Tachterion Client JO sets a new track record in his first race!

In his first ever competitive race weekend Tachterion client JO set a new track record this weekend at NJMP Lightning in the GTS-5 Class!


After succesful completion of the NASA-NE Competition school Friday, on Saturday JO drove a clean and precise race finishing 4th overall in the Thunder Race Group in his 2011 Porsche 997 GT3-RS.   There was no competition in the GTS-5 class, so after the split start JO set a new goal to catch the leaders from the 1st start group.  25 laps later he had driven 5 laps under the old class record, set a new class record in GTS-5 nearly 1 second faster than the old record, found some new places to pass slower traffic, and managed to move all the way up to contest for an overall podium finish.

Sunday, his qualifying lap was faster still, and only 0.066 seconds on the GTS-U class record.  The Sunday Thunder Race had a much larger gap from the split start and JO still moved all the way to P4 in the overall  thunder group finishing close behind P3.

JO is hoping for more competition in the coming races, and if it doesn’t arrive he will move the car up a class or 2 so he can properly give chase to the Corvettes!

Porsche 997 GT3 RS20140404_140435_Richtone(HDR) 20140404_140513_Richtone(HDR)

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What do you do in the winter?

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean we don’t think about going faster. Skiing has a lot in common with driving cars fast on a race track. This is a good little article from the New York Times:

Ted Ligety Has Practially Invented a New Way of Skiing


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The most complicated, and most impressive piece of car calibration ever achieved?

I just finished watching Chris Harris Latest video about the Porsche 918. For your viewing pleasure I have embedded it below.

In the video he states that the Porsche 918 is “the most complicated, and most impressive piece of car calibration ever achieved, and I don’t disagree.

The car makes a spectacular lap of the Nurburgring which, once again, I have also embedded for your pleasure.

The amount of coding, processing, and computing power required to get such a technologically advanced car to behave in a reasonably “analog” manner such that a human (a skilled human in this case) can drive it properly with a large portion of the electronic stability systems shut down is quite an achievement.    Certainly the Porsche 918 provides an epic experience, but I don’t think it is all it’s cracked up to be.

Don’t get me wrong, if I win a multi-million dollar lotto, I will buy one in a heartbeat, specifically for the “epic experience”, but I think something is missing.  Harris, hinted at it, but didn’t talk about it much.  It’s the disconnect from the man-machine interface, the layer of computer power that is between the driver and the car.  The 918, the LaFerrari, the McLaren P1, and all the other current hyper cars all probably have a similar problem.  But they aren’t the only ones.

I recently had the pleasure of driving a Ferrari 458 Italia, and I have a lot of seat time in Porsche’s highly regarded 997.2 GT3-RS 3.8, which in my opinion and the opinion of many others, is one of Porsche’s best cars.  Both cars provide the requisite “epic experience”; the sound from the engine, the way a car with a high revving engine accelerates, the lateral g-force that it can sustain, the rock solid feel of the brake pedal, the feedback of the steering.  Both of these cars have all the things that make you feel “alive” and “in-touch”, and “in-tune” with the mechanical bits of the car.  But they both have a flaw.  The electronics are too good. They make heroes out of ordinary drivers.  They don’t spit the ordinary drivers out and make them realize what they are messing with.

In some ways this is simply part of the march of technology, and some people think this is fantastic; especially R-35 Nissan GT-R lovers, and a whole generation of Gran Turismo and Forza Gamers who love the ability to hit the reset button.  If you agree, I’m not disparaging you, I played a huge amount of GT when it was new, but I like downhill skiing for the same reason I like my 944 Turbo that has no stability control or ABS brakes.  There is no rest button.  You are responsible for the repercussions of your own decisions, good or bad.

On the other hand, I am very happy that my wife is driving a car that has a very effective, although intrusive, traction and stability control system.  She is a decent driver, but does not have the advanced skills gained from years of auto-crossing and race track driving.  She does prefer a real 3 pedal manual transmission so for me it is a win!  The extra margin of safety provided by these systems has probably kept her from harm at some point.  Statistically these systems have proven to prevent crashes, rollovers, and other incidents.  For the NTHSA reports you can click on the following links:

2007 – http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810794.pdf

2011 – http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811486.pdf

Report from Toyota through 2001 – http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811486.pdf

I even prefer the fact that my daily driver station wagon also has traction and stability control.  Out on the open road you never know what is going to pop up and catch you unprepared, and I would be lying if I said the software hadn’t helped me avoid an embarrassing incident or two.

I’m not done yet; more to come!


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Race-Keeper Announces the new HDX2!

We can’t wait to get our hands on one of these!  Race-Keeper-HDX2 pdf

Race-Keeper announced today the imminent release of Race-Keeper HDX2, the world’s first dual stream HD 1080p video data logger.

Two years in development, Race-Keeper HDX2 combines the power of true 1080p high-definition multi-camera video with automatically synchronized data in one easy to use system.

Race-Keeper HDX2’s video is comprised of two full resolution, 1080p, video streams for unmatched video capability and performance. Race-Keeper HDX2’s logger combines a high performance 20hz GPS, accelerometer and gyro with vehicle inputs to provide a full spectrum of data for comprehensive analysis.

As with all Race-Keeper systems, video and data are always automatically synchronized for fast and easy review using Race-Keeper Comparo analysis software.

Say Goodbye to Jello
Video from most on board HD cameras have distortion cause by vibration, often referred to as a ‘jello effect’. Race-Keeper HDX2’s 1080p cameras have an on board image stabilization algorithm which reduces the distortion to give a rock solid, crystal clear, distortion free image.

Fully Automated
Like all Race-Keeper systems, HDX2 is fully automated. Unlike other HD systems, HDX2 gives you the power to never fiddle again with separate HD cameras, batteries and SD cards or starting and stopping individual cameras. Race-Keeper HDX2 is fully automated and can be programmed to automatically power up when the car is started, start recording when you leave pit lane and stop when you shut the car off.

Fast and Easy
Race-Keeper HDX2’s video and data record to a single removable SD Card, USB or USB3 thumb drive for fast and easy review. And like all Race-Keeper systems, the video and data are always automatically synchronized. Using Race-Keeper Comparo, side-by-side analysis software, simply load the file, open the file and you’re done.

Dual Stream
Race-Keeper HDX2 features Race-Keeper’s unique Dual Stream technology. Each of Race-Keeper HDX2’s two, 1080p, HD cameras record a full size, 1080p, video stream. Each of the two streams play back together in Race-Keeper Comparo for an uncompromised view of the track, the driver or anywhere else you may want to point a camera.

Race-Keeper HDX2 combines the power of video from multiple 1080p HD cameras with automatically synchronized data in one easy-to-use system.

HDX2_Release_1• 1080p/30 fps or 720p at 60fps for brilliant, broadcast quality video
• True Dual Stream HD video for comprehensive video coverage (track, cockpit, rear)
• Image Stabilization or Global Shutter cameras for rock solid image quality
• MPEG-4 video file plays in all popular media players
• 20 Hz GPS for accurate lap times, splits and track mapping
• 3-axis internal accel for lateral, inline and vertical G data
• Internal gyro for roll, pitch and yaw data
• 3 USB ports for easy connection to additional inputs/outputs
• 1 GB Ethernet port for high speed network connection
• 2 CAN ports for logging vehicle CAN data and for other CAN devices
• Records to removable SD, USB or USB3 for fast and easy off-loading
• Small, lightweight, rugged, waterproof construction for harsh environments
• Sealed, locking connectors to ensure reliable operation
• Waterproof Bullet Cameras with ¼-20 mounting lugs for easy internal or external mounting
• HDMI and composite video output for live display, playback and easy camera setup
• Programmable power-on, start/stop recording for truly hands off operation

Technical Specifications
• Video
– Two 1080p/720p Camera Inputs
– Dual Stream 1080p/30fps or 720/60fps
• Audio
– Microphone Inputs with Auto Gain Control
• Video Output
– NTSC Composite
• Comms
– 3 USB Ports
– 2 CAN Ports
– 1 GB Ethernet Port
• Data
– 3 Axis Accelerometer
– 20 Hz GPS Engine
– Internal Gyro
• Recording Media
– SD, USB 2.0, USB 3.0
• Power
– 12v Source
– Internal Battery Backup
• Enclosure
– Hi-Impact ABS Plastic
– 7.5” W x 5” D x 1.5” H
– Weight: 1 lb.
– Waterproof: IP67
– Locking Hirose Connectors
– Locking HD Video Connectors
• Bullet Cameras
– HD 1080p (1920×1080)
– Rolling Shutter
– On-Board Image Stabilization
– Vibration Canceling

Race-Keeper-HDX2 pdf

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How stupid is the typical driver?

Feds consider mandating new cars to broadcast speed, location

This is not funny, not even a little bit. Why can’t people just take responsibility for the fact that they are moving around in a 3000+ lb vehicle, and accept all the consequences of that fact, in order to make reasonable and prudent decisions about how to operate such a vehicle? Is the public at large really as stupid, lame, and ignorant as the NHTSA believes it is? Say it ain’t so!

Comment below or on Facebook

stupid drivers

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Exploding Cars, Fascinating Photography!

No article here.  Just a link to some fascinating pictures.



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The Demonization of Fast Cars

Demon Challenger

I have been thinking about the Paul Walker incident for a week now.  For the most part I have managed to keep my big mouth shut, however as often happens I read something that caused me to open my big mouth.  Chris Harris, who may have the best job in the automotive world, wrote a blog for the Piston Heads website.  “DON’T DEMONISE THE CARRERA GT”. I found it poignant and timely.

Harris brings up many good points, and in particular I agree with his point that if as a society we legislate the power output and performance of cars, well that is a society I would not want to live in. It opens the door to many other legislative restrictions on personal life.  He goes on later to propose that modern cars have their performance limited in dense urban areas.  This proposal is in direct conflict with his previous statement about restrictive legislation.  Does Chris Harris really believe that it is now impossible for people to have any sense of personal responsibility?

The one thing that every article I read on this subject seems to be avoiding is any mention of the forces involved in a low speed accident.  Everyone seems to believe (incorrectly) that Walker and Rodas must have been traveling at some unbelievable and totally reckless rate of speed.  This may well have been true, and the authorities have not completed their investigation, so we don’t know for sure.  What I do know for sure is that you can very easily destroy a car in a 1st gear incident below 40 mph.

Many years ago, a person who prefers to remain anonymous (not me) wrecked a car at an autocross, in first gear, traveling much less than 40mph.  I watched it with my own eyes and I could not believe it.  The driver lost control of the car and spun sideways into a concrete block that was holding up a light pole in a parking lot.  As you can imagine, the concrete did not move, not even an inch, but the right side of the car was caved in halfway to the center tunnel, and the car was bent like a banana.  It’s a good thing there was no-one in the passenger seat at the time.  The forces involved in stopping a 3000lb car are great indeed, and the public at large does not have any idea what the mass of that car will do when a car meets an immovable object.

By all accounts the Porsche Carrera GT is a difficult car to handle, even for a professional driver, and the deaths of these two men is a sad and tragic tale.  Why is it that through all of this all we get is the media demonizing cars, and not a single mention of the absolutely horrid state of driver education in this country?  Surely some appreciation for simple Newtonian physics might help people make more responsible choices in their driving behavior.




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Owning an Automotive Appliance vs Owning a “Car of Consequence”

I was surfing the internet yesterday and landed on the Petrolicious website.  If you haven’t been there, it is a car junky’s paradise.  While poking around I came across this short little car profile about a Jaguar titled “The shift from owning a car as appliance to a car of consequence.”   And then I stumbled across a video about Jack Olsen’s 911 titled, “One Car to do it all”.

This got me to thinking about my daily appliance.  Due to the machinations that are life I have gradually gone from having a daily driver that I enjoyed, and cared for, and wanted to put a million miles on, and pass on to my son, to having an appliance.

Now don’t get me wrong the VW CC that I am driving, is stylish, it is well equipped, it is reasonably powerful, it gets good fuel economy, it is safe, and it is reliable.  Unfortunately, it bores me to tears to drive it.  Don’t get all bent out of shape about 1st world problems, or as a friend of mine calls them, “luxury problems”.  This is the automotive version of throwing things away vs caring for them and maintaining them, which, let’s face it, seems to be a societal issue these days.

My friend Aaron recently bought a well used, and well worn Porsche 944 S2.  In a way it is a dream car, a car he will own for a very long time, which he will customize, until it is exactly the way he wants it to be, much like Jack Olsen has done with his 911.  Every time Aaron and his car come to visit, and he nearly always arrive in his car, I get a little vehicular envy.  My 6 year old son knows the car has arrived just from the sound as it pulls in the driveway.  Aaron steps out of his car nearly always with a smile on his face just from the pure enjoyment of driving it.  Not because he was thrashing it, but just because the man/machine connection provides all the sensations that give a driving enthusiast pleasure.  The directness of the steering, the tautness of the suspension, the response of the brakes, the sound of the engine.  All these things in this particular car provide a level of driving satisfaction that I am not getting from my daily conveyance.

The flip side to this scenario is that every time Aaron comes to visit, he has to repair something on the car.  Let’s face it, as good as it is, this car is nearly 23 years old, with 120,000+ miles on it.  Things are going to wear, out, break, or just plain go bad.  The money spent on purchasing this car and keeping it going is probably now in excess of what he would have spent to buy a few year old, GTI or similar, that he would probably keep until the costs got to been too much, then trade it for another similar car.  Which is exactly the discussion we had before buying the Porsche.  Aaron’s answer “I don’t want to own a disposable car”.

In the end, which scenario is better; to be custodian of a car, and a piece of automotive history, for the next generation, or to have the responsible appliance?

Aaron me called the other day, he was a few miles from home and had a clutch failure…  On the one hand I’m thinking, wow, I am so glad I have a reliable car.  On the other hand I’m looking for used Porsches and BMWs right now…

944 S2 Redwoods

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Booking for 2014 now!

We are already booking coaching dates for 2014.

Interested coaching at a particular event?  Don’t hesitate, book now to ensure availability.

Unsure what events or groups are good for coaching?  Look through our Track Events list.

Reference the events Calendar for a particular date.  If you don’t see anything listed on that date it means we are available.  eMail us to schedule your date.  See you at the track!

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Ready, Set, Tow!

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Tachterion client JB Podiums during first ever race weekend!

Congratulations to JB for his performance in the TSX invitational at Waktins Glen International.  Two 3rd place finishes and two 4th place finishes in his very first race weekend!

In the heat of competition JB achieved a new personal best lap time, and beat his previous personal best 10 straight laps in a row!

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