UPDATE – Re-posted with larger gallery!
Sunday November 17 saw the Porsche Club of Tasmania host a hill climb at Baskerville Raceway here in Hobart. I took my 968 ClubSport along to see what it’s like to drive the car unfettered.
Was it fun? Yes it was. Well, for 4.5 minutes, at least. More on that at the end.
Here’s a diagram of the track. Our course started just before turn 10 and finished at turn 7.
It’s not quite the course that comes to mind when you think of a typical hill climb. This is no long drive up a twisting, turning, mountain road. As mentioned, the course was only 1000 meters, it’s on a track, and it met the simple definition of a hill climb by virtue of the fact that the finish line was at a higher elevation than the start line 🙂
This was my first event since buying the 968 so my goals for the day were fairly simple:
- Improve my times throughout the day, and
- Bring the car (and myself) home safe and sound.
I’m pleased to say I was able to do both.
This event was hosted by the Porsche Club of Tasmania but it was also a round of the Tasmanian Hill Climb Championship, therefore open to other clubs and competitors who had competed in earlier rounds of the same championship. There were a lot of competitors driving prepared cars that were either hill climb specialists or proper race cars. You could tell these cars by the fact that they arrived and left on trailers (there should be 10 second penalty for cars that don’t arrive and leave under their own power, I reckon 🙂 )
The fastest car of the day was a Nissan GT-R with massive power to all four wheels. There were quite a few cars doing sub-40-second times today but the GT-R topped them all with an incredible 33.5 second run.
My favourite cars of the day were a black Porsche 944 S2 and a couple of the Alfa Romeo Alfettas. The Porsche was left-hand drive and definitely not standard, running around 300hp at the wheels (standard is 210hp). That car ran twice as often as most because two guys were sharing it on the day and it ran without a hitch all day. It ended up with the equal third-fastest time of the day, too, running a 35.33
As for me?
Like I said in the title of this post, this was a ‘getting to know you’ session, the first opportunity for me to drive the car in this sort of environment. Consistent with the most of the other Class C cars (that weren’t race prepared), I was logging in the mid 40’s in the morning session (4 runs) and managed to lower that to a best of 43.41 in the afternoon session (3 runs). I’m quite sure that there’s at least another 2 seconds to be found and the fact that they weren’t found on the day was down to me, not the car. It was flawless.
I improved throughout the day and that was my primary goal when I left the house this morning. Good times.
The economics of Hill Climb track days.
It’ll give you a much better night’s sleep if you skip doing the maths but I couldn’t help it.
Cost – $120 plus $80 for two changes of tyres (from road to track and then track back to road – just another reason I’ve got to buy a spare set of rims). Most people don’t incur that $80 cost, but I’ve still got to count it.
We had 7 runs but I stuffed up one of mine by forgetting to put my helmet on. I didn’t realise until the countdown clock had 5 seconds to go (I was chatting with the start-line guy about his 968 and we were both oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t helmeted). It was totally my fault, but still, in doing the sums I only got 6 runs.
I won’t count fuel as I only did 6kms of timed driving.
Bottom line – I spent all day doing 4.5 minutes of competitive, timed driving at a cost of $33.33 per run.
I’m not complaining. I loved the day and had a great time at my first hill climb event. However, I think I’ll aim more at regularity events or maybe even super-sprints in the future, where you get a bit more time on track for the same amount of money.
Photos and video
Video first. Feel free to ride along and critique if you wish. I’m in the Rumsfeldian position where I don’t even know what I don’t know about driving a car like this to its full potential. There’s plenty wrong going on here, I can assure you, but I still had fun.
The video shows runs 6, 7 and then 5. I didn’t have the cameras set up during the first 4 runs in the morning.
A few of the photos in this post are mine but all of the on-track ‘action’ photos – and all the photos below – were taken by James Tucker, who’s dad was in the green Porsche 911SC. It was a hot day and the sun in Tasmania is a killer sometimes. James did a trooper’s job out there taking more than 700 photos through the course of the day. A champion effort.
Click to enlarge.