Rendez-vous July 2000 – Calling all Trackies!

RSR Rendez-vous July 2000

Calling all Trackies!

We had Instructor Day at Sanair on May 20th and DE participants are in
for a treat this summer! I’d like to thank everyone who turned out knowing that the only day we could get was on the long weekend.

Special thanks to Botho Von Bose who drove from Toronto for the occasion. The Ottawa crowd was also well represented and we all appreciate that it’s a long drive for one day.

Sanair’s tri-oval is a new track for us. Mike(s) Galarneau and Delaney had seen it back in March but that didn’t help that much. We had to figure out where to park, locate flaggers and and place the cones. 

Once we hit the track, it became immediately clear that this layout is a blast to drive! The track is very subtle and the infield section proves the benefits of the “Vision” technique we’ve been harping on. 

Like many of you. I was concerned that Sanair would be a let-down compared to Tremblant. After a day driving there,  I’m pleased to report that it’s exciting, challenging and I’m looking  forward to our August and September DEWs. I’m not alone in that  opinion, several instructors have suggested that we have at least one event there even after Tremblant is re-opened.

For families there is plenty to do in the area; a water slide is right next door and Granby Zoo is a short drive away. There are plenty of  hotels in nearby Ste Hyacinthe. I’m not sure what we’ll do about  Saturday night dinner though. We have to find a way. Besides, you’d  miss it if I quit whining about not winning the tires.

Sanair Preview:

>From pit out, Turn One is a second gear 90 degree right hander followed by a short straight. Two is a 90 degree left hander which opens up into an increasing radius turn taking you onto the very wide banking.  I’m calling the section between the left hander (Two) and the banking, Turn Three. This is tricky because while tracking out you’ll have to upshift to 3rd gear. 

Since there is plenty of room, I found it more comfortable to unwind my steering for a second as I upshifted to 3rd. Like the exit of the esses at Tremblant, you short shift to third to avoid unbalancing the car as you pull G’s tracking out onto the banking.

Follow the edge of the wall and get ready for Turn Four. Look far ahead here. Four is an exhilarating dive down to the apex and a track-out climb back up the bank as the G forces build. As a passenger  I hoped that the door latches on Michel’s car were sturdy because I was pressed hard against it by the lateral acceleration.

Follow the wall along the top of the banking, in my Boxster S I’m still in 3rd but getting near the red line of 7200 RPM here. You’ll notice pit-in down on your left and see the rapidly approaching cones which guide you towards the line into Turn Five, a banked left hander with a hidden apex leading onto the front straight. The exit line takes you right out to the wall just like Indy Cars (that raced here) and you get to hear your engine quite well thank you.

Pass the grandstands and tower and get ready for maximum threshold braking which begins near the start of the fencing. Eyes left for Turn Six a 2nd gear left hairpin. Bring the car back to the left as soon as possible to set up for Seven a 90 degree right hander which immediately leads to Eight, a right hand sweeper. The apex of eight is marked by a trackside cone but in reality it’s about 6 feet out into the track. If you clip the cone, you’ll end up going into the straight leading to Turn One diagonally, forcing you to make a 120 degree turn instead of 90.

Sanair is challenging. Since there are fewer turns than Tremblant finding your way around isn’t too hard but the corners are subtle. The infield section bends are closely linked – forcing you to look ahead (Vision again) and treat them as a series, sort of like the esses at Tremblant only more so. One of the things I like is that there are plenty of passing zones.

After lunch, Instructor Candidates got a workout doing role playing. The new guys were asked to teach us. Sadistic lot that we are, we pretended to be novice drivers of the sorts we have met. Some good some not so good.

Galarneau was especially convincing in the role of “cowboy”. His instructor would say “ok, accelerate”. The words were hardly out of his mouth when the car was on full boost with smoking tires headed in the wrong direction!

I treated Terry Williams to my “guy with speed attitude” act.  In revenge he had me driving around in the middle of the track doing a max of 80K “observing the way around looking for flag stations and the ambulance”!

We could tell the role playing exercise was working ‘cuz the trainees all had sweat on their brows when they removed their helmets!

I can’t blame them though. If I had been the passenger in the car that went past Six (the hairpin at the end of the straight) onto the run off area (the unused part of the oval), I would have gotten a little warm too. When asked why he had not slowed enough, the role playing driver answered “you didn’t tell me to brake!”. That borders on cruelty to instructor trainees!

Getting to Sanair is really easy. I found that Highway 20 East toward Quesbec is a shorter route for me. It took me only an hour from Beaconsfield and I wasn’t burning up the road. Take 20 toward Quebec City. Get off at exit 123 and turn left. The sign says Ste Hyacinthe. Don’t get spooked when you go through a residential area. Keep going straight and within about 5 minutes you’ll see Sanair on your right side. Go past the drag strip and the grandstands on the other side of the side street. Watch for the entry gate on your right almost across the street from the gas station.

Ste-Eustache DE date changed:

We’ve been informed of a date change. The DE at Ste-Eustache has been moved to July 23rd and Mike Delaney is trying to schedule a mongo autocross at Blainville the 22nd. Check the events listing for changes or, visit our website “”. I haven’t said a whole lot about Ste-Eustache because a lot of the trackies know it. During the summer, a bunch of us go there on Monday nights for some non PCA lapping. A great place to heat cycle tires, practice smoothness and hang out with the Rennsport fraternity. 

Until we get back to Tremblant this is probably as civilized a track as we’ll use (excluding Mosport) with nice bathrooms an onsite restaurant (and for non-participants) a bar. The track is quick and twisty. The caroussel is devilish. There are about 6 different lines through it and on different days each has an edge. 

Getting there from Montreal is a snap, take the 640 West to the 2nd Ste Eustache exit, Boul. Arthur Sauve. Go North (to your right for the compass challenged). After a couple of kilometers the road will split, take the left hand fork which puts you on a rural two lane. Careful here, the local QPP shop is halfway down the road to the track. 

Watch for the track entrance on your left as you travel West, it’s  pretty hard to miss! Make a left into the facility and drive on past the go-kart track and past the grandstands. You’ll see the friendly Rennsport folks waiting for you.

993 Third Brake Light:

Porsche 911’s starting in 1996 have a high mounted brake light nestled above the rear window. I never had a problem with mine, but lately several people have reported failures. The problem is that getting the light fixed cost a fortune. The wires that go to the 3rd light array are part of the rear window. Yup, to fix it you need to replace the glass too. Think over a thousand dollars!

That brings me to my rant. The idea of a high mounted third light made a lot of sense when it was first proposed in the late seventies. The plan was to equip all new cars with a light that would be visible through the car in front. Better yet, the light would flash at a rate proportional to the braking effort of the car. If you were braking hard the light flashed urgently calling attention to the fact that you were slowing down fast.

I thought this was a great solution to multiple car rear-enders which were becoming more common. By the time the idea got through legislation, the “cyber” light as it was called had been dumbed down, no more variable rate flashing. Still, being able to see brake lights through the windows of cars in front was sensible.

Being a goverment thing, it took years before automakers were obliged to fit the 3rd rear light. Now that the majority of cars on the road have them, guess what? They’re useless! For the last five years or more, most new “car” sales are actually light trucks (minivans and my favorite SUVs, not to mention real trucks). Today, the odds of you being able to see the high mounted light on a vehicle two car lengths in front is almost zero.

The same dim-bulb politicos who gave us the high stop lights didn’t realize that dark tinted rear windows on SUV’s and minivans prevent us from seeing the things. In fact the wide and high SUVs and “mini” vans prevent us from seeing anything at all. 

Consider this, if your 993 high mounted stop light goes out, and you have to pass a safety inspection, you’ll be obliged to get it repaired. It’s a safety requirement. In the case of a 993 owner, this means laying out around $1,200 bucks to fix something which no longer serves a useful purpose. Ain’t it sweet?

Lastly, Louise and I will not be with you at Mosport. We’re getting married the weekend before and while you’re on track we’ll be in Hawaii somewhere. 


..Porsche a fine car with one too many tail lights.

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