Sonne Porsche
Newsletter April 2001 Articles

A Rousing Success!

"Picnic on the Ridge"
by Rayburn Freitas 

Dear Members:

   I was very surprised and elated at the turnout of lasts month's "Picnic on the Ridge" outing of our Porsche Club. As the windward group gathered at the Castle Hospital parking lot, I thought of the many events that were attended by the same old group. It sure was a pleasure having all of you at the picnic with your families.

   All of the cars, as usual looked outstanding. I felt very privileged to have led the group from the windward side. When we were all gathered at the park side, I enjoyed seeing club members admiring each other's cars and engaging in "Porsche Talk". After all, there is always something we can learn from each other--a new polish, wheel cleaner or adjustments to make our "P" cars run better.

   The officers and the people that set this up would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. You all made it worth the effort and we will strive to have more and better outings as the year progresses. If any of you have any suggestions, we would like to hear from you.

   Mahalo to the wives, especially Joni, for setting up an outstanding array of food. All of the wives who helped should be proud of the end result. There was something for everyone and I doubt if anyone left the picnic hungry. (If it was left up to the men, we would have to survive on hot dogs and chips.)

   A big mahalo to everyone who helped to clean up after we were done for the day. The clean up was fast and efficient with Terry Felts handling the whip.

   Again, Mahalo to everyone who organized and participated in this event.

   Town Caravan: John and Joni Arafiles--2000 Boxter S; Richard Lau and Maude--'84 911 Carrera; Ed Yuen and Gwen--'78 911SC; Doug and Chey Delafontaine--'78 911SC; Terry Felts--'65 356 SC; Janet Felts--2000 Boxter S; Ambo & Elizabeth Ilagan--'83 911SC; Sean Cripps--BMW 325; Jeff and Jin Yang; Darryl and Marsha Lee--'98 C2S.

   Windward Caravan: Raybern and Patti Freitas--'88 Slant Nose Turbo; Craig and Phyllis Wood--'81 911 Targa; Woody Hopler--'98 993 C4 cab; Kevin Ham--'73 Blue Carrera; Doug and Hollis Wadsworth--'78 911SC; James Tynecki--'98 993 C2S; Larry and Antoinette--'97 black Boxter; Jason and Maria Czech--'80 911SC; Pierre Bonnet and Chris--'97 Boxter; Chip Hughes--'99 996 cab.

See the digital photos
by
Doug Wadsworth. > Go

Aloha 500 Recap: License to Thrill
by Sean Cripps 

   Last month the Porsche club joined its rival, er . . . ah . . . neighbor, the BMW club, for a weekend of fun and education at Hawaii Raceway Park. What could have been so alluring to draw both Beemerphiles and Porsche freaks to spend a weekend together? The “Aloha 500” did it! This year marks the second successful drivers education course the BMW club has organized and it was awesome.

   The two-day course held on March 3rd and 4th was a professionally executed school utilizing both local and mainland instructors to teach the basics of car dynamics and how to safely enjoy our machine's driving potential. In all there were around 65 BMWs and 9 Porsches. PCA-Hawaii club members and other Porsche owners who joined us at the event included James and Joey Tynecki in their white 993 C2S, Alan “flame-boy” Robinson in his restored ‘78 911 SC Targa, Jason Czech screaming around the track in his root beer brown 911 SC, Pierre Bonnet piloting his silver-bullet ‘97 Boxster, Chip "Mustang Man!” Hughes smoking up the skid pad in a pseudo 968, Carol Cripps with her “real” 928 in gleaming guards red, Kelly Cripps turning heads with his black 911 Carrera, Collyer Young barreling top-down in his Carrera cab, John Armstrong cutting up the course in his ‘95 993 coupe, and finally Mike and Sean Cripps in their extremely "modified" 911 SC. Also from the Porsche club were Gerard Simoes, Scott Schulte, and Lindsey Akamu who graciously gave their time to work as local instructors and safety inspectors.

   Learning began on Saturday with the three basic car control clinics: skidpad, threshold braking, and slalom. The reason for practicing these exercises is to get the driver acquainted with his or her car's abilities when pushed to its limits. At the skidpad four cones were set in a pattern to make an ellipse. This pattern gives a course layout that has two gentle arcs running parallel and two sharper turns at either end. The purpose is to show how a car can be steered with the throttle and also to teach how to choose a turn-in point. Once the driver has practiced a few laps around the skidpad and gets a handle on throttle steering, it is on to the second exercise, the slalom course. This clinic is designed to force the driver to weave through a series of cones and necessitate the driver look ahead and plan a reaction scheme. It is actually much like an accident avoidance course where the driver needs to be able to toss the car left or right to avoid debris in the road. The third clinic performed on Saturday was the threshold braking. This course is aimed at simulating a car or person appearing before the driver and the driver needing to brake to stop in front of the obstruction or swerving to avoid it. The drivers were instructed to get up to speed and then brake at a series of cones. Those with ABS had it easy, as they merely pressed hard on the pedal and let the ABS work its magic. Those of us with older cars needed to master brake modulation, which is pressing the pedal rapidly to prevent the wheel from locking. After the straightline braking exercise, one brave instructor stood in the middle of the road and waved each fast-approaching car left or right at the last instant to simulate an obstacle. After swerving, the driver needed to threshold brake to a stop. I guessed that the stop is necessary so we could practice yelling at the person who almost dented our car?

   Saturday's objective was to increase driver awareness of what his or her car can do and what a driver can get away with. It was a very useful course since all that was learned can be applied to everyday driving and will help the driver avoid accidents. Having all this under our helmets it was time to relax and prepare for Sunday when all this would be applied at speed on the open track.

   Sunday began with track safety and learning the flags used by comer workers. This would prove useful since some of our Porsche drivers like to go fast and have a tendency to pass other cars on the straight. One driver in particular also got a little tail happy. After this briefing there was some classroom instruction to teach us the track and how to navigate it safely. The rest of the day was in the hotseat and learning as we go with personal instructors.

   In order to orient us to the track, we were first driven by an instructor. At this stage we were shown the line and corner worker positions. After four laps, it was our turn. Mind you, this is not a race, so there was no need to speed; but who are we to deny the intrinsic spirit of a Porsche. Once the line was found and braking zones determined, the Porsches started to take off. Everywhere around the track could be heard the whine or roar of a flat-six. It was amazing to see these cars at speed. In the skidpad staging area in the infield was a clear view of the back straight leading into the chicane, off-camber and the sweeper. Everyone was doing fantastic. Porsche after Porsche would come screaming down the straight and then tap the brakes and careen into the chicane. Then it was time to get hard on the brakes and make a hard left into the off-camber and then hard on the throttle to be slingshot into the sweep. Here is where the throttle control from Saturday allowed us to modulate the throttle to tighten our fine and exit with tremendous speed onto the front straight only a foot from the tire barrier.

   From my point of view here is what happened: At this point if there was a slower car in front my instructor would tell me to get right in his tail and fill his mirror. At the slower car's signal I could pass and hit the afterburners. All the way down the straight it was full throttle, hit six grand and shift. At the end of the straight the fast cars were doing 110- 120 mph! Now turn 1, the hairpin, is closing fast and it is time to see if one has learned threshold braking. Hauling the car down from 110 and going from fourth to second in 3 seconds, then looking ahead into the apex.

   "Turn in sloooowly and hit the apex . . . , now throttle out,” my instructor would say over the roar of the engine. Upshifting with the increasing speed and now carrying fourth gear through the back straight and back to the chicane. This is just one lap. The first one, actually.

   Now we get to learn for another 20 minutes out here on the track. Each time making that turn in a little more precise, gaining that little more exit speed and braking later. Wow this is addictive! 20 minutes later it is time to come in, just as well since it is exhausting driving at speed. It is also time for lunch and swapping stories about what we saw on the track.

   Alan “flame-boy” Robinson and his silver Targa were one of the hot debate stories that day. Apparently on upshift his car had a tendency to throw a two-foot flame out the tailpipe. Some of us thought this was his defensive driving technique to keep the BMWs from passing him; others thought he had mistakingly added beans to his fuel instead of octane booster. Either way, it looked just like Daytona and did keep some cars at bay. More amusement came from my car, but more on that latter.

   After lunch we continued with 25-minute lap sessions, broken by intervals of talking with instructors about our progress. The instructors were really insightful on exactly how to solve problems. If there was a question about the car understeering into turn one or how to hit the apex on the off-camber or just checking on-hand position, they were more than happy to listen and give advice. If the problem could not be solved out of the car, they would take the driver around the track or be a passenger. All this and they basically were here as volunteer instructors.

   As some of you know I only got my 911 together the day before the event. Due to the lateness of completion there were still some bugs to be worked out and just plain bad luck to be negotiated. On Saturday I found I didn’t have enough brakes and ended up disassembling the master cylinder and booster assembly at the track under the instruction of Lief, one of Gerard's fantastic mechanics. We eventually bled the air trapped in the system out, but now we lost half of the brake fluid. Thanks to my dad, though, who made a trip to K-Mart for $1.99 brake fluid. With all that done I could finish the slalom and go on the open track on Sunday.

   On Sunday, as I explained, there is track time interspersed with classroom sessions. During one of these classroom sessions my father took his turn in MY 911 and more bad luck reared its head. As the story goes, he let Scott Schulte drive the car to show him the line, but I think Scott just wanted to see what my car could do, since I heard Scott was going mighty fast in my car. Later when they pulled into the pits, someone noticed that one of the rear shocks had been dropped, i.e., the bolt had come out. When I got back from class I was informed of this and we looked high and low for it, but it was long gone. At this point there were two choices: 1, I call it a day and just watch everyone else have fun, or 2, "borrow" a shock bolt from another car. Apparently Lindsey was the only 911 there that wasn’t running, so he was kind enough to lend me a bolt. Now this is starting to resemble racing.

   In no time flat Lindsey brought his car around and we had his rear end two feet in the air. By this time a crowd had gathered and a guy was there filming it too. It was almost like something on Speedvision. So Lindsey's bolt came off, down his car went and up came mine. Gerard was there on the jack to get the alignment just right and my brother, Kelly, was running back and forth to the truck getting me tools. In another minute we had the bolt in and the car back on all fours. Wow, you don't get entertainment like this just going to the movies on Sunday! This is what really makes these events memorable and fun though, the camaraderie and people coming together to help one another just like a big happy club.

   No matter what year, make or model you drive, this is an event not to be missed. There is education, camaraderie and, most importantly, a lot of fun. Even if you don’t want to go fast on Sunday, there is a lot to see and do on Saturday , hint . . . hint . . . , spouses and co-drivers. Thank you again BMW club for inviting us and sharing your event so that we could all have fun together. More importantly, thanks to the mainland and local instructors who gave their own time to help put on a professional event. I would also like to thank the SCCA and the various maintenance shops that contributed to the safety of the event. I know all of you who were there had a great time and those of you who could not make it put aside some time next February to join us, we guarantee you will leave with a smile. As primers for the next track day the PCA is also working on drivers ed. courses to ease into the event. Hope to see you there! And yes I did return Lindsey's bolt.

Upcoming Events

 

April Food Bank Drive
Caravan food items to Hawaii Food Bank
Assemble at end of Lagoon Drive, 9-10 a.m.
Saturday, April 14
Contact: Joni Arafiles 585-0578; keone@4u.net

May Spring Cruise
suggestions / volunteers welcome

June Porsche Exhibit & Swap Meet at Kapiolani Park Sunday, June 3 395-4446 or leed012@hawaii.rr.com

July Open / Suggestions Welcome

August Summer Cruise Ihilani? / North Shore? / Mililani? suggestions / volunteers welcome

September Open / Suggestions Welcome

October Concours d’Elegance

November Toys for Tots

December Christmas Party