November '02

How good a sports car is the Porsche 968 ?
Well everyone, I am now totally convinced that we have made the right decision in our choice of Porsche.
I recently had the opportunity to be involved in a photo-shoot for a Porsche 968 Club Sport for the GT Purely Porsche magazine at Croft in North Yorkshire. The lucky chap to have the photo-shoot done on his car had a free track day as a reward.

The track day itself was organised by Specialist Cars of Malton and they brought along some of their own cars for use/testing by their customers. They also had some instructors on hand for those who wished to improve their skills.
Their where 5 968s, the subject of the magazine article, a Riviera Blue Club Sport, one of Specialist Cars own, a Guards Red Club Sport, a Yellow Club Sport (which apparently was the one which Porsche used to market the Club Sport, mine, a Guards Red Sport and also a race prepared yellow 968 Club Sport.
The 968s all acquitted themselves well when compared to the other cars on the track including some very powerful machines that should have had a great advantage over the less powerful 968s.
The real advantage the 968s have is in their handling, while the more powerful machines could pull away in the straights, the 968 can carry it's speed into a corner and then power through and carry it's speed through the corner and out the other side.
The real problem is that when this happens you usually found that you have caught up to a 911 that would have to drastically reduce it's speed before the corner and that would then slow you down, it was rare that a 911 would give up the racing line and let you pass so that at the next corner you could power through. This could have consequences if you are close behind a 911 when the tail decides it wants to make a bid for freedom.
I had the opportunity to take a shot gun ride in the race prepared 968, the car had been stripped out for racing, lowered and a roll cage added, the engine had been chipped but apart from that it was a standard 968 engine, this car had been used in one of the Porsche racing series.
This car was consistently catching 911s of much higher power, even the Specialist Cars own RUF Flatnose (A911 RUF) was dispatched after a close chase between corners.
I have a clear memory of this car in particular. We had caught it up and where on it's tail trying to overtake, no doubt in the mind of the RUF driver pride was at stake, the strongest memory I have is the RUf's offside rear wheel being extremely light on the ground as it tries to hold it's racing line while coming out of a right hand corner on the way to a chicane, it was obvious that it had taken the corner too quickly and was right on the limit of it's speed and road holding coming out of that particular corner, (well done that driver). Whereas although it was working very hard the 968 was having to hold back until we had an opportunity to pass. Of course once on a long straight the RUF would pull away. After a couple of laps of this sort of intense cornering action the driver of the RUF gave way, probably the safest thing to do.
The figures on the RUF are 3.4 engine, 0-60 in 4.1 and a top speed of 213mph, and worth around £80,000, in effect a dream car. But on a close track the handling characteristics of the 968 show through as superior. I will be doing a full write up about the day on my website but it would be too long for this article. This was my first track day with the 968 and I enjoyed it immensely, I generally don't drive the car above 3000 rpm, well I do sometimes take it up to 5000 if pride is at stake. But having the room and legality to drive the car constantly between 4000 and 6000 rpm without acquiring points on your licence is a real experience to be had at least once with the 968. And to then be able to drive that car home with no extra noises or problems from the engine makes you aware of the real quality and toughness of these true sports cars.

Just recently thanks to the help of my friend Roy (immaculate Guards Red 993) I was able to lay my hands on some back issues of Performance Car.
In 2 of the issues, there are write-ups on the 968 CS, September '93 and December '93. The September issue is an article comparing the supposedly incomparable BMW M3 with the Audi S2 and the 968 CS, guess which wins.
In the December issue the article is a test for the Performance Car of the year 1993, the contestants are Honda Prelude VTEC, Toyota Supra, Lotus Esprit S4, Lancia Delta Integrale Evo3, TVR Griffith 500, RUF BTR 3.8, Ferrari 348 Spider and the Porsche 968 Club Sport, again guess which wins. In this particular article the 968 involved had the number plate "THE 968S". From what the owner had said about the yellow 968 CS on the Croft track day, I believe that this was the very same car albeit with a different number plate these days.

Oulton Park Gold Cup For Historic Cars
My local region (North West) was recently able to take part in the Gold Cup event held at Oulton Park as the hosts for the PCGB marquee. There was a 12,000 strong crowd and the weather was near perfect. The event will possibly be held there again next year as the 50 anniversary celebrations for Oulton Park.
On the Sunday before the racing started there was a parade lap for any sports cars wishing to partake, there was a speed limit of 30mph but that didn't stop some enthusiastic drivers from dropping back and then gunning for the corners.
There was a strong contingent of Porsches at the front and more importantly it was my humble 968 leading the parade. Channel 4 where apparently filming so hopefully this will be on the box at some point, if anybody knows when it will be on please let me know before-hand or if you happen to tape it, please let me know. I am hoping to get some still images as well to go on the website.

Talking about Zymol, I have now had chance to use some of this much vaunted car wax, and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. It does take a full days preparation, so I had to wait for a time when I had fine weather and a minimum of interruptions, so the wife and children where packed off to visit relatives and the answer phone went on.

I gave the car a good washing and leathering, then used the Zymol clay, then the HD Cleanse (or as they call it chocolate sauce) then applied the Zymol wax which has the Carnauba wax. The biggest difference came when I applied the HD Cleanse, this really brought out the deep red of the Guards Red paintwork and gave it a deep bright gloss. The wax is then applied and I feel that this is merely the protection of what you have already done with the HD Cleanse. Having said that the car is now only washed with a clean water spray and a chamois, the dirt seems to lift off fairly easily so the wax is doing a very good job of protecting the paint, a quick once over with the Field Glaze gives it a little added protection and a replenished shine.

Can I recommend it ? Yes.

What I liked, the very good results.

What I didn't like, the time involved and the price.

I am also going to be testing another range of paint preparation products soon, which are a bit cheaper than Zymol but are said to give the same results and are used in the motor industry. Watch this space !

On the domestic front we have recently found out that my wife is going to have a baby boy, after 2 girls I am looking forward to involving the new family member in cars in general and Porsche in particular.

Remember, if you have any anecdotes or stories about track days or any other subject in relation to the 968 please email them to me.

Safe motoring and keep it on the black stuff.

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