Squiggly Lines

Summer is here, COVID is in the rear-view mirror, and the Club’s calendar is full up with activities for everyone to participate in. As a constant reminder, please check out our club calendar to see what activities may interest you or your family. There is always plenty to do.

This year I have spent a lot of time at the track as I am participating in PCA Club Racing across the eastern united states. To date, I have participated in six racing events with three left for the year.

For those unfamiliar with Club Racing, the event typically takes place over three days, with day one consisting of two practice sessions along with a qualifying session. Day two consists of two thirty-minute sprint races and day three is a sixty-to-ninety-minute enduro race. Cars are grouped by class, and each excursion on track consists of multiple classes of cars. Sometimes you are the fastest cars on track, and other times you are near the back of the pack.

My most recent event was held at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). This is a lovely track located in Alton, VA, near the North Carolina border. It is an enormous venue located in the plush hills of Virginia with tons of runoff, which is always a good thing. Everything is available at the track, including lodging, so it is possible never to leave the track once you arrive.

At this event I was fortunate enough to connect with a prior NER club member, Jim Graham, a fellow DE participant. He was racing a Boxster and placed second. I imagine this will not be his last race given those results.

The age range of cars you see at the track is vast. Older 911s, 944s to the newest beast, the 911 GT3 R. The older cars are well represented, but the Boxster’s, Cayman’s, and cup cars dominate. The older cars have a certain rawness to them, both in terms of driving and sound. There is nothing like the sound of an unmuffled flat six howling down the front straight. It is both lovely and piercing at the same time. The newer 911s, especially the newer racing cars, tend to be much quieter.

What is missing at this point are the electric cars. At VIR, we had a Porsche Taycan pace car, but every time that I saw it in the paddock it was plugged in. The current limitation is simply one of duration and recharging. The Taycan is quite capable of racing around a track with decent performance, as demonstrated by Leh Keen at Road Atlanta. However, running for thirty minutes or more would be undoable.

The other limitation is that of power delivery. Most tracks do not have the infrastructure necessary to provide anything beyond level two charging capabilities. Recharging could take up to 8 hours, which would make racing multiple times per day unrealistic. I do believe that in the future, these problems will be overcome simply because the desire to race cars is so desirable.