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The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
10/12/20 8:25 a.m.

From local autocrosses to Daytona and Le Mans, Porsche’s 911 is a staple of our scene. However, thanks to its unconventional rear-engine layout, it also requires its own special touch.

The basic racing principles used with any car still apply, as 911 drivers still need to look ahead, make sm…

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pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/15/21 8:51 a.m.

The 911 is so pervasive in motorsports that an entire book can be written on the specifics of how to make the most of its unusual layout. That's pretty cool to me.

spandak
spandak HalfDork
3/15/21 11:14 a.m.

Yes. More of these please. Everyone talks about how great the 911 but specific driving technique and practical tips are hard to find.

Do a mid-engine article too please!

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/15/21 1:50 p.m.

I find it rather amusing that 95% of the driving techniques he's talking about apply to my old Datsun.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/15/21 2:05 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I find it rather amusing that 95% of the driving techniques he's talking about apply to my old Datsun.

They apply to a lot of cars, really.  Given that so far nobody has offered me a seat in their 911, I can speak only from conjecture here.  But it seems like the 911 doesn't reward proper technique so much as punish improper.

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
3/15/21 2:33 p.m.
spandak said:

Do a mid-engine article too please!

All the same stuff, but a little bit less.

And yeah, like 90% of it applies to most any rwd car. Just for mid/rear engine cars it's more "necessary" than "recommended".

preach (fs)
preach (fs) HalfDork
3/15/21 3:36 p.m.

I "pendulum-ed" a hot beetle back in my late teens. Scared the crap out of me. No damage but for my ego.

I have also (twice) scared the everliving crap out of me braking too hard mid turn in my Cayman. Dear god don't do that in a mid engined car unless you like an off into some serious crappy stuff like a wall or worse on the Tail of the Dragon (trees) or a good canyon road (cliff).

My experience with mid engines is brake hard initially, but carry as much momentum as you can through the turn, trail braking/big toe skinny pedal to rotate the rear as needed. Knee deep in the throttle at the apex. Definitely not a pro, but my Mom says I am fast.

I need to work on my heel-toe.

And everything else too...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/15/21 3:38 p.m.

When the MR2 Spyder came out, Toyota had the usual press drive. You're paired up and alternate the driving and navigating. 

I forget who I was with, but he kept upshifting and downshifting mid-corner! Finally, I think I said something. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/15/21 4:02 p.m.

I have a ton of track time in Porsches courtesy of instructing at PCA track days; I think it comes down to the fact that Porsches tend to have set ups that are performance oriented from the factory, whereas most other manufacturers have set ups that compensate for novice drivers.

My 1200 behaves almost identical to a 356; lift mid corner and there's a good chance that what's behind you is suddenly what's ahead of you.

I find stock early MR2s trickier to drive than 911s (in a different way of course)

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/15/21 8:51 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Stock SA RX-7s were similar.  You don't dare lift mid corner, and accelerating too early got you boundless understeer.  Starting in '81 they went to smaller rear stabilizer bars (from 18mm to 15mm, a roughly 50% reduction in rate) and had limited slips as an option, then in '84 they rearranged the rear suspension for roll understeer, all of which incrementally made them even more "safe" but less entertaining to drive.

 

I think the 911 panache is that they want to swing like a hammer when cornering, and your only salvation is to accelerate through that to clamp the rear tires down so they grip.  Not so much an issue with a 2.0-2.4l six, more of a trick with a 3.3l turbo with a turbo that "hits like the cannons in the 1812 Overture: late and hard".

 

Gotta love how he has to pump up the brakes before a braking zone, to un-knockback the caliper pistons.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/15/21 9:04 p.m.

One more video.... Swing like a hammer.  Video should start close to the end, but the full six minutes is a fun watch for all the air cooled six noises.

 

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
3/15/21 9:15 p.m.

First vid made me pucker when he pitched it into that left in high gear, and was counter steering before the apex. 2.38min

 

That was like driving a dirt car! Very tail happy.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
3/15/21 9:42 p.m.

But steering with the throttle is so much fun!   Seems to work great for me in an AutoX, but of course I have a bit higher moment of inertia (longer wheelbase)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/15/21 9:46 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

I'm not sure it's steering with the throttle so much as keeping it from looping with the throttle.  Definite coffin-corner action happening there: can't lift, hope you have enough acceleration to keep it from looping, and that you won't accelerate yourself too fast for the corner.  (Note that car is a short wheelbase model, which are supposed to be extra-"fun")

 

I can definitely see the appeal in how it'd feel when it all comes together, the exhiliration and satisfaction of getting it all just right.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/15/21 10:55 p.m.

In reply to bentwrench :

This is a very familiar to me, of course I am going 30-40mph slower soooooooo.

slantsix
slantsix Reader
11/8/21 10:14 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

 

Gotta love how he has to pump up the brakes before a braking zone, to un-knockback the caliper pistons.

I have been wondering about that on my car as well.

Is that something that a low pressure - say 2# residual pressure valve inline with each of the brake lines (say one to the front and one to the rear) would solve?  I was just curious and maybe I should post that question elsewhere. 

 

Thanks,

Greg

jerel77494
jerel77494 New Reader
11/8/21 11:52 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I remember reading about the first RX-7 TV ad.  The car was driven through an s-bend in a mountain road.  They wrecked 3 of them.  They had to hire Rod Millen!

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/8/21 6:08 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Interesting because my Boxster's nickname might as well be Mr Plow.  It's so great at 90-95%, but 95.1% plus it's Mr. Plow.  In my experience it's easier to rotate a live axle V8 American car once you start understeering, because torque.  

I'm sure it needs more camber and possibly more rear bar to fix its tendency.  
 

 

dps214
dps214 Dork
11/9/21 8:00 a.m.

Yes front camber and rear bar would help for sure. But being low power it's always going to be a weight transfer game, as it was for most older 911s. Get the car turned in on the brakes, while the front end is loaded up, plant the throttle to keep the car rotating through the corner. Basically the whole experience is a lot of effort and risk but rewarding when you get it right. The early boxster version of the experience is a bit more clunky, probably because it feels like a modern ish car but your have to abuse it like an old car to get it to work at the limit. But I remember being entertained by the game of "how stupid of inputs can I give the car to make it work?"

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
11/9/21 8:05 a.m.

In reply to dps214 :

It sounds like, one needs to focus more on tuning the driver to make the car work than to adjust the car to meet driver expectations.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/9/21 1:09 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

I've driven numerous Boxsters and never had one plow; granted I am Mr trail braking.  I also find they throttle steer very well.

On the Datsun if you come off the brakes even the slightest bit abruptly it will start to understeer.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/9/21 9:35 p.m.

If you push a stock Boxster S real hard in a Figure 8 it plows.  Yes you can ease off the throttle, trail brake and get it to rotate, but it is definitely not a neutral car.  When pushed hard it plows just like all production cars.  I get it, it's a safety thing.  It has nothing in common with the snap oversteer reputation of the original 911.   

My crappy Subaru Impreza rotates better than my Boxster, albeit that's on dirt at over 50 mph,

At slow speeds the Subaru plows more.   
 

The Boxster does have the best steering response and turn in of any car I have ever owned including several Miatas and a 996.  
 

I just don't buy the all Porsche's are neutral handling wonders of motor sports that you often read.  You can make them that way pretty easily, but they do not come from the factory that way with the exception, maybe, of the GT cars.  
 

I love my Boxster, but the mythical perfect handling Porsche it is not.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/9/21 10:09 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

So keeping in mind I've only driven these cars on track:

I rotate cars aggressively so I don't encounter this issue.

I assume you used the figure 8 as an example as I'm not sure why one would be racing around figure 8s.

As for all production cars plowing I can't agree with that statement......granted I'm being pedantic.

dps214
dps214 Dork
11/9/21 10:11 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

My crappy Subaru Impreza rotates better than my Boxster, albeit that's on dirt at over 50 mph,

Trust me, the boxster would be even better under those conditions.laugh

Generally I don't disagree with your analysis. It's mostly limited to the low power models though, my 981s certainly is not pushy, at least through the first three gears. And beyond that it definitely likes trail braking but still has enough power to maintain the turn once you get it set into the corner. I think the subtlety that people miss is that the Porsches are 'neutral' not in the sense that they're naturally perfect at all times, but in the sense that you can pretty much make the car do whatever you want with the appropriate inputs. Any of them can be made to understeer or oversteer in most situations if you want them to.

I also will say that for as much of a pushy mess as my base 986 was to autocross, it was way more composed and balanced than I expected on track.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/9/21 10:19 p.m.
dps214 said:

I also will say that for as much of a mess as my base 986 was to autocross, it was way more composed and balanced than I expected on track.

As I'm instructing at PCA events I only end up driving 2-3 laps at a time with Boxsters (or any car for that matter) as they are student cars but again I find them nicely balanced.

You can make them do whatever you want.

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