Wow! The 2014 Parade in Monterey is now an amazing memory and in our review mirrors and now onto French Lick, the location picked for next year’s Parade! But before we start those plans, I thought we could share our experience in Monterey and our great memories with our fellow SEMPCA members.
Immediately after the Traverse City Parade, where our club had considerable success in the concours, Autocross and overall just a great time being with fellow Porsche enthusiasts, we let our excitement carry over into planning for the Monterey Parade Carlos Carmona and his wife Veronica, Lewi Yonce and my wife Ileana and I began planning for our trip Where would we stay? What to do? Most importantly, how do we get the cars 2,500 miles away—do we drive or ship them?
A group of 356’s at the Parade
Along the way we recruited two new members to SEMPCA, Tim and Maggie Otto, who after hearing Ileana and I wax poetically about the Parade experience and driving a Porsche in general, were ultimately bitten by the bug and decided to buy a new 991 C4S cabriolet and attend Parade with us. We quickly divided responsibility—Maggie and Ileana would find a house in Carmel-by-the Sea, I would arrange our fights and transportation for our cars. We decided not to drive since two of us were bringing more than one car I brought one for the concours and another to drive at Mazda Laguna Seca in a HPDE sponsored by the Golden Gate Region Lewi brought his Turbo to compete in the concours and most importantly, his Cayenne GTS so that we could ride around the Monterey/Carmel area together in style.
Carlos Carmona puts the final touches on his 1997 Boxster which garnered a 3rd place in Street Class
We arrived in San Francisco on Friday the 13th, with a full moon to boot, which could have portended something about our future Parade experience But we were not to be deterred by superstition, so we all set out excited about the experience we would share with friends and fellow car enthusiasts at Parade We chose to travel from San Francisco to Monterey following the scenic route along the coastal roads.
Hugging some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, State Route 1 runs much of California’s length from north to south. As you pass through Pacifca you fnd yourself traveling a hair’s width from the cliff’s edge on the Devil’s Slide portion of Highway 1. The roadside views of the ocean crashing below, more stunning than anywhere north of Big Sur, will beg for your eye, but since I wasn’t driving I didn’t need worry about Ileana reminding me to pay attention to the road and so I enjoyed the scenic route.
Lewi Yonce details the wheel of his 997 Turbo in preparation for the Concours
The route had many signs that it is prone to mudslides and rock-slides, luckily for Ileana; Tim was driving this “treacherous” stretch of highway Our drive along the coast took us through Half Moon Bay, a rural city famous for its location near the Mavericks big-wave surf area From there we passed through Santa-Cruz where we got the chance to experience California rush hour traffc. Finally after, about 45 minutes in traffic we were on our way and shortly thereafter arrived in Monterey, where we dined at a restaurant on the bay We stayed overnight at the Hyatt, the Parade headquarters hotel.
The next day our cars arrived two hours early – I can say Reliable is an appropriate name for the carrier—they provided great service both ways Our cars were delivered in great condition. We then traveled to our rental house in Carmel-by-the Sea This house was a spectacular cottage in a natural ravine The house was said to be on the market for more than $3 million, we were really lucky to secure this as a rental for the next 10 days.
A few miles south of Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea is inviting with its village of shops, galleries, restaurants and cobblestone courtyards, and its white sandy beach Each day we walked the streets, I ran on the beach and the ladies marveled at the boutiques and anguished and debated over which restaurant to choose for dinner Carmel had something for all of us Carlos spent considerable time at a local guitar stores, the owner of one store had a collection of historically significant guitars that were played by rock stars Carlos has a collection of guitars, so it was nice for him to fnd this place and potentially find another outlet for his other passion When Carlos was telling us about a Fender he was playing with that cost $250,000, my thought was that must have been on helluva fender bender! The ladies spent a lot of time shopping at the local boutiques, for which Tim and I created a rule for the ladies—you can buy whatever you can carry yourself! Unfortunately, Ileana, Maggie and Veronica are physically ft and really strong ladies—so our wallets became considerably lighter! Amazing how we men became weak in the knees!
Carlos stands proudly next to his highly detailed Boxster
Lewi’s immaculate red Turbo cabriolet displayed at the Concours
The next day Sunday, we registered for Parade and began the considerable work to prepare our cars for the concours which began bright an early at 5:30 a.m. on Monday. I had planned to register two cars in the concours, a 991 GT3 and my 991 C4S cabriolet. I signed-up the GT3 under my name and the C4S Cab under Ileana’s name. However, the GT3 still hasn’t been delivered to me, but Porsche provided me with a brand new C4S as a loaner back in March, which I took to Parade to drive in auto-cross and the HPDE at Mazda Laguna Seca Now, I was contemplating only doing one car for concours, but I had paid for two, so what the hell—I entered the C4S as well I had fully prepped the Cab before we left, but the Coupe which I had driven in Michigan through snow, salt and rain, wasn’t even washed Last year, Ileana took 1st place in full preparation and I finished second in my full- prep class. Now it appeared that I would probably lose again to my wife! So, undeterred I set-out to clean that car better than it left the factory—and it wasn’t even my car!
Concours judges inspect Leon and Ileana Lewis’ unique 991 C4S cabriolet
After registration, we all began working together to prep our cars We were removing wheels, cleaning suspension parts and engine bright work Even though Tim and Maggie didn’t enter the concours, they said they weren’t into cleaning cars, but driving them, however they got bit by the spirit of the competition and helped us clean our cars and Tim even bought the beer Now Ileana, Maggie and Veronica are beautiful Latinas, however, I came up with a new title for them, Porsche Washing Wenches! Or, if they prefer, we can just call them cleaning ladies! Just kidding, they really helped, Veronica and Ileana helped me clean the wheels, Maggie cleaned the glass, and Lewi and I removed wheels sharing his jack and jack-stand Carlos provided appropriate criticism and we each critiqued our friends’ cars in an attempt to uncover issues, so a judge wouldn’t the next day Folks, it wasn’t about the cleaning, but being with people who enjoyed each other and the gentle kidding that comes with competition of any kind.
The famous 956 Porsche driven by Jackie Ickxx and Jochen Mass in the 1980’s
The highly successful ALMS Flying Lizzard 911 on display
The next day on Monday we awoke to a typical Monterey morning in June, a little chilly, with a foggy mist typical of North- ern California We were in a hurry to get our cars to the Del Monte Golf Club, which was the site for the concours judging We had to drive our cars about ½ mile to the course amid the fog that was almost like a light rain So once we got there, we had a couple of more hours of cleaning time to ready the cars Now in our rush Lewi and I forgot our placards that are placed in front of the cars, so we had a last minute panic to run back to get the placards When I returned Ileana informed me that the judges told her our cars were to be among the frst to be judged. The evening before, I still wasn’t happy with the wheels on the C4S—so I took some advice from Ileana that we had used earlier and used Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner to remove the most stubborn brake dust—it is the best wheel cleaner ever!
Now the judging started, the judges began with Ileana’s car, and it received four perfect scores and only slight demerits for fuzz on the tires and a few blades of grass on the control arm It scored 297.5 on the frst judging. Next they judged two 50th anniversary 991’s and then my loaner C4S. The C4S did pretty good, but in the end it lost to Ileana. The C4S fnished 2nd in the full preparation class with 296.8 points. When the final scores were posted for the 991 full preparation class Ileana fnished 1st, I fnished 2nd followed by the two 50th anniversary cars.
Next up, was Lewi, who scored 138.5 in street class, I must say that Lewi’s car looked spectacular, and his only major demerit was that his car had the Porsche crest wheel centers misaligned Alas, the points of the shield should be aligned with the valve stem. Without these demerits Lewi would have fnished in the top 3 in his class. He fnished 8th out of 16 cars.
Carlos was last to be judged and it was hilarious watching him; he has a great video of himself interacting with judges when they were checking his car. One judge said “Carlos, will you please let me judge your car!” Carlos was in a tough class, Street class for the Boxster and Cayman cars ranging in age from 1997-2014. Carlos has one of the oldest, a 1997 Boxster, so he didn’t think he stood a chance To his surprise (I don’t know why his car looked great) and mine (considering his antics with the judges), he finished with 139.3 points and third place. He actually scored more points this year than last year when he fnished 1st in street class.
Next up was group judging for the full preparation class to determine best in show. Ileana’s car was entered into the fnals with 12 other class winners. Each winner was allowed 10 minutes for light cleaning before the re-judging We were optimistic since we were able to remove the fuzz from the tires, and clean the control arms However, we had a new set of judges Ileana’s car earned 4 perfect scores and for Chassis cleanliness it had its only demerit The chassis was pristine, however the judge stuck his fnger in the pilot hole for each jack pad and not surprisingly, found a gob of lubricating grease, which was the only dirt found We weren’t told who won, but that we were in the running and would fnd out the next day at the banquet When we arrived that evening, we saw the scores posted where Ileana’s car fnished 4th overall out of 12 class winners in the full-prep group competition The winner, a 2008 Boxster scored 298.5 points, Ileana’s car scored 297.5.
Patti Door with Chris Martella at the Gilson Motorsports’ sponsored party
At the banquet we had a great dinner, listened to a lot of speakers and fnally received our awards. Lewi had his picture taken with Peter Hans Porsche, Ileana received her 1st place trophy for the full preparation class and Carlos received his third place trophy for the street preparation class Now with respect to the latter, Carlos has a hilarious video shot by Tim Otto of when he received his trophy The presenter mistakenly gave him the second place award He moved to the picture taking area to display his award with Veronica Then out came this Porsche representative, who snatched the award from his hands as he displayed it and then gently replaced it with the bronze trophy That video is like something from Comedy Central.
Howard Gilson with Zone 4 representative Michael Soriano
The next day we drove to Big Sur past some spectacular coast lines and vistas—probably the best drive I can think of if only traffc would clear. We drove past Hurricane Point on the cliff-side road with an eye-popping 600 foot drop into the Pacifc. We drove along curves at Ragged Point at elevations approaching 1000 feet! Now we are driving Porsche’s latest offerings with all the safety nannies that we hoped would protect us if we dipped into the well of power to deep with our toes and we hoped these nannies would help us avoid dipping end-over-end into the Pacific! And alas, they did, however; Lewi and Carlos who drove with me on two separate trips have another take—Carlos told me to make sure I cleaned my passenger seat! And Lewi grabbed the car door handle so tightly as we rounded Ragged Point that I think he thought it was a rip cord attached to a parachute! All along, Tim was right on my rear-end and the noise of the two Porsche engines wailing was intoxicating Linking cliff-side corner to corner to straights was great fun I want to say—I always felt safe, but I was in control A passenger always has a distinctly different perspective.
Leon at the helm of his C4S cab preparing for a driving tour
On Wednesday, we gave the autocross event a try In autocros you get four runs and best time wins Tim and Maggie Otto and competed, each in a different class. Tim was masterful, fnishing 2nd in his group and dropping his time across the 4-runs by nearly 10 seconds! I fnished 8th in my group. I was driving the deale loaner and it was not equipped with sport-plus and the transmis sion shifted late even with paddles and would almost act like i had turbo lag I did get a few good runs, however; I was com peting with GT3’s. My time dropped about 6 seconds across th runs Maggie was hilarious, she stopped on the course and asked if she going the right direction! She still managed to DNF on he four runs. As Tim said—it was better than fnishing dead ass last Maggie is a real trooper and kudos to her for trying Tim posted an impressive time of 1:43 for this challenging course. He earned a trophy, but chose not to attend the banquet—as he said; one wa enough after the concours banquet that lasted nearly 5 hours!
Coming down the main straight at Laguna Seca
Now, the best for last, two days and more than 120 laps on the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway Lewi and Carlos also did som parade laps in Lewi’s Cayenne GTS I ran in the blue group and Tim Otto ran in the green group Tim was required to have an instructor for day 1, but was shortly driving by himself after a few sessions with the instructor. Our goal was to break into the 140’s on the track. We both started in a grid of 36 cars, which required us to pass many cars on the track and some we lapped a few times each session Initially, our times were a slow 2 minutes; then our lap times began to drop, in the end we both cracked into the 140’s. I ran a 1.48 and Tim ran a 149.9. For what it’s worth most of the instructors running in the red group were running 1.45-1:48 laps.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile jewel of a road course While the track is a favorite of racers and fans worldwide, many focus on one specifc section—offcially Turns 8 and 8A—or more commonly known as The Corkscrew.
The Corkscrew is a one-of-a-kind turn Here’s what makes the hard-left, hard-right combination so spectacular:
At the apex to Turn 8 (the lefthander and entry to The Corkscrew), the elevation change is a 12 percent drop. By the time the car reaches the apex of Turn 8A (the right-hander), the elevation is at its steepest—an 18 percent drop. The Corkscrew drops 59 feet between the entrance of Turn 8 to the exit of Turn 8A—the equivalent of a 5½ story drop—in only 450 feet of track length. From Turn 8 to Turn 9, the elevation falls 109 feet, or just over 10 stories! Driving the Corkscrew was a hoot. I felt, it was almost instinctive and felt comfortable accelerating through the turn just as the car settled on its rear wheels as it approached the right- hander at 8A The entry to the Corkscrew is where the real dan- ger lies, since you travel over a blind crest from turn seven and if you brake after the crest you can carry too much speed, and thereby miss the turn-in for the lefthander and tumble end-over- end into the tire wall—see the YouTube video where the F-458 driver missed the turn Unfortunately, our day two ended a session earlier than planned, as a driver of a brand new Cayman made this same mistake, with the same results He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, but was ok His car appears to be ready for the bone-yard since it required a crane to remove it from the track,
For me the hairiest part of the track was the straight—you have a long straight slightly up-hill,—the car approaches 120 mph as you crest the hill, but to minimize lap time you need to stay on the gas, as you then approach turn 1 which is a slight left-right kink in the straight, which then sets-up the braking zone for the double apex hairpin turn 2 The car’s weight transitions to the steering wheels as you pass over the hill just as you need to steer to the right, and then rapidly apply the brakes, which can make the rear- end feel a little unsettled As a point about learning, I was slightly ahead of a GT3 RSR for a lap over the crest of the straight, but I could tell he was faster so I pointed him by at Turn 2—this was the best thing I did that day! I followed his line –braking very late in the corners, squaring them off to late-apex and for lesser corners just tapping the brake and carrying maximum momentum through the turn I stayed within a few car lengths of him for several laps and posted my best times So as a lesson—if they are faster, let them pass by, watch them closely and learn something! After all these laps Tim’ car and the dealer loaner I was driving were both no worse for the wear and cosmetically unscathed by the experi- ence. But, we were disfgured by the experience because it was nearly impossible to wipe the smiles off our faces, for days!
Now for Carlos and Lewi’s parade lap around the track in the Cayenne, Carlos was driving and was unaware of the Corkscrew and Lewi didn’t tell him Lewi told me he wanted Carlos to experience the track his own way Since Carlos was driving Lewi’s car, I would have advised against this strategy As Carlos approached the turn 8 he said the road just disappeared and he turned left and the truck was so pointedly vertical down- hill he couldn’t see the road! Lewi quickly told him to turn right and Carlos found the track and avoided catastrophe! They made it down the Screw at 50 mph in a Cayenne!
I think I can say for everyone, we had a tremendous time with many great stories to tell and memories to smile about Tim and I will be making the trek back to Laguna Seca and maybe Thunder Hill to do another event with GGR next year The organization of the HPDE was fawless with more than 185 cars stacked in 5 groups.
Thanks also to Patti and Jerry Door, Howard Gilson for hosting the SEMPCA get together at the Hyatt And thanks to Patti and Jerry for making sure our cars were not towed! That is a story for another issue.