Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Seven days and counting

I am one week from my first drive on the track. The forecast is for showers. Initially, I was hoping for sunny weather but this is Oregon and I expect I will learn more driving the car in the wet than on a dry track. Certainly I will not have a chance to push the car to its ultimate performance edge. That is probably for the best considering this is my first time on the track and I am a petty cautious driver.

I know from experience that the car does really well in wet, even snowy conditions. I also know from experience that if the rear end gets away from you on a wet road you are in for a wild ride. So, assuming, it rains next Wednesday my focus will be on picking the correct line, gentle application of the throttle, and driving delicately. Not really a bad set of things to practice. Now my instructor may have different ideas so we will see.

I am working on mounting a camera in the car so I can record the session. I have tried a few different homemade mounts that did not work. I have another idea that I am going to try this weekend. There are not many (any) good spots to mount a camera in the 355 so I am forced to improvise.

Our 911 needs a new clutch. The car has 78K miles on it and is still on the first clutch. Before the Ferrari this would have been a no brainer. Put in a new clutch. Opt for a lightweight flywheel to make the engine more responsive and go happily on my way. Now I have a dilemma. I am not sure I will keep the 911 after my year with the Ferrari. If I put in the lightweight flywheel I think I reduce the total pool of potential owners. Our 911 is a great example of a very clean, slightly modified 911 C2 Cabriolet. From my perspective the new flywheel is a positive but it will make the car a bit more engaging. If I am trying to sell it I don’t want prospective owners stalling if a few time in my driveway during their test drives.

Unfortunately, the lightweight and regular flywheels are almost identical in price. The labor is slightly higher to put in the lightweight flywheel but not appreciably different. Right now I am leaning towards the lightweight version. If I keep the car I would want the lighter flywheel. If I eliminate some percentage of potential owners so be it.

Why opt for the lightweight version. If you have driven the 964 variant of the 911 you know that it takes a while for the big flat 6 to spool up. The flywheel in the car weighs 29 pounds. If you position the car perpendicular to the rotational axis of the earth in such a way that the flywheel is rotating in the opposite direction the earth is spinning you can slightly increase the rotational speed of the earth. If you own C2 please do not do this too often as you will change the storm patterns in both hemispheres.

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