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Old September 6th, 2004, 08:10 PM   #1
KenJ
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How to handle the Boxster...

(Sorry for the title teaser)... I'd like to understand some of the differences in how to handle a mid-engine car vs. the "911"... I feel I haven't even come close to handling the Boxster properly in an AX - just sort of old 911 gut instincts working. Since I'd put up a few stats. recently about the physical differences, I've been thinking more about the impact on the handling differences.

One area was the extra wheelbase length for the Boxster (+2.5") and much tighter moment of polar enertia with a 46/54 weight distribution. Many people have said the Boxster trail brakes really well - but, I haven't discovered that yet. Since the 911 was so rear weight biased, it was easy to discover how quickly you could get the rear end to rotate - then it becomes a matter of finess.

My old habits have me relying on mostly lifting and getting the rear end just light enough to rotate the car. When I lift on the Boxster, get the nose down a little and turn in, I'm finding it just causes the front end to push and I've been whacking alot of cones lately. Besides the obvious speed control, the big question I have is - when we're talking about "trail braking" (which to me could be lifting and/or braking - depending whether you're using your left foot too), does the Boxster only have that sweet spot while braking? I haven't had much success with the lifting only technique. People tell me you can't make a Boxster "drift" - just point and go. I'm starting to think the same.

Anybody written a Boxster "how to" book?

thanks,

kj
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Old September 7th, 2004, 09:47 AM   #2
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Ken = Yoda

By reading all of the autocrossing information out there and talking to others, I don't think there is anything that you don't already know. Your a/x times are very good... you should be writing the book Ken.

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Old September 7th, 2004, 08:58 PM   #3
KenJ
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Thank you, but....

As we pass through this portal called autocross, the kind words should go out to all the guys who work diligently year after year to perfect their skills and be competitive. Our current crop of competitors (including me) only scratch the surface of the talent pool that has moved on.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and in all the associations I've been involved with, this is right up there with the most fun. But, Yoda I'm not. Ken I am. This year's Yoda looks alot like Scott Burrow. (Sorry Scott, that image may not be flattering - I'm having a tough time with that one.)

Thanks Rob for the words,

kj

Last edited by KenJ; September 7th, 2004 at 09:01 PM. Reason: poor proofing...
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Old September 7th, 2004, 11:19 PM   #4
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Lightbulb AX for mortals

Ken,
I think you are too modest... You are always one of the fastest stock suspended cars overall. I am not sure what tires you are currently running but I thought I saw Kumhos on it. 245s front and rear seem to be a recurring theme on many boards. I was thinking of going to 8x16 inch rims front and rear and going with 245s front and rear. Good handling balance along with improved gearing. (helps with the 2.5L)
Another thought would be 7.5 or 8 x 17s on the front with 8.5s on the rear with 255s all around. I have been lead to believe they do fit without rubbing, especially with stock suspension.
As far as handling characteristics you have already broached many of the differences from a 911. I find that late braking or some trail braking helps rotate the car when additional front bite is needed. At the AX school I found with several of my students that not sweeping into corners that you normally would have with a 911 and keeping a tighter line to the cones definitely helped in the Boxsters.
Also the Boxster will drift nicely through high speed corners unlike the 911 that would like to swap ends.
Won't be at the AX this weekend, will be seeing some shows in Vegas.
Everone have a good time....
Especially 4 very fine students from the school...go get 'em, Verne, Kaye, Howard and Doug.

See you all at the next AX
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Old September 8th, 2004, 12:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenJ
This year's Yoda looks alot like Scott Burrow. (Sorry Scott, that image may not be flattering - I'm having a tough time with that one.)
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the kind words but I have to disagree. My car is fasssssst. I finally got the tires working with the suspension rather than against it and you wouldn't believe how night and day it is from a stock Box S. I can't do anything hamfooted enough to cause understeer. Furthermore, the rear seems even more controlable than when stock. It's really fun to toss this thing around.

However, about what your original post mentioned, I believe I might be able to help a little. Tony C tought me last year that a stock Box S doesn't like to be trail braked nor TTO'd for that matter. A stock Box S needs the car to be perfectly balanced at the time you begin turning the wheel. This will minimize understeer and you'll be surprised how quickly that car can turn in when you drive like this. Do your braking early, use the pedals smoothly, and get the car completely flat before turning in. You make up for the time lost in braking with the added speed you can carry from turn-in to apex.

When Tony told me this, I had doubts. I rode with him once, saw him do it, and have been a believer ever since. Strangely enough, the new suspension seems to want me to wrestle the car around the track probably more like your 911 liked. Finess is now just underdriving when before it was a necessity.

And for what it's worth, if you keep driving on R compounds, you'll beat me at least as much as I beat you. I do think I'm done losing to you when you're on street tires now but who knows, you could still have whupping in store for me that way too.

I'm looking forward to Saturday. Should be fun. My parents are going to be in town from TX and they're going to hang out while I drive so that will be cool.

See you there, Obi Wan.
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Old September 8th, 2004, 10:40 AM   #6
Kevin S.
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I believe Tony C. That bleeping guy pisses me off. I was at LeMans Karting one time and he was there. It was so frustrating how good and fast he was. I felt completely impotent. There wasn't a darn thing I could do to keep up with him. It was a very impressive display of karting.

I'm very new to autocrossing the Boxster. Any suggestions on tire pressure on stock sized 17"? The car is totally showroom stock, including the suspension.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb ole Donkey
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the kind words but I have to disagree. My car is fasssssst. I finally got the tires working with the suspension rather than against it and you wouldn't believe how night and day it is from a stock Box S. I can't do anything hamfooted enough to cause understeer. Furthermore, the rear seems even more controlable than when stock. It's really fun to toss this thing around.

However, about what your original post mentioned, I believe I might be able to help a little. Tony C tought me last year that a stock Box S doesn't like to be trail braked nor TTO'd for that matter. A stock Box S needs the car to be perfectly balanced at the time you begin turning the wheel. This will minimize understeer and you'll be surprised how quickly that car can turn in when you drive like this. Do your braking early, use the pedals smoothly, and get the car completely flat before turning in. You make up for the time lost in braking with the added speed you can carry from turn-in to apex.

When Tony told me this, I had doubts. I rode with him once, saw him do it, and have been a believer ever since. Strangely enough, the new suspension seems to want me to wrestle the car around the track probably more like your 911 liked. Finess is now just underdriving when before it was a necessity.

And for what it's worth, if you keep driving on R compounds, you'll beat me at least as much as I beat you. I do think I'm done losing to you when you're on street tires now but who knows, you could still have whupping in store for me that way too.

I'm looking forward to Saturday. Should be fun. My parents are going to be in town from TX and they're going to hang out while I drive so that will be cool.

See you there, Obi Wan.
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Old September 8th, 2004, 04:55 PM   #7
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I know what you mean. I karted with him too. And so far, in every form of driving I've seen him participate in, it just doesn't get better than him.

I recommend +2 psi in the rear. A good starting pressure would be 35/37 hot for an AX. Each tire is different though. Kumho's like to run about 6 or 7 psi higher than Cups. Most street tires are good around 35/37 - getting too greasy above 40 but rolling over too much below 35.

If it feels squirmy, put some more pressure in. If they are skating, take some out. One thing to remember, grip falls off more quickly as you have too little pressure than when you have too much.
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Old September 10th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #8
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More Thoughts

Sorry for the lagging response - its been a busy week at work.

I've been puzzled by this same thing.

I had fun on the skid pad at the 2-day auto-x school. It seemed that as I went around the pad accellerating, I'd start in a zone where all four tires were below their limits and I could steer with the wheel with impunity. The first wheels to hit their limits were always the fronts. It was very easy to power understeer, but this was also obviously slow. Once I hit the limits for the fronts, then I could back out of the throttle and induce trailing throttle oversteer. This was much easier in 1st gear than second. The funny thing was that I wasn't able to make power oversteer happen and I wasn't able to intentionally make the rears hit their limits before the fronts. I made one run where I was able to manage a very nice four wheel drift around the pad and throttle steer, shifting from understeer to oversteer at will - fun!

I can recall sections of various auto-x courses where I felt the car rotating under me in the middle of turns. It seemed to me that this happened in tight parts of the course more than fast parts. It could be that it was also power oversteer. I'm not sure; I'm still working on calibrating my butt.

It seems that there's a narrow operating zone where the car is balanced and can easily and quickly be throttle steered. If you go into a turn too fast, your front tires catch fire and you just plow; if you get your braking done early and back onto a neutral throttle at turn-in, then you can make it dance.

I'm still struggling with having the patience to learn to open the throttle as I'm unwinding the wheel. Of course, this means picking a line that allows me to do this at the right time. When I get it right, the car takes off like a rocket ship; when I get it wrong and hammer the throttle with the front tires at their limit, I just burn up my front tires.

So, if we have Obi-wan and Yoda, I'm feeling like a very young Luke Skywalker.

By the way, Ken - you're name came up during some bench racing at the 2-day school. The comment that was made about you was that as good as your times in the Boxster have been, you hadn't yet hit the level that you'd demonstrated in the 911. I found this comment impressive given the times that you've posted.

Also, Ken Short was one of my instructors. I understand he's a really quick Boxster pilot. He said he got a chance to drive a student's 911 and enjoyed that old feeling of the car rotating in tight turns. It seems like you're not the only one...

Scott, is Tony C. Tony Collechio?

Doug
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Old September 10th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #9
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That's the one. Have you ridden with him?
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Old September 10th, 2004, 06:49 PM   #10
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Tony C.

Tony's worked on my car and done a great job. Since I work a couple of blocks from his shop, he'll sometimes give me a ride to work in his truck. Unfortunately those are the only times I've ridden with him - not much of an opportunity to strut his stuff.

I'll have to figure out an opportunity...


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