Entries in Porsche (7)

Monday
Oct052015

Monday Moanin' Outta My Mind

While there were plenty of story lines coming out of the 2015 18th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, the departure of Team Falken Tire can’t be overlooked. Winners of the final American Le Mans race, the 2013 Petit Le Mans, and winners of the Inaugural TUDOR version of Petit Le Mans in 2014, it’s hard not to imagine what does the “con” side of the decision making process look like as the team and manufacturer depart from the Series.

While I have no inside information, it’s hard not to assume Falken’s decision was financial and market driven. After all, what sense does it make to throw tons of resources (both money and research and development) at a program that is immersed in a venture dominated by a competing manufacturer. Especially, when the domination is bought and paid for.

Michelin dominates the GTLM class by determination and providing a quality performance tire and a well run marketing effort. And I think the Falken people were ok with that. That’s competition. But to attempt to have a voice and capture the ear of the market place, in a Series who’s primary tire sponsor is mandated on three of the four classes… well, what’s the point?

Tires are an integral part of the competition… especially so in an endurance format of racing. Sure, it’s possible that one tire manufacture may dominate. But if it’s earned… so what?

Michelin earned the respect of fans and competitors alike during the hay-day of the ALMS. And, in the absurd weather conditions of this year’s Petit Le Mans, they earned it again putting a GT car in the overall winners circle.

For six seasons, Team Falken earned the respect of fans and competitors through their continued efforts to fight competitively and to win. Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Team Falken consistently proved they were capable with back-to-back victories at the 10-hour Petit Le Mans, as well as races as diverse as Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the city streets of the Baltimore Grand Prix. Oh, by the way, they won Baltimore twice. They brought the resources they had and they made it work. It’s fair to say, they were sometimes David to Michelin’s Goliath. Good on them…. and I can assure you, Michelin would say the same.

So… if you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured out, I don’t like spec tires. I don’t like sponsors buying out the spirit of competition.

To the folks at Falken…. Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers, Derek Walker and the whole Walker Racing crew… Thanks! Thanks for your perseverance, your tenacity and your allegiance to sports car racing fans. You’ll be missed!


Tuesday
Feb252014

Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Cayman S

The Cayman sports car has been a huge hit for Porsche and has established itself alongside the 911 as one of the best sports cars in the world. With a pedigree that goes back to legendary cars like the 550 Spyder, the mid-engine Cayman has become a favorite model of the track-day crowd, but most of them will cover a lot more miles in everyday driving than in laps on a track. The Cayman S may be at its best on twisty roads or at the track, but a week spent driving one revealed how well-rounded and versatile this car really is.

First, let’s take a look at the numbers. The Cayman S is powered by a zesty 3.4-liter flat six that produces 325hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Vented and drilled rotors are clamped by 4-piston monobloc calipers on all four corners, and a lightweight spring-strut suspension setup with front and rear stabilizers takes care of the handling duties. Performance is brisk, with 60mph coming up in just a tick over 4.5 seconds. The base price is $63,800 (standard Cayman is $52,600), but the price can go up considerably if you start adding some options. Our test car was fitted with a long list of options that brought the total price to $91,620, which is more than seven grand above the price of a base model 911. Some of those options (like the $6,520 Infotainment Package with Burmester surround sound), are best left off if your ultimate goal is pure performance, but others (like the PDK transmission and Porsche Torque Vectoring) are much more enticing.

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Saturday
Jan142012

Test Drive: Porsche 911 GTS Cabriolet

Porsche has constantly improved their venerable 911 over decades of development and for many hardcore car enthusiasts; it’s the only sportscar that really matters. Porsche has also managed to offer a wide range of 911 models to their customers, from the base Carrera coupe to Cabriolet, Targa and all-wheel drive versions, which are all available with the flat-six engine in different states of tune. Porsche also mixes and matches these various iterations, with no less than 18 different 911 models currently available that range from around $82,000 to $172,000 in price and from 350 to 530 horsepower. This is not even considering the hardcore GT3 and GT2 models, which are in-between models and not officially available right now. There’s not a bad one in the bunch, but I grew particularly fond of the GTS version after driving it for a week.

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