Slipstream - September 2003


The monthly newsletter of the Maverick Region of the Porsche Club of America

Photo by Kevin Hardison

Autocross #5

by Dean Yamada

On July 13th I ventured out to another Maverick Region

autocross at Pennington Field in Bedford. One expectation

of Pennington Field is that you know the course will be

tight. At 1/8 the size of Mineral Wells, Pennington Field has its

pluses and minuses. It won't be as fast (speed wise), but the surface

is cleaner, seemingly grippier, but at the same time gentler on tires.

Also, Pennington Field is much closer to the Dallas area than

Mineral Wells. Heck, Mineral Wells isn't even close to Fort Worth!

Although I'm not a PCA member, the Maverick Region

members have always been kind and courteous to everyone - no

matter what car you drive. I decided to bring out my 92 Camaro on

Toyo Proxes RA-1's with 110+ runs on them in the last 8 months.

These Toyo's are slowly becoming my favorite all-around tire over

what I used to previously run, Nitto Drag Radials! These Toyo's have

great grip compared to Victoracers, good response, very forgiving, and

obviously… they last a long time, plus you can drive to and from the

track on them. They also don't get rock hard from numerous heat

cycles unlike the 3-4 month heat cycle lifespan of Hoosiers and 6-8

month heat cycle lifespan of Victoracers. Okay enough of my tire

opinions, here's a recount of PCA Autocross #5.

The weather was mildly hot, but not overbearing, as the first

weeks of August have proven to be. With a tip from a fellow Evo

driver, a spray (spritzer) bottle chilled in your ice-cooler does

wonders for the times when you have to work the course. A quick

mist of the water makes the heat feel seemingly 20 degrees cooler.

Walking the course in the morning, it looked like a 914 driver

designed the course. Sure enough, our own Cody Sears had created

a fun and well thought out course. The starting line was so narrow

that it appeared that only motorcycles or 914's could fit through,

but surprising the Camaro fit through just fine.

Eric Erz looking far ahead at the next apex.

From the starting line you accelerated hard and then went

immediately into a figure-8. Too much speed and you pushed your

car out and made the distance you traveled much longer. Too slow

of a speed and you just always wonder, "Hmm, how much faster

could I have pushed my car?" I tried a "slow in and faster out"

approach and also a consistent speed through the figure-8 and I

think a combination of both worked best. I found that trail braking

into the figure-8, a consistent speed for the arc of each circle and

accelerating between the circles and late trail braking again for the

next circle and then a consistent speed for the arc of the remainder

of the circle and then accelerating at the end of the figure 8 worked

best for me.

Photo by Kevin Hardison

From the figure 8 there was a gentle sweeper that led to a pivot

cone turn. Tight enough that it seemed everyone went to first gear

at this corner. From the pivot corner there was another sweeper that

led to some hard braking for a very interesting slalom.

Walking the course, it seemed that entering the slalom on the

right would be less fidgety for the car. This was one of those

sections of a course where walking the course makes you think one

thing, but actually going through and seeing this section at speed

makes you change your mind.

I was fortunate to work the course first, alongside the Maverick

Region photographer Kevin Hardison. Watching the cars at speed

Dean Yamada making that heavy Chevy fly through the course.

and listening to which side of the slalom produced the less tire

noise and looked the smoothest made me change my mind on the

approach to the slalom. Left or right, the slalom and the slow and

safe finish were tight nonetheless, but going to the left was less

painful than the right.

Working the course alongside 914 driver Kevin Hardison was

quite informative. I learned that there were actually 6 cylinder

914's, hence the license plate of Robert Huffman's "914-Six". I

learned the rarity of a beautiful white 914 with orange painted

underpinnings that was restored to be historically correct.

I also enjoyed watching Chuck Machala, the current reigning

Maverick Region Driver of the Year, in his silver Boxster that shows

you don't need the "S" in a Boxster to have some fast times. I believe

Chuck had the second fastest "street car" time behind Cody's time.

Also, congratulations to Lisa Steele in her red 993 who edged out

Myra Sutton in her red 911T by exactly 1 tenth of a second for Top

Time of Day Ladies. Eric Erz in his older 911 looked very solid,

tight, and nimble throughout the course, if not better than some of

the Porsches that were 30 years newer.

I ended up in 3rd place in OA class with a 42.241, but I was

happy that my fellow OA buds, had some super fast times with a

41.847 and a 41.901 respectively, not bad for heavy weight RWD

straight-line Domestic Iron. Writing an article means you can add

your own props at will...

Yet another well run and super fun event, done by 2:30pm as I

recall. I look forward to the next Maverick Region PCA event and

also winning the lottery so I can buy a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and

autocross it!


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