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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I'm a relative beginner to DE (3 track weekends this year, which is my first). I am loving it (had initially planned 1-2 DE days a year when getting the car, but am now hoping to do 4-5 in 2020). After a DE last weekend at NJMP Lightning (with NNJR PCA) I have a few questions. Apologize in advance if these have been answered elsewhere.... I've read through many threads in this and the other Porsche forum, and am still confused

1. Full Throttle Pedal Application
My instructor mentioned that I was sometimes hitting the kickdown switch when I was coming out of turns, unsettling the car. I had thought that in order to reach full throttle I had to be flooring it, but this apparantly isnt the case. Can someone give me a rough idea of what pedal application will get me to full throttle?

2. Brake Life vs. experience level
So I ended up completely wearing out my OEM front brake pads over the course of 2 DE weekends (actually 1.5 weekends since I couldn't run the last 2 sessions due to brakes completely wearing out and subsequent boiling of brake fluid), maybe 2 autocross sessions and 1-2K miles of fun street driving. I've read on the forums that brake pads last longer for the experienced people, but I'm not sure why. Is this just because they take the turns at a faster speed and therefore don't need to slow the car as much? Or are there other reasons?

3. Brake Application
Over this 3rd session, my instructor was requesting that I apply 100% brake level. I had thought earlier that 80-90% is optimal (although apparantly he feels that I was only doing 60%). Do people really use 100% brakes for the tight turns? This is probably related to my question above

4. Is PSM being activated?
Since I'm new (and also driving PDK), I'm giving 100% attention out the window, not once looking at my dashboard. Is there a way I can tell after the session how extensively PSM was activated (if at all). There were a few instances where I felt it kick in, but I'm wondering whether I missed other cases. FWIW I seem to be getting good life out of my rear pads vs my fronts (I have PTV as well) so I don't think that I'm abusing the PSM

Thanks in advance!
 

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Had to print your post so I refer to your questions as I reply.
First as reference - I've in PCA 25 years, member of first class of Zone 1 National Certified Instructor, and been racing & other car things +50 years. But haven't done DE with a PDK; stick only for me.

1) Full throttle - you want to get to full as soon as you and the car can handle it; don't jump on the gas so fast and hard as hit kickdown; you should be able feel it in the pedal just above all the way on the floor. If you are hitting kickdown coming out of a turn then your transmission wasn't in the proper gear going into the turn. Are you driving in sport or sport plus mode ? If not, you should be as transmission should downshift going in. If transmission can't seem to do the job right for your turn then paddle shift it down to the proper gear as you brake going into the turn. This will have you in the right gear exiting.

2) Brakes - Many instructors will tell you right way to drive is full hard throttle until the last moment then brake very hard for the turn, then full throttle coming out of turn. Probably true BUT it is not a race, it's a DE and you are a new driver to it. I would want you to work toward that but with seat time and experience NOT your first or second DE.

You are probably braking too much because you are slowing the car down too much for each turn. That also explain why in #1 you are hitting kickdown coming out of a turn. With experience you brake less because you are slowing down less and therefore not wearing the brake pads out. You could go to a race pad which will last longer, make more noise especially on the street and wear out your rotors for sure. I never liked race pads, used them, still never liked them.

Get OEM mfg. pads from Pelican or someone like that and learn to change pads yourself. Not that hard or time consuming. Don't get Porsche pads, get them from the people who make them for Porsche. You will see them all listed on the Pelican website, same pads - much cheaper when not in a Porsche box.

3) Brake Application - If a new student (green run group, only 1-3 DE with 6 days) is doing 60% I'm fine with it but all instructors are not the same. The instructor you noted wanted you to learn the Optima method from the get go. Makes sense - you don't have to unlearn and then relearn to better way later. I want the newbie to get thru the day, have some fun and want to come back next time. Also you (as an instructor) need to read the student capabilities. There is a big different between the student who is holding everyone up on the course and student who's ready to solo this first weekend. I've had both; you are probably some where's in between.

4) PSM - If you aren't looking out the window and up the track then your doing it wrong.
Always remember this "You have to look where you want to go", Applies to DE and AX.
The way to tell if PSM is intervening is the car doesn't response to your input. When you press on the gas and it doesn't downshift or accelerate then PSM is intervening. It is telling you are doing something wrong and it is not going to let you wreck the car because then PSM wouldn't have a job anymore.

Front pads do all the work. You will wear out 2 sets of fronts maybe more before need rears,
 

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I've been DEing for 7 yrs, a PCA instructor for 2 yrs, and learn something new every time I hit the track. I concur 100% with Augie's excellent assessment, so I won't repeat what he's stated. Here's what I'd like to add:

Welcome to the slippery slope that is Driver Education. As novices begin to unlock the potential of their Porsches, they find certain OEM parts quickly wear out. OEM suspension bushings are not extremely robust. Tires and brakes are considered consumables when doing DEs. OEM brakes are designed for the 80% of Porsches that will never see the track - they're quiet, low dust, and don't eat up rotors. They work perfect for w/e canyon carving but will disappear quickly if driven aggressively on the track. The slippery slope begins with choosing what direction to go. You have lots of options, from street / track pads to full on track pads that will chew your rotors to pieces. You have to decide what's right for you and then live with the compromises that come with that choice. Keep in mind the further you go with any track specific application, the more inhospitable your Porsche becomes on the street. Track pads will eat rotors, make lots of noise, and create a lot of dust on your pretty wheels. Street / track pads will be better on the track than OEM, but will generate a bit more noise and dust as well.

On my 987, swapping pads is super simple. It takes longer to get my car on jack stands and the tires off than it takes to change the pads. So I have street / track pads that I use during DE season and then swap to street pads during the off season. I can have the whole swap job done in under 90 min. However, in Porsche's infinite wisdom they changed the design on the 981 and made it super complicated to swap pads AND you need to replace the aluminum caliper bolts when you remove the caliper to swap the pads. This adds an hr to the swap job if you're still using the sensors. So if you want to drive your 981 a lot on the street besides doing DEs, you may want to lean towards a pad that is "good" at both that you can leave on all the time. And by "good", I mean you're willing to accept the compromises on both the street and track. Or you go full street and full track and take the time / effort to swap them. Slippery slope. I might suggest Ferrodo pads - they make a nice street / track pad that is "good" at both.

The final item I will bring up is track design and driver aggression. Some tracks are inherently tougher on tires or brakes (or both) than other tracks. It's impossible to get a definitive answer asking someone who drives a certain track what they get for wear when you drive a different track. We can give you relative answers and suggestions. You might try asking people who run Boxsters and Caymans at your DEs. And even they will give you various answers depending on how they drive. I attended a DE at COTA a few yrs ago and in the driver's mtg, they offered to have a teacher drive your car. They warned he would take it easy, as he was capable of running you out of brake pads in ONE session.

The bottom line is you're starting to get more out of your Porsche than the OEM parts will handle. If you're running out of brakes, it won't be long before you'll be wearing out tires (at least the outside edges). Then you have to decide if adding camber is for you. And once you decide to add camber, will the factory settings be enough or do you need GT3 LCAs to get more? Another batch of questions to ponder...

It's a slippery slope to get to the next level on the track while keeping your Porsche capable of driving on the street. Good luck!
 

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Agree with the previous posters. I've been DE'ing about 3 years, so recently went through what you are experiencing.

From my experience, a 981, especially with PTV, wears pads about evenly. It's the first car where I've ever experienced that.

Definitely learn to DIY brakes. It's easy and you'll save a fortune. I swap mine between street and race pads before/after every weekend (track pads squeal too bad to use for long on the street). It takes me about 70 minutes.

Take a look at fcpeuro.com for parts. Lifetime replacement on everything you buy, even consumables like pads, rotors, and brake fluid. (At least until they go bankrupt - I don't see how that business model works). They have Porsche-branded parts for most items, except rear rotors. They don't have track pads, but if you like the OEM pads, you can't beat free replacements.

Also, if you plan to keep this up, buy the stud kit from Tarett motorsports for the front brakes. Makes them much easier to change and you won't have to worry about cross-threading your uprights - which can be very expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the thorough reply. Couple of comments below.

1) Full throttle - you want to get to full as soon as you and the car can handle it; don't jump on the gas so fast and hard as hit kickdown; you should be able feel it in the pedal just above all the way on the floor. If you are hitting kickdown coming out of a turn then your transmission wasn't in the proper gear going into the turn. Are you driving in sport or sport plus mode ? If not, you should be as transmission should downshift going in. If transmission can't seem to do the job right for your turn then paddle shift it down to the proper gear as you brake going into the turn. This will have you in the right gear exiting.
I am actually only driving in Sports mode.

Should have mentioned that another thing that I need to work on is smoothness with the throttle, so this was probably a contributing factor as well. I am practising while street driving and also the few occassions that I can play Forza on xbox, but that seems to all go out the window when I am full of adrenalin from being on the track.

2) Brakes - Many instructors will tell you right way to drive is full hard throttle until the last moment then brake very hard for the turn, then full throttle coming out of turn. Probably true BUT it is not a race, it's a DE and you are a new driver to it. I would want you to work toward that but with seat time and experience NOT your first or second DE.

You are probably braking too much because you are slowing the car down too much for each turn. That also explain why in #1 you are hitting kickdown coming out of a turn. With experience you brake less because you are slowing down less and therefore not wearing the brake pads out.
Got it. I think this is going to be my main focus for my next track weekend. Guess I will need to incrementally reduce my braking (and increase my cornering speed) lap after lap until I get to the sweet spot. I'll try to accomplish this simply by braking later (at this stage I think it is too difficult for me to control the braking intensity with any level of accuracy).

ou want to go", Applies to DE and AX.
The way to tell if PSM is intervening is the car doesn't response to your input. When you press on the gas and it doesn't downshift or accelerate then PSM is intervening. It is telling you are doing something wrong and it is not going to let you wreck the car because then PSM wouldn't have a job anymore.
Haha. Ok I'll need to focus on this later when I have more experience (and presumably am less filled with adrenalin)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
However, in Porsche's infinite wisdom they changed the design on the 981 and made it super complicated to swap pads AND you need to replace the aluminum caliper bolts when you remove the caliper to swap the pads. This adds an hr to the swap job if you're still using the sensors. So if you want to drive your 981 a lot on the street besides doing DEs, you may want to lean towards a pad that is "good" at both that you can leave on all the time. And by "good", I mean you're willing to accept the compromises on both the street and track. Or you go full street and full track and take the time / effort to swap them. Slippery slope. I might suggest Ferrodo pads - they make a nice street / track pad that is "good" at both.
Yes, one of the guys actually helped me swap out to some spare pads while at the track, and it did not look easy at all. I literally just bought a set of tools to practice in my garage over the winter. But in the meantime I have ordered a set Ferrodo pads that I plan on using for both for street and at the track (at least initially). I don't drive the car every single day, so should be able to live with the compromises.

Good call on asking other cayman/boxster drivers about their usage. Will definitely do that at my home track (NJMP) next time.

It's a slippery slope to get to the next level on the track while keeping your Porsche capable of driving on the street. Good luck!
Thanks! I definitely won't be mentioning that to my wife.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Take a look at fcpeuro.com for parts. Lifetime replacement on everything you buy, even consumables like pads, rotors, and brake fluid. (At least until they go bankrupt - I don't see how that business model works). They have Porsche-branded parts for most items, except rear rotors. They don't have track pads, but if you like the OEM pads, you can't beat free replacements.

Also, if you plan to keep this up, buy the stud kit from Tarett motorsports for the front brakes. Makes them much easier to change and you won't have to worry about cross-threading your uprights - which can be very expensive.
Will definitely check out fcpeuro. But that does seem too good to be true... reminds me a lot of my Moviepass experience haha.

Actually I do have a a set of Tarrett studs on order too. The prior owner had stripped the threads for one of the sides, so I don't want to repeat that mistake.

Also got a set of used Giro disk rotors (having the rotors/ pads/ studs installed in 2 weeks)
 

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Also got a set of used Giro disk rotors (having the rotors/ pads/ studs installed in 2 weeks)
Giro are serious brakes. Ferrodo has been is business forever, Used them on my 944S2 in 1995. Got them because they cost like nothing but were like butter and would last maybe one track day.
 
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