PCGB trackday
I had the time available recently to attend one of the pcgb trackdays at my 'local' track which is Oulton Park. I had an embarrassing little spin at Druids as the track was a little wet. But on the whole it was a great experience. I took it easy while I was still getting used to the new Leda suspension, I did discover that I need to adjust the stiffness, as on cresting Clay Hill the rear suspension was hitting the bump stops. I need to adjust the stiffness of the dampers but also some coil over dampers to get some extra spring assistance might be helpful. The dampers are currently set to position 8/24 so I still have another 16 clicks to stiffen things up. This is for track use only though as with normal use the set up is pretty much as stiff as you would want.

I think I'll also lower the front on the adjustable ride height springs.

Later in the day I did opt to have my mate Jason (968 CS) in the passenger seat to give me some pointers on the right lines to take and this was probably the best decision I made. It really makes a difference getting some tuition, for instance knowing when to just give the brakes a quick dab before entering a corner, which you may think won't make much difference to how you take the corner, can make a big difference on your exit position.

Small positioning differences on higher speed sections such as at the top of Clay Hill will make a big difference to how you take the next corner (Druids), hence my earlier embarrassment, which was probably a combination of poor positioning, cold tyres, wet conditions, failure to react quickly enough and of course carrying too much speed with all the rest going on. On the whole it was a good first outing for the new suspension.

One note of caution, on finishing my last session I gave my car about half a lap of cooling off, as I had been really pushing the car on the last few laps this was really not enough, my brakes overheated and cooked the fluid. I have since changed the fluid for a racing type and had braided hoses fitted. But in the future I will be giving the car at least a full cooling off lap even if it means driving sedately round the car park.

While the car was moving on the track the brakes were at least getting some cooling effect so the brakes felt OK, but when stood still the heat in the system I suspect very quickly had a boiling effect on the fluid or any moisture in the fluid so when I pushed on the brake pedal it went almost to the floor, very disconcerting. On previous track days as instructed I had always had a full lap of cooling off so had never experienced this before. Now I know by experience why I had been doing what people had advised, half a lap just isn't enough if you've been pushing it.

968 Kudos
Pete Morris in his 968 CS has won the Class 1 Michelin Porsche Club Championship, well done Pete, it was against some stiff competition but in the end the 911s just didn't have what it takes to beat a well driven 968. Funnily enough Tony Brown last year was a winner in a 968 but sold it in preference for a 911. Oops.
The thing is Pete won the final race at Donnington going backwards over the line, no doubt waving at the rest of the field with a big grin on his face. As I said last month 2004 has been a great year for the 968. Prices are strong and the Porsche community seem to be starting to acknowledge the true potential of the 968. Just talking to a friend recently who has bought a BMW 840CI from a main Jaguar dealer which had come in as a part exchange, he paid £15000 which is about the same price for a more basic 968, I've also seen Mercedes SLKs about the same price at half the age and mileage of a 968.

Years gone by.
I do remember going onto the Porsche stand at the NEC in the early 90s when the 968 was first launched and marvelling at 6 gears or a Tiptronic which at that time were both innovations in road cars. At the time I was more into fast Fords and Porsches were out of my league, but circumstances change, you work hard for what you want in life, it was only a short time that I was able to get my first 944, which by the way was exactly the Porsche that I had cut out of a magazine advert in 1984 more than 10 years earlier, a black 944 Lux, who would have thought that 10 years later I would have been onto my 6th Porsche and 3rd 968, running the register and have a nationally respected 968 website. Talk about living the dream. One of the greatest enjoyments I have in life is to be able to go on trackdays when I get the time, and I look forward to the time I can retire with a nice little income and spend at least one day a week at a race track. Yes you've guessed it, I'm still dreaming, but stranger things have happened at sea.

Winter driving
Winter is here and we should all remember that we all have cars of sufficient power to make the back end break away, doubly so in the conditions that will prevail over the next months, take extra care to judge every corner and bend, taking into account unforeseen circumstances such as diesel or leaves or black ice, just remembering that once momentum takes over, the forces that are needed to regain control will probably be out of reach and you can end up as a pure passenger with momentum taking over as the driver. So clearly prevention is the key, keeping the car in control and well within the limits of the tyres and brakes and steering is the key on a potentially slippery surface, giving a safety margin over what you feel are the limits will help to avoid any embarrassment or worse, I'd like to see you all with cars in good condition in 2005.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thank you all for your support in the past year.

Stuart Cookson-Smith.

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