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View Full Version : The DR Porsche GT3 preview event at Silverstone



Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 12:18 AM
Following a competition run by the deliciously lovely folk at Drivers Republic (http://drivers-republic.com/), I got the chance to head down to Silverstone for the afternoon.

Following in the wake of the Grand Prix is an odd feeling, a little like attending a party the day after when bottles are being fished out from behind the TV. When the sun is shining though, and you can catch glimpses of the track where Vettel was so mighty last Sunday, you know it's a good day!

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/heli-pickup.jpg
We're not in Kansas anymore...

The Porsche Experience Silverstone (http://www.porsche.com/silverstone/) is a great facility, but even pulling up it was clear this wasn't going to be a normal driving day. There were around 40 DR members present, in a range of machinery from the sublime (TVR Griffin, Caterham, Porsches) to the ordinary (Err, my Focus...)

Once inside I was registered, given a personalised pass on a Porsche lanyard, and with a coffee in hand I wandered round the amazing cars on display. The LMP2 RS Spyder, the Carerra GT, and a number of 911s made in tiny numbers in the 70s and 80s with a cryptic series of letters in the name which means they're worth more than my house.

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/gt3-static.jpg

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/rs-spyder.jpg

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/interior-tall.jpg

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/interior-gantry.jpg

Once the day got underway, we were split into groups to rotate through the different parts of the day. My group started off with a chat with Chris and Jethro from Drivers Republic about the site, then a tour of the cars on display. Chris's encyclopedic knowledge of all thing Porsche - as well as his obvious passion for the brand - was hugely impressive and infectious, and it was a great tour through the history of the brand.

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/heritage-early.jpg

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/monkey-talk-1.jpg
This is worth so much I just put a line through 'value' on the insurance form...

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/monkey-talk-2.jpg
This is great for big, long, smokey skids...

From there it was onto a techincal briefing on the new GT3 from someone, who's name I've sadly forgotten, from Porsche Motorsport who are responsible for the GT3 and GT2 cars. It's telling that the GT cars are not halo models created by the same folk who come up with the Cayenne, but cars born of motorsport innovation. Bespoke parts and innovations too. The engineering that goes into the cars is amazing, especially to the level it's evolved and pushed to it's limits. I'm sure a tech briefing isn't everyone's idea of fun, which is fortunate as the next treat was an hour playing in the products of Stuttgart!

Being lead out in a group, I was wondering if I'd be stuffed into the rear 'seats' of a 911, but instead was offered a Cayman S. My own car, but slightly gutted to not be behind the wheel of a 911...

The various areas of the circuit are amazing. First up was the kick plate. A section of plastic heavy tarmac being constantly sprayed with water offers next to zero grip, and as you approach you run over a metal plate which throws the car sideways either left or right, and you have to try and catch it. The first attempt was a complete disaster as I was across the strip before I even knew what had happened. Second time, and with a bit of coaching, I was able to catch the slide with the Cayman feeling incredibly responsive and connected to what I was trying to achieve.

Moving on to the ice hill, another strip of plastic heavy tarmac, but this time on a 7% slope. With water constantly flowing over the surface it's roughly the same as driving on snow. Once you're on the strip, a series of jets shoot up from the surface to give you objects to avoid. With stability control engaged, even giving it beans, the car is incredibly composed. Taking it a bit faster, and without the stability control, I was doing my best Walter Rohl impression but went straight through the jets I was avoiding with ease before...

Back to the centre, and I realised by initial disappointment was unfounded as I left the Cayman S and was ushered towards a Midnight Blue Carerra S with an interior trimmed in what I'd describe as Goldern Beige leather. My instructor lead me upto the low friction circuit. This is a tight little loop with a couple of circles of low grip tarmac (limestone heavy, apparently) which feels not dissimilar to a road after a shower which lifts all the diesel and crud to the surface). The stability management is absolutley mighty here, giving an invisible guiding hand letting some slide form and not just killing the power, but stopping it escalating too far. After a couple of runs, the instructor knocked off the stability control, and taught me a little on how to build up slides and kill understeer. Suffice to say, my FWD brain never quite got the hang of it, but it knew to floor the gas when it swapped ends completely :)

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/chris-911.jpg
Look Mum, I'm in a 911!

My instructor was completely unflappable and encouraging. There was no 'go easy', just a guiding hand, and encouragement when I was being easy on the throttle. Though this is my normal approach when I'm in someone else's 70k monster, I was allowed to really get some speed up which is not difficult with 385bhp on tap, then haul on the brakes, and lean on the tyres through the corners. I'd love to say that I made the car dance on the limits of adhesion and all that guff, but I'd be lying. I'm sure I never even got near the limits of the car.

Moving onto the handling track, a tight technical circuit, I could really start to experience the 911. With 385bhp it's quick. No doubt. It's the balance though, the way you can lean on the front tyres, then bring the rear into play on the exit. It was also so composed on a circuit designed to test cars with changing cambers, tightening corners and so on. Even a novice like me could just jump in and feel the car under me and enjoy it. The rush along the back straight (as much as it was) was immense and unyielding. Even though I only hit somewhere up around 80mph (I couldn't actually bring myself to look down, concentrating too much!), it was a real visceral surge. I can only imagine what a Turbo must be like...

From there it was onto a chat with Andreas Preuninger, the man with the coolest business card in the world (it simply says: Manager High Performance Cars). Basically he is responsible for the GT3 as is. A great chap who's driven both Porsches old and new, as well as other high performance machinery (The Ferrari Scuderia came in for a bit of... 'discussion')

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/andreas.jpg
This is a lovely man, with a great, great job.

A quick tour of the human performance centre - used by both Porsche and non-Porsche drivers - and a somewhat worrying for me, a body composition test makes you realise just how seriously driver fitness and correct conditioning matter.

A rather lovely three course meal overlooking the centre's test areas and a chat with Chris Harris during dinner rounded out a great afternoon. There's no doubt in my mind both how great the Porsche facility (and the staff running it!) is, and the capabilities of the cars. The GT3 is a stunning piece of engineering, and if I could only have one car in my life, it would be that. It was also great to meet a group of great people from all sorts of walks of life who just love cars and stoked to be in this great event. It was also great to be able to speak to Chris and Jethro about the cars and also Drivers Republic and get their views first hand.

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/dinner.jpg
Overlooking the Porsche tracks, with Tony next to Jethro I think?

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/chris-gt3.jpg
Right, where can I get 90k from?

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/centre-evening.jpg

All in all amazing. And I now need to sell my soul to the devil to get my paws on one.

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/menu-pass.jpg

Darren Langeveld
25-06-2009, 06:08 AM
You don't say what was on the menu for dinner?

Floyd
25-06-2009, 06:53 AM
Foie Gras.

Did you get to race Jim and Tony? Did you beat them? We need to know.

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 08:39 AM
I might have a copy of the menu at home, and I might have taken a photo of it to post later when it's not silly o'clock... :shame:

I wasn't out on track the same time as Jim and Tony, and there was no competitive element to the day, but frankly it's so much fun I couldn't care less.

Even though I'd have been better/faster :P

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 08:41 AM
Aaargh, I've just realised I didn't take any watch shots during the day! Has Nige taught us nothing?

Being a Porsche event pudding was served first, then the main, then the starter. It shouldn't work, but it kind of does. For an extra 75 you could have the plate wrapped in hand stitched leather...

Simon
25-06-2009, 08:53 AM
Sounds like you had a great time :thumb:. Do they do public days al la Mercedes World?

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 08:59 AM
They sure do! Follow the link at the start of my report and look under courses for what they offer. If you wanted to do something along the lines of what we did (Both Cayman S and Carerra S, on all the aspects of the track) I'm sure they'd oblige.

There's a great series of videos on the Porsche Experience Silverstone website (or click here (http://www.porsche.com/silverstone/en/track/)) which really shows off the different aspects so well.

Jim Cameron
25-06-2009, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by F-stop Junkie@Jun 25 2009, 09:39 AM
I might have a copy of the menu at home, and I might have taken a photo of it to post later when it's not silly o'clock... :shame:

I wasn't out on track the same time as Jim and Tony, and there was no competitive element to the day, but frankly it's so much fun I couldn't care less.

Even though I'd have been better/faster :P
Tony and I were in the same group, therefore it did get competitive :lol:

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 09:11 AM
Which group were you in? I was rocking a yellow lanyard...

Jim Cameron
25-06-2009, 09:30 AM
Green. We were on first.

Simon
25-06-2009, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Jim Cameron@Jun 25 2009, 10:30 AM
Green. We were on first.
It's not what you know........... :whistle:

Neil Mac
25-06-2009, 09:45 AM
Nice work F-SJ.

I will do something like that one day...

Simon
25-06-2009, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by Neil Mac@Jun 25 2009, 10:45 AM
Nice work F-SJ.

I will do something like that one day...
Agree
The 1/2 day using your own car on their low friction surfaces could be a good idea :thumb:

http://www.porsche.com/silverstone/en/academy/

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 10:05 AM
The chief instructor said that the low grip surface is such that owners bring their new cars and experience very, very little tyre wear despite sliding the car. Also the Porsche tracks are based around the width of a normal road, so you're not doing airfield speeds, but you also don't have airfield amounts of tarmac to catch a slide. It's far more geared towards precision applicable to both road and track.

Jim Cameron
25-06-2009, 10:15 AM
Andrew, you are daft to have turned that down. I'm still smiling thinking about it. You'll learn lots round there on a pushbike...

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 10:32 AM
The downside for those of us unlikely to ever have our names sharing a V5 with the word 'Porsche' is those dark moments wondering just how much cocaine you'd have to shift to afford one, or how many punters you'd have to service...

Floyd
25-06-2009, 11:16 AM
Hmmm, I could pimp Shak out to Chris :karl:

Tony
25-06-2009, 11:20 AM
Originally posted by Jim Cameron@Jun 25 2009, 10:08 AM
Tony and I were in the same group, therefore it did get competitive :lol:
:lol: :lol: :wave:

TOP TOP TOP boy's day out :thumb:

The driving was superb fun, meeting Andreas P was an honour and fascinating, and I went home with Monkey in his old green 911 which is epically fast :blink:

To top if all off this morning, he was supposed to be driving me to the train, bt was running out of time getting his wife and kids ready to go off on holiday so................ he lent me his Ferrari 612 for he next fortnight :o :whistle:

I am officially the luckiest git alive :D

I'll post up pics in due course :thumb:

Floyd
25-06-2009, 11:24 AM
You are joking. Aren't you? :angry: :angry: :angry:

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 11:25 AM
You lucky, lucky, lucky.....

As much as I just had to hang around a little longer and admire the gorgeous cars in the evening sun, hearing the green shitter fire up and pull away was glorious. It was just so... mechanical.

I want it. Quite badly. After a GT3 of course.

Floyd
25-06-2009, 11:27 AM
I could be down there for the w/e and then we could...
http://blogs.cars.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/06/28/winnipegjoyride.jpg
:veryhappy: :veryhappy: :veryhappy:

Tony
25-06-2009, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Floyd@Jun 25 2009, 12:27 PM
I could be down there for the w/e and then we could...
http://blogs.cars.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/06/28/winnipegjoyride.jpg
:veryhappy: :veryhappy: :veryhappy:
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Sadly I do have a mileage limit (poor me :rolleyes: :lol: ) and it is unnervingly wide for Cornish lanes, but what an engine :o

It is MUCH faster than the M5 but has very long gearing so it is very linear rather than a savage punch. However, I did have a Saxo-chav right up my chuff on the A30 so gave it a squirt and it went to 160 without really trying and seemingly just getting into it's stride :blink: :whistle:

The next couple of weeks will be fun :D

Simon
25-06-2009, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by Andrew Thompson@Jun 25 2009, 12:47 PM
Tony, hope you have my number stored! I do a special rate for Ferrari drivers.
Yes. Usual bill +20% :lol: :lol:

Floyd
25-06-2009, 11:53 AM
@ AGT :lol:

I think the Cornish Police have special treatment for them too :pokefun:

Simon
25-06-2009, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by Floyd@Jun 25 2009, 12:53 PM
I think the Cornish Police have special treatment for them too :pokefun:
So that's why Jim let himself get caught :lol: :whistle:

Tony
25-06-2009, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by Andrew Thompson@Jun 25 2009, 12:47 PM
Tony, hope you have my number stored! I do a special rate for Ferrari drivers.
I hadn't intended to do that kind of speed, it's just the rate at which it piles on speed which is so amazing :blink:

I am now being a good boy and will not need to call you ;)

Jim Cameron
25-06-2009, 05:13 PM
Good lad :thumb: :thumb:

Tony
25-06-2009, 06:17 PM
Originally posted by Neil C@Jun 25 2009, 06:54 PM
Ferraris have come a long way if they give advance warning of mechanical failures now :P
It's fear of depreciation not mechanical failure. I suspect tht the 612 will not be on the Harris driveway for long. He get's itchy feet fairly regularly and has the motoring connections to make it pay :jerk: :lol:

Tony
25-06-2009, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by Andrew Thompson+Jun 25 2009, 06:56 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Andrew Thompson @ Jun 25 2009, 06:56 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Tony@Jun 25 2009, 06:05 PM
I hadn&#39;t intended to do that kind of speed, it&#39;s just the rate at which it piles on speed which is so amazing... your honour.

I&#39;ll use that. :whistle: [/b][/quote]
It would be akin to the George/Blackadder defense :lol: :lol:

Floyd
25-06-2009, 07:43 PM
Where&#39;s the frikin pictures? :angry: :whistle:

Chris Ratcliff
25-06-2009, 11:17 PM
Images added to the first post, and there&#39;s a suprising number of Tony and Jim without me even realising&#33;

Floyd
26-06-2009, 07:15 AM
Nice photo&#39;s.

We also need a full size one of the Scaglietti in Grey please? :whistle:

Nige
26-06-2009, 07:41 AM
Originally posted by F&#045;stop Junkie@Jun 26 2009, 12:17 AM
Images added to the first post
About time :whistle: :lol:

What a great read, sound like a fab day out :veryhappy:

Chris Ratcliff
26-06-2009, 08:01 AM
Sorry Nige, not quite as &#39;as it happens&#39; as your reports&#33; :lol:

The Scag wasn&#39;t there, Chris had driven up the green monster. I suspect he takes every opportunity to drive that while he can .

Tony might oblige though... :whistle:

Neil Mac
26-06-2009, 08:24 AM
I want Tony to start a thread in the Members cars section about the Scag, and the mdoficiations he has planned to it. See if anyone is foolish enough to fall for it...

Oh yeah, and one other thing, Tony. I&#39;ve entered the DR competition for tickets to the Silverstone Classic. Can you have a word and make sure I win? Cheers :thumb:

Tony
26-06-2009, 09:24 AM
Originally posted by Neil Mac@Jun 26 2009, 09:24 AM
I want Tony to start a thread in the Members cars section about the Scag, and the mdoficiations he has planned to it. See if anyone is foolish enough to fall for it...

Oh yeah, and one other thing, Tony. I&#39;ve entered the DR competition for tickets to the Silverstone Classic. Can you have a word and make sure I win? Cheers :thumb:
:lol: :lol: I&#39;ll see what I can do :P

Pics of the Scag coming up &#39;drekly&#39;. Went and washed it after the school run in anticipation&#33;

BCA
26-06-2009, 03:43 PM
I thought Harris had sold the green 911??

Chris Ratcliff
26-06-2009, 03:58 PM
He has, in as much as Tuthills - them wot built it - own it. It served it&#39;s purpose though, and a few wealthy folk have ordered similar cars...

It&#39;s still for sale from Tuthills, yours for 85k...

Tony
26-06-2009, 06:31 PM
We dropped in on Tuthill en route home - a very talented individual - but it is an amazing car :thumb:

Floyd
26-06-2009, 07:23 PM
You washed the Fezza? :blink: One bucket-o-grit? :o :lol:

Tony
28-06-2009, 02:52 PM
Here she is..........

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08952.jpg

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08953.jpg

It&#39;s rather wide :blink:

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08947.jpg

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08950.jpg

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08951.jpg

Lovely place to spend some time :D

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08956.jpg

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08954.jpg

Kids can come too

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08955.jpg

Makes the M5 seem tiny by comparison - and not really designed for Cornish lanes :whistle:

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08948.jpg

It is a VERY special car and makes every journey an event, even going to Morrisons. The fear of having some little scroat keying it is ever present abd 9 mpg would pall after a while, but other than that, it&#39;s all good :thumb: B) :lol:

Hippychick
28-06-2009, 03:22 PM
That&#39;s gorgeous - you are officially a lucky git&#33;&#33;&#33;

Are you still going to take it back via Bristol??? :whistle: :D

Nige
28-06-2009, 03:45 PM
Kids must think its pretty good going to school in that :thumb:

Tony
28-06-2009, 07:33 PM
Yes - my son&#39;s face when I picked him up from school was just perfect&#33;
The other parents were a 50/50 mix of appreciative "that&#39;s so cool" and jealous "flash w4anker" :lol: :lol:

It does make every trip an event but it is not for the shy and retiring - people do point and stare, partially as it is particularly rare to see something this expensive in Cornwall outside of Padstow/Rock/Daymer Bay :lol:

Tony
28-06-2009, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Hippychick@Jun 28 2009, 04:22 PM
Are you still going to take it back via Bristol??? :whistle: :D
If the timings fit - sure why not :D

Floyd
28-06-2009, 07:52 PM
Did you take those with a phone camera? ;) Looks nice. :D

Tony
28-06-2009, 08:35 PM
No - pocket camera point &#39;n press 8Megapixel Sony thing.

These shot are hugely reduced in resolution (due to uploading to photobucket) as the originals are 2Mb each. FWIW

Chris Ratcliff
28-06-2009, 09:11 PM
Soon to be...

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/612-upsidedown.jpg

:whistle:

Trevor
28-06-2009, 09:27 PM
Doesn&#39;t it bug you that the steering wheel isn&#39;t centered properly?

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/tonyeyles/DSC08956.jpg

Other than that, just jealous ...

Tony
28-06-2009, 09:47 PM
Originally posted by F&#045;stop Junkie@Jun 28 2009, 10:11 PM
Soon to be...

http://www.fstopjunkie.net/images/612-upsidedown.jpg

:whistle:
:lol: :lol:

I drive it slower than the M5 :lol:

Chris Ratcliff
14-12-2009, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by Tony@Jun 25 2009, 11:20 AM
I&#39;ll post up pics in due course :thumb:
*cough*

Andrew
14-12-2009, 03:26 PM
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c382/DigeratiPrime/holy_thread_resurrection_batman.jpg

Tony
14-12-2009, 08:57 PM
For any particular reason Andrew?

Trying to blag monkey&#39;s replacement - a 512 TR - which would be cool &#39;Old School&#39; but I doubt it&#39;ll work&#33; We&#39;re staying with him for a weekend in Jan so I&#39;ll see if I can swing a drive ;)

Chris Ratcliff
15-12-2009, 12:02 AM
Not Andrew, me&#33;

Still waiting for pics from Silverstone Tony&#33;

Tony
15-12-2009, 12:21 AM
Did I take any? :fish: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I&#39;ll have a look at home when I finish work....... :shame:

Floyd
15-12-2009, 06:54 AM
Get on with it man :karl:

Neil Mac
25-12-2009, 02:49 AM
Waiting...

Get that 512TR, too. I like them :thumb: