• Category Archives Previous Club Events
  • How to add the SEM Calendar to your PC, Laptop, iOS, Android and Windows devices

    You can add the SEM calendar to your PC, Laptop, iOS, Android and Windows devices.

    This gives you the ability to have the SEM Calendar available any time and on time.
    Added events or modifications to existing events will update you immediately.

    If you want to see the SEM/PCA calendar directly in your browser: calendar for Browser and then bookmark it.
    http://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=sempca58%40gmail.com&ctz=America/New_York

    If you want to add the SEM/PCA calendar to your PC’s calendar e.g. Outlook, on your IOS or Android device: ICS file
    http://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/sempca58%40gmail.com/public/basic.ics

    If you want to see the SEM/PCA calendar on the Zone 4 website:http://zone4.pca.org/zone4calendar.htm

     


  • P4-2017-11/12: RECAP: FALL COLOR TOUR – Story by Alain Baur. Photos by Alain Baur, Ulrich Gollwitzer, Gretus Hoogestraat

    What a fantastic day for this year’s fall color tour. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, no doubt about it. All week long I was watching the weather forecast and it looked like rain for the entire weekend, but Sunday turned out to be the most agreeable day of October. We had plenty of sunshine and 75 degrees.

    I was very happy to be able to drive my Boxster S with the top down to our meeting point in Auburn Hills around 12:30. There were already a couple of cars at ThyssenKrupp’s parking lot, but an hour later it was flooded with Porsches. I think there were a lot more cars and people than expected. I heard there were more than 75 cars. All of them were clean and ready to go for the last driving event of the year. Walking around and contemplating all those Porsches, I discovered that there were many new members that came for the first time. A couple of cars came from Ontario too. Quickly, there was a line at the registration where Walter and Sabrina Crump did an excellent job for the organization.

    After mingling and checking out all those marvelous Porsches, it was finally driving time. We needed to see those beautiful tree colors.

    At 2:30 p.m. our president Marc Molzon took the lead in the direction of Mueller’s Orchard, our stop for donuts and cider. Getting out of Auburn Hills was a little confusing. Some took the written directions and some got the google maps directions. Once we turned on to Clintonville Road, all went pretty smooth. We passed the beautiful village of Clarkston and soon were driving through foliage that was lit up with autumn color.

    I love the road from Clarkston to Fenton. There are nice curves around, up, and down. Driving a Porsche on this road is so exciting, especially through this beautiful nature. Everyone started to show their driving skill and pushed a lot more on the right pedal. It is so tempting.

    At Mueller’s Orchard, we had plenty of space reserved for our cars. We got to taste the apple cider and fresh, hot donuts. We took the time to take pictures and enjoy the company of great people. Again, the weather was exceptional.

    Finally it was time to go to our last part of the ride down to Big Tommy’s Parthenon for dinner. Again, there was more beautiful scenery crossing Kensington, Milford, and finally Novi.

    At Big Tommy’s, we were greeted and guided to the parking lot reserved for the club. There were fewer cars and people than when we departed, but we still managed to fill up half of the restaurant. I think the count was again around 75 people. We began with some refreshments and exchanging stories of the day. It is nice to see all of the members again, as we mostly see each other only at events like these. There was plenty of food. We began with a nice salad and then were served lamb, chicken, and beef with Greek specialties family style. They continued bringing food even after we asked them to stop. We ended dinner with coffee and a delicious rice pudding.

    We left around the restaurant around 8:20 and enjoyed the drive back home, top down contemplating the stars.

    Thanks to Walt and Sabrina and everyone involved in planning such a successful event!


  • P4-2017-11/12: 2017 LADIES ONLY DRIVE – By Paula Trendov

    The Ladies Only Drive on September 15th was my first time and I have to say everyone who showed up made it a memorable one.  We met at the mall parking lot of Tel-Twelve, or should I say across the street to organize ourselves.  Patti Door had a goodie bag for each of us filled with different Porsche items.  I’m liking the pen myself.  Passersby drove around looking at all our beautiful Porsches parked together and even took some pictures of us.  I was the navigator for Christine Grabowski in her Boxster, who lead our caravan and Patti Door brought up the rear to make sure we all stayed together.  It was good she did because all we had to do was look behind us to see her yellow Porsche and we knew all was good.  We drove through some very nice roads over to the restaurant in down town Plymouth.  With the help of Tom Grabowski, we were able to park together in a lot just a short block away since parking is at a premium in downtown Plymouth.  As the lead car, of course we had to have the top down so I was the official flag holder.  Gretus had them made for us and I believe we only lost 1 or 2 of the flags along the way.  And we weren’t even driving that fast-wink, wink.

    The evening was perfect and the weather cooperated nicely.  We walked over to the restaurant and took our seats around the tables reserved for us and did what we like to do best…..we talked and got acquainted with each other.  Some of the other ladies were first timers as well.  Patti also had extra gifts where she drew a number for each of us.  Is she the best or what?  Some of the gifts were jewelry, which Patti makes herself throughout the year.  Not anything you would find in a store so that makes them special and unique.  Thank you Patti.  We all had such a good time and I look forward to next year’s Ladies Only Drive.

    If you were not able to make it this time I hope you can next time.  This is a really fun night, especially driving our Porsches.  It really is about the people and it’s the cars that bring us together.  See you next year.


  • P4-2017-10: Report from PittRace – Andrew Olsen

    Recently I joined the Northern Ohio Region PCA for their HPDE weekend at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex, or more commonly known as, PittRace.  Located in Wampum, PA just north of Pittsburgh, Pitt Race was recently expanded and completely repaved.  Its original 1.6-mile course, previously known as Beaverun, has now been mated to a 1.2-mile “South Track.”  PittRace has quickly become a premier facility as a result.  We ran the combined track which gives a total of 19 turns over 2.8 miles with just over 100 feet of elevation change.

    This event was a 3-day HPDE event, with Friday being a lapping day for advanced drivers and instructors.  This was my first time at PittRace, and I now see why it is so popular.  The week prior, I had watched some videos of Caymans on the track, to get a feel for the layout and it seemed that a lap time of about 2:00 was “good” time.  Since this was my first time at this facility and my car is a bit slower than a Cayman S, I had set a goal of 2:10.  If I achieved that, I would be happy.

    Friday was all about learning the track and getting a feeling for the line.  From the grid, there is a hard-left turn through turn one and a slight turn for two as you come up to speed on to the second front straight.  Then it’s a long pull uphill to turn three.  Turn three is a great setup for my favorite part of the track.  Turn four is a hard-right-hand turn downhill to turn five.  You plummet 80 feet in the 600 feet between turns four and five and then as you brake, downshift and hit the apex on turn five, it’s a wild pull back uphill through turn six.  It’s a bit like a roller coaster – except you’re not coasting.


    This is the Turn 5 apex looking back at Turn 4 at the top of the hill

    Turns seven through 12 are commonly called the esses, but these are real turns, and it takes a sort of rhythm to get them right.  There are no straight lines through these esses.  I found this section of the track is where I could make up ground on “faster” cars around me.  At the end of this section, if you turn in a bit early in turn 12 as you climb the hill, it will push you out in perfect position to take turn 13.  Turn 13… argh! Turn 13 is completely blind.  There are few, if any, visual markers for where you should turn.  You need just to “feel it.”  If you’re feeling “it” you can stay on the throttle and carry a lot of speed. If not… then you lift and lose a ton of speed through 14.  This is one of the most challenging spots on the entire circuit.

    Turns 15 and 16 are just kinks, but you are carrying so much speed at turn 16 that the car needs to be planted.  As you brake for 17, the track goes uphill slightly and continues to climb up through 19 as you head back down the front straight to the start-finish line.

    On Friday, I managed to squeeze out a 2:12.7 lap time in the last session of the day.  I was happy, but I knew I had room for improvement.  Saturday morning the track was becoming burned into my head.  I could anticipate each turn and focus on the line.  On the first session, I hit my goal of 2:10.4!  Then it rained.

    During the rain, I switched to street tires and predictably, my times were 5 to 10 seconds slower.  But then the rain stopped, and I could go back to my track tires.  At the last session of the day, I could shave another three seconds off my time and get down to 2:07.1.  Now I was having some serious fun!

    Sunday was the last day, and while the threat of rain loomed over us, it only misted slightly for about 15 minutes. My first session was not great.  I was only able to get 2:09.   Even though we were running expanded passing rules, there was still a significant amount of traffic in my group.  I also noticed my tire pressures were a bit low, so I re-calibrated them, and in my second session I was back on pace in the 2:07’s.

    In the last session, a lot of people had already left – meaning I had a nice clear track. I had a couple of nice laps with no traffic whatsoever and could knock out a 2:06.7 followed by a 2:05.6 on the last lap of the last session of the last day!  What a way to finish the weekend.  Almost 5 seconds faster than the goal I had set for myself.

    However, not everything was roses.  On my post-HPDE weekend inspection, I noticed copper flakes in my oil.  There are only two things that are copper inside a 928 engine.  Thrust bearings and rod bearings.  Thrust bearings rarely go bad in a 5-speed, but rod bearings are a different story.

    I put the car on the lift and began pulling things off to get at the oil pan.  A few hours later I had the pan off.  The very first connecting rod I saw was for cylinder #5.  I pulled the connecting rod cap off and was devastated.  The rod bearing had spun.  Normally, the rod bearing stays stationary in the rod and rod cap.  In this case, the tang that locates it had been hammered allowing the bearing to stick to the crank, and rotate into the rod assembly.  Normally this is a death sentence because it scores the crankshaft and damages the connecting rod surface.

    It appears I got lucky.  The #5 rod looked fine.  The crank also looked fine, and all other bearings were in good shape.  I measured the old bearing, and it was only 0.002” thinner than the others, so I must have just caught it before permanent damage was done.  I bought several lottery tickets that day, but all were losers.

    After a grueling eight hours reassembling everything, the 928 Coke Car is back together with new rod bearings ready to hit the track again.  I’m taking some measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again hopefully.  I think it had to do with the ignition-timing chip I have been running and the hot track temperatures we saw at PittRace.  But that is a story for another day.

    If you can make the 4-and-a-half-hour journey to PittRace, I highly recommend it.  It is probably one of the best tracks and facilities within a reasonable distance.  Thanks to Ed Baus and the Northern Ohio Region PCA group for putting on a great event!  I will be back for sure!

    The Coke Car in line for final tech inspection

  • P4-2017-10: The Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, by John Khami, SEMPCA member

    View of the Porsche Track from the Carrerra Cafe Patio

    “Punch it.   PUNCH IT. “

    “Ok.  We are.  We are.  We’re moving. “

    We got to the curves in a second. Maybe two.

    “Tap the brakes before you get into the turn.  Never brake when you’re turning,” said the coach in the passenger seat.

    I touched the brake pedal, made it into the curve and then another, then a short straight where I got excited, the car moved quick and I hit the brake … in the turn.

    “Don’t do that again.  Look three curves ahead,” said the Porsche coach.

    “Concentrate on the road ahead.  You’re gonna know where  you are and where to turn by looking ahead.”

    “Sure thing,” I said to myself.   We were doing about 80 on the Porsche test track coming out of the curves onto another straight that took us to a long turn that I straightened out and under control hugging the edge of the road.  I heard the rumble strips buzzing under the wheels.

    Porsche’s Driving, Development and Experience  Center in Atlanta is located on the site of a former Ford Facility next to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport where old Dixie Highway and I-75 about the property.  My wife, Ann and I arrived early that morning for our 1.5 hour class.  We stopped at the Carrera Café’ for coffee then walked out to the patio overlooking the course and watched other Porsche drivers skid off the wet kick plate, drive around the slalom cones at the dynamics area, wait their turn to get onto the low friction circle.  Above us, a passenger jet was coming in for a landing.

    When the 11 a.m. time slot opened, we slipped into our seats, sunglasses on our faces and an instructor next to us.   We rolled onto the outside track.   Ann was in the Cayman with a lady coach and I had the 911 Carrera.

    The Porsche Development Center in Atlanta Georgia teaches drivers how tires grip, how the traction control systems on a Porsche work, how to control the car in different road conditions.  The coaches turn the stability systems on and off as they watch you drive and how you react to the different challenges.

    We began driving at a steady pace to learn the 1.6 mile course doing an easy seventy on the straights.   After two laps the speed increased, the fun started at the curves.   Then to the hairpin turns, back out to a straight and around the course again for more laps.

    As we drove to the Low Friction Circle, the instructor asked if I knew how to handle a skid.   I said. “ Sure.  Turn in the direction of the skid.”   He was good with that and  nodded several times to agree.

    At the Low Friction Circle there is a constant water spray that keeps an  oversized round concrete pad wet and slick.  I pushed the car to forty, the on-board stability systems tried to compensate but the Carrera went into a skid, then fishtailed into a circle.

    I steered into the turn with water kicking up and misting from around the Carrera.   With my hands off the steering wheel, my foot off the accelerator, the car continued moving left, then moved to the right, bucked to the left again, then slowed to idle.

    “You did that well,” said the instructor.

    I looked at the coach and said, “You know, you instructors down here in Atlanta should understand something about all of us up in Michigan.”

    “What’s that?”

    “We drive in snow.”

    He turned, looked at me for a second or two then said, “All right, all right.” “Let’s go to the Kick Plate. Get moving.”

    Looking ahead at the Kick Plate

    We drove to a long, rectangular concrete pad covered with water with more water spray.   We stopped in front of the area.   I looked ahead watching another 911, go into a turn, skid to the left, the driver turned in the opposite direction to the right, the Porsche looked like it was leaning on the outside wheels trying to straighten and compensate.  The Porsche slowed and the driver came off the pad.

    “This is where we test your reaction time.  Turn into the slide like before.   Get the 911 up to 35 or 40.  The track computer on the left senses the speed of the rear wheels.  Then it lifts a hydraulic pad in the road that kicks you in a right or left direction to put you in a forced skid.”

    I listened.

    “The road is wet. Control the car.  Straighten it out as best you can.  Do not do what that other driver did just now.   You stay in control. “

    I drove onto the first run at a slow twenty.   The plate kicked the car to the right.   We skidded and all was good on the recovery, no problem  but the next run was at 35 and the coach turned off the stability system.   The plate kicked the back end up and to the left.    The Carrera went into a spin.  I turned in that direction.

    “Turn in, turn in.   Quick. Make the turn.”

    The 911 went in circles.  Water sprayed all over the car as we kept turning.  The back end came around then forward before we slid-off to dry pavement that stopped the Carrera.  It was like hitting a bump then trying to control the car on an icy or wet road.

    Snow is snow but that  kick plate was quite a challenge. We spent some time understanding the dynamics on that part of the course.  Then we were back circling on the track for more driving experiences to finish off the day.

    The coach said, “Feel what a Porsche can do. How it handles.  How it breathes.  Believe in its response.  Don’t brake in the middle of a turn.  Always brake before a curve and look two curves ahead.   Stay to the right on an inside turn.   Straighten the road by driving to the left and then come out of that arch.”

    “I need more time to learn this.  An hour and a half is not enough.”

    “When are you coming back, he said. ”

    I thought for a minute and said, “How about in a year and maybe drive a 918 for the return trip? ”

    There was silence as he stared out the windshield.   He turned, gave me a blank look and smiled.   He wiggled his index figure as he pointed to the Porsche building.

    “Just … just  go back to where we started and park the car. Ok?”

    After 90 minutes, it was high fives and grins in a Carrera with no helmets and no traffic.   The Porsche coach was great.

    The Atlanta Porsche Driving and Experience Center was a sweet ride.

    SIDEBAR

    Things to know at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta:

    Book early.   The phone number is:  (888) 204-7474  Ext. 1

    Address:  Two Porsche Ave, Atlanta, GA 30354

    Internet:  Porsche Driving Experience Atlanta

    When you arrive, look for:

    • The “Carrera Café “ where coffee, muffins, espressos or a quick snack are offered with house made desserts. The patio overlooks the course.
    • “Restaurant 356” where fresh foods are assembled for lunch and dinner and presented with Porsche’s flair. “Restaurant 356” is open to the public and for private events and overlooks the test track.
    • The retail shop with Porsche Drivers Selection, Porsche Design and Porsche Museum gifts all in the same location.
    • Driver Simulators for groups or individuals.
    • The Classic Workshop where a classic Porsche can be repaired and restored.
    • The Heritage Gallery with vehicles from the Porsche museum and private collections on display.
    • A Business Center with state of the art AV equipment, track views and room to accommodate meetings from six to 140 people. Private Events for up to 600 seated in the main building.
    • The Solis Hotel is located next to the Porsche Development Center in Atlanta and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2017.
    Interior of the main Building at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta

  • P4-2017-09: Using All The Road, By Tom Fielitz

    One of the more fun aspects of a driver’s education event at a race track is that you get to use all of the road.  Most corners are negotiated by starting at the outer edge of the road, cutting across to the inside edge at the apex of the corner and finishing by accelerating to the outer edge of the road.  Since this is not how we learn to drive on a public road it is the first instinct we fight when we drive on a race track.  The one thing unique to a race track is that most tracks have curbing to discourage exceeding the width of the track.  This curbing can take many different shapes from tall curbing, embedded bumps, or just flat extensions of pavement.  In most cases there is no advantage to driving across any of this curbing, but there are always exceptions.  In many cases the edges of the track are rutted and dusty because racers routinely exceed the track width and purposely use the dirt.  One of my friends who raced Formula V said it was common to hook the inside wheels in these dirt ruts for extra cornering thrust.

     

    Watching professional racing today it is common to see how drivers routinely exceed the track limits to reshape the design of the corner radius to maximize cornering speeds.  Even with threats of time penalties, it is a recurring practice that just seems to be growing.  But that brings up a related point that going off track can bring mechanical consequences.  Quite frequently exceeding track limits and using curbing can damage tires, wheels and sometimes suspension pieces.  In severe cases going across curbing can cause the bottom of the car to contact curbing and do damage to floors or other low hanging mechanical pieces.  The next time you walk the race track it would be good to watch for scrapes and gouges as indicators of where you should keep all four tires on the track pavement and off the curbing.  At Waterford Hills and some other tracks they employ a wave shaped curbing designed to thrust the errant tire away from the curbing.  Sometimes the force is severe enough to pitch the car out of control and cause a spin out or worse.  Even with that threat it is common for racers to still use the lower parts of that curbing to help turn the car or stop a slide.  The risk vs. reward tradeoff is routinely tested when it comes to racing drivers.

     

    It should be very obvious when it comes to driving your own car on a race track that running over curbing doesn’t pay.  The potential for car damage is too high and the reward of shaving off very small amounts of time is not worth the risks involved.  Most instructors will tell beginning students to leave margins of several inches from the edge of the track surface.  It takes quite a bit of experience to know when the tires are on the edge of the track.  In addition the small imperfections in track surface will cause the car to move about the track surface.  Dropping a wheel off the track surface will have an immediate effect of upsetting the balance of the car often resulting in the whole car leaving the track surface.  This is especially true of hard braking.

     

    Bobby Rahal used to be part owner of Track Time Driving School where I instructed for over twenty years.  He would give little training talks to the instructors about driving techniques he wanted us all to teach.  He had a unique approach to cornering that he developed in his racing career.  He would set the car up for hard braking several inches off the edge of the track.  As he released the brake he would give a sharp tug on the steering wheel toward the edge of the track before he would give an equally sharp tug toward the apex.  As he described it, the braking off the edge allowed for some movement of the car as the tires fought for grip.  The movement of the steering wheel would take the slack out of the suspension and the flex out of the tire sidewall which would give a crisper turn in response to the car.  Bobby had a very strong respect for track limits which may have contributed to his reputation for not breaking his race cars.  To finish first you must first finish.

     

    So not to lose interest of my exclusive road driving friends, there is equal importance to minding not just edges of the road but lane markings in general.  Needless to say not all lane widths are identical.  This can be especially true of two lane side roads.  Plenty of roads do not have painted lines or even center lines to help the driver judge the limits of the pavement.  Never assume that even when lines are present the road is a standard width or that you can drive to the edge of the pavement.  The outside edge of any road quite often will contain broken pavement rendering the width of the lane less than what might be assumed.  Running a tire on the edge of broken pavement is a serious risk to damage a tire or even a wheel rim.  I have seen many single vehicle accidents caused by a car dropping a wheel off the edge of the pavement.  While it might be tempting to straighten out a corner by cutting across the center line of a road be aware that the car in the opposing lane very often drifts toward the center line also.

     

    A skilled driver will use all of the road available to him, but that skill and good judgment includes maintaining a healthy respect for curbs and edges of the pavement.

     

    Tom Fielitz


  • P4-2017-09: Recap: Concours d’Elegance of America, Story and photos by Michael Cohen

    A spectacular burgundy and cream 1929 Dusenberg SJ

     

    We Michiganders are very fortunate to have one of the premier concours right at our door step every summer. The Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth is a world class venue for this fabulous show and this year’s concours, the 39th, held on July 30, surely must rank as one of the best.

    Over three hundred immaculate, rare vehicles were on display beneath a glorious cloudless blue sky. As usual, cars were grouped by category. The two groupings that I found most interesting were The Collectors of the Year and the Can Am Challenge Cup. Well known collectors, Arturo and Deborah Keller from Petaluma, California were chosen as Collectors of the Year and they brought a unique display of five aerodynamic, tear drop shaped coupes from the 1930’s –a 1938 Mercedes 540K, a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300, a 1938 Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, a very unique canvass and leather bodied 1937 Duesenberg Model J and a 1937 Talbot Lago T150C. It was the first time these five radical fastbacks have ever been displayed together. The star of the Can Am Cup grouping was the Porsche 917/30 which Mark Donohue piloted to the 1973 Can Am championship. It is considered to be the most powerful sports racer ever built and was so dominant that the Can Am series was discontinued in part due to this car’s superiority over all other competitors. Other noteworthy Can Am cars displayed included the Denny Hulme McLaren M8C and the only existing Shelby King Cobra.

    Best in Show American was a Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini III; Best in Show European was Jim Patterson’s 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8a. FCA’s Head of Design, Ralph Gilles was chosen Enthusiast of the Year.

    Several SEM/PCA members displayed their vehicles, including Ken Lingenfelter who brought his 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari and 2017 Acura NSX, Eitel Dahm, Porsche 918 and 2017 Porsche 991, Michael and Suzanne Gilson, 1989 Porsche Speedster, Bob and Marilyn Amano, 1982 DeLorean, Leon and Ileana Lewis, 2016 Porsche 991 Turbo S and 2016 Lamborghini Huracan and Gani Bardha, 1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL

    Words can’t begin to describe all the wonderful vehicles on display. So, take a few minutes and check out the photos that follow.

     

    The 1200 hp Mark Donohue Can Am championship 917/30 Canvas and leather bodies 1937 Duesenberg Model J
    from Arturo Keller collection