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Atlanta PDE and a Carrera T

 
Old 01-12-2019, 09:35 PM
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pittspilot
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Default Atlanta PDE and a Carrera T

This forum has been invaluable to my acquisition and enjoyment of my car so I wanted to contribute a bit for anyone who uses the forum like I do (lurk mostly, post a little)

This past week I found myself having a few hour layover in Atlanta. So I could either spend those hours sitting in the airport, or perhaps I could go and do a PDE at the facility which is right at the airport. So I chose wisely. After a few back and forth emails I was able to book a Carrera T Manual Experience. Uber back and forth from the airport. And I had a great experience. For reference, my background is basically; life-long gearhead finally gets a 911 in his garage. Owned and driven some esoteric stuff and enjoy a canyon road as much the next gearhead. Sole racing claim to fame is that I got to do a driver's school at the old Riverside Raceway when I was just newly minted teen driver in a formula ford. Also married a gearhead wife.

Atlanta PDE experience: Cost $525. $475 for the 1.5 hours and $50 to reduce my deductible from $10k to $2k in case I hit the armco immediately adjacent to the handling track. (I'd do it again, as it reduces the stress greatly). I arrived about an hour prior to my drive and so got to wander the premises and look at a bunch of cool Porsche stuff. Again, well worth the time, but then again I was looking at sitting at the airport as my other option. I spent a good deal of time looking at the 917 ('71 Lemans winner) and the Porsche powered Indycar and the '67 911R and the 919 among a bunch of other cool stuff. Then it was driving time. My instructor and chaperone was a really nice young fellow named Chad. He is a past motorcycle racer. He did a very good job and greatly enhanced the experience. There are plenty of other review about the track and the layout, so I'll be brief. The handling track is fun, fun, fun. I know there are a bunch of folks on here who have done HDE at some spectacular tracks (doing this is on the list), but hustling a 991.2 T around a well designed course (I think it's accurately described as winding country road) without having to fear for my license was just great fun. My instructor was helpful, enthusiastic and motivational. The course was immensely helpful in giving me concentrated time driving a 7MT 991.2 at 8-8.5/10's. The low friction track is also great for learning vehicle dynamics and is huge fun. Also, the hardest work. The slalom is educational and a challenge, and the launch and braking chute are good to work with. I was able to really work the gap between ABS and threshold breaking quite well. The kickplate is a total hoot and, again, educational. Perhaps I was getting tired (driving hard for 1.5 hours tired me out) but I didn't love the skidpad. I also think drifting a car, while it looks cool , is a little dumb and lately, a little overdone. I actually think the cost was reasonable. I wouldn't say cheap, but the experience was first class. I would also recommend that anyone going consider timing. My sense is that it has the capacity to get crowded and that would negatively impact the experience. Also, I considered the GT3 experience, but I am glad that I went with the T. It was all the car I need.

The Carrera T. I'm going to compare the T v. my car. I don't claim to be a Porsche expert. Just a lifelong 911 and car fan. My car is a 2017 S 7MT with sport chromo and little else. The Carrera T was also lightly optioned and I was told that it did not have the RWS. I believed it because the handling was almost exactly the same as my car, although I have not pushed my car like I got to push that T. My thoughts. The Carrera T had the fixed back racing buckets. I wouldn't order them on a DD, but they were great for this purpose. I never noticed the seat or my seating position once while driving the car and that is entirely a compliment. I really like the gearing. I think if I got to drive the T back to back with my S, there would be nothing between the lap times. Perhaps my car is faster in a straight line, most likely into the triple digits, but around this "country road", my sense is there is nothing between the cars (except for one thing I'll get into in a bit). Slight digression. Don't we live in a great time to be a gearhead? It's amazing how swift and sweet today's cars have become. In any event, I was glad to leave preferring my car to that T for the following reasons. The T had an Alcantara GT Sport wheel and shifter, while mine is the hard leather. While the Alcantara felt just fine, I think I have more feel with the hard leather and therefore I tend to grip the wheel less. I've also told my wife that the PDE only cost a couple hundred bucks because I decided that I prefer my shifter to the short shifter in the T. Again, it's a finesse thing. The short shifter is a less finesse device then the standard shifter. Also, and I don't know if this was an error with this car, or a feature of the short shifter, but the reverse gate did not work on this car, like it does on mine. On my car, I cannot shift left into the 1-2 gate into the R gate unless the car is stopped. On the T, it happened twice. Both times braking fairly hard at one of the fastest parts of the for relatively hard right hander. It's disconcerting to find oneself in the reverse gate when one means to get second. Of course, I did not press forward, but had to muddle back to 2nd prior to turning. If I had not left myself some room for error, that might have got quite interesting. I checked my car when I got home, and I am locked out of the reverse gate when moving at all. Is this a short shifter feature? I also did not notice much difference in engine noise. In the end, both cars are just great, and if I had found a used T like I found my S, I would have pulled the trigger, no question. As I said before, we live in a great era of cars, I just wish I had the money to buy them all.

Of course, YMMV. And as mentioned, I hope this is helpful to someone. Couple of pics from the museum.



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Old 01-12-2019, 10:52 PM
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Sean L.
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Thanks for the write-up!
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:21 PM
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Thank you for the writeup! I didn't realize this was so accessible. May try and find a day to play hooky and and do this!

cheers!
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:46 PM
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Welcome! If in my back yard, I'd be playing hookey often.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:12 AM
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I'm in Houston - so hooky for this involves an early morning flight - but I've been looking at some classes (Barber) that are more advanced - and I'd like to get a more intro class before stepping up to those. This sounds perfect, and I didn't realize the cost was so reasonable. Again thanks!
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:58 AM
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I'll be there on the 23rd with my son to pick up my C4S, glad you enjoyed it, we're looking forward to it.

My son just bought an AMG and he has two free 1 day track days at a choice of tracks, we'll be doing that later this year.

You only live once.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:00 AM
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The short shifter on the T is sublime.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:04 AM
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I did the same thing, but in LA. If you do the 718 GTS in 6MT (which is awesome BTW).... you then can do the 911 lineup even a GT3 in manual.....you just have to call and set it up.

It is an awesome experience that I have done three times and will continue to do when near the facility.

Last edited by seis-speed; 01-13-2019 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:09 AM
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Bob Z.
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I love the 7MT in my GTS so it appears you preferred yours over the T?
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:55 AM
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Those who are attracted to the PEC should also make contact with their local PCA chapter. Our chapter in the DC Metro area does 8 HPDEs a year on 5 different tracks. The instruction and overall experience is excellent.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:34 AM
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Every instructor I've met who works at either PSDS or PECATL has been super cool.

OP - Now it's time to do an HPDE.
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:44 AM
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I've done a number of HPDEs in my 993 over the last 18 years - and they are very good - my experience has been that most of the instruction is focused on track skills. While this does involve a good bit of technical car control - I've been looking for something in addition. I do encourage everyone to do HPDE's as it's a lot of fun and the PCA community is wonderful.

cheers!
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:17 PM
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pittspilot
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Originally Posted by Bob Z. View Post
I love the 7MT in my GTS so it appears you preferred yours over the T?
I did. The effort level on that short shifter was higher than my S. I feel like I can shift mine with a fingertip touch which in turn really lets me feel gear mesh and increases my interaction with my car.

Also, that issue with the reverse gear gate although I still don't know if this customary with the short shift or a one off with this T.

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Old 01-13-2019, 02:25 PM
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pittspilot
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Originally Posted by tstafford View Post
Every instructor I've met who works at either PSDS or PECATL has been super cool.

OP - Now it's time to do an HPDE.
i'm definitely thinking about it. I think next I may have to drop the coin for the full drive school in Birmingham first. I must admit a preference to use up a school's car rather than my own.

Originally Posted by 911-TOUR View Post
I've done a number of HPDEs in my 993 over the last 18 years - and they are very good - my experience has been that most of the instruction is focused on track skills. While this does involve a good bit of technical car control - I've been looking for something in addition. I do encourage everyone to do HPDE's as it's a lot of fun and the PCA community is wonderful.

cheers!
That has always been my sense as well. This was not track focused although the handling course necessarily focused on driving lines, weight transfer, braking etc. I really should join the PCA and my local chapter.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:53 PM
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After clearing some time in March, I went ahead and booked the Carrera T "Master the Manual" experience at PEC-ATL. Very much looking forward to it!

Thank you PittsPilot for the nudge!

Will be staying at the Kimpton adjacent to the track - any suggestions of what else not to miss while I am there?
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