Rendez-vous October 1998 – Gone Sailing

RSR Rendez-vous December 1996

Well, here we are at the end of a great season. The AGM was a delight and the door prizes were really nice. I wanted the Le Mans Video, I wanted the Boxter model, I wanted ….; I swear that there were almost as many prizes as participants but Louise and I didn’t win. When Howard (of Talon Tire) said something about being his best customer and asked me to make the drawing for the tires I figured “heh-heh at last, I win the tires”. I didn’t. It looked like Michel Galarneau had a tear in his eyes after he got a standing ovation from the crowd of over two hundred for making this year the best ever. It was a very touching moment, seeing the efforts he and Nicole made being applauded. Me? I had tears in my eyes when I found out that two snifters of Cognac cost 17 bucks!

Just prior to year end a few of us battled snow to attend a Drivers Ed event at Shannonville. While not a PCA event, things run pretty much like our own. At the Ontario border at six in the morning, our convoy ran into snow. A complete whiteout. A few turned back. Something to do with no heat and defrosting in certain 911’s with headers. For those who pressed on, dawn came, the snow stopped and we had a sunny and cool day. I only recount this because we all enjoyed driving on a new track and Shannonville is very challenging. We used the Long Track which at 4.03 KM is about as long as Le Circuit but has more turns. The straights are shorter and good cornering technique is more important than horsepower. How about a PCA event there next summer?

Speaking of track events, rumor has it that Mosport is in deep financial doo-doo and Upper Canada is worried. Could this mean that they come to Tremblant? While on the subject, rumor also has it that Intrawest has made an offer to buy Tremblant subject to conditions. To make the deal happen they’d have to be assured of :

Attracting big time racing (Indy or IRL) Touring Cars, etc.

Relaxation of certain municipal noise regulations.

According to rumor, this is a serious deal and they are working hard to complete the transaction. If they succeed, they’ll invest a lot of money to improve the track and bring it up to current specs. At the least that will mean repaving and widening, adding run off and catch areas. I imagine that they’d have to make a new pit area with garages and improve the amenities for spectators. Gee, real bathrooms maybe?

Since we’re at the time of year when many of us store our beloved Porsches, I’ve been watching for good storage tips. We’ve already had some in the club magazine so I’ll only add a few I got recently.

Change oil and filters.

Fill the tank full, add Stabil and drive the car for 15-20 mins to circulate it.

Wash and wax.

Add 8 lb. of air to the tires to prevent flat spotting.

Don’t raise the car on jack stands, the shocks don’t like being held at full extension.

Pull the fuses on the radio, burglar alarm and anything else that consumes power.

Add blocks of wood under the wiper arms to save the wiper blades.

Loosen the convertible or Targa (old style) top to relieve stress.

Close doors, hatches and trunk compartments only to the first detent (prevents seals from being squeezed).

Use a good quality car cover.

Say good-bye for the winter.

Seems like good advice to me. The last few (saving the wipers, top and door seals) were new to me and sound like good ideas. Stabil is a fuel stabilizer which is available at marine dealers and used to protect engines and fuel systems during the winter. I’ve used it for years in everything that runs on fuel (including my beloved weed whacker) and it seems to do the job.

This is also the time of year when we look at our winter tires. I spend every winter weekend in the Laurentians. Winter tires mean a lot to me since where I live the roads are not salted for environmental reasons. Twisty country roads with an icy surface. I’ve been reading every tire test I can get my hands on. I also spent some time with Brian and Howard at Talon. I was impressed. These guys actually test the tires they sell! I learned a few things about winter tires. Note, I didn’t call them snow tires, that’s because they aren’t really.

Winter tires (like track tires) are a compromise. The considerations are – traction (wet, dry, snow, ice) – noise – handling on (wet dry, snow, ice) – durability. The bad news is that you can’t have a tire that has the highest traction without some other compromise. Tire engineers play with the various performance elements and come up with what they think is the best compromise. The kind of car you drive is also an important factor as is the amount of time you spend driving on snow versus pavement. The first rule of a winter tire is not to freeze in cold temperatures. No matter what the tread design, if the rubber loses it flexibility (freezes) you have no traction at all! As it has all turned out, rubber which remains flexible at low temperatures is the most important consideration. That’s why all seasons tires work so well under most conditions.

The subject is fairly complex but I can summarize some of the things I learned. For instance a Porsche driven mostly on pavement is better off with a high performance winter tire. This doesn’t mean the highest traction, rather it means best performance on pavement without being bad in the snow. Talon suggested Toyos for my C4. They don’t have the absolute traction of a Blizzak but they give sportier handling on pavement while being decent on snow and ice. Looking at them, they don’t appear very different from high performance summer tires. Unlike summer tires they don’t freeze.

Based on my personal experience Bridgestone Blizzaks have the best traction on ice of any tire without studs. I haven’t tried them on a Porsche but those who have say that they squirm too much when driven on pavement. Makes sense to me, the Blizzak has a very soft and deep tread which has to squirm when you corner briskly on a higher traction surface. This doesn’t matter on a car that is never driven hard. It matters less on a car with a softer suspension than it does on a P-car.

Don’t let tread patterns fool you either. Tires with a really aggressive wide open lugged pattern are mostly made for mud. Modern winter tires have a much finer tread pattern than the old ones. While those heavy lugs looked like they’d grip snow they don’t. It turns out that the best traction for snow is ….snow. Modern designs are made to fill with snow and use it to grip the snowy surface. The heavy duty herringbone pattern which is still used on 4WD truck tires is not the best for snow and ice. The morale of the story is that looks can be deceiving. Talk to your tire dealer, he is a gold mine of information.

Lastly, for those of you who are still driving Porsches on street tires, BE CAREFUL, those tires don’t have the same traction at cold temps as they do during the summer. Cornering and braking performance will be less than expected. That’s why they make high performance winter tires.

Have a great winter!


“Porsche is not a car, it’s a religion.”

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