Entries by Dyke Hensen

PCA Club Race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Raff Keeps His Cool

This event was held as a support race to the Grand-Am American Red Cross 250. For the second year in a row, record high temperatures at New Jersey Motorsports Park could not keep the best Club Racers from the northeast regions of the Porsche Club of America away from the tarmac. This group of 43 fervid PCA drivers came to compete on the same road course with professional and gentlemen drivers in the Grand-Am Rolex Race Series, each gathered with the goal of conquering the narrow 2.25 mile undulating course which is super slick in extreme temperatures. With ambient air temperatures in excess of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, track temps can reach 130 F and in-car temperatures have been recorded at over 150 F. Having the ability to keep the car on track in severe heat conditions would be minor in comparison to the body’s ability to withstand extreme heat as well. Thankfully, the Club Racers would only have to endure six 30 minute on-track sessions spread over three days.

NNJR Concours Competitors Triumph!

 

August was a very busy month for our NNJR concours enthusiasts with the national Porsche Parade in Savannah, Georgia, the New Hope Automobile Show and Concours in Pennsylvania, and the annual NNJR Picnic Concours. And, as we had hoped, our NNJR concours crew did our club proud by bringing home the bling!
During the first week of August, an adventurous crew of dedicated concours competitors headed south to Savannah with their meticulously prepped Porsches to take their chances in what is unquestionably the most challenging Concours d’Elegance competition in all of Porschedom, the national PCA Parade Concours.

My First Autocross

  

Wow, my first Porsche. A 2010 911S Cabriolet and it is gorgeous. It is silver – a gift from my wife for our silver wedding anniversary (did I marry up or what?). And I can drive it any time I want…er…whenever I can. It’s got all this engine and torque and speed. Let’s see, I can get it up to 35 mph on the way to the store – if there is no traffic.  Once I think I actually got it to 45 mph between speed traps on the Turnpike. There are some nice twisty roads around me and driving around a curve is a blast in a 911. But there are other cars, and deer, and people…and it is New Jersey…and I have to pay for insurance…and I wouild like to keep my driving privileges. What is a new Porsche owner to do?
Fortunately for me, an old friend and club member, Grant Lenahan, and a new friend and club member, Tom DePascale (who sold me the car – thanks Tom), were involved with something I had never heard of called “Autocross” and they suggested I give it a try. “What is Autocross?” I asked. They explained that Autocross was a timed event where you compete against others with similar types of cars in a parking lot over a course laid out using ubiquitous orange cones. I hoped that they could not see my lack of enthusiasm. But what flashed into my mind was an old Brady Bunch episode where Greg and Marcia competed in driving skills and Greg lost when he knocked into a cone upon which a raw egg was nestled. Snore.

A DAY AT PCA NATIONAL DE INSTRUCTOR TRAINING

It is funny how time goes so quickly. Especially when you are having fun. Last year, I was a DE instructor for Metro NY and was also invited by NNJR (Northern New Jersey Region) to be an instructor candidate for the 2011 season. In addition to being a Metro NY and NNJR member, I am also a PCA-Hawaii member. 
 I attended the NNJR DE NJMP event on May 16-17, 2011 and unbeknownst to me, the PCA National DE Instructor Program, which was developed and taught by the PCA National DE Chair, Pete Tremper, was given to the NNJR instructor candidates at this event. Thank you again, Pete.
 This intensive all day, National Program was designed to provide a basics of instructor training by use of three on-track mentoring sessions followed by a check out ride and three in-class theory and use of real world experiences followed by a ten question “quiz”. The well experienced Pete provided many funny and practical stories about actual instructor experiences. Many stories included his good friend and current PCA president, Many Alban. Some very interesting stories were revealed. My NNJR mentor instructor, Alan Soberman, pretended and talked to me like a track ‘newbie” and performed crazy maneuvers on track to simulate the beginner student. 

On Track September 2011

September is unfortunately the early close of our 2011 Driver Education season. After a 3-day visit to Lightning at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) September 9-11, the last event of the season is the advanced/solo event at Watkins Glen September 19-20. Many of us are lamenting that the traditional end to our season at VIR in November will not happen this year, but the track has promised us a primo date for next year. Going back to July, there was a momentary glimmer of hope that we would be able to get our date back, but the glimmer faded rather quickly. There were a few NNJR members who had gone to Mont Tremblant a few days before our July 15-17 event at Mosport. They had heard that the race that had bumped our date had been cancelled. I started to think that we might have a chance to resurrect VIR; there was still plenty of time to promote the event and based on the number of people who approached me at Mosport about getting the date back, still plenty of interest. Upon return to the states and checking on the situation, it turns out that yes, a race had indeed been cancelled, but no, it was not the one that was scheduled for our usual date in November. By the way, the Mosport event was fantastic – great weather, great people, and one of the best tracks in North America. Keep this one in mind for next year. As I write this now, final planning is underway for the August event at Watkins Glen. The event is a complete sellout, with waiting lists for every group, including instructors. I mention this as a reminder for next year: sign up the first day an event opens, you will always be accepted!

Concours 2011-Automotive Paint Inspection

 
 Every car buying decisions will require an accurate assessment of paintwork quality to determine a vehicle’s value. A paint thickness meter is a great way to verify paint quality and originality.
 Paint thickness meters are hand-held, non-destructive coating thickness gages that are ideal for use by any used car buyer. They enable a quick assessment of the quality of the paint finish and to verify that the condition of a vehicle matches its reported history. It will also determine if the vehicle has been in an accident or experienced other types of paint damage.
 Historically, buyers and inspectors relied only on visual inspections such as checking body panel alignment and looking for gaps that might indicate bodywork or panel replacement. They looked for signs of repainting such as paint overspray on seals and body openings as well as differences in paint color and finish throughout the vehicle.
 Subtle changes in color, texture or gloss often go undetected unless the buyer invests significant time to view the vehicle at different angles and under different lighting conditions. Visual inspection techniques are particularly limiting in dimly lit areas, in bad weather (rain, sleet or snow), or on dirty vehicles.
 In recent years, buyers have begun to rely increasingly upon electronic paint thickness meters to accurately assess paintwork quality. Unlike visual inspections, these instruments provide reliable and quantifiable measurement results.
 

Autocross – How To Win

 As we have had few events to report on, our articles have been advice based, and this one will continue in that theme. The last few articles introduced you to the world of autocrossing and told you what was involved. Now we are going to tell you how to win. I have copied this article from a source, From the February, 2009 issue of Euro Tuner By Philip Royle. This is a very concise and informative article and I could not have done any better than Philip, so I defer to his knowledge and experience and thank him for his advice and encouragement.
Many say consistency is the key to being a good racer, but consistency means nothing if your technique is wrong to begin with. Fortunately, technique is something that can be learned, so if you get out on the autocross course and run the slowest time, do not give up. Instead, learn from your mistakes and alter your driving style.
Being smooth at the controls is the key to running fast. In order to be smooth, you must have the correct seating position, foot position, steering wheel grip, and a good mental map of the line you are planning on running through the cones. Each of these items must be understood and perfected before you will be able to run fast consistent lap times. Fortunately, seating and foot positioning will be the same on all autocross courses, so once you have perfected those, all you will need to worry about is running the correct line.

On August Track 2011

August 5-7 is the date for one of our most popular events, Watkins Glen. Referred to as “the greatest track on the planet” by racer and driving coach David Murry, the moniker is something I cannot dispute. As you read this, NNJR is enjoying three days of great driving at this fabulous venue. Earlier in the year I wrote about the history of some of the tracks we visit, and this month seems like the opportune time to talk about the rich history of Watkins Glen. Before I delve into the history books, a reminder that registration for Lightning at New Jersey Motorsports Park is now open and closes August 26. September 9-11 will be our last trip to NJMP, so please sign up soon so you are not waitlisted. The Lightning circuit is fast and fun, with many drivers preferring this track to its sister track Thunderbolt. Registration is also open for solo/advanced drivers at Watkins Glen September 19 and 20 (and David Murry will be in attendance for driver coaching).
A quick look back to June had NNJR at Mid Ohio for three days. As opposed to some dodgy weather last year, the conditions this year were ideal and some drivers new to Mid Ohio found out why this track is a favorite of many, including myself. Last year when I wrote about Mid Ohio, I caused a bit of a stir by trying to dispel the notion that the signature right-hander after the back straight was called the “Jump Turn”. Locals refer to this particular turn as “Madness”. At the event, I ran into a few of the long-time local drivers and queried them on the “Jump Turn”. Apologies to a few, but I was vindicated. The turn in question is most certainly “Madness” and there is no “Jump Turn” at Mid Ohio (sorry Bill). Actually, if there was a jump turn, that distinction would more appropriately go to Turn 11, which is the right turn that exits to Thunder Valley, the short straight on the back part of the course. Turn 11 used to have more of a crest to it, and cars used to hop over the hill and take a jump to the left. After the re-paving a few years ago, the crest was flattening so the “jumpiness” was significantly reduced.

Concours 2011 A Helping Hand – The DIY Workshop

On Sunday June 5, NNJR held its annual DIY Workshop at the Ray Catena Service Center in Edison, NJ. Once again the weather gods of Concours were looking after the NNJR faithful and provided yet another outstanding day for our event, even though we had a rainy-day backup plan. Whoever among us who has been offering sacrifices to these deities, we thank you for your help and support; keep it up!
Sixty-five enthusiastic NNJR members showed up for this workshop ready to learn the tips, techniques, and secrets of Porsche car care from our celebrated team of concours experts. It was again reassuring to see a large number of new members at this event. But, before applying polish to paint, or wax to whale-tails; our hosts from Ray Catena Porsche, Joe Germino, the general sales manager, and his team, served an outstanding lunch of assorted gourmet deli sandwiches, pasta salad, and soft drinks to provide the human fuel for the afternoon’s calorie-consuming activities.