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54 years old
Born June-22-1964
Track days, track days, track days.
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Your Name: Anthony Russo
Vehicle: Porsche 996C4 Conv, 997GT3RS, Cayenne Turbo
Location: Brownsville
Joined: 2-February 09
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Last Seen: 1st November 2014 - 08:47 AM
Local Time: Oct 17 2018, 10:33 AM
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My Content
10 Dec 2013
Wow, that is how I can quickly summarize my experience at Daytona International Speedway. The event was a three day event in which I had the opportunity, or should I say, the constant pre-occupation of being an instructor. The event cost was $1200.00, the instructor's fees was fully compensated by the Audi Club of Ohio, the organizers of this event. Unlike any of the other tracks that I have driven, even the renown track of Road Atlanta, where turn 12 is known as the widow maker, Daytona will put the fear of God into you. Why? Number one, the closing speed differences between the different classes of cars and drivers. Number two, the actual speed involved in driving the format of the Rolex 24 track which includes driving 4/5 of the actual oval. Exiting pit row you find yourself in the infield part of the track in which the various abilities of the drivers are quickly sorted out due to the challenges of the twisty part of the course. Once you negotiate yourself out of this section you are met by a 31 degree wall witch is the starting point on the oval part of the track. Getting on to the oval you quickly realize that you need to be petal to the metal all the way to the Bus stop. Closing speed onto the bus stop in a GT3.1 is 165 mph with no clear visual marker for your breaking point, this is the tricky part since you need to slow down to around 60-70 mph and negotiate the 4 turns before getting back onto the oval. No bid deal if you blow past your breaking point, you will just hit the cones that are placed on the straight part of the oval. Once you are back onto the oval, again its petal to the metal into turn 3. Turn 4 is what separates the men from the boys, you really need a large set of Huevos, since you need to continue keeping the petal to the metal with your speed increasing to the point in which I was making the turn at 165 mph. Once you are through turn 4 its still balls to the walls, again you gotta have those Huevos, with the speedometer still climbing up into the 180 mph range you need to be cognizant of your breaking point because, guess what, you will be coming back into the infield section of the course. Thus, 180 needs to be scrubbed down to 55 mph to negotiate the first turn and back onto the infield.
Both of my students had Corvettes, high HP cars, lucky for me they were very competent drivers and thus was able to check them off to solo only after two sessions. Whew, I tell you that was close, I am so glad I could check them off. At these speeds any driver error, or equipment failure will surely spell disaster. My first student's car only had the 3 point restraint, that is the normal type of seat belt you find in all cars. This, to say the least, is a considerable concern when you first approach one of these cars and you realize that you are only held in by a restraint system that is not optimal for the speeds that you will be traveling at. Mind you, their speeds were 40 to 50 mph less than mine; nevertheless, you are still traveling in the neighborhood of 140 mph+.
Going back to the approach into turn one, which I am doing about 180 mph, and waiting for the last possible moment for my breaking point. This is an area that separate the men and the boys, where closing speed differences are just as notable as on the oval. Once you start your breaking at this speed the car feels like it wants to turn on itself, this is due to the fact that your breaking is not done puerilely on a straight line but on a bit of a curve and at 180 mph, hard breaking, not coasting. Hence, the technique is to pick your breaking point in an area that gives you a little more of a straight line, not easy because of how fast things are moving past you. Yes, even when you are able to hit the straighter part of the track the car still has the tendency to destabilize just for an instant. By the end of the day your realize that this is normal due to the crazy speed that you are doing, and the amount of breaking that must be done before you approach turn 1, you become accustomed to it.
Daytona is not a seriously challenging track like Road Atlanta, VIR, or COTA and you can quickly become bored of it; however, the part the continues to call to you is the danger, living on the edge. All of the advanced drivers and instructors I spoke to would tell me the same thing, its the danger that keeps them coming back. 3-4 cars blew their engines and about another dozen of cars managed to hit barriers coming into the infield and through the infield. Luckily, no one had any close encounters with the barrier walls on the oval.
Weather you are on the track or in the pits, Daytona requires constant vigilance on the part of the driver and their equipment, this means tire pressure measurements, coming off and going back on, and re-torquing your wheels before going back on track. Tire pressure is the most important factor in making sure you do not have a blow out. It is recommended that the right side have 2-4 pounds more air than the left side. Low tire pressure is the number 1 culprit in blow outs at Daytona.
The allure of Daytona is the constant fact that you are living on the edge, the elixir of all track junkies, I count myself as one of these proud folk.
I'm off to Barber for this weekend, my sixth running at this track, this is where Porsche has their school at and this is where Indy has been racing for the past 10 years. Perhaps I will post another write up for those interested.

28 Feb 2012
The good news is the car is ready for pick up. The bad news, I will have to wait until Saturday at which time I will fly out to Dallas and drive the Cayenne and the RS back. I must admit, I was thoroughly surprised and relieved at the treatment I received by Porsche and Boardwalk, this experience solidifies my loyalty to the brand. It turns out that even though the car was one year out of warranty, Porsche covered 100% of the engine replacement. There was no if, ands, or buts, as soon as they had the DME readout they made the immediate call to replace in full. I paid to upgrade the clutch to the 4.0 and a thorough detailing.
The horrifying part of this experience was in the fact that the case of the engine was compromised and thus no core to trade. It turns out that a 997.1 GT3 engine with no core costs about 62K without labor costs. I know understand why Porsche recommends a 50 hour rebuild on the Cup engines. A GT3 engine with a core costs approximately 27-29K, even this is a substantial hit; however, you can't compare to paying double the amount without a core.
I am currently debating on weather I should participate in next week's DE event. The dealer is telling me that this engine does not require a break in period. I, however, have some major reservations. I think that what I will do is take a long trip and put at least 500 miles before tracking the car for next week. This means, road trip during the week. In either case, I will be at the event to lend a hand. It's good to be back. to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif to_become_senile.gif
21 Dec 2011
We are looking at Feb 11, 2012 for the Hill Country Drive. We will spend the entire day, Saturday, driving the beautiful Hill Country roads and come back on Sunday following a hardy breakfast. Friday evening we get together and have dinner with a great deal of trash talk. Make sure your car is up for this drive. One of the most overlooked aspects is in making sure you have enough tread to drive there and back, and of course the actual drive through the curvy roads. The curvy road part is essential in having plenty of tire tread. The YO ranch hotel, in Kerville, is where we will be staying. I will need a head count so that we can get the discount rate, which is a savings of about twenty dollars per night. The last thing I would like to add is that this is a drive, regardless of driving ability or car type, that you will thoroughly enjoy. Anyone and everyone is invited, you don't need a Porsche, although that is usually the weapon of choice used in carving out these mountain roads.
1 Nov 2010
What is the schedule for 2011?
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