Salanis SuperDork
Aug. 23, 2009 2:03 p.m.

So, I am working on moving up from just doing HPDE's to going wheel to wheel. After hearing great things about the series, I decided to look into 944 Spec. I spent yesterday at Thunderhill with NASA and hung out with the 944 guys and got to test drive one of their cars for two sessions.

I don't have experience with too many other cars to compare it to. Most of my experience is with a Miata. It does handle differently, but still quite nice. It is not as light and tossable as the Miata. However, it is much more stable at high speed, does not get twitchy quite as fast when you screw things up (I early-apexed turn 8 at T-hill and wagged the tail, but kept it pointed the right way). The engine sounds cool, but really feels shy of what this chassis needs. It has plenty of space inside. There is tons of headroom and plenty of space to the side. All figured, it will make a great car for starting spec racing: fun, safe, reliable, communicative, and biased towards being a momentum car.

I felt a bit inadequate though, since I think most of these guys were doing around 2:12 at the track, and I only managed to do a 2:19. However, I was not familiar with the car, it wasn't mine, and I'd gotten poor sleep. So, I really didn't push it as hard as I could have, and the position of the fixed seat did not work too well for me.

Now, the thing that was really great were the Spec 944 guys. Granted there weren't many of them there, but the whole group was all hanging out together, under a couple of shade tents. Everyone was sharing food, water, and advice. Incredibly friendly. Guys from other race series would wander over to hang out with the folks. They were generally way more relaxed than other competitors looked.

One of the most telling things about them that I really liked, is that apparently they all help each other fix their cars if there's a problem, especially at the track. They said that also helps a lot to keep jackassery down on track, because you know that if you muck up someone else's car, you're going to end up underneath it fixing it as soon as you're off track.

These guys were incredibly nice and seemed to really want to help me get a 944, get it on track, and join them. I think I'm going to work towards just that goal.

Carrera4 Reader
Aug. 23, 2009 2:17 p.m.

Cool! I think it's because the 944 is so readily available - being the "poor man's porsche" I think has a big impact on attitude. Chances are the other/experienced guys have "been there" wrenching on the same issue the new guy who just broke down now has.

Personally, I don't understand the animosity between any brand/make/etc. I like Porsche and that's my thing. But I'm happy chatting it up/wrenching with Mustang guys, Miata folks, Porsche peeps, etc.

Salanis SuperDork
Aug. 23, 2009 4:26 p.m.

I think a big part of it is a "I don't have the money for a fancy race car". I think most of the guys had been racing for a while. Some were definitely better than others, but it was a very strong sense of camaraderie. Everyone is going to have an issue at some point, so everyone helps out how they can, because they know they'll need help eventually.

I think a lot may be that it is a smaller series. When there are only 10 guys, everyone gets to know each other.

I don't understand brand animosity either... I actually wasn't seeing any particularly. I was commenting that you would expect to find people more likely to hang with people in the same series as them, and it was telling that this was a group of folks that other people would go out of their way to hang with.

The fact that one gentleman was nice enough to let me use his vehicle for two full sessions was awesome.

docwyte New Reader
Aug. 23, 2009 6:16 p.m.

I drove my friends 944 spec race car and was shocked at how quick it was.

dean1484 Dork
Aug. 24, 2009 10:19 p.m.

Dam it man now everyone is going to find out that there is something other than a Miata.

I love my 924s for all the reasons you listed. The one thing you did not mention is the braking. My car really shines in this department on the stock setup with carbon pads.

Salanis SuperDork
Aug. 24, 2009 11:20 p.m.

Oh, no kidding on the brakes. Brake feel was great.

I know that's one big place I was leaving a lot on the table. I was braking way earlier than I needed to, since it was someone else's car, and braking points are the first thing I relax when dealing with something unfamiliar. Even relaxing my braking points, was about where most people normally brake in their own cars. If I wanted to, I bet I could have made it stand on it's nose about like my Miata can; which is about 5-10 yards deeper than most people are comfortable.

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