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 http://www.saratoga.com/event/saratoga-polo-87757/ (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. http://www.nightingalesmaplefarm.com/

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. http://www.topnotchtavern.com/

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. http://www.charltontavern.com/

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. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/14000226.htm

If you’re interested in visiting the school, contact the Glenville town historian for information on visiting days and hours. http://www.townofglenville.org/Public_Documents/GlenvilleNY_Historian/index

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. http://www.wolfhollowbrewing.com/

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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July’s Monthly Meeting Offers Look at New 718

Porsche of Clifton Park was the venue for July’s monthly meeting- a chance for members to socialize, dine on fried chicken, catch up on Club news and get a look at Porsche’s new 718 Boxster.  The customary reports from the Club’s board painted a picture of a Club that remains in good financial health, continues to add new members and offer much to do.

With the addition of six new members, total membership now stands at 620.   Everyone should find something of interest in the broad range of activities scheduled for July and August. July 23rd offers Porsche Platz at Lime Rock. The event includes track side viewing of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship from a West Bend vantage point as well as live, exclusive, large screen TV coverage of the race. Much, much more awaits visitors including a chance for the first twenty-five cars that arrive for the day to drive the track on an exclusive Porsche parade lap. At month’s end,  activities chair Louis Dahoda will lead Club members on a tour of four Saratoga horse farms, each with a different theme.  In August, Polo beckons.  You’ll find details for these events on the blog.

August offers three driving events:  DE for novices at Lime Rock, the Zone 1 autocross competition in Devens, MA and a Club event at the McCarty lot.  If you’ve wondered what it’s like to drive your Porsche on a race track, the Lime Rock event is for you.  Instructors are ready.  Drivers are needed. It’s expensive for the club to stage a DE event. The greater the number of drivers, the greater the chance the Club will be able to continue offering track instruction to novices.  Check with track chair Chris de Graffenried [track@hcp-pca.com] for more information.  Our Club is also recruiting drivers for the Zone 1 event.  No experience is necessary.  If you’d like to be part of the autocross team that represents our region, contact autocross chair Matt Rutten [autocross@hcp-pca.com].  Team members get cool T-shirts.  HCP’s third autocross event of the season on August 28th brings the month to a close.

The exhaust snarl of a 2017 718 Boxster S sounded the key note during the evening’s tech talk that gave members a close-up look at the redesigned car.  Only the front and rear trunk lids have been carried over from the previous Boxster.  Everything else is new.  The back end, with new lights and repositioned Porsche logo, looks wider.  Strong horizontal lines and sharper front fender edges give the car an angular, athletic look.  At the heart of the redesign is the new 2.5 L, four cylinder, turbocharged Boxer engine.  The new four puts out 35 more horsepower and 43 more lb.-ft. of torque than the previous six cylinder S engine.  Porsche claims the car will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds,  .4 seconds faster than the 981 S. Top speed is said to be 177 mph.  Another change: the Boxster is no longer the least expensive car in the Porsche line-up.  The Cayman now occupies that position.

Thanks to Christian and the crew at Porsche of Clifton Park  for hosting the meeting, diner, trivia prizes and a look at a beautiful new Porsche.



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Threat of Rain Doesn’t Deter Autocross Drivers


Despite heavy overcast and a significant threat of rain, 21 drivers came out to the McCarty Avenue parking lot for the second Hudson-Champlain auto-cross of 2016. Car models included 356, 944, 993, 996, 997, Caymans, Boxsters, and others (yes, we welcome all demonimations).  Matt Rutten and his crew of volunteers (Al Harper, John Pellerin, and Audrey Engelsberg) setup a 1/3 mile course to challenge the car control skills of our drivers.  Timm Baldauf provided safety support, completing tech inspection on all cars prior to the drivers meeting and Jeff Markussen provided timing and stats support for the day.

Run group one had a dry morning session. Run group two had to brave wet conditions when it started to rain about 1130. Fortunately the rain only lasted about 30 minutes and we had dry conditions for the remainder of the day. There were 3 instructors available (Andy Dorman, Aaron Ambrosino, and Al Harper) to work with drivers upon request, they were quite busy for most of the morning. All drivers successfully completed the course multiple times during the day, though there were many ‘incidents’ involving some poor innocent cones.  In the end, it was Jim Morgan (yes, El-presidente himself) who posted the fastest time for the day.

Thanks to all for your participation and help making this our July Autocross a success.

HCP Auto-Cross Results 7-9-2016

Photos and post by autocross chair Matt Rutten.


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PCA Judge Calls Blog “Fantastic”

The verdict is in- Open Roads caught the attention of judges in the year’s PCA Newsletter competition.  Our blog didn’t win an award- what we’re doing simply doesn’t fit the criteria by which other submissions were judged.  Open Roads, with it’s ability to handle media and to translate so well to mobile devices, is something other club’s  simply aren’t doing.  Because we were neither fish nor fowl in the competition, our overall score was low.  However, one of the judges was compelled to write, “I feel the need to add a comment about your blog and this score: I think your blog is FANTASTIC. It is difficult to judge in terms of this competition and the elements we are to judge on, and in it not being a cohesive website. Your blog is an amazing, interactive newsletter.  I’m very impressed.”  Nice to hear.

Let’s keep up the good work.  Our Club offers so much- autocross, drive and dines, DE, Weekend Getaways. The list goes on.   I’m thinking of the Amish community and the raising of a barn.  Everyone pitches in.  Please- consider pitching in by contributing to our blog in any way you can.  Take a cell phone photo to post.  Write a short piece about a Porsche experience you’ve had. Say something about your car. If you go to an event, become a reporter- send me a few notes and I’ll write a story. There’s so much going on and so many people to capture the action.  We are over 600 strong.  If we all pitch in and “raise” our blog, it will truly be fantastic. If you want to reach me regarding Open Roads, email me at newsletter@hcp-pca.com.  I’d love to hear from you.

A great thanks to those who have helped with Open Roads so far and a thanks to our president, Jim Morgan, for his efforts in submitting Open Roads for judging.


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Club Members Support Local Charities

HCP members opened their checkbooks and wallets, contributing $857  to Guiding Eyes for the Blind and the Northeast Regional Food Bank at our 2016 June picnic.  According to Sharifa Perry who coordinated the event, the charities will be able to use the all-cash donations to best meet their needs.  Donations were almost evenly split: Guiding Eyes received $435;  the Food Bank received $422.

The Board is currently looking for volunteers to plan, coordinate and run a silent auction at the Club’s annual dinner in November.  The auction has been the Club’s most significant charitable effort of the season; last year over $2000 was raised.  Sharifa has offered to support and advise members who take on the task.   If you’re interested in helping out, you can contact Sharifa for more information at charity@hcp-pca.com

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July Event Details Released: Race Cars and Race Horses

July Drive & Dine – Saturday July 23, 2016, 6:00A.M. – ?:?? P.M. 

Drive to Lime Rock Park  Porscheplatz hospitality tent to watch in comfort the 2016 IMSA Weather Tech Sportcar Championship Race,  then finishing the day with a optional meal at Black Rabbit Bar and Grille.

This event will start at Cracker Barrel of East Greenbush at 122 Troy Road (Exit 9 of I-90) ( http://locations.crackerbarrel.com/ny/east-greenbush/317/ ) at 6:00AM for a optional breakfast. We will leave this location at 7:00 AM sharp! (If you do not want breakfast)   We will head south to Lime Rock Park Porscheplatz hospitality tent which includes: Track side viewing at West Bend, Live exclusive large screen TV coverage, Complimentary cold beverage service, PCA membership station, Team presentations and meet n’ greets, Technical partner presentations, Chance to drive the track on an exclusive Porsche parade lap (for the first 25 cars to arrive per day), Raffle draws for giveaways, and a Exclusive Porsche Corral parking pass, all this for $20 (per car). (https://tickets.limerock.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=102 )  Does NOT include track admission.

After the race we will head for dinner at the Black Rabbit Bar & Grille. (http://www.blackrabbitbarandgrille.com/ )

Please email me at Louis.dahoda@edwardjones.com if you are interested in having dinner with us after the race. I need an accurate headcount by July 20th.   

Also, go online to purchase advanced ticket and your corral ticket at https://tickets.limerock.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=102.


July Drive & Dine – Saturday July 30, 2016, 10:00A.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Majestic Drive through Saratoga County to visit their local horse farms followed by a fine French meal at Chez Pierre Restaurant.

Starting at 10:00 AM with Cars & Coffee at New County Porsche (https://porscheofcliftonpark.com/) 205 NY-146, Halfmoon NY 12118. Leaving at 11:30 AM for a self guided Horse Farm Tour with in Saratoga County ( http://ccesaratoga.org/agriculture/cce-equine/horse-farm-tour ). This event is sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, then we will finish the day with a French meal at Chez Pierre Restaurant (http://www.chezpierrerestaurant.com/dinner-menu/) 979 Saratoga Rd, Gansevoort, NY 12831.

Please email me at Louis.dahoda@edwardjones.com if you are interested in having dinner with us after the tour. I need an accurate headcount by July 27th.

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Porsche. LeMans. Stuttgart

Heartbreak for Toyota.  Elation for Porsche.  The 86 running of the 24 Hours of LeMans was decided with just three minutes left in the race when the leader, the Toyota #5 car, died on the track l2when a connector between the car’s turbocharger and intercooler failed.  As the Toyota coasted to a stop, the Porsche #2 car, a 919 hybrid which had been in the thick of the action throughout the race, was able to erase the one minute gap the Toyota had built and win the race.  Great drama and where better to watch the dramatic conclusion that in Stuttgart, Germany.  Thanks to Bob Bailey who emailed these shots of events at Stuttgart along with video of the last lap of the race and reactions of the Porsche and Toyota teams.





















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Porsche Parade: First Look

Just in… A couple of photos from HCP President Jim Morgan who is spending time at the Parade.

911 R at the Parade

911 R at the Parade

Porsche Display at the Concours

Porsche Display at the Concours

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June’s Car and Coffee: Test Drive the New 911 Turbo

“It’s better in every way.”  That’s the assessment of the new 911 turbo from Jeff  Robillard, a man who knows his Porsches.  Jeff, who has been an instructor with Porsche’s U.S. Sports Driving Program since its inception, was in the Saratoga area with one of the new cars for a special four day Cars and Coffee event sponsored by Porsche of Clifton Park. The event offered a chance for Club members test drive the new 911 and confirm Jeff’s opinion.


The roads around Lake George were the setting for the first  day of drives on Thursday, 6/17. For the next three days the event moved to Saratoga, departing from the Auto Museum on Saturday.  By the end of the weekend over fifty drivers had experienced the new car’s increased horsepower and torque and had been pressed back in the seat after hitting the car’s turbo boost button and stepping on the accelerator. The option provides twenty seconds of extra boost that can propel the Turbo S model to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.  With boost, the base model Jeff brought hit sixty in  a tick over four seconds.  Even with the relatively straight roads and restricted speed limits of the test drive route out of Saratoga, it was possible to get an idea of the extraordinary acceleration, handling and braking of the car. Those worried about the car losing the legendary exhaust note of the normally aspirated flat six have nothing to fear.  The car, especially in Sports Plus mode, has quite a growl.  Of course, such performance doesn’t come cheap.  Adding virtually every performance option available tacked another $45,000 on to the  vehicle’s base of $89,400.


As great as the 911 turbo is, the most enjoyable part of the drive might have been the chance to talk with Jeff.  He started with Porsche’s school at the Road Atlanta Race Track in 2000.  The school proved so successful that the 100 days available in Atlanta weren’t meeting the demand so, after three years the school moved to the Barber Motor Sports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.  Adorned by George Barber’s nursery, the track is often dubbed the Augusta of race tracks in a nod to the beautiful landscaping of the Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia.  Jeff teaches at  Birmingham forty to fifty days a year.  He’s on the road bringing Porsches to the public another fifty to sixty days.


Jeff, too, enjoys test drive events because of the conversation. While topics range widely, the most frequent  question Jeff gets from drivers is “how do I drive an automatic?”  For those weaned on six speed gear boxes, it’s a changing world: the GT3 RS is PDK only. Paddle shifting was the only manual option in the test drive car. Jeff says as enjoyable as running through gears manually can be, manual shift cars give up seconds to their doppelkupplung counterparts on the track.  Another question Jeff often hears from drivers as they contemplate the speed and acceleration the 911 turbo- “Have you ever had anyone get ticketed during a test drive?”  Says Jeff,  that does happen- an exciting test drive followed by an expensive ticket in the mail.


So Jeff’s favorite Porsche?  The Panamera GTS- one of only two normally aspirated engines Porsche makes. Jeff says the V8 makes great sounds, is a true driver’s car and has all the running gear the turbo has.  He adds it does everything.  There’s room inside for your friends. You can put bikes in it. You can drive it for pleasure.  Say’s Jeff, “It’s the only Porsche you need.”

A special thanks to Allen Schwartz for his reporting and photography, without which, this article would not have been possible.

Here’s a look at some of the activity at the Cars and Coffee test drive event…

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A Look Back: 2009 Picnic and Concours


Every now and then, Open Roads will reach into the past for a bit of club history. For those of you who are still shivering from this past weekend’s picnic, here’s what the day looked like seven years ago.  Photos  taken from the Summer 2009 edition of the Air Cooled Advertiser, the Club’s pdf newsletter.

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Annual Picnic Draws Large Crowd Despite Chilly Weather

There were no reported cases of hypothermia and the white flecks flying through the air were probably from plants and not snowflakes; still many wished for long johns, and down parkas were the day’s fashion statement.  Hard to believe nearly one-hundred HCP-PCA members were gathered for the Club’s 2016 annual June picnic and not a Drive and Dine to Lapland Lakes for a day of cross-country skiing.  Yet, despite the blustery winds and bone-chilling cold, the day offered a parking lot filled with beautiful cars, great BBQ and a chance to enjoy the companionship of fellow club members.  As always, the people’s concours presented exceedingly difficult choices.  A 1970 yellow 1914 in mint condition?  A 944 turbo- a past national concours champion that looked as though it had just left the showroom?  In the end, not even a white 2017 911 turbo could claim more member’s votes than the  356C that sat quietly amongst newer cars, its 75 hp. motor waiting to come to life.  Add a raffle and some tasty food from Shane’s Rib Shack to the festivities and you have the recipe for another successful HCP gathering.  The picnic also provided an opportunity for the Club to continue its charity work.  Under the guidance of acting charity chair Sharifa Perry, the Club is again supporting the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern N.Y. and the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Regional Puppy Raising Program.  Last year the Club raised over $2,300 for these organizations.  If you didn’t get a chance to make a donation at the picnic, there’s still time.  Sharifa is accepting checks through June, 30th.  Mail them to her at 105 Albany Tpk. Old Chatham, NY 12136.

Finally, in passing, congratulations to Chris Klapper and Will Waldron who were recognized for completing National Instructor Training,  and a special shout-out to the member, who shall  remain unnamed,  whose newly washed black Boxster  looked very sharp indeed.

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A Feast for the Eyes at New Country’s May Cars and Coffee

Porsche, Ferrari, MG, Oh My!  Travelers along the Yellow Brick Road found themselves, not in Oz, but at New Country Porsche for May’s Cars and Coffee event.  The weather was hot but so were the cars.  Sprinkle a curvaceous Ferrari and a perfectly persevered, vintage MG into a lot filled with Porsches ranging from vintage 356’s to a new  GT3 and you get a car enthusiast’s feast.  Turn-out for the event was high.  Those who dined on the smorgasbord of cars also partook of the coffee and pastries provided by New Country.  As always, thanks to Christian and the New Country staff for their hospitality and another great C&C event.

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A Look Back at Cups and Saucers at the Glen

To get the adrenaline flowing for HCP’s next DE event to be held at Lime Rock Park in August, here’s a look back at some of the cars and drivers that made their way to Watkins Glen in May for Cups and Saucers, our Club’s premier track event.  Thanks to Amanda Brinke and Paul Budlong for the photographs.


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Club Heads to Cooperstown for May D&D

What would Natty Bumppo have thought: twelve Porsches winding their way through Leatherstocking Country towards Cooperstown, NY, the destination for May’s HCP-PCA Drive and Dine.  Cooperstown,  which began with William Cooper’s purchase of 10,000 acres of land along Otsego Lake in 1785, is today  a beautiful village of museums, stately homes, attractive shops and excellent restaurants- the perfect destination for an HCP outing.  Some club members walked Cooperstown’s  streets and visited the Baseball Hall of Fame while others took a short drive to the Ommegang Brewery.  Set on 136 acres and built to model a Belgian farmhouse, the brewery currently produces over forty different styles of Belgian Ale.  While the brewery, now owned by Belgian brewer Duvel, produces craft quality beer- with a production of over four million bottles a year, it is, technically, no longer a craft brewer.  Those who made the trip to Ommegang took a look at the brewery’s ale-making processes and sampled five of its most popular brews- as well stocking up on a number of them in the brewery’s gift shop.  One-o’clock brought everyone back together for lunch at the Lake Front Restaurant and a chance to embarrass Andy Dorman by celebrating his birthday with a singing of Happy Birthday by the HCP Chorus.  The day, which began with ominous skies and showers on the drive to Cooperstown, ended with sunny skies and temperatures in the seventies- good fortune for Boxster owners who were able to drive home with tops down.

Thanks to Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh for arranging and leading a great outing.  Watch for details on HCP’s  next Drive and Dine- a tour of Saratoga County horse farms at the end of July.

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Members Gather for May Dinner Meeting

Over forty HCP-PCA members gathered for May’s monthly dinner meeting at German Auto Parts in Halfmoon to socialize, catch up on club news and to hear owner Mark Davidson describe what German Auto Parts has to offer to club members.

The news delivered by the Club’s Board and committee chairs was good:  finances are sound, membership continues to grow with seven new members in just the past month, and the Club continues to offer  activities that appeal to a broad swath of HCP members.

Looking back, April’s Drive and Dine was the first D&D of the year that provided  members a chance to get their cars on the road.  Eighteen Porsche’s made their way to Poughkeepsie to Dyson Racing and afterwards, an art studio in Woodstock and lunch at the acclaimed Mountain Brauhaus.  Mid-month there was a strong turnout for the first autocross of the season at the McCarty Avenue parking lot. The gods were smiling on the Club- the weather for both events was perfect for getting out in a Porsche.

Looking forward, the calendar is full.  May offers Cups and Saucers, the Club’s premier DE event, a Zone 1 rally and concours, 48 hours at Watkins Glen and a Drive and Dine to Cooperstown.  The annual picnic, which is free to Club members, is slated for June 12th.  Look for some great food provided by Shane’s Rib Shack, a people’s choice concours and the opportunity to support two worthwhile charities. June also puts the annual Porsche Parade in our backyard at Jay Peak, Vermont.  If you haven’t registered for the event, there’s still the opportunity for a terrific day trip just to look around and take in the atmosphere.

More track, autocross and drive and dine events follow in July and August.  Planning for the annual Fall Weekend Get-away is underway.  Putting a different spin on the trip this year, the Club will travel to Philadelphia to take in the sights.

Keep checking the blog and your email for more details on these and other club events.

It was the club’s first visit to German Auto Parts, a long-time supplier of OEM parts for German vehicles as well as Volvos and Saabs. Following a meal provided by  GAP, owner Mark Davidson described the wide variety of parts and supplies his business offers to meet virtually all the maintenance and repair needs of Porsche owners.  After taking questions from members, Mark led them on a tour of the facility and its abundant inventory.  A thanks to German Auto Parts for playing host.

The picnic will serve as June’s business and dinner meeting.  The next Monday meeting is July 11th at New Country Porsche in Clifton Park.  Because of July 4th, this meeting is on the second Monday of the month.

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A Successful April Drive and Dine

The reviews are in- the April Drive and Dine was great success.  With some drivers starting at R&D Automotive  in Albany and others joining the caravan along the way, eighteen Porsches found their way to Poughkeepsie, NY and Dyson Racing- home to one of the oldest sports car racing teams in North America.  Founded by Rob Dyson who won his first amateur race at Watkins Glen driving a Datsun 510 in 1974, Dyson Racing has compiled one of the most impressive winning records in sports car racing history.  A private tour of the facility for Club members revealed what might be called a working “museum” of racing history and technology.

Leaving Dyson, the group headed for lunch at the Mountain Brahaus, another long-standing Catskill’s institution.  Growing out of the Sugar Bowl, a restaurant started by one of three German brothers who immigrated to New York City in 1917, the family operated Brahaus has served it’s German fare since 1955.  Some Club members will tell you the Mountain Brauhaus serves the finest German food this side of Germany.

Following lunch, members headed in various directions- some to a Woodstock art studio, some to a winery, some back the road for a leisurely drive home.  It was a good outing for the close to forty club members who had a beautiful spring day to Drive and Dine.

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Fine Day for April 17th Autocross

A beautiful April day provided a great beginning to this season’s HCP autocross series.  Take a drive around the course with Audrey Engelsberg in her 2012 Cayman R and check out the slide show for a look at some of the other cars that showed up at the McCarty Ave. parking lot in Albany.  Be sure to mark your calendar for the next AC event on Saturday, July 9th.



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National Announces New Event

Treffen North America is PCA’s newest National event, taking the place of PCA Escape. The first event, Treffen Lake Tahoe, will happen in Olympic Valley, California on September 7-11, 2016.  Here’s a quick look:



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Rocky Mountain High Way

Heading west this summer or looking for a reason to go that way?  Here’s an update on the Alpine Mountain Region’s Rocky Mountain High Way summer adventure beginning July 27th.  Looks like a good time.

May full pageRMHWje

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New 911 Unveiled at Auto Museum

HCP members were well represented among the over three hundred people who ventured to the Saratoga Auto Museum on April 8th for the unveiling of Porsche’s new 911, hosted by Porsche of Clifton Park.  The event was the area’s first look at the latest generation of  Porsche’s iconic car which sports a new six-cylinder twin-turbo charged engine that Porsche designed from the ground up. The engine in the 911 Carrera generates 20 more horsepower and 43 lb.-ft. more torque that the flat-six it replaces- all while achieving better fuel economy.  With a manual transmission, Porsche claims the car will take you to 6o mph in 4.4 seconds.   The engine in the S model kicks perfomance up another notch using larger turbochargers and an independent exhaust system.  Good food and drink and a great setting complimented the presence of the 911’s.  A great night out for car-lovers.

Here’s a look at the event.  A great thanks to Patty and Paul Budlong for the photos…

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Coming Attraction: May Drive and Dine to Cooperstown

brewomDon’t miss a great trip to Cooperstown led by Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh.  Here’s Bryan’s description of what they have planned…

Spend the day in scenic Cooperstown, NY.

Whether you’re in it for the scenic drive (great back roads along lakes and through Amish country); a visit to the Ommegang Brewery, window shopping along Main Street, a walk through the world-famous National Baseball Hall of Fame, or simply enjoying lunch and libations overlooking Lake Otsego; there’s a little something for everyone to photoenjoy.

The trip includes a pair of complimentary admission passes to the National Baseball Hall of Fame that can be used at any time. The only thing firm is that we’ll meet in the parking lot of Schenectady Community College at 8:30 am, so we can get you signed in, briefed, and be on the road by 9 am.

After about a 90 minute drive, we’ll arrive in Cooperstown where participants can determine what they want to do until we all meet back up for lunch at a location to be determined.

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Monthly Meeting Goes On Despite Weather

April is the cruelest month- T.S. Eliot…


It felt like a betrayal.  Almost six inches of snow after a winter of record warmth.  Porsches confined to garages or sitting in driveways, covered with snow.  But, not enough snow to keep more than two dozen HCP members from driving to Porsche of Clifton Park for the club’s regular First Monday of the Month dinner and business meeting.

Those who attended got a picture of a club in good health.  Three new members over the last month pushed the club membership roll to 616.  Treasurer Will Waldron pronounced the club financially sound and reports from Board members and committee chairs presented a varied menu of coming attractions that should appeal to a broad range of HCP members.

April, which has already kicked off with two days of DE at Lime Rock Park, offers the season’s first autocross event on the 17th at the McCarty Ave. parking lot in Albany and a trip to Woodstock and Dyson Racing in Poughkeepsie on April 30th.  Matt Rutten, autocross chair, promises his event will be “the most fun you can have in a parking lot with your clothes on”.  “The worst thing you can do is kill a few cones,” Matt adds.  While experienced drivers will be at the event, the day will be geared to newcomers with instruction available.

Activities Chair Louis Dahoda talks about the April Drive and Dine

Activities Chair Louis Dahoda talks about the April Drive and Dine

The Drive and Dine on the 30th will begin with a stop at Dyson Racing, home of one of the longest running and most successful North American sports car racing teams and proceed to Woodstock where members can visit a number of artist’s studios that will be open for the day, or simply walk the streets of the town.

Looking ahead to May, watch for details on a Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh led trip to Cooperstown.  Bryan and Joyce promise a picturesque drive down and a number of interesting ways to spend the day.

[Editor’s Note: If you are attending a club event in April, please consider helping our blog-  if nothing more than with some photos of the event taken with a cell phone camera. Let’s try to feature all club events in Open Roads.  If you’d like to help in some way, you contact me at newsletter@hcp-pca.com.

Wrapping up committee news, the Club will continue its tradition of charitable giving.  Members attending the club picnic in June will be asked to consider making a charitable donation and a silent auction will raise money for charity at the annual banquet in November.  The Club will also conduct another Coats for Kids Drive in the fall.
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Dinner eaten and club business concluded, the evening ended with Porsche of Clifton Park general manager Christian Trujillo offering members a sneak peek at the new 911’s that the dealership will formally unveil at the Saratoga Auto Museum on April 8th.  Needless to say, gorgeous automobiles.  Club members who would like to attend the 911 debut but haven’t yet reserved a spot at the event should RSVP to the dealership.

Christian also outlined a more active role for the dealership in promoting the Porsche brand and involving club members in the process.  How about an autocross where members can drive a new 718 Boxster?  Of course, Saturday Cars and Coffee events at the dealership will continue.  Put April 22nd aside for the next C&C.  A special treat: Stephen Pivonka, Club member and proprietor of Barkeater Coffee Roasters, will be brewing coffee for those in attendance.  See you there.


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April Event at Lime Rock Kicks Off DE Season

It was rainy.  It was sunny.  It was a lotta fun.  That’s the way chief track instructor Andy Dorman described HCP’s first track event of the season, held at Lime Rock Park on April 1st and 2nd.  Twenty-six experienced drivers, those with more than hours of solo experience, took to the track on a sunny Friday.  Saturday’s session,  an opportunity for drivers with less track experience, was a good day for learning- intermittent periods of sun and rain produced changing track conditions and changing demands on the driver.  Twenty-eight drove the circuit on Saturday.

Thanks to Matt Rutten for the photos…

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Zone 1 Concours and Rally Registration Now Open

Registration for  the 2016 Zone 1 Concours & Rally on May 13-15  is now open.  Location: Old Westbury Gardens, Holiday Inn Westbury.

Register Here . Sign up while early bird rates are still in effect. Full details, classes & rules can be found on Zone 1 website.

There are only a few rooms left at the host hotel at the discounted rate and they will close out soon. If you are planning on staying for the weekend book now by calling 516-997-5000 and reference the Porsche Club for special rates.  


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Tool-less In the Bronx

For this installment in his Long and Whining Road series, Club member Allen Schwartz reminisces about his upbringing in the Bronx and his aptitude for things mechanical.



We have a large club, so most members don’t know me at all. Even those I’ve gotten to know since joining the club two years ago don’t really know much about me.  What they do know is that I am not a “car guy,” that I am not “handy.”  While I love cars and have always loved cars, I unfortunately am intimidated by mechanical things. I’d love to be able to change my own oil, put on new brake pads — heck, rebuild an engine. I want to have to buy that stuff that degreases your hands. But instead I get jittery just hooking up my trickle charger.  I’m afraid I’m going to do something wrong, fry the battery, blow up the garage, electrocute myself.  Why is this?  You see,  I grew up in the Bronx.


My father was a young Bronx attorney who served as a cook during WWII. The military, as many of you know, has a knack for putting the right person in the right job. After the war, he ended up living in a Quonset hut in the South Bronx with my mother and older brother, who was  just a baby. Soon they moved into a public housing project in the north Bronx, in the Pelham Parkway section.


When I was born in ‘48, I joined them in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment on the third floor of this red brick post war structure. The building itself boasted an elevator, and every floor had a garbage chute that allowed you to dump your refuse directly down to the basement, where it would be incinerated and shot out as chimney smoke the very next day! Watching that smoke billow from the many chimneys in the project and slowly disappear into the blue sky, I remember asking my father what would happen when the sky was full of smoke?  (We’re starting to find out.)  Our neighbors, all lovely people, were mostly hard working blue collar families. Many of them saved up their money and bought homes in new suburban developments springing up in Westchester and Long Island, places like Levittown.


But not my father and mother. They had many sisters and brothers who lived in the Pelham area; hence my brother and I had many aunts, uncles, and cousins. We were Jewish, and like most Italian, Irish, Greek, and Puerto Rican families in those days (and second generation immigrant families today), these clans tended to stick together. It was, therefore, my fate to spend most weekends socially trapped within this extended family, kneeling on the floor with my cousins, building and attacking tin metal forts, killing plastic Indians with plastic rifles, spinning wheels on board games, and flipping tidily-winks into tea cups.  Not until my father was in his forties did we move, and then only to a nicer apartment building ten blocks away.  Although a local lawyer who did real estate closings galore for his contractor clients, he never owned a home in his life, a child of the depression who always fretted, I think, about not making the mortgage payment.


Besides, for him, living in an apartment was swell!  If something went wrong, you just called the “super” (nowadays known as the maintenance man, or even the “building engineer”), and the super would fix it! For free! Therefore my father never had any interest in, nor developed any skills related to, making or fixing things, and as a consequence neither did I.  Sorry to say I have no stories of sitting beside my dad as he took apart a carburetor or brake assembly, or even a toaster oven, and repaired it, with me handing him tools and him dispensing mechanical wisdom to a spellbound son. No, my father’s entire toolbox fit within a single kitchen drawer, comprised only of a screwdriver, hammer, and pliers. Those three implements could do anything he ever needed to do, mechanically speaking.


We parked our car on the street outside the apartment complex.  When we washed the car, we’d fill up a bucket with soap and tap water in the kitchen sink, then lug it down in the elevator, walk a few blocks to the curb, and scrub the car with sponges.  Then we’d dump the dirty water into a sewer, go back up and return with a clean bucket for the rinse.  We’d do this a few times.  I never owned a hose until I bought my first home at the age of 31.


Even so, I loved cars. As a young boy, I admired the variety of designs and details, and like most of my friends, we memorized each year’s makes and models (all domestic at the time) and could name any car from a block away just by its tail lights or grill. The Fifties, when I grew up, was in many ways the heyday of American motorcar design, or at least it’s awakening.  That was the era when running boards were dispensed with, when big tail fins and Christmas tree tail lights were first introduced, the time when the front wheels of the car were finally brought under the hood where they belonged and no longer stuck under a bulbous external fender like a gangster car in a Forties film noire.


The first car I can remember my father buying was in 1955, when I was seven.  One night he triumphantly proclaimed to the family that we were going to buy a brand new Chrysler New Yorker.  I was very excited when I saw the brochures.  To compete with the more stylish Chevrolets and Fords of the time, Chrysler had spent hundreds of millions designing a more modern looking line of cars they would introduce in 1955.  It was variously marketed as “The Forward Look” or “The 100-Million-Dollar Look.” (I have no idea why they added hyphens, but there they were. Perhaps they were also redesigning how words were to be separated in the new “100-Million-Dollar-English”!)  Some articles about this transformation at Chrysler say they actually spent closer to $250 million on the redesign, but I suppose that number didn’t sound as crisp in advertising copy to the Madison Avenue crowd.


This new “look” extended to the whole Chrysler lineup, which included the Plymouth, Dodge, Desoto, and Imperial brands, so it was a huge retooling. And along with the new exteriors that appeared quite modern, almost revolutionary, to a seven-year-old, they also featured smoother transmissions, more powerful engines, silkier steering and braking, and plushier interiors.


Our car, like many with The Forward Look, was two-toned.  The roof, hood, and front bumpers were Royal Blue, divided from the light blue lower half by a prominent chrome slash that ran the lengtAllen Photo resizedh of the car like a gleaming Mason-Dixon line.  The tail lights were thin and tall, with lots of bulbs. The front grill was called an “egg-crate.”  The tires had wide white walls, as did most of the fancy cars of that vintage.  Inside, the bench seats were probably light blue (although I cannot be sure) and might actually have been leather.  I do recall that parts of the dashboard and steering assembly were blue, and there was a stylish AM/FM radio with lots of push buttons and a round analog clock affixed up front.  I think the gear lever of the new, effortless hydraulic transmission was mounted on the dash, which if I’m correct was a radical, even controversial concept. (Could a driver accidentally shift into reverse with a stray elbow while dousing his cigarette in the ashtray?)  In any event, she was certainly a beauty!  And as the ad promised, this car was sure to enhance my father’s sense of “personal power and personal pride!”  The italics were Chrysler’s.

When the day came to pick up the car, I remember it as a major family event. We went to the dealership, where my father strode around his new acquisition with the salesman as he pointed out various features and reinforced my dad’s conviction that he had bought a truly magnificent machine.  His pride and power were growing before our very eyes.  He signed the papers and then we took off.

It was to be a very special day.  We were going for a long 80 mile drive up to Hyde Park, just north of Poughkeepsie, to break in the new car and see the historic home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that was listed on the National Register. We would take the Bronx River Parkway, which was close to where we lived, up to the Taconic Parkway, itself largely championed by FDR.  Fulfilling his vision for a scenic highway through the Hudson region, planning on the Taconic began in the 20’s; ground was broken in 1931. The construction lasted over four decades. The project was not completed until the 1960s, so I’m not certain how much of that drive in 1955 was actually on the Taconic of today — some of it may have been on country roads that followed the same route.


Nevertheless, I loved being in the spacious, cushy back seat with my brother, smelling the leather, and gazing out at the magnificent scenery.  We made it safely to our destination.  I recall it being a bright, warm, and sunny day, most likely in spring or summer, and I suppose we strolled the grounds and walked through the homes, gazing over the red velvet ropes into the library where HE worked and the kitchen where THEY cooked.  It must have been grand for a kid like me.


But the most memorable thing of all happened in the parking lot as we prepared for the drive home.  I remember this very clearly. You see, our brand new Chrysler New Yorker, with the two-tones and the hydrostatic wahtchamagig and The Forward Look would not start. For heaven’s sake, IT WOULD NOT START!  My father must’ve turned the key a hundred times.  Nothing.  He lifted the hood as if he knew what was under it and could magically figure out what was wrong.  I don’t recall him being angry.  What I do remember is that he had lost much of his pride and power. Hood up, scratching his head, and no doubt wondering how we would ever get home, he sat on a stone wall beside the car, forlorn and deflated.


Then a sort of miracle occurred.  A man wandered over who, my father would later tell me, was a Chrysler mechanic who was actually trained in these new car engines. Apparently, this wizard was able to get the car started, and he told my father to get it to the dealer and have it fixed right away.  It was something he had seen before.  And so, we got home.


From that day on, the car was nothing but trouble.  Something was always making a bad sound — failing, dying, gasping, clanking, clicking, groaning, squeaking, or breaking.  Fumes rose, smoke drifted, liquid leaked. The pride and power were gone, replaced with a feeling of what the heck did I buy?  After a few years, my father sold the Chrysler and bought a used Ford sedan.  That one I remember was black, but had large chrome skirts over the rear wheel openings.  My father had decided to trade in his P and P for flashy and youthful.


My failure to receive any mechanical training at home extended to my schooling.  In middle school, which was called Junior High School in NYC back then, I was put into a printing class where I learned to set type and carve linoleum tiles into patterns that could be inked and printed onto paper by our own manual printing press, donated to the school I imagine by Guttenberg himself.  While other, more “mechanically inclined” or “industrially tracked” students learned valuable skills like woodworking, carpentry, or even car repair, I diligently acquired printing expertise from the 19th century that was totally obsolete in the 1960s. I can say with absolute certainty that those skills have never proved useful to me at any time since that class ended (except perhaps that I understood what “font size” meant on the computer, marginally before my peers).


Later, when I attended the Bronx High School of Science (about which I can only say wonderful things), no mechanical training was offered.  My electives were Microbiology (where I learned to infect a Petri dish with bacteria, and then stain it) and Blood and Urine Analysis (a perennial favorite involving our favorite bodily fluids).  There, by the way, the toughest guy at Bronx Science, Mike Segal, who could barely pass his classes but was a huge brute and the star athlete on our football “club,” was my lab partner.  To everyone’s surprise, on day one, he passed out cold and hit the ground hard the very first time I lanced his finger to draw a drop of blood.  Oh, how the mighty will fall!  For the rest of the semester, we used only my blood.  Fortunately, he could pee.


High school was probably my last chance to obtain any formal mechanical education.  None of my friends had private homes, garages, or cars.  We all lived in apartments and took buses and subways to get around the city.  My technical ignorance was sealed, and it led to a lifelong lack of confidence when it came to sticking my hands into something mechanical or electrical.  The funny thing is that when I have assembled things, or made minor repairs, I’m not all that bad at it. I can read and follow instructions (something, however, I am told “real” men don’t have to do), and I usually get the job done.  I will admit that occasionally I have to take the thing apart and reassemble it because I did something out of order, or misunderstood some step or connection.  Sometimes I end up with extra screws or nuts.  It takes me longer than I think it should.  But eventually I get the thing done. I believe I could’ve been a decent mechanic if only given the chance.


So now, in my 60s, I find myself at the track surrounded by men (and women) who have grown up with garages and cars and fathers who thought them how to dive in and fearlessly take things apart and put them back together.  They’re not afraid of breaking something, or blowing something up.  They’re confident that whatever obstacles come along, they will persevere, figure it out, overcome the problem, fix the thing, or replace the part. I watch with interest as they remove tires, swap out rims, slide under the chassis to tighten, loosen, adjust, or replace various parts, push this and pull that.  They know just which tool to use, how much to tighten a screw or a bolt, how many turns to calibrate an assembly, how hard to strain before giving up and trying another approach. They talk about the job they’re doing and give each other encouragement. They share tools and tips.  It’s all wonderful, and I’m just not a part of it.  I am very envious. But slowly, with the help of a few friends in the club, I am learning how to care for my 2005 Porsche Boxster and do some minor things to it.  I know where all the hidden places are, where to put oil, water, brake and windshield washer fluid.  I understand what all those numbers mean on my tires. I even know how to attach my trickle charger.  It’s a start.  But heaven help me if the IMS bearing goes.


All I can say is, if you’re ever lost in the Bronx and feel alone and in danger, call me.  You see, I know everything about how to get you out of there.  And because I’m a city boy, they don’t frighten me a whit. I’ve easily navigated the tubes in London and Tokyo, found my way about Marrakesh and Vienna, felt at home in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  Every upbringing leaves its own footprint and skill set.  It turns out that I did learn some things back there in the Bronx that come in handy.  Just not under the hood.

…Allen Schwartz



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A Hacker’s Delight?

Your laptop is gone along with that bottle of Cabernet you just bought at the wine shop.  You know you locked your car before you ran into the market to pick up those last few things for dinner. It’s not locked now and your stuff is gone. You got hacked.


It may be ironic that as our cars become safer they become more vulnerable. Recently, major automakers agreed to install auto braking systems in all cars sold in the U.S. by 2022.  Add this feature to others such as collision avoidance and lane change assist and we have greater safety- but with a price paid in increasingly complex computer code that makes today’s cars some of the most sophisticated machines on the planet.  “Cars these days are reaching biological levels of complexity” says Chris Gerdes, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University.


Even the most basic cars can have upwards of fifty electronic control units [ECUs] that communicate over a car’s CANs or Controller Area Networks. The result: Today’s cars are controlled by computer programs with over 100 million lines of code.  An F-22 fighter has two million lines.  The seventeen mile long Large Hadron Collider which is unlocking secrets of the universe five hundred feet below the border of France and Switzerland has “only” 80 million.  With this complexity, who could have discovered VW’s programming that allowed over eleven million vehicles to avoid U.S. pollution control laws?


Back to your unlocked car.  Jerry Hirsch of the L.A. Times writes that last January, BMW was forced to act when it was discovered that a basic lack of encryption technology left over two-million of its vehicles vulnerable to hacking of door locks. The picture gets more ominous.  In a demonstration staged for Wired magazine, two hackers sitting on a couch ten miles away, gained control of a Jeep Cherokee as it drove down a St. Louis highway at 70 miles-per-hour.  Rap music began blasting out of the stereo.  The air-conditioner went into spasms.  The wipers moved as the car sprayed washer fluid onto the windshield.  Finally, the engine turned off.  The demonstration rang alarm bells at the NHTSA which negotiated with Chrysler-Fiat to recall 1.4 million vehicles to fix the vulnerability in the UConnect system that was exploited by the hackers. Tech gurus have also hacked into a Tesla S and used a dongle plugged into the OBD2 port of a 2014 Corvette to control the car’s brakes and wipers. In Europe, researchers started vehicles by hacking into Megamos Crypto transponders, devices that authenticate a car’s key fob before allowing the vehicle to start.

Time to get paranoid?  Not so fast says Andrew Brandt, director of Threat Resource.  He notes that the Tesla attack required access to hardware that could be reached only by taking apart the car’s dashboard.  To control the Jeep it was necessary to update the car’s operating system and flash it into the car’s computer- a process that took considerable effort.  A spokesman from Audi which uses the Megamos Crypto unit downplayed the threat of hacked transponders. The units use 96 bit encryption when communicating with the car’s fob making a random guess of the correct code needed to start the vehicle virtually impossible. The spokesman noted “manipulators must record at least two consecutive engine-starting operations with the original key, so it isn’t easily accomplished in the real world and uncommon.” Still, the researchers who did record the code twice were able to reduce the number of guesses necessary to find the actual key code from billions to 196,607. Thirty minutes later, using a brute force technique, they had the information needed to make a duplicate key.  As for dongles, Brandt says they’re easy to spot- if you see something plugged in under your dash that you didn’t put there, remove it immediately.

Right now it’s unclear where the security of your car will ultimately rest.  Facing potential legal liability,  car makers have tremendous incentive to prevent hacking.  Maryanna Saenko, a senior analyst at Lux Research, observes car makers are awaking to the reality that, as they develop increasingly connected cars, they are pushing security risks onto the market.  Stefan Savage, a computer security professor at the University of California goes even further, describing automakers as “in a state of panic.”  Tesla co-sponsored a car hacking village at a recent DEF CON conference and has offered a $10,000 bounty to any hacker who can uncover flaws in its code. According to Robert Strassburger, vice president for vehicle safety at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, companies are creating a central clearing house that will work to identify and share potential threats and vulnerabilities.  Such a center might work better if the calls of some security experts for open source software are heeded. Currently, car computer codes are proprietary and closely guarded.  Companies argue that opening their code would allow less innovative competitors a free ride on their efforts.


Even with the threat of lurking legal action, not all car companies have moved vigorously when faced with security breaches, a reluctance to act that has caught the attention of federal regulators.  A bi-partisan bill named the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate this past July.  The bill calls for the establishment of federal standards to protect the privacy of drivers and the security of their cars.  The bill also calls for incentives to manufacturers to develop better technologies and streamline the process for recalls. There is also action in the House; a sub-committee is crafting legislation that would require manufacturers to state their privacy policies and impose civil penalties of up to $100,000 on anyone found guilty of hacking a vehicle.  The house committee also calls for the creation of an Automotive Cybersecurity Advisory Council to develop best-practices for manufacturers of cars sold in the U.S.  Car companies strongly oppose any government interference and are yelling “hands off”.  Some with ties to the industry have called the proposed legislation uninformed, poorly crafted and a hindrance to research and innovation.  Advocates for legislation counter that current laws against hacking are woefully out of date and could actually criminalize legitimate research into computer vulnerabilities.  They argue the current discussion of car hacking provides an excellent opportunity to update federal law.


Regardless of who tackles the problem, it’s one that will only become more pressing.  With the development of autonomous vehicles, car computer systems can only become more sophisticated and, lacking tight security oversight, an increasingly attractive target for hackers.

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Music to the Ears: The Porsche Exhaust Note

There’s been a lot of hand wringing over  whether Porsche’s move to a horizontally opposed, turbo charged six will kill the legendary Porsche exhaust note.  Porsche says no:  “What cannot be expressed in figures: the legendary sound of a 911 six-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. And the experience is all the more intense for it”, reads the description of the new 911 Carerra on the company’s website.  Let’s hope the new turbos do carry on the aural tradition- one now documented in a new book, Porsche Sounds, a collaborative effort between Dieter Landenberger, Porsche AG Director of Historical Archives, and Porsche Club GB.  The book features photos of classic Porsche models along with a CD of the engine sounds from each car.  Definitely deserves a place on the coffee table. Here’s a link to an article on the book, with a few sample photos and exhaust recordings, that appeared on CNN’s Style webpage- http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/25/autos/porsche-sounds-book/index.html

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A Great Adirondack Drive

With cars coming out of storage it’s time to start thinking about great drives in our area- you know- more than the trip to the local market or hardware store.  Here Paul Budlong describes one of his favorites- a hour or so loop along some beautiful Adirondack roads with plenty of opportunity to get out of the car and enjoy the scenery.  I’m hoping this will be the first in a series on entertaining drives in our region.  If you have a favorite route, or even a favorite road, please consider sharing it with Club members.  No need to write the story if you’d rather not; just get in touch, we’ll talk and I’ll put the piece together.  For now, a great thanks to Paul for his contribution…

Exit 24 loop

Firstly, let me say I recommend this drive in either spring before the camps open, or in the fall after camp closings and when the leaf peepers are done.

One of the nice things about this loop is it starts right from exit 24 on 87 going north. When you exit turn right onto County highway 11 and almost immediately cross the Schroon River and head up the mountain passing Adirondack Extreme Adventure park on your left. Almost right out of the gate the road seems to call to me to accelerate hard, but about half way up on the right is a favorite hiding spot for NYSP! At the top of the mountain on your right is Valley Woods Road. If you have the time and you turn onto this road immediately on your right is a pull off for the trailhead to Thomas Mountain. It’s a short easy hike to a cabin with a nice view of the southern part of lake George. It’s owned by the Lake George Land Conservancy and is open to the public.

Continue on and down the mountain to one of my favorite road views. Dead ahead, Lake George and the eastern shore come into view directly over my steering wheel with no need to do anything but look straight ahead.  The vista is always beautiful and it changes with the seasons so it’s never boring. In a quarter mile or so you come to Rte. 9 N at a T intersection. Turn left onto 9 N towards the Hague, a drive of about twenty miles.  At first the area is  fairly populated with camps and homes, but in a short time the road becomes smooth and twisty and the main focus of the drive. The road through the forest parallels the Tongue mountain range.

Just after the DEC sign for the Clay Meadow Entrance to the Tongue Mountain Range is a gem of a little pond that looks like it may have been a stone quarry.   I like to stop and reflect on it.  Also, it’s a spot that I use to let slower traffic go on ahead as passing zones are scarce on the drive; though, there are one or two just up the road in this stretch. The road continues flat and parallels a pretty brook through a reforested pine forest. In a mile and a half or so the road starts up the mountain and becomes steep and twisty but smooth all the way to the top. The pavement on the top  is a bit rough- but only for a short way.  It improves approaching the trailhead for Deer Leap; there’s a DEC sign on the right. The trail is 1.6 miles to a nice overlook of Huletts Landing, Sugar Loaf and Black Mountain on the Eastern shore. Check the trail register for info on the Timber Rattlesnake that calls this area home.

Back on the highway, there is a fun stretch with smooth pavement and long sweeping turns to the bottom of the mountain and a pull off with a close, unobstructed view of the lake, Sugar Loaf and Black Mountain on the eastern shore.  There’s not much need to concern oneself  about Rattlesnakes here.  From the pull-off  to Hague it’s a mix of open road and camps with some glimpses of the lake for the passenger to enjoy. As soon as you come into the center of town, take a left onto Rte. 8 toward Brant Lake- about twenty miles away.

Heading west out of Hague, on your left is the pull off for Hague Brook. Here a short trail crosses the brook. A hundred yards or so up stream is a nice view of a pretty waterfalls and flume. Continue up the mountain through the town of Graphite which consists of about a half dozen houses. The Graphite Mountain Road [Rte.8] is smooth and twisty to the top of the mountain with Long Pond on your left. The road heads downhill towards Brandt Lake with long straight stretches three lanes wide.  The road is enjoyable all the way to exit 25 of the Northway. Even though the speed limits are low in the Brant Lake area, the turns are sharp and the lake is pretty.

Returning to exit 24 on the Northway, driving time for the trip is about an hour and fifteen minutes.  One of the things that is a plus for me with this drive is it’s being a loop.  You don’t have to retrace your path and once on the Northway you are on your way home with smooth sailing on an interstate highway.




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Zone 1 48 Hours of Watkins Glen

For all track enthusiasts in our club, here’s a link to a flyer describing describing the 2016 version of the Zone One 48 Hours of Watkins Glen. This event was first held in 1975 and has been run each year since. The event will be held on May 20-22, 2016 . The National Instructor Training Program will conducted on Friday May 20, 2016. Plenty of fun to be had at this historic, newly paved, facility.

Attachment:Microsoft Word – 2016 48 Hours Blurb.docx (1).pdf


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Cars and Coffee Kicks Off Season

Sunny skies and temperatures well above average produced March Madness of a different kind as Porsche of Clifton Park hosted its first Cars and Coffee event of the season on Saturday, 3/11.   The event, taking place a month earlier than usual thanks to our forgiving winter, drew over fifty people who met friends, renewed acquaintances, sampled refreshments and talked cars.   The vehicles on display certainly encouraged conversation.  In addition to the assortment of new and used Porsches offered by the dealership, drivers arrived in Ferraris, Lotuses, BMW’s and some beautiful Porsches of their own. Porsche of Clifton Park hosts a Cars and Coffee event every month through the fall.  A thanks to the dealership for Saturday’s affair- a great way to kick off the 2016 driving season.  And thanks to Office Manager Melissa Ly for the photos that appear in the slide show.

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Zone 1 Announces May Concours and Rally

If you’re interested in attending the Zone 1 Concours and Rally on May, 16, here’s a link to the event flyer: Zone 1 Concours – Rally PDF . The host hotel is the Holiday Inn Westbury, 369 Old Country Road, Carle Place, NY 11514. For additional information, please contact Murray Kane, Zone 1 Concours Co-Chair, at mskane55@hotmail.com,


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Seinfeld’s Porsches

He’s a one-man concours.  On Friday, Jerry Seinfeld offered a collection of his Porsches for auction at Amelia Island, Florida.  It’s estimated the cars for sale amount to only ten-percent of Seinfeld’s collection.  The star of the show, a 1955 550 Spyder which fetched $5.5 million.  When the bidding ending, $22 million had been offered for the cars on the block.  Here’s a link to the cars offered at the auction: Seinfeld’s Cars at Auction

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HCP Welcomes New Members

HCP-PCA welcomed thirty-eight new members at the Club’s annual new member luncheon held at the Century House in Latham on March 5th.  The thirty-eight attending were part of a 2015-2016 “freshman” class of forty-seven that pushed total club membership to over 600.  The geographic breadth of the club was evident-  new members drove in from northern Warren County while others arrived from southern Columbia.  They were welcomed by seventeen members of the Club’s executive board and operating committees.  Beyond the excellent luncheon buffet served by the Century House, the event gave new members a chance to get acquainted with each other- and with  all the Club has to offer. There’s a lot offered this year.  On the calendar are four track events, five autocross days and five “drive and dines” including trips to Cooperstown, Woodstock and a polo match in Saratoga Springs.  Throw in activities at Lime Rock Park, the Club’s annual picnic, the fall banquet and the annual “three-day-getaway in October and you have what should be a great year.  Icing on this year’s cake: The Porsche Parade is being held in our neighborhood at Jay,Vermont.  Check your email and the Open Roads calendar for details on these events.

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What Roads?

Some of you are probably aware that Bugatti is beginning production of its next supercar, the 1500 HP Chiron.  In a real hit to the car’s performance, top speed will be limited to 260 mph- for road use.  Really!?!.  What roads will these guys be on?  Anyway, private presentations of the car have been offered to “select customers” and the manufacturer claims advance sales of over 150,000 cars.  Five hundred will be made in the first production run.  So some are still available- if you’ve got $2.6 million lying around.  Probably won’t be one in our driveway.

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Activities Chair Announces Club Events for Season

Activities chair, Louis Dahoda, has released this year’s Club activities calendar.  You can find  events using the calendar feature of our blog. Or, if you rather see all the events on one printable page, here they are in PDF format.  Just click the link:  2016 activities calendar .  The PDF calendar includes Louis’ Drive and Dines as well as autocross, track, Zone 1 and National events in our neighborhood. Louis’ schedule of Drive and Dine events should appeal to a wide range of club members.  Hope to see you at some of them- they’re a great way to meet other club members.

Activities will appear on the blog calendar as specific details about the events become available.

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To Drive or Not to Drive

January 2050: Porsche Sweeps Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona: In a dominating performance, Porsches swept the first three places this year’s running of Daytona’s classic endurance race.  “It all came down to our algorithms” said Porsche race director Bernhard Stresser.  “ We tweaked our code- with the changes, our cars were able to pick better lines and more effectively control acceleration and braking.” Not only did Porsches capture first, second and third, the driverless cars shattered race records…

Sure, the idea of driverless cars at Daytona is absurd and, if anything, the stuff of bad science-fiction.  What would be the point of racing automotive robots for twenty-four hours?  Still, one might ask if we’re reaching the point where such a thing is possible, even if it’s undesirable.  Tesla founder Elon Musk predicts that, in ten years, all vehicles sold will be autonomous.  Start your car, stretch out in the back seat with a cup of coffee, pull out your phone and read the news on the way to work.  Head into the office after your car parks itself.  Tesla is well on its way to this reality: the Model S P90D features auto steer, auto lane change, auto park, side collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control.  With autopilot engaged, the driver simply holds down the primary stalk/turn indicator and the car steers itself into the lane indicated.  Tesla’s autonomous system still needs a bit of work- according the website Autoblog, within days of making its debut, a Tesla  S on autopilot was cited in Florida for doing 75 in a 60-mph zone- wonder who got the ticket?*  Perhaps more problematic is the inability of car sensors to operate in inclement environments.  In the near term, Google, which has put considerable resources into developing self-driving cars, doesn’t plan to offer one in areas where it snows.  Yet, most knowledgeable observers have little doubt technology will overcome this problem.

Whether technology can solve the ethical issues posed by autonomous vehicles is another question.  In a column written for CTW Features, Jim Gorzelany wonders what choice a self-driving vehicle might make when faced with a dangerous situation with few good alternatives.   Would such a car slam on the brakes and perhaps collide with an object in the road rather than swerving to avoid the object, possibly running over a pedestrian standing alongside the road?  Save the driver or save the bystander?

Will Porsche enter the autonomous fray?  Recent  comments from Porsche CEO Oliver Blume suggest not.  He believes drivers want to remain firmly in control at the wheel. “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,” Blume said in a recent interview with a German paper. “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road,” Blume added, saying Porsche did not need to team up with any big technology companies. Maybe so; but, lane change assist is now an option on some Porsche models.  And what about Torque Vectoring, Active Suspension Management and Stability Management?  No doubt these features make a car safer and  extend the limits of a car’s performance.  But is something lost when the car does this work?

I got wondering about this when I came across Zach Bowman’s piece on the new Mazda Miata in Road and Track.  After spending two days driving the Miata through Norway on some of greatest driving roads anywhere, Bowman wrote, “The Miata’s a wonder, a thing from a time when the machines we loved best were light and engaging above all else. I thought those were all gone. Extinct. We live among the most complex cars in history, machines that contort their every facet at the whim of an algorithm—adjust steering, braking, and damping faster than your neurons can fire. They’re unknowable devices, and you spend your time pondering what the car’s doing, rather than soaking up your surroundings. This new Miata is good not because it’s great, but because so many other sports cars operate under a different definition of good. One that means faster at all costs.”

There’s no denying Porsche makes some of the greatest cars on the planet and driving one can be the thrill of a life-time.  But, with cars becoming increasingly sophisticated and computer reliant, is there a point at which drivers lose something to ascendant technology?  Maybe, as Bowman suggests, it just comes down to how we define “good” in a sports car.  What’s your definition?

* In response to inquiries from Google, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will now consider the AI in the company’s autonomous vehicles to be the car’s driver.  A letter appearing on the NHTSA’s Website states, ” NHTSA will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants.  The letter goes on to state that Google’s self-driving vehicles “will not have a drive in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than 100 years.”

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Club Member John Shafer Wins National Club Racing Championship

At seventy-seven years of age, John Shafer is  the Porsche Club of America’s 2015 National Class C Club Racing champion.  It’s John’s second championship in as many years…



In this article John tells of the road that took him from a parking lot repair session to the podium at national awards ceremonies in Sebring, Florida. 

1984 PORSCHE 928S



John Shafer

John receiving his trophy as 2015 Class C Club Racing chamption

John receiving his trophy as 2015 Class C Club Racing champion

There have always been sports cars: After graduating from college I had had several Triumphs, Saabs and an Alfa Romeo GTV6.  My wife Judy and I regularly went to sports car races including the Watkins Glen Grand Prix  where she, being an autograph hound, got signatures from Jim Clark, Sterling Moss and Pedro Rodriguez.  These I donated to the International Racing Hall of Fame in Watkins Glen after her passing.

In 2000, I was working on my Alfa in the parking lot of my mechanic friend Mark.  I invited Judy along as I knew Mark had  a blue 928 he was selling.  It was parked only a few spots away.  I asked Judy what she thought of the Porsche: her response was, “Oh I love that car”.  The price was right, so naturally we bought it for her to use as a street car.  It was a 1984, 928S with an automatic transmission and around sixty-five thousand miles on the odometer.  Judy particularly liked the 4.7 liter V8 rumble around town.

The 928 was driven sparingly in the summer for a few years- until the day my son asked, “Dad, did you know you could take the Porsche on race tracks?”.  He said we could join the Porsche Club of America and enter Driver Education events, which we subsequently did.  You may be able to guess we got hooked.

Our first event, sponsored by the Connecticut Valley Region, was at Lime Rock Park.  My son and I shared the car which meant only two runs on track for each of us.  After registration, tech inspection and the driver’s meeting, we were raring to go.  It had rained and the track was wet for my first run.  My instructor was none other than Dan Jacobs, the eminent Porsche repair/restoration/racer expert in Connecticut.  Without much urging from Dan, I was pretty cautious (read slow) as he taught me about the “line”- turn in, apex and track out.  Having missed the first apex in Big Bend on one lap, I recall Dan saying, “ Well, we’ll send that one a post card.” Once, at the beginning of the front straight, Dan said, “John, you don’t have to brake at the top of the downhill”, with emphasis on the word top. The track was dry on my second run in the afternoon and I did much better.    After that first Saturday DE event, my adrenaline levels didn’t return  to normal until Tuesday.

My son and I shared the 928 over the next couple of years, doing over twenty track days each season on tracks including  Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen International, Monticello Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park.  Thanks to our outstanding instructors, we became advanced drivers, my son achieving the status of red run driver and PCA instructor.  Through all our track time, our Porsche ran flawlessly. The car is wonderful on track at speed, very stable, rotates readily and has 50-50 weight distribution.  The engine and transmission (made by Mercedes in those years) are durable and reliable with a new aluminum radiator with a transmission oil cooler the only maintenance work done over the years. Over time, we upgraded the brake pads, installed headers to allow the 928 to breathe better, ran softer compound tires and stainless steel brake lines.   There were very few other 928’s running in these DE events and I never saw another one with the four speed automatic transmission I enjoy so much.

Interestingly, during my early events, my instructors suggested I brake with my right foot, even though I had always used my left foot on the brake in an automatic transmission car- the result of an accident on the farm in upstate New York where I was raised.  My right ankle was broken when  I was kicked while milking a cow.  At the time, I owned a ‘52 Ford with standard shift; so, I learned to put my right foot, which was in a cast, up on the transmission tunnel and use my left foot on all three pedals, including the brake. It became natural and automatic to me to brake with my left foot.  Eventually, my instructors saw the benefit of my technique and allowed me to switch back to my left foot.  My logic is that I have two pedals to operate and two feet to do so.  I never even think about it.

Not surprisingly, my son soon desired his own car. He bought a normally aspirated track ready 1983 Porsche 944, that had been raced successfully, from a PCA member who was looking to upgrade to a GT3.  Over time, he improved his car with Hoosier track tires, some suspension modifications and a better racing seat.  He added  a driving suit and shoes and a few other upgrades familiar to all track drivers.

In 2013 my son tried Club Racing.  Graphics were added to his 944 that captured the look of  the Martini and Rossi cars of the 1970’s.  With his car needing little else to be acceptable for Club Racing,  he competed at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and Summit Point, West Virginia.  It was a learning year-  no “incidents”, but also no podium finishes in his SP2 class.    The car didn’t fare as well:  after his last race, the engine decided it was tired and showed no oil pressure.

The car engine may have died  [that winter it was rebuilt by Blaszack Engineering in Canada] but not my son’s enthusiasm.  His last race over, he said, “Dad, you have to try Club Racing, it is a wonderful adrenaline rush.”  I began accompanying him to events, trying to help with tire pressures, oil level- wherever I could lend a hand.  With a feeling for excitement of club racing, I took my car to Rick Dobush at R&D Motors in Albany in early 2014 and asked him to make whatever modifications were necessary to Club Race.  Previously he upgraded my suspension to double the spring rates, installed a roll bar, racing seats and a five point harnesses.  While I was getting my PCA Racing License, Rick added a removable steering wheel, window netting, converted the roll bar to a full cage, and added a transponder and electrical kill switch.  In mid April, my 928S was ready to go racing, but at age 76, was I?

According to the rules, I was to race in Class C, whatever that was.  Turns out it’s for generally older model Porsches, whose weight to horsepower ratio is between 14 and 16 lbs./HP.  There aren’t many cars in Class C and even fewer 928’s running in PCA Club Racing-  nearly none with automatic transmissions.

In 2014, my son and I raced at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Mosport and Summit Point.  In mid- summer, region co-racer Chris Clapper called to tell me I was in the national points lead in Class C; until that call, I wasn’t even aware of the National Points System.  By the end of the season, I completed six races.  I not only won a Workers Choice Award but also the 2014 national Class C championship and was honored at a dinner in Sebring, Florida along with other class podium finishers.

In 2015, with a title to defend, my son and I started the racing season at Lime Rock in late April.  It was snowing as we pulled into the track.  Fortunately, it cleared for the next day’s practice and qualifying and for the Saturday races.  My son’s 944 ran perfectly and he drove well, securing a second and a third in class in the two races.  I finished both races but after the checkered for race one, I managed to lock up the right front wheel going into Big Bend.  My car decided it didn’t want to slow before it kissed the tire wall.  I had to be towed from the mud and as the next race was ready to start, I was going around the track, flat spot on my tire, thumping all the way back to the pits.  Talk about being embarrassed.  A quick inspection by Dan Jacobs, a tire change, and a bit of duct tape and I was ready for race two.  With lots of renewed focus, I finished the race cleanly and had two point races under my belt at the end of the day.

For the remainder of 2015, my son was working on a new business so he didn’t attend any more races.  I competed alone and cleanly finished additional points races at Mosport, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Summit Point.  At Summit Point, my last race was my first one hour enduro.  At some point during the hour, each car must make a 5 minute pit stop; but, the driver can choose when to come in.   This was one of the most enjoyable races I’ve done . Compared to the sprint races, there’s a bit less pressure. During the five minutes, drivers can get a drink, go to the bathroom, or grab a snack.  Regardless of the type of race, it’s always a bit of a relief to get the checkered flag at the finish and give a thumbs up to all the corner workers.

In 2015, I was fortunate to receive two more Workers Choice Awards, one at Mosport and one at Summit Point.  With six clean point races, at the age of seventy-seven, I was again named Class C National Champion.  It is a tribute to Porsche Engineering/Design that this 30+ year old original car can, over a two year period, complete twelve stressful races without a single mechanical issue.  It is also a tribute to the PCA, their safety equipment requirements, their annual driver physical forms, their national Club Racing Staff, and the track volunteers to make it all work so flawlessly.

I have been asked why I do such a dangerous thing at my age.  My answer is usually threefold.  First, because I can.  I’ve been blessed with good health and I have been able to withstand the rigors of car preparation, changing wheels, the cockpit heat and other physical stress.  Also, since my beautiful wife died of lung cancer the day after our 50th wedding anniversary, I am proud to drive her car on track and display the white “fight lung cancer” sticker.

The second reason I race is to be with my son in events that we enjoy so much.  His wife Rachael calls us both “car nuts” which I guess is correct.  I couldn’t afford a Porsche upon graduating from college so I bought a Triumph.  I still have a 72 TR6, but my love is Porsches and I have one for the track-and one for the street.

The third reason I do Club Racing is the fun, the cars and the people. Just seeing well over a hundred Porsches fitted out for racing at any event is eye candy at its best.  The models, the colors and the sounds are tremendous.  Unfortunately because of the intense competition, some are seriously damaged while racing, but thanks to PCA’s emphasis on safety personal injuries are rare.  And, the people, from other drivers to officials, are friendly and go out of their way to help.  Several PCA officials have assisted me in mechanical, weight, and other issues that could have resulted in a disqualification but were attended to with their help.

So, are we having fun yet?  The answer is a resounding YES.  With more seat time and race experience, rookie nervous energy turns to a more confident adrenaline excitement.  Strapped into the race seat with the safety harness and surrounded with a roll cage and wearing a helmet, HANS device and fireproof clothing, sitting in your place on the starting grid never gets old as each race and each track are different.  When the grid workers give the one minute signal, some forty Porsches, including mine with that beautiful aluminum 4.7 liter V8 with headers and straight pipe, roar into life.  As cars enter the track behind the pace car, an official splits the racers into two lines.  After a pace lap or two, the pace car pulls off, the green flag is waved and, like NASCAR races, it’s two cars abreast- GO,GO,GO.  After the pandemonium of turn one, cars spread out.  You try to drive the racing line while watching your big mirror; with several classes of cars in each race, faster cars come up behind very quickly.  Class C is usually the slowest class; so, my goal is to  allow faster cars to pass safely, post lap times faster than qualifying, keep the car on the track, finish the race (every race has several DNF’s or Did Not Finish) and see the checkered flag.  Is it fun just competing in a race, finishing cleanly- even if it’s far down the finishing order, and getting the checkered flag?  The answer is “big time fun”, especially if there are other racers in the event that you know.

I’ll be heading to Sebring, Florida again in February to receive my 2015 championship trophy.  I’ve had the good fortune to finish six national points races in both 2014 and 2015. I attribute my success to consistency on the track, the mechanical durability of the 928, the preparation work of Rick Dobush at R&D Motors in Albany and, perhaps a little divine intervention.  I think Judy is up there somewhere looking down to ensure I don’t mess up her nice street car.






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Brunch at Prime Kicks off 2016 Season

Even though many of our cars may be hibernating for the winter, HCP’s 2016 season is underway.  On the last day of January, club members journeyed to Prime at Saratoga National to enjoy brunch and to watch the conclusion of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.  The fire pit was blazing and the brunch bountiful.  And, thanks to New Country Porsche , there were cars to drive.  OK, maybe they were just slot cars, but even so…  For the record, this year’s Rolex 24 was won by a Ligier-HPD Honda, the first-ever victory for a Honda powered car.  Twenty- two year old Pipo Derani put the car in front with just over an hour remaining in the race.  The winning car covered a little over 2,620 miles- that’s 736 laps in twenty-four hours at an average speed of approximately 110mph.

Here are a few photos of the gathering thanks to Paul Budlong who was kind enough to send in some shots he took with his cell phone.


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Drive and Dines for January and February Announced

Louis Dahoda, HCP activities chair, is hard at work on a series of Drive and Dines that will make for an entertaining 2016 Club season.  Here’s information on the first two events Louis has planned:

 January Drive & Dine – Sunday January 31, 2016, 10:30 A.M. – 2 P.M. 

Sunday Brunch @ the finish line of the 54th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona


This event will be held at Prime @ Saratoga National ( http://www.golfsaratoga.com/dine/index.html ) 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 over the bar 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 to fordgt66@hotmail.com no later than January 22, 2016.  With tax and gratuity, estimated cost will be $35.00 per person paid on the day of the event.


February Drive & Dine – Sunday February 21, 2016, 11:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. (show time 2:00 PM) 

Have Brunch before the matinee of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” By Tennessee Williams


This event will be held at  Home Made Theater in Saratoga Park ( http://homemadetheater.org/ ) The Pulitzer Prize winner is an explosive portrait of a southern family, celebrating “Big Daddy’s” 65th birthday. As the conniving relatives learn he’s dying, verbal fireworks and savage humor erupt. Fiery Maggie fights to maintain the facade of her marriage to Brick, a former gridiron hero, who drinks to escape her and his controlling father. The eldest son and daughter-in-law plot to secure their place in the will. In a maze of avarice, hypocrisy and hidden desire, truths are revealed and souls laid bare. It is very important that you RSVP with a CHECK for the performance no later than January 31, 2016. (The ticket price is $27 pp) **We must receive the check on the 31st no exceptions** Make check out to: Hudson Champlain Region PCA.
Checks are to be mailed to : Will  Waldron,  51 Winne Rd, Delmar NY 12054-3020 or can be brought to the Sunday Brunch @ Prime on January 31st.


Brunch Location TBD Looking at a new restaurant to be opening in late January.

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The Long and Whining Road

Allen Schwartz will be writing a regular humor column for our blog, which he calls, “The Long and Whining Road.”  For his first article, he describes his experience at last August’s Zone 1 Autocross. He bought his first Porsche in July 2014 and has been an avid club member ever since.


Zoning Rules!


Allen Schwartz


So I went up to Chris Klapper and told him, with both excitement and deep dread, that I wanted to be one of his HCP team members for the upcoming Zone 1 “super” Autocross.  It was to take place August 22-23, 2015, at Moore Airfield, Fort Devens, in Ayer MA (about 35 miles northwest of Boston). As always Chris, our Autocross chair, gave me an enthusiastic pat and a big smile. Funny, I could not detect any sarcasm. I knew he’d been trying to round up ten members to qualify as a team, and he seemed genuinely happy that I had volunteered. As I walked away I began to wonder; was he really happy to have me?  But then … why wouldn’t he be happy to have a 67-year-old novice driver, somewhat out of shape, with little experience and only a few AX and DE days under his belt, join the team?  And yet, I might in some way prove useful.  After all, I am a warm body, I do own a Porsche, and best of all, I’m pretty sure I was his number 10!  Now that’s how to put together a top-notch team!


I call the Zone 1 a super Autocross because, unlike our club events that take place in a parking lot, this one is set up on an abandoned airfield! Also, it is seriously competitive, with teams from all the clubs in the northeast competing for actual points on a gigantic high-speed course. The run is so big you can actually get out of second gear and reach speeds of 60 mph or more!  But because this was an Autocross on steroids, as the weekend of the Zone 1 approached, I got increasingly nervous about how well I’d perform (and also about my odds for an epic fail!).  After all, I was just six months post-surgery and I wasn’t nearly back to normal. But making it to this race represented a significant milestone in my recovery.  I had been thinking about it ever since, after my surgery, they told me it was likely I would in fact, probably, go on living! I went to the gym to prepare myself to be able to drive. I bought driving shoes. Most of all, I wanted to join the team and support our own Autocross program, even if I was going to sit at the end of the bench.


On the weekend of the event, my amazing wife followed me in her SUV as I made my way to Ayers. She wanted to bring her car in case she had to make a quick getaway in disguise after I screwed up. I had a long time to think about everything that could go wrong, including having a breakdown on the Mass Pike (I mean, of my car!).  Somehow, we made it to Ayers. We met up with the team members at the Springhill Suites and got to know them more personally, which is certainly the best part of all these events. That night I slept fitfully. I dreamed of knocking over Cohens (not orange rubber cones, but my uncle Irving Cohen and his family).


On Saturday morning, we followed a lead car to Moore Airfield, and unfortunately, I got there safely.  Even worse, my car was running superbly.  I was running out of excuses. Our team members were already setting up tents and chairs, registering, and getting their cars checked out. I always feel like I’m 15 minutes behind at every one at these events, but I hurried up and got registered, picked up the wrong size t-shirt I had once again ordered, and went through the tech line. Scanning the landscape, I was totally intimidated by the gigantic size of the course (it’s laid out on a triangle of concrete made up of two runways and a taxi lane), and also by the huge number of high-performance cars that had shown up (about 90).  There were a lot of serious drivers. Zone 1 encompasses several regional clubs, like our Hudson-Champlain affiliate, that are in the northeast. Now, I didn’t do a lot of research for this article, so I’m not sure exactly how many clubs are in Zone 1.  Look it up yourself. There’s a map. I’m busy writing the rest of the article.


Everyone set off to walk the course at about 8 o’clock in the morning. I wasn’t sure I had the energy, so they offered me a ride to preview the course. It turned out my ride was in the cramped back seat of an old pickup truck that I shared with a gentleman who was celebrating his 94th birthday, and needed a lift more than I did. The problem with the “drive through” was that the truck did not actually drive through the cones because the course was covered with people already walking through the cones! The truck went through some cones and around other cones.  All of it was quite confusing. Memo to self: this is not a good way to learn a course!


We were divided into classes and groups, in a way that I will never comprehend. It seems to me there are more Porsche models with three numbers then there are area codes in the United States – 356, 911, 912, 914, 918, 924, 944, 959, 958, 991, need I go on?  And those are just the consumer models, not the racing models! And then, within a single area code, they’re grouped by whether they’re stock or modified, by horsepower, by the number of children you have, the number of times you’ve been divorced, and so forth. In any case, my class was S2 (my last name is Schwartz, I have 2 kids, and am still married – see, you didn’t believe me!). S2 is basically for stock cars with low power.  I have a 2005 base Boxster with about 240 hp. I’m not complaining, but on the track, when we get to the straightaway, guys blow by me like I’m riding a Briggs and Stratton.  But in Autocross, power means very little.  It’s about being smooth and finding the best line that wins this kind of race.


My group finally was called and I got in line.  Chris gave me my last minute instructions. “Don’t mess up!” he said.  (No, he actually said to take the first run slowly and study each element of the course, as he always does.)  I did take my first run very slowly, and after I was finished, the powers that be told me I was off course.  But I knew that I had missed one cone at the very beginning, and was pretty happy with the rest of my run.  Sure enough, my second pass at the course was clean!  I had posted an official time, and amazingly it was even 10 seconds faster than my first off course run.  Just so you don’t get the wrong impression, my time was still 30 seconds slower than the more experienced drivers.  But at least it would count!


Feeling confident for no good reason, I cranked up the speed on my third run. I got called off course again. Now, this is where you start to question your sanity, because my second run was clean and now I wasn’t sure where I had made my mistake on run 3.  See, the thing about Zone 1 is that it is highly competitive, and therefore no one tells you where you went to off course or which cone you missed!  So it’s totally up to you to figure it out and fix it.  On run 4, I was off course again, and was told it was at the same place, but not where that place was!  With my anxiety soaring, in a fog of confusion and regret, my final four runs were all off course.  Exasperating! Chris and Aaron Ambrosino graciously tried to console me and help me decipher where I had gone wrong, but the course is so long (over 1.2 miles) that you cannot see most of it from the pit area. I had found out something that experienced Autocrossers know: Try as I might, it’s nearly impossible to correct a mistake once you’ve learned it!  Needless to say, one clean run out of eight was not the performance I was looking for!


Several of my teammates shared with me similar experiences they’d previously had, but it helped little. I was so disappointed!  My charming wife was not upset in the least. “You screwed up. Get over it,” she said. “You’ll do better tomorrow, probably,” she added, and like always, I tried to believe her.  After enough hand wringing, I steeled myself!  I would meet the challenge, rise to the occasion. Finally, I put my energy into developing a strategy for Sunday.


A big part of autocross is being able to learn a course quickly, remember all its elements, and drive it over and over again, faster with each run. I woke up Sunday in a cold sweat. What if I simply couldn’t learn a long AX course quickly enough to be competitive?  What if I continued to go off course?  What if that 94-year-old guy kept beating me?  My plan for Sunday was to begin differently, by walking the course. Even though it was over a mile long, the walk was surprisingly easy, and Chris walked it with me, pointing out various cues to attend to and the best line to take.  Autocross demands intense concentration for 60 seconds, and that requires you to get into that Zen-like “zone” of relaxed focus. I meditated in my car. I breathed deeply. I sought perspective! As my lovely wife had told me Saturday night, “You can always sell the car and never see these people again!”  She is so smart!


On Sunday, I took my first run slowly, so I could be sure to learn all the gates and slaloms and visualize them clearly. My time was slow, but I stayed on course!  Chris raised a single finger – thumbs up, not the other one.  On my second run, I tried to add speed, but went off course.  I panicked. Was this going to be a repeat of Saturday’s horror show?  Chris came over and encouraged me not to over drive or over think the course — that I had done it already and could do it again if I merely stayed confident.  Easy for him to say.  Yet my third run felt like my best yet!  As I pulled off the course and found out my result, I began to wave my arms wildly. Chris and several of our team members came over and high-fived me, which is typical of the camaraderie shared by our club members. Finally I was staying on course, and my times were getting better! On my fourth and fifth runs, I remained clean and improved by about five seconds each time. We only did five runs on Sunday because of a coolant spill that had to be cleaned up, but of my five runs, I was on course four times, and continued to lower my times with each run. That is what Chris preaches, and he was truly happy for me. I had overcome my self-doubt, and most important, was able to contribute one point to our team by posting an official time for each day!  I felt like a 10-year-old who scores a goal for his soccer team, except I’m 67 and can’t run.  It felt good, which is what this is all about!


To summarize my experience: I literally went from despair to redemption in 24-hours.  I had challenged myself and succeeded. I had fun!  Other than winning your argument with the IRS, where else can you feel such exhilaration?  Now the 2016 Zone 1 Autocross cannot come soon enough!


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Shep Adkins- A Remembrance

Club member Bob Bailey offers this “Goodbye to a Special Friend”:

Shepperson Prescott Adkins


By Bob Bailey

Porsche lost a great friend when  legend Shep Adkins died this past August at the age of 90 at his home in Morro Bay, California.  I met Shep in 1957, when I was 14 years old when he visited FoCastle Farms our family farm in Burnt Hills, N.Y. for a week-end stay with his 356 Super Coupe.  My father was an avid sports car enthusiast and was driving a Jaguar XK-120 at the time.  Once my father drove Shep’s Porsche, “our lives changed forever.

IMG_0336A South African native, trained as an engineer,  Shep became interested in automobiles at an early age, having seen the Type C 16 Cylinder Auto Union Car race in the South African Grand Prix in Cape Town in 1936.  In South Africa, Shep raced Manx Norton motorcycles and rode the Isle of Man on a long-stroke Sunbeam.   He came to the U.S. in the mid-fifties and after settling in the Boston area, formed the Northeast Region of PCA.  Next move to Akron, Ohio, in 1959, and sure enough, an Akron Region of PCA was born.  PCA Member number 15, Adkins is credited with founding 8 early Porsche Club Regions.  Owner of 36 Porsche’s over the years.  And Adkins tells the marque’s truth:  “Porsches are appealing because they attract wonderful people who become longtime friends” I can attest to that, as Shep and I have stayed in contact and remained Porsche friends for 58 years.

The die was cast, my father sold the Jaguar and purchased a new 1957 356 normal coupe, we joined the Hudson-Champlain Region of the Porsche Club of America (I have been a PCA member for 58 years).  In 1961 I purchased a brand new S-90 Roadster at the age of 18.  I was determined to start racing, but at that time you had to be 21 to race in the U.S., so I went across the border and raced in Canada.  Thus began myImage-1 fifteen year career racing Porsche’s. Always raced Porsche’s, after the S-90, I had a 1962 356 2-liter Carrera GT which I raced in C-production with my good friend Bruce Jennings and raced the car in the Sebring 12 hours with John Kelly co-driving with me for a 1st in Sports.  During this same period, I started my business B&B Motors selling Porsche accessories and racing safety equipment.  We distributed Bursch tuned exhausts, Koko floor mats, sway bars & roll bars.  When DuPont developed Nomex flame resistant fabric, B&B was one of the first companies to manufacture racing suits.  At that time we supplied Goodyear Racing with all their driving uniforms.  When I raced my factory 911 lightweight in the Trans-Am series in 1967 thru 1969 I became good friends with Mark Donohue and became business partners and formed Racemark International.

I met my wife Ginger in 1968 when she was at Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y. and brought her 356 Cabriolet to my race shop for repair.

Quite extraordinary, how that week-end in 1957 meeting one Shepperson Prescott Adkins at the age of 14, set in motion a chain of events all centered around Porsche, my racing career, my business, my marriage of 43 years.

Thank you Shep and God Speed!


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Mixing It Up

If there’s one thing the over 600 members of our Club have in common, it’s a love of cars and a belief that Porsche makes some of the finest automobiles in the world.  Even so, there are other capable and entertaining cars on the road; Club member and 911 Carrera owner Paul Budlong reflects on what it’s like to drive one.


Mixing It Up


Paul Budlong

Recently I was out to lunch with a friend.  While we were eating he mentioned he had purchased a Porsche about a year ago after  already purchasing another sports car. He received a call from a salesman with whom he had been in touch about purchasing a Porsche. The salesman told him a Porsche was available- would he like to take a look at it?  Having purchased another vehicle  since their initial conversation he hesitated but then decided to take a look. He told me that after seeing the Porsche he decided to buy it even though he had the other car. That was no surprise to me-we all do that with our cherished rides. The day we had lunch my friend had driven his other car.  He asked if I wanted to take a look. I kept looking for what I thought would be his car but we were running out of vehicles when he said to me, “well, what do you think?” I said, “the Vette?” he smiled and said, “that’s it”. Now I have been a Porsche lover since my first one in 1970; but, before that I was a muscle car kid who loved any kind of car that went fast and preferably made a lot of noise.  Hot Rods, Corvettes, Muscle Cars, whatever; just make it fast. All of a sudden, without any filtering of my reaction or tempering of my response, I said, “wow, super!” I may have surprised him, after all we are Porsche owners. He opened the driver’s door and said, “get in”, which I promptly did. Now I have been watching Corvettes the last seven years or so, coming of age at Le Mans, and have been feeling a little weak in my allegiance to my Marque even though I feel great behind the wheel. “Would you like to drive it?”  “Love to!”came out of my mouth before I could be coy. The car is a late model though not the new Stingray. The inside surprised me. It was business like and very comfortable and the construction materials were better than I had expected. The truth is, I had been wondering for a while what these cars were like inside and how did they drive. Now I was about to find out, and I couldn’t wait. The push button start brought the car to life almost instantly, so quick it surprised me and almost simultaneously seduced me with the low growl of the big American V8. (Here’s where I’d insert a smiley face if I knew how to do it in Word.) The car starts to move easily and smoothly. We had to drive city streets for a short while till we got to a stretch of open road, where I could accelerate and get an idea of the power curve. It comes on strong and quick and well, the car is fast. It’s faster than mine and I’m liking it!  I sure am grinning.

I slowed to a relaxing speed and shortly turned around to head back as my friend was pressed for time. Still, I wanted to experience the car from a dead stop without any other vehicles around. I got my wish. First gear and it’s off like a rocket. As I really get into it I break the rear tires loose causing a slight fish tailing which the car doesn’t mind at all; it is easy to control. Second gear and it’s heading for the barn! OK now I have to give it back to it’s owner- leaving me wondering what its like in the turns. I parked the car and we said goodbye.  I got into my car; wow the seats are hard.  It started right up same as it always does- turns over twice and lights up, with the audible reminder that mine was not a big block V8.  As I drove away I was suddenly aware how everything in my car happened suddenly, precisely and firmly without any care for appealing to my sensual side. It became immediately apparent to me the two different car manufacturers’ philosophy in creating their cars. I can’t say one is wrong and one is right its just two different approaches to building a car. I can say that I relished the opportunity to experience something new and increase my driving experience.  In the end I still want my car, but I can also appreciate the other carmaker’s approach. If you tried it you might be surprised how much fun it is. Come on, loosen up, no one said you have to buy it


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An Owner’s Dilemma

The surfer who picked up the snake on a California beach and dropped it in a five gallon bucket probably didn’t realize the yellow bellied sea snake he just handled is one of the most venomous reptiles on the planet.  “It looked lethargic,” the surfer said; then, he added “I touched it and it started to move.”  Fortunately for the surfer, yellow bellied sea snakes aren’t aggressive and his snake had been battered by the elements. Battered or not, the discovery of the snake has created a real to-do. The environmental group Head the Bay has put out an all-points bulletin asking beach combers to report any snake landfalls they encounter.  Take images and record location data, accidental herpetologists are told.  It’s not the snake’s poisonous nature that’s attracted attention- it’s that fact that one hadn’t been spotted on a California beach for over thirty years. Something is bringing them north from their usual habitat; scientists believe that something is El Nino- the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean caused by changing wind and atmospheric patterns.  For the us in Northeast, this means above average temperatures and some real hand wringing about what to do with our Porsches…

On December 14th, the temperature at 7:00 am was fifty-one degrees- only four degrees short of the top down target for some Boxster drivers in the Club. The temperature on Christmas Eve shattered records, reaching 72 degrees- warmer than it was on the Fourth of July. For those of us with our cars in storage, this is painful. While temperatures are setting records, our Boxster languishes in the garage with balls of steel wool unceremoniously stuffed in its tail pipe and with tires bloated with 45 lb./psi of air. To add insult to injury I’ve been passing BMW Z4’s with their tops down. So do we reinstate our insurance and get the car back on the road? And what about the oil that was changed prior to storage- do we drive the car and dirty the oil?  Hey, New Country Porsche offers to transport cars to winter storage via flatbed truck to avoid driving the vehicle after service.

Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California called this year’s El Nino a potential “Godzilla” event. According to Patzert, it’s nearly guranteed the world will see some severe impacts unless the “physics of the universe have changed.” Sure, it will snow sometime and there will be cold days; but, what if the severe impacts in the Northeast mean a warm winter and clear roads? Of course, there are some in the club who don’t have this dilemma; they keep their cars on the road year-round and we’d love to hear from them. For the rest of us whose cars hibernate while lilac bushes bloom in December, the prospect of a balmy winter is downright painful.

On a different note, thanks to members who wrote regarding their preference for music while driving. Interestingly, the most common choice was- no music at all. Drivers seem to prefer the music their cars make. Gotta agree. For those who do prefer a tune now and then, here’s a play list from Bryan Hollenbaugh, a man who definitely knows his way around music.  Bryan calls his list a “Baker’s Dozen to add to the twists and turns over the course of an hour.”

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Running Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane

Where the Streets Have No Name – U2

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers

Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

On the Road Again – Willie Nelson

Running On Empty – Jackson Browne

Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

The Distance – Cake

King of the Road – Roger Miller

Some great tunes…thanks to Bryan for his suggestions.

Happy listening


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Alpine Mountain Region’s Summer Drive Event

Colorado logo resized


The Alpine Mountain Region PCA is offering Porsche owners an opportunity to drive through the Rockies this summer. In support or our sister club, here’s an announcement of their event.


Rocky Mountain High Way 2016


Escape the heat and enjoy beautiful Colorado Springs

Wednesday, July 27th – Sunday, July 31st, 2016


Join your Porsche friends from all over in Colorado’s high country for the ultimate summer escape.

So Many Great Events:

  • Guided Full and Half Day driving tours on Colorado’s great roads to amazing destinations
  • Self-Guided Tours
  • Wash & Shine, Golf, Banquets and much, much more!

See website or contact Kathleen Lennon at kklennon@comcast.net for more details!

Registration and website (www. rockymtnhwy.com) go live January 1, 2016!

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A Racing Hero

Danielle Badler writes about cars and driving and offers her columns to regional PCA newsletters. We’re grateful to be able to feature Diane’s work in Open Roads.


I Found a Modern Racing Hero!

Periodically, people chastise me for being an inveterate reader of The Wall Street Journal.  It’s owned by that evil manipulator of the night and the right, Rupert Murdoch, they say.  It’s biased, it’s dull, it’s out of touch.  It has nothing whatsoever, today, to do with what made the paper great. And then I open it up to a profile titled “The Throwback Star of Formula One.” What?  I mean, ok, but a profile of Lewis Hamilton?  I didn’t even think the Journal knew that he actually walks on this planet.  What do I know. This is what I know.  It was a great read.  And it made me rethink my view of Formula 1 “pilots” today.  Or at least one of them.

You have to understand.  Growing up, I was a big fan of Jim Clark.  I have a framed photo of him, taken by Jesse Alexander.  You know the one, where he’s looking out into space, head slightly cocked.  As a kid, I read his bio.  He took the author for a ride in his “daily driver,” a Euro Ford Falcon, probably a “company” car.  He screeched and scrawled all over the Scottish moors.   Then he suddenly stopped the car, to say that one tire was down a few pounds of pressure.  Which it was.  Clark seemed to be completely bewildered by his talent.  Talent that led to abject disbelief when he bought the ranch in 1968.  In a meaningless Formula 2 race.  It just couldn’t happen. An example; he was asked how he can be so consistently faster than everyone else.  And Clark simply answered, “I just brake a little later.” Yeah, and Babe Ruth just hit it a little farther.  Sandy Koufax just threw it a little faster.  Chuck Yeager just flew a little better.

Contrast to today.  Driver coverage is so sanitary, they have a hard time fitting in the names of all their sponsors, when they go through the post-race “thank you” drill.  You have no idea, as Chris Economaki would ask, what it’s like out there.  So imagine my surprise when I read that, as a young cart racer, Hamilton’s father found the spot where the fast kids braked, and urged his son to brake five yards farther.  He did… and he spun, and spun, and spun.  But, eventually, “I became the latest braker.” Get this.  He’s quoted in the article saying “I don’t like tiptronic, even though I race with tiptronic….  I like having a gear stick.  I like three pedals.  I like the heal-and-toe effect… you just have a little bit more control.” I know! Apparently Hamilton is infatuated with Senna.  It makes sense.  At his death, Hamilton was nine.  Clark, on the other hand, died 17 years before he was born. At this writing, he has 40 wins in 160 starts, to Senna’s 41 wins in 161 starts.  Any bets on whether he eclipses his idol?  Damon Hill, who raced alongside Senna at Williams, is quoted as saying, “Any era you like, he would thrive….  I think it’s more difficult for him now because of the over-engineering of the competition.” The article, however, points out that, sure, it’s clear he has the fastest car out there… but so does Nico Rosberg.  And Hamilton has out-qualified him in 11 of 12 races so far this season.

A few years ago, Hamilton test-drove Senna’s world championship-winning McLaren MP4/4 from 1988.  He matched Senna’s pace almost exactly. How?  This is a great quote.  “People come up to me and say, ‘Oh, the way you took Turn 7, it’s so much better than others.’  I don’t know if they really can see that.  Because when I’m watching, I can’t see the difference.” It is indeed that little bit later/faster/better.  And it can’t just be explained. “I’m a real basic driver,” Hamilton says.  “There’s drivers over time that close their eyes and envisage a lap and all that stuff.  Maybe that works for them.  For me it doesn’t.  Me, I drive.  I drive the seat of the car.”

Hooray.  A real honest-to-goodness racing hero, in today’s age.  He exists!

About Danielle Badler:

A New York native, Danielle Badler embarked on a writing and communications consulting career in  early 2007, following more than 30 years in corporate communications, the last ten years as the chief global communications officer for three Fortune 500 companies, General Instrument Corporation, Unisys Corporation and Western Union.That experience involved six corporate relocations, including a year in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Her work today includes facilitating executive peer group meetings for The Conference Board inNew York, as well as regular articles and columns for the Porsche Club of America, TFL-Car.com and planet-9.com.

Danielle is a past member and trustee of the Arthur W. Page Society, a past trustee of the Foundation for Public Affairs and a past director of the Public Affairs Council.   She has been named a PR All Star by Inside PR, and to Who’s Who in Corporate hi-tech PRby PRWeek.

Very active in community involvement, Danielle has been a two-term board president of Alliance Francaise de Denver and a board vice president of the National Federation of Alliance Francaises, as well as a member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association.

A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, where she co-edited her college newspaper, Danielle now calls Denver home.

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