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Regarding using non-listed garages for Tech Inspections, you should contact Paul Neto, our Tech Chief and ask him to see if your local shop can be added. firstname.lastname@example.org
Provided they are experienced with Porsche’s and have licensed mechanics and the facilities to carry out a Technical Inspection, then there is no real reason that they could not be added to the list, but it is at Paul’s discretion.
Regarding the SA vs. M Helmet discussion, provided you have no intention of participating in any racing events, where SA helmets are usually mandated, then either specification is fine. Be aware that there may be other PCA Regions that do require an SA Rated helmet for DE. As already stated, the only big differences are that the M helmet is not rated for multiple impacts (never really understood this, but if – when? – you come off your motorbike, make sure your head only hits the pavement once) and the SA helmet has a fire resistant lining. Your hair may be on fire, but be assured that your helmet is not !!
The Factory F-E does not meet our requirements for Driver-Ed, regardless of where it’s mounted. I would suggest getting an approved F-E and mounting it on the Passenger side to replace the factory unit.
If August will be your first DE Event, then as noted above you get a one-time pass on having an approved Fire Extinguisher, but you would still need to remove the factory F-E bottle for the event – just the bottle, not the bracket.
The Track Team has discussed this matter and we see no reason to deviate from the current Driver-Ed Fire Extinguisher requirements.
So each vehicle participating in a UCR DE Event must be fitted with a Fire Extinguisher (minimum 2.5lbs Dry Chemical or equivalent) properly installed, metal to metal. This means a metal bracket and retaining strap bolted or screwed firmly to a metal panel in your Porsche. NO PLASTIC MOUNTING BRACKETS !! If you don’t want to drill holes buy a custom mounting plate that bolts to the front mounting points of your passenger seat. The Fire Extinguisher must be within easy reach of the driver.
There will be no exceptions, even for Porsche Factory OE installed Fire Extinguishers. One aspect that we are particularly concerned about with regard to the factory extinguisher is that the majority appear to be installed on the drivers seat mounting. If the fire bottle ever did break loose it could easily get jammed under the pedals. For this reason alone, we will require these factory Fire Extinguishers (but not the mounting or bracket) to be removed from the vehicle while the vehicle is on-track.
I hope this has clarified matters, but don’t hesitate to ask further questions if it hasn’t.
Good point about Helmet requirements.
Definitely not required for the IDS, only for DE Events.
I’m be inclined to look for a good used 2005/2010 Helmet just for this season, but do make sure it fits properly.
Bob: No such first-time allowance for Helmets. We value your head more than we do your car!
Wild Weasel: Not sure who told you that the Factory Fire Extinguisher is OK for DE. I will check with our Tech Line Chief to confirm, but my understanding is that the DE Specified Extinguisher must be used.
Good news is that if this is your first DE Event, we allow you to participate – one time only – without a Fire Extinguisher. This is so you can judge if you like the programme enough to continue in which case you need to spend the money for an approved Fire Extinguisher installation. Any of the approved Tech Centres in the East end of Toronto should be able to help you with this.
You will need to remove the factory Fire Extinguisher for the DE event. You can leave the bracket, provided it doesn’t interfere with your instructor sitting comfortably.
You are free to use my comments, but please note that I am providing a personal opinion based upon many years involvement in the DE Programme. I am not stating PCA/UCR Club policy or writing on their behalf.
The reason for the “metal-to-metal” requirement is that the fire extinguisher is a heavy object and we have had instances of the plastic brackets failing. The Extinguisher then becomes a projectile and dangerous to anybody in the vehicle. I agree that the factory mount should be strong enough, but it is a risk that we, and the insurance company that provides us with our event insurance, cannot take. We have had an instance where an extinguisher broke loose and hit an instructor in the head. If it were not for his Safety Helmet, he would certainly have been injured.
Track insurance is always a thorny issue and we usually advise that you assume you are not covered for damage to your own vehicle (or others) at our Driver Education (DE) events. HOWEVER, many times it’s all in the way that the question about coverage is asked. Few insurers will cover competitive driving events, track based or otherwise, but our IDS and DE events are definitely not competitive, they are not timed and they are held on closed courses with full supervision and safety personnel in attendance. Also, no insurance company can decline the Liability Coverage that your policy provides for you or any third-party.
There is a very good reason that we call it a Driver Education Programme. Our goal is to help you become a better driver by teaching and practicing the skills that will be of use in all driving situations. Our Introductory Driving School (IDS) is especially useful and covers Classroom, Accident Avoidance, Skid Control and exercises that teach looking ahead and smooth driving. Why any Insurance Company would object to that is beyond my comprehension. If you told your Insurance Company that you wanted to improve your driving skills to become a safer driver and they threatened to cancel your policy, then you should probably find another insurer with half a brain! I realize that that is probably not too practical, but maybe if you explain exactly what you are doing, they may change their mind. You are far more likely to need their services driving to and from the event than you are from anything you will do actually taking part.
With regard to the DE Programme, our #1 priority is Safety. Think about it. You have already advanced your skills by taking the IDS – and I don’t know anybody who hasn’t gone away from that event without experiencing a significant improvement in their confidence and driving ability – and now you are furthering that education. It takes place on a closed course, not the street, so no animals or kids running out in front of you (OK the occasional groundhog may decide to risk life & limb), no traffic in the Street sense of the word and all vehicles are driving in the same direction. We limit the number of cars on the course at the same time and we provide an experienced National Club Certified Driving Instructor to sit in the front passenger seat to guide you. We also provide full safety services with Marshals around the track to warn of any potential problems, as well as on-site Paramedics and Ambulance.
One major misconception about our DE programme is that we teach you to drive fast. That is categorically not the case. We teach smooth driving, courtesy and awareness. Those are great assets whether driving on a track or on the street.. As with driving anywhere, the potential for an accident is there, although very rare, especially in the Instructed groups that you will be in until your instructor decides you are ready to drive solo. For novices, this rarely happens in one complete driving season, unless the student has additional track based experience outside of our Club.
My advice is to make sure your Insurance Company understands exactly what you are going to be doing. The word “Track” will often conjure up a racing activity rather than an educational event in the minds of most insurers. If they still refuse coverage while at these events (and for the IDS they definitely shouldn’t), then you need to decide if you want to participate. For the August IDS and following DE event (note these are separate events on the same weekend) we are using the Driver Development Facility, which is a great place to learn and enhance your driving abilities. I encourage you to take the IDS. I recommend it regardless of whether you want to go on to the DE Programme and we welcome all members and their families to sign up for an IDS event, whether they are driving a Porsche or a Minivan.
Sorry for the long-winded response, but I hope you find it useful.
For late-model cars increasing performance is usually a combination of Engine Computer re-mapping and maybe a performance exhaust. I would recommend talking to Pfaff Tuning http://www.pfafftuning.com/ to find out what they recommend. If your car is still under warranty then it is best to ensure that any changes are ‘Porsche Approved”
I also use the CTEK Battery Maintainer during winter storage. The difference between a ‘maintainer’ and a regular battery charger is that they employ some smart electronics to prevent the battery from being overcharged. Even on a ‘trickle-charge’ setting which is usually about 2 amps, the charger could cause the electrolyte in the battery to ‘boil’. If there is no load on the battery (normal in older cars), this can be a problem, but the newer vehicles have significant drains on the battery even when not in use (as you have found!). On older cars with a conventional charger the trick was to put a 12v light bulb across the battery terminals to provide a load.
For me the CTEK Smart battery maintainer works great, but for your application, a conventional charger will probably work just as well. Note, the “intelligent” moniker usually means it will sense if you have hooked it up incorrectly, although some do have other advantages. $29 seems like a good deal to me.
Just to clarify the $0 Tech Inspection comment.
If you take your car to a DE Approved Tech Inspection Centre for your regular maintenance (and that includes Porsche Dealers), then they will usually take care of the Tech Inspection at no charge. This is however at the discretion of the business and by no means should be expected. A proper DE Inspection takes time and for these businesses, time is money. Don’t expect to show up for the first time at a DE Tech Centre and get your inspection for free.
Lots of wineries and craft breweries in the Keuka & Seneca Lake areas if that floats your boat. I have visited Keuka Lake a number of times and there are plenty of places to visit. A possible accommodation location is the Esperanza Mansion in Branchport: http://www.esperanzamansion.com/ overlooking the lake.
There is the Curtiss Aviation Museum in Hammondsport. Also lots happening in the area: http://www.keukalake.com/
From 390 cut east at Wayland across to Branchport on Keuka Lake. There is a nice run down the western side of the lake to Hammondsport. Dine at the Village Inn, food and Beer are great. You can then take the back roads to Watkins Glen or Corning or cut down to Bath and re-join 390/86 to Corning.
I can also recommend the “Marmalade Cat” B&B in Watkins Glen as a place to stay.