This weekend V2Lab hosted it’s second Mystery Meat in downtown Orlando. Last years impromptu event brought chaos to downtown, this year the event had the cities blessing and was much more organized as a result. This event isn’t a car show, but rather a gathering of like minded enthusiast to hang out, show off their cars and enjoy the great Florida weather. As a result the scope of vehicles in attendance varies from Donks, VW, Honda, Exotics, Ruckus, bikes, all with modification from mild to wild. It was a great event, a big thanks to Ravi and the V2Lab crew for putting it together, we are already looking forward to next years event.
Thanks to everyone who attended our fourth annual open house, the attendance far exceded our expectations (we had over 750 rsvp on Facebook but estimates show 1,500-2,000 attended throughout the day). Thanks to the gracious donations from our sponsors and attendees we were able to raise $6,250.00 for the Just In Queso Foundation!
A special thank you to our vendors Manley, FuelLab, Royal Purple, DEI, Hawk, Cometic, Brembo, Mr. Gasket, ACL, Eibach, Deatsch Werks,Fluidampr, Race Ramps, Precision Turbo, Gates and Ferrea for their attendance and donations. We look forward to holding this great event next year, and hope to raise even more money for great causes in 2014.
There is an old saying that even a bad day at the track is better than a good day in the office. If that statement rings true, then a great day the track is even better, and thanks to great weather and an invite from Porsche, I’ll agree. Yesterday we left Orlando bright and early for a 10:00AM tee time at Sebring International Raceway for an invite only Porsche event, The Porsche World Roadshow.
The day started with a meet and great followed by a tech session on the basics of performance driving from Porsche Sport Driving School’s Chief instructor Cass Whitehead. After the quick classroom session was over we paired up and headed to a large autocross course where we got to put the newly released Boxster through its paces. I typically prefer more pure driving sports cars, however I was quite impressed with the technology in the Boxster after playing with it’s Sport settings and electronic suspension dampening. The performance of the car could be greatly changed for the conditions simply by pressing a few buttons located next to the shifter.
A second autocross course was setup for the Technology drive featuring the Panamera and Cayenne Hybrids and V8 Counterparts. On the short course we were encouraged to go full throttle on multiple occasions and test the throttle response to compare the differences between the 2. When you think Hybrid you typically think of slow Toyota Priuses clogging the left lane, the Porsche version couldn’t be further than the opposite. The Porsche Hybrid delivers amazing throttle response and low end torque thanks to it’s electric motors assisting a powerful NA engine, which delivers a driving experience that sticks to Porsches pursuit of ultimate performance, all while improving fuel efficiency.
With the performance drive completed it was off to the big track for what most participants traveled long and far to experience, driving the latest Porsches on the famed Sebring International Raceway. The format was a lead follow session on the Sebring modified course in the Panamera GTS, Porsche 991, and the 991S. While the driving was done in a somewhat controlled environment, it still allowed us to push the cars through their paces for a few laps each. I left quite impressed with the new 991, which makes the most of recent technology to deliver a great drive, adding new creature comforts not found in the previous model. All of the models we drove were equipped with Porsches new PDK transmission, something as a purist I should hate, however its a phenomenal piece of equipment and for 99% of the drivers out there exactly what they need. A big thanks to Porsche North America for putting on this event and our good friend Andreas at Porsche Orlando for the invite (If you’re in the market give him a ring). This was the ultimate way to test the newest models and draw our own opinions on them, most of which were positive!
This weekend we attended the 8th annual Cars for the Cure show in Lake Mary, FL benefiting the American Lung Association. We brought out Daniel’s black Stage-2 Lamborghini Gallardo Twin Turbo, George Bonafede’s Red Nissan GTR, Nero’s personal E92 M3, and my newly acquired Porsche 996 GT3. There were plenty of great cars in attendance from new dealer cars, to highly tuned exotics, with the center piece of the event being a 1 of 1 Bugatti Veyron Sang Bleu. We’d like to thank the ALA and it’s great volunteers who made this event such a success. We’ve had the pleasure of attending this event since it’s inception over 8 years ago and look forward to attending yet again next year.
This weekend we ventured out to Route46 for the third installment of the annual Simply Clean show. We typically don’t modify vehicles for appearance only or stance, however we can appreciate other passion for their vehicles regardless of the vehicles use. The turnout for this show was one of the largest I can remember in recent memory, and the quality of vehicles present was very high. The parking within the complex quickly filled up and the surrounding overflow lots were full of cars as far as the eye could see. We had a great time displaying our Speed Yellow 996tt, Track Day E92 BMW M3, and RHD R33 Skyline and are already looking forward to next years event.
Monday I had the pleasure of heading to Palm Beach International Raceway for a very special event put on by Michelin called The 25th Hour. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a vast array of tires on different vehicles and have always regarded the Michelin PS2 as the “benchmark” performance tire. The PS2 provides great handling in both the dry and wet, exceptional braking, all while keeping road noise to a minimum. When I first heard that Michelin was working on an even better tire featuring compounds tested in endurance racing to replace the PS2, I was anxious to see if they could deliver an experience better without sacrifices. My desire to test this new tire our grew exponentially as I watched Leh Keen click off a 1:55 lap at Daytona in his GTR last week, a time very close to Rolex GT race pace in a full weight car on a street tire. A few days after returning from Daytona my invite to the 25th hour arrived and I sent off my RSVP immediately. The 25th Hour was setup to give educated drivers a chance to experience the tire in various scenarios versus the competition in order to make their own conclusions on whether Michelin had achieved their goal to re benchmark the PS2. Michelin had their engineering staff on hand to gather feedback from participants and answer any questions we might have. In addition they also gathered rear world data using Performance Boxes to further evaluate and test the tire with end consumers who could provide inside outside their normal proving grounds testing.
Michelin implemented some great technology with the Pilot Super Sport with a goal in mind to improve on all aspects of the tire without sacrifice. They wanted to create a tire that cornered better, had great braking in the wet and dry, all while providing great wear and limited road noise. Those are some stiff goals when you break them down individually, when you make a softer compound wear normally suffers and noise goes up, a harder compound normally sacrifices grip. Michelin Compounded these issues with various solutions to achieve great overall results without sacrifice. The first and likely most important is a dual compound, the outer edge of the tire normally reserved for heavy cornering uses a compound found in their endurance racing tires, while the inner portion of the tire remains a wet compound very similar to that of the PS2. This allows for great wear and rain channeling, while providing the requires grip in cornering. They combined this with a variable contact patch that allows the tire to use the maximum surface area required for each application. Combining these 2 technologies the tire is able to better handle water channeling as well as heat, helping maintain a consistent feel. Twaron belting on the insides of the tire combined with the dual compound allows for a better performing tire, that handles 12% better than it’s leading competitor all while twice as long (a 30k mile wear warranty further backs up these claims).
The first exercise we got to do was an autocross using BMW 3 series on an course setup inside the facilities kart track. I’ve spent many days on full circuit road courses, but must admit I’ve never autocross in my life, making this exercise even more interesting. We tested the PSS against a comparable Continental Extreme Contact DW. Within the first lap the difference was quite apparent, the PSS took everything I threw at it no problems, including some mistakes as a result of my lack of autocross experience. The DW performed quite well, however compared to the Super Sport it felt very floaty and inconsistent. After 3-4 laps on each tire we pulled the cars in to review our opinions and perform a visual inspection on the tires. The Continentals looked as if the outer portions had been hit with a grinder and showed chunking across the outer tread blocks and some light initial blistering. The PSS showed some scuffing, but nothing beyond what you would expect from a tire that was just broken in fresh with 15-20 hot laps on an autocross course.
After the autocross we headed to the drag strip return road for a wet and dry braking test. For this test the comparison tire was the Goodyear Eagle F1, what I consider to be one of the better rain tires out there. We accelerated to 55mph and then panic braked in the dry, followed by a duplicate scenario starting from 45mph in the wet. During these tests a VBOX Performance Box would record the stopping distance, which was entered into an excel spreadsheet on a nearby iPad. After making a few runs on both tires it was difficult to visual tell the difference between tires in terms of visual distance, as a few inches or feet is tough to see format he passenger seat, however in terms of overall feel the PSS shined through once again. The biggest difference was the continued consistency towards the end of the brake, as the F1 fell off the PSS continued to provide valuable feedback until the point the vehicle was stationary. Once the group had finished their runs the Excel sheets where tabulated, the end result was an average of 3.5 feet shorter stops in the dry, and almost 3 feet in the wet, an incredible margin for a brake test. On the street these few extra feet could provide very valuable in a panic situation, on the track it would surely allow for quicker lap times with consistent braking at the limit.
Next on the agenda was testing the PSS in the most demanding environment yet, the full road course at PBIR, with 11 turns and a tad over 2 miles of track to navigate. In this test we would be piloting Lexus’s ISF, with the comparison tire being the Pirelli PZero Nero. I have never driven PBIR at speed so it took a few recognizance laps to get the line down, once I had things figured out I did my best to throw everything I could at both of the tires so I could get an honest assessment. This was also my first time driving the ISF as well and I must say while it’s obviously quite heavy, the power and refined transmission made it feel very comfortable quickly on track, all while providing seating for 4-5 plus groceries. After pushing the cars around the track and navigating the late apex of some of the more complex corners the one word that comes to mind to describe the difference between the tires was consistency. The Pirelli’s kept the car on the track and gave plenty of notice when they were at their limits. The PSS on the other hand was a dream and stayed glue to the track and provided a noticeable amount of additional grip. There were quite a few corners I stuffed the car into at significantly higher speeds than she wanted to go and the PSS tracked right towards the apex, lap after lap. The Pirellis pushed quite a bit driving the exact same line, at similar speeds. The Pilot Super Sports performed lap after lap with amazing consistency where the Pirellis began to get greasy as they got hot making you question if the car was going to go where pointed. This overall test provided the most significant overall testament to how great a tire the Michelin Pilot Super Sport was over the competition.
The day was capped of with hot laps in the passenger seat of various hero cars with experienced drivers behind the wheel. There was an array of exotics with fresh Pilot Super Sports on hand not limited to a Ferrari F430, Ferrari 599GTB, Lamborghini LP560, and a Jaguar XKR . I’ve been fortunate to drive each of these cars on the street, and with the addition of forced induction, but still looked forward to getting a feel for them on track. I was amazed at the consistency of the tires and the amount of grip they provided even after hot lap after hot lap with seasoned pros behind the wheel. Most max and extreme performance tires will get hot after 6-8 laps and get greasy, loosing their consistency. The PSS held up like a champ, even in the heavier cars like the 599GTB, a gentleman’s Ferrari designed for Grand Touring. They obviously did not have the grip levels of a slick, however for a tire that could be driven to the track over 500 miles and then flogged all weekend, the performance was better than expected even in these extreme examples.
After a solid day of testing, I am completely amazed at how great a street tire Michelin has produced. I’m anxious to get a set on my Z4M daily driver very soon so that I can explore their limits even further in a dual purpose track/street environment. I’ve always used Extreme Performance tires on my daily driver, however it will be nice to get similar performance out of a Max Performance Summer tire without sacrificing wet traction and wear as I do with my current tire. The best part of all, Michelin currently has the Pilot Super Sport priced below the PS2 in an effort to prevent consumers from having to decide between Summer and All Season tires based solely on price. The PS2 will eventually be phased out when the PSS is available in all current offerings and OEM replacement sizes. I want to thank Kim Kegler and the entire Michelin team for having me out at the 25th hour, and I look forward to seeing how they’re able to top this next generation tire in the future!
While half our crew was in Houston for the TX2K11 meet, I brought our Speed Yellow Porsche 996tt to the PCA Corral at the ALMS 12 Hours of Sebring race. This annual event marks the start of the American Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans series, with teams battling it out on the famed 3.7 Mile course in Sebring Florida. The race is a grueling 12 hours on Sebring’s rough surface, whose concrete foundation has remained primarily untouched since the 50s, making a true challenge for teams sorting out new cars and drivers.
The race had many surprises as teams battled the gremlins associated with new cars, new equipment, and new teams. At the end of the 12 hours after a great day of racing BMW took the top 2 spots in the GT class in their E92 M3’s, with the Corvette team rounding out the podium in third. Oreca Racing’s Peugeot took the top spot in LMP1, followed by Highcroft racing in second and the factory Peugeot effort a close third.
Advanced Clutch Technology (ACT) has released their new high performance clutch kits and components for the later Porsche 911 Pull Type applications. ACT’s new clutch kit for the Porsche 911 (964, 993, 996, & 997) feature a Heavy Duty or Xtreme Pressure Plate that incorporates hardened diaphragm fingers for decreased wear, a CNC machined forged cover and provides a 20% to 88% increase in clamp force over the stock unit.
The ACT Street Clutch Kit combines the Heavy Duty or Xtreme Pressure Plate and a Performance Organic Street Disc, a disc that features special performance organic friction materials to withstand increased heat and abuse, steel backed linings for high burst strength and modifications engineered for quicker shifting. The ACT Street Clutch Kit provides a moderate and consistent pedal feel, smooth engagement, significantly improved durabil¬ity and increases the torque capacity of either 689 or 787 ft. lbs of torque depending on your pressure plate selection.
ACT Race Clutch Kits will hold either 882 or 1008 ft. lbs. of torque depending upon your pressure plate selec¬tion. Cerametallic Xtreme Discs are available in a 6 puck unsprung hub design and are very durable while allow¬ing for quick shifting. The Xtreme Discs are for high power engines and recommended for track use only.
Check out all the ACT Porsche applications.
Last week a few of the Titan employees made a pilgrimage to the ‘Texas Mile’, catching a late flight after work we arrived to Houston with a 3 hour drive to our hotel still ahead of us, but the journey is half the fun. We awoke Saturday morning and went downstairs grab breakfast, while there we saw Ryan Woon from Wide Open Throttle Motorsports, Chris Johnson from Performance Motorsport and Cody Phillips. We took the scenic route out to the airstrip where the event is held and saw a few small towns as well as some great back roads that would have been a lot of fun in a faster car (we rented a Dodge Charger).
This was the first ‘Texas Mile’ for everyone in our group, but not the first standing mile competition we had been to. A few months earlier several of us had attended the ‘Mile Marker 1’ event in Miami. The ‘Texas Mile’ was highly organized, and we were able to get signed in and out to the starting grid in just a few minutes. There were lots of trailers and it was still fairly early so we got a chance to see several of the cars with their skirts up being worked on. There was just about every kind of sports car you could imagine present at the event. There were Porsches, Corvettes, Vipers, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and many more. I was most surprised to see some of the old hot-rods that looked like they were land speed cars that would attend Bonneville or a similar event as well as the classic Detroit muscle cars complete with enormous engines.
When the cars began to run the mile, one by one they would leave the line and head off into the heat-waves coming off the track. There were quite a few displays setup around the track to post up the speeds the cars were achieving. Several bikes and cars went well over the “magic” 200mph barrier, an accomplishment in itself, but the fastest cars were hitting 240+ and one of the bikes hit 260+…I can only imagine what that would feel like in a car much less a motorcycle.
Overall the event was great, well organized, lots of fun for both the competitors and spectators, and they ordered up some excellent weather. If you ever have the chance to make it out to the ‘Texas Mile’, it’s a trip you won’t forget!
This beautiful Porsche Carrera S made its way through our shop for some performance upgrades. The owner was looking to use the car for track days and the occasional car show, and wanted a car that handled as well as it looked. We started off by installing a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers and StopTech Big Brake kit front and rear before having the car corner balanced and aligned. A Clutchmasters Clutch was also installed with a lightweight flywheel to make for easier rev matches when tackling local road courses such as Sebring International.
With the performance upgrades out of the way, the customer wanted to make sure the car had an aggressive look to go with the upgraded performance. The customer chose a Vorsteiner front and rear bumper with carbon fiber accents. For the rear wing he wanted to stand out from the pack with a side mounted adjustable wing blade, this particular wing is common in the aftermarket for turbos versions of the 997, but had not been previously made for a Carrera. Rather than tell the customer it was not available we contacted our good friends at MA Shaw who made a custom mold and narrow wing blade for the vehicle. The end results is a wing that is lighter than stock, super functional, all while remaining aesthetically pleasing.
The body shop completed the visual upgrades to the car late last week, just in time for the car to take home a plaque at the 6th Annual Cars for the Cure show this weekend. An award winning Porsche that can comfortable be driven on the street during the week and tear up the track on the weekends, who can argue with that.