves, still nice power delivery and cornering prowess.  Lap three, we toggle to “Sport” and start to have real fun again.  The fourth and what was scheduled to be the final lap, we toggle to “Track” mode and hammer down.  I am grinning again, ear to ear, laughing maniacally in my Arai Edwards replica helmet.  We stop at the end of the fourth lap and I am ready for my experience to end . . . when I hear “Bonus Lap” over the car stereo.  Awesome!! We go again.  When we stop, I hear “Bonus Lap” again!  Oh, these guys are good!  Just a little taste, make sure they are addicted, then re-light the glass pipe.  I’m gonna need rehab and some serious dental work.


We tool into the parking area and head into the last classroom session and de-brief.  It’s been almost 5 hours since the Precision Drive experience began.  It seemed like 30 minutes.  I wish my work day would pass this fast, but I guess that’s why they call it work.  As a group, we give our hearty thanks to the Corvette crew and applaud loudly.  We were told that we were the first 300 consumers to drive the new Corvette Stingray – I feel like one of the elitist of the elite.  We have all had one hell of a fun day, one I will never forget.


When I was a teen, my best friend who is three years older bought a 1968 Corvette with a 327/350hp motor and lovingly restored it.  Perhaps as payment for my efforts assisting him, he let me drive it, often.  It was an animal, a brute, highly capable, visceral.  The next model year, the Stingray came out.  That name has been absent in the Corvette line since 1977.  It’s back, and in my opinion, this new car is worthy of that namesake.  The car is an animal, powerful, it is visceral, but it is at the same time luxurious in a way that the old cars just can’t muster.  I tip my hat to the Corvette crew and send my hearty thanks for being invited.  Now if I could just figure out how I can get karma to let me to do all of this again . . .





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Track Etiquette: Safe Passing

With the August 13th DE day at Lime Rock for novices in mind, here’s a look back at an article that appeared in the Summer 2009 edition of the Air Cooled Advertiser in which chief track instructor Van Svenson describes how to pass other cars safely on the track…


PCA drivers’ education has earned a reputation for being one of the safer venues for gaining on-track experience due, in part, to very clear rules about passing. There are strict guidelines that must be followed by both the overtaking (following) car and by the overtaken (leading) car. This way, “both” drivers know what is expected of them, and both drivers understand the steps needed to complete a safe pass.

One such example is knowing the locations of the “passing zones” – the straight sections where the pass will occur before entering the next corner. The crux of the passing scenario is the: passing signal. This is a physical gesture from the leading driver to the overtaking driver, and it accomplishes two goals. First, it tells the overtaking driver that the leading driver is aware of his or her presence and will play an active role in the pass (more about this part in a minute). Second, the signal is an indication of which side of the car the leading driver wishes the overtaking car to go.

A signal where the driver in front sticks his or her arm out of the window and points with a finger over the roof towards the right (passenger) side of the car is a gesture that means: Hello car behind me. I see you and would like you to overtake me on the passenger’s side of my car. I will adjust my speed accordingly so you can complete the pass and be in front of me for the next braking zone. Boy! That’s quite a mouthful for a movement that doesn’t take more than a second or two to complete! But, in actuality, hand signals are a very effective way to communicate with others in a loud environment where things happen quickly.

Let’s pause for a moment and revisit the last part of the hand signal translation – the “I will adjust my speed accordingly” bit. This is very important, and, along with giving the passing signal, it is the most important responsibility of the driver that’s being overtaken. Due to a variety of factors, ranging from car capabilities, tire selection, suspension setup, driver ability, and so on, the car that is overtaking might not have the horsepower to pass the front car without the front driver easing off the throttle a bit.

The majority of tracks we use for DEs have more turns than straights – a car that can go faster around the curves will have a lower lap time, and thus will need to pass at some time, another car that has higher straight line speed, but less cornering speed. Along with a clearly executed signal in the correct passing zone, the driver in the leading car also has to plan ahead to determine “which” side the overtaking car should pass on (a reminder: over the roof for a pass on the right, and straight out the window for a pass on the left). The car that is being passed should stay “on line” coming up to the next corner – and should allow the overtaking car to pass “off line”.

For example, if the passing zone ends with a right hand corner, the proper “turn in” point will be at the left edge of the track. This means the leading car should stay to the left – and the overtaking car should pass on the right. If the passing zone ends in a left hand turn, then the overtaking car should pass on the left to allow the first car to stay on line at the right edge of the track. Remembering and understanding these guidelines will maximize safety and give everyone the opportunity to have a great event.

I’ll meet you at the apex!

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John Pellerin Reflects on “A Day at the Races”

The next Club DE event is fast approaching.  As Lime Rock beckons, Club member John Pellerin offers his thoughts on the DE experience…


I’ve been a member of the Hudson Champlain Region PCA club since 2011 and did my first Driver’s Education (DE) event that year, but it was only sporadically that I did these events until 2015 when I really wanted to improve my driving skills and move up the run group ladder by committing to and, most importantly, enjoying more seat time.

IMG_0547As with a lot of young (and us middle-aged adult) kids who are high-performance car fanatics, I’ve also been interested in racing back to when I was a kid watching the legends of stock car racing like Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and Cale Yarborough.  Unfortunately, Porsche sports car racing was unknown to me back in the 70s when the 917s and early 911s were dominating LeMans, Daytona and Sebring.  Since being in the club, I had heard some things about PCA Club Racing and the Zone 1 “Clash at the (Watkins) Glen”, but wasn’t quite sure what it was all about.  By that time, I had gotten hooked on doing the Zone1 48 Hours at Watkins Glen DE events in 2015 and 2016; so, when Jim Morgan and Chris Klapper put out the call for volunteers to work at this year’s  Zone 1 Clash PCA club races in June, I was eager to sign up.IMG_0540

There are many ways to participate as a volunteer at these club races – helping with registration, tech inspection, garage administration, scoring and timing, etc – but what caught my interest was to work on “the grid”.  Basically, working the grid is getting all of the cars in a particular race classification organized and arranged in a staging area before they are let out onto the track for their pace lap and race event.    What I really enjoyed about this assignment was being able to get up close to a tremendous variety of Porsche race cars from 944s, spec BoxstIMG_0544ers, vintage 911s all the way up to the latest Cayman GT4 Clubsport and high-dollar 911 GT3 Cup cars and even a couple of GT3 RSR LeMans-class cars.   From the graphics on the cars to the open exhaust sounds to the smell of race gas, it was really a lot of fun to work on the grid.
In addition to the cars, you get to meet a lot of great people from the racers to fellow volunteers.  All were eager to engage in a chat, answer questions and share their stories.  Interestingly, some volunteers have never taken their Porsche to an autocross event or onto a track for a DE, but just liked being around the event and come back every year.  Regardless of the extravagance of the car or the thickness of the racers’ wallets, the level of competition was very high and exciting to watch.

So, if what you have read sounds interesting to you, I’d strongly encourage you to volunteer at one of the club races.  And if you’ve never taken your Porsche out onto the track, this may give you the itch to try a DE event which I wholeheartedly recommend!  The next DE event being put on by our own HCP group is on Sat, August 13 for novices.  Looking forward to seeing you there!


Photos courtesy of John…




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Greetings from Cape Cod

Looking for new posts?  Your publisher is currently on vacation at the Cape. Check back soon for new material.  Having a good time even though we had to leave our Porsche home.

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