Getting Back To The Track in 2021

Here at 924S944.com, we’re getting a little anxious to get back to the track.  Autocross and HPDE is opening up again and we can’t wait.

COVID has changed everything, and the “2020 Track Day Season” has been limited and difficult.  Many of us are “high risk” for infection and illness, so things like traveling out of state, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants are no longer taken for granted.  But the good news is that vaccines are here and being distributed and there is hope for normalcy sometime in our future.  But enough about COVID…let’s get back to the track!

If your track car is your street-legal driving car, then getting ready for the track is pretty simple – make sure that the maintenance items are all up to date, check tires, brakes, brake fluid and other “essential oils” and get registered.  Street cars on track do make life a little more simple, but those of us who take our street cars to the track have that one nagging thing in the backs of our minds…what if something breaks?  So, your preparation has to include some spares that may not be available at the local parts stores near the track.  That creates another set of problems – space.  We have all become pretty creative at packing up our cars for all kinds of events, but tools and parts as well as luggage and helmet bag and gloves and…well, you can see that this becomes a task for the skilled and expert.  In the past we have used both home-made and professionally-built track day trailers that enabled us to bring a set of track tires, jack, stands, tools, spare parts, popup, chairs, table – everything we needed at the track loaded on the trailer.  Our personal items and helmet were loaded in the car, and off we went with the knowledge that we would possibly have everything that we needed!

And yes, there is a trailer hitch for our Porsches.  Curt Trailer makes a hitch for our cars, available online through Del City.  We have used these light hitches in the past and they work well.  They are good for 1,000 pounds of trailer weight and 100 pounds of tongue weight, well within the loads that we will place on these little trailers.  (The hitch bolts through the spare tire well and through the bottom of the bumper.)  They sell for around $300, and you have to buy the ball mount and the wiring loom for the lights.  (Lights are easy to wire in, but you need the loom with the converter since the car has separate turn and brake lights, but the trailers mostly combine those functions.). The loom is stored in the hatch under the carpet when not in use, as is the ball mount.

Whether you purchase a purpose-built track trailer or build your own from a Harbor Freight trailer frame, the convenience associated with this simple alternative far outweighs the costs.  We actually took a street-driven stock ’86 944 from Florida to VIR one summer for a track weekend, towing our track trailer with tires and such, and we had a great time there.  Not long thereafter while driving in Downtown DeLand, Ms. 924S944.com was hit by a stop-sign-running-delivery-truck and the car was totaled.  I recovered the hitch before it went to its next and final destination.  Oh, yea – and she was okay too.

If you have a dedicated Autocross/HPDE/Race car that is not street legal, there are a lot of other problems – both created and solved.  If you have one of these, you probably have access to a trailer.  Whether you own the trailer or you borrow one from a good friend, you need to check a few things before taking off on your journey – whether it’s across town or across the state.  These trailers don’t get used a lot, so tires and brakes are important things to check.  We replace the tires every eighteen months or so because…well, just because.  Brakes and lights are checked a week or more in advance to ensure that everything works, and make repairs as needed.  Check the health and pressure in all the tires, including the spares.  (We carry two spares on the trailer.)  Make sure that your straps are in good shape, and replace them as needed.  After all, they are only holding your car onto the trailer.

Our trailer has a full steel deck, making it handy for a lot more than carrying a car.  It has a 12,000 pound winch that is connected to the truck battery with a heavy-duty connector and heavy cabling.  We carry a complete extra set of straps along with a tire rack that holds up to eight wheels/tires locked in place (slicks on the car, an extra set of slicks and a set of wets.)

Don’t forget about the truck that does the heavy lifting.  We sold our old 250K-miles 98 F150 two years ago and got a new 2018 base-model Nissan Titan to take its place.  The dealer had this particular truck on the lot with only one option – a trailer-towing package – and an end-of-year discount of almost $10,000.  We could not say “no.”  It has rubber floors, no fancy computerized stuff, an eight-speed automatic with 400 horses on tap.  Towing is a breeze, and it’s comfortable on those long trips.

So get registered and get back to the track.  February 6-7 is the 48 Hours of Sebring where we will be driving Sparky in the Autocross in Stock 02 class since he is, well, stock.  February 21 is the Florida Citrus Region PCA Autocross featuring the second event in the 924S944.com 2021 Autocross Championship – the series within the series.  On April 17-18, we will join the Coastal Empire PCA for its HPDE event at Roebling Road Raceway.  And on the weekend of May 15-16, we are planning on participating in an SCCA Club Racing weekend at Palm Beach International Raceway running our 924S in ITS.  Lots to do!

Author: Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek

Kevin Duffy is a retired Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He now spends his time with Porsche 924S, 944's and 968's in his backyard shop. He is active in the Porsche Club of America, and he concentrates on 924S and the 924S Special Editions, doing rescues and restorations.

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