Weekend racing and club leagues have always been the choice hobby of affluent enthusiasts who consider a trip to the grocery store or Starbucks as another opportunity to test the limits of their prized machine. Weekend warriors that live in snowy climes can rejoice that spring is here and the warmer temperatures mean that race tracks are race ready.
The iconic Porsche 911 is one of the more popular choices for enthusiasts who want a daily driver that they can race around the track on the weekends. The familiar silhouette has been around for over 50 years and while the outward design has essentially remained the same throughout the model run, the engine technology and mechanics have changed dramatically to keep up with sports car trends. In 1964, the original 911 boasted around 140 horsepower while today’s 911 Turbo S model tops out at over 560 horsepower. That’s quite an evolution!
The beauty of the 911 model line is the many variations that Stuttgart makes available. The wide range of performance and price offerings earns the 911 its distinction of being the choice machine for the ‘weekend racer’. And the popularity of the 911 means a cornucopia of after market technology and parts to make your Porsche ‘that much better’.
The 911 ‘Turbo upgrade’
This has been one of the great 911 debates for the ages. Should owners with normally aspirated cars take the leap and add an aftermarket turbo system? With most aftermarket systems, it all comes down to quality and compatibility. The unique engineering of the 911 engine requires expertly engineered components that meet the highest tolerances.
A mid range turbo upgrade kit should price around $10,000 (US) and could add another 100 horsepower to the stock engine. When it comes to the track, those extra ponies will come in handy off the line and in fast turn exits. Just make sure to disclose the heavy breather under the hood when you sign the race contract.
Born to race, engineered to handle
The 911’s layout presents challenges when it comes to handling. Mounting the engine at the rear does have it’s benefits when it comes to weight distribution but also can be challenging for drivers when all that weight is just above the drive wheels.
As the 911’s design evolved, the wheels were pushed out the corners and higher tech suspension and linkages were used to compensate. Today’s 911’s such as the 911 GT3 employs an active axle system that actually steers the rear wheels to varying degrees to improve handling.
Owners of past 911’s have a wide range of upgrade kits and performance components to choose from. High performance shocks and struts as well as upgraded track spec anti-sway and torsion bars will keep the car firmly planted on the track while taking turns at higher speeds.
Wear and tear is part of the fun
Many hobby racers use their own cars on the track on race day. Driving a 911 to throughout its performance envelope in a short period of time will cause advanced and excessive wear on the engine and suspension systems.
Porsche engines are very complex and require constant and frequent maintenance especially when used in a racing environment. Oils and fluids should be swapped out with only the best quality synthetic oil blends after every race and the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule should e be followed to the letter.
Racers are also wise to have a second set of tires that are specific for track use only. Most leagues and clubs will layout tire specifics to keep the field even.
911 owners understand the connection the driver has with the road in these cars and pushing them to the limit on a race track is the purest way to enjoy the Porsche driving experience.
By Doron Levy Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media