Simon Tate is a long-time PCNSW member and competitor and was, up until last weekend, ??running events in his nicely-sorted BMW E46 M3. However, as it is in professional motorsport where the most important person to beat is your teammate, in club motorsport you always want to be ahead of your mates - especially if you’re planning on a dinner at the pub that night.
So in search of quicker times and a class-winning car, Simon decided to make a change and hopped into a Porsche. This is his story, in which he talks about making the change and running his first super sprint at Wakefield Park in a Porsche.
Thanks to Simon for putting together a wonderful story and the video above!
By Simon Tate
I had a very corporate looking Silver BMW E46 M3 which I thought I’d take out on a track day on the back of some peer pressure from my mates Mark Croudace, Andrew Bursill and Daryl Head, all of whom are well known to the Porsche club. I had been racing with the BMW club and had enjoyed reasonable success over three years, with the car slowly being transformed into what was a far cry from a corporate BMW (big brakes, suspension, carbon fibre bonnet, exhaust, induction etc etc). However, I started to get frustrated that, despite logging best times on every major track for an E46 M3, I never seemed to win my class. The answer was that the club change the rules or I needed less weight and more power. Bottom line - cheaper to buy a Porsche!
Having competed as an associate member with the Porsche Club and lined up against my mates in situations where I was often the only non-Porsche (Bathurst comes to mind), I finally gave in and decided to buy one. It was a tough brief; it had to have a back seat, be as close to GT3 performance as possible, be a late model (2005 or later), have low mileage and cost less than 100k.
Well, who would have known that 3 weeks after I sold my M3, Mark emailed me a link for a car that was being auctioned on-line with 20 minutes of bidding time left and a ridiculously low reserve. The rest is history. I woke up the next day to an email informing me I had 24hrs to pick up a black 2005 997 Carrera S with 55 000kms.
Straight to Jason Hay at TT Motorsport for an agency power exhaust and airbox swap out, then to Autohaus Hamilton for a seat and new clutch. A call to Tom (666) for his old GT3 track rims, which I had resprayed, and I was ready for my first track day in a Porsche at Wakefield. Oh, don’t forget the carbon fibre bonnet - you can never have enough CF!
Dinner and a few drinks with the crew at Trappers always goes down well, as it did last weekend. The social aspect is important for me. I’ve made some good friends through the club and I love the contrast of camaraderie??and competitiveness.
The day itself was a learning experience to say the least. The M3 was all about controlling oversteer and was very adaptable in tricky situations. The weight; 1580 kilograms, was easy to play with despite what some would think. The driving style was very aggressive with hard inputs and late braking.
The C2S is almost the completed opposite; learning to control understeer, having to use progressive acceleration early in the corner exit to get weight over the rear and early braking. When I compared the GPS data on my best lap at Wakefield in the M3 to my best lap in the Porsche last weekend, it was interesting to see how fast the Porsche was out of the corners eg. A 20% improvement out of the fish hook, which carries you all the way to the end of the back straight. Following Daryl in his new GT3 helped as well!
Having the Autohaus crew there was awesome. They will recall me saying at the end of the practice that the car sucked. Understandable when doing 1:15s! By the end of the day I was in the 10s and won the class.??Having the guidance of my good friends Daryl, Mark (via txt from Harvard in the US) and the Autohaus boys helped immensely!
I am really looking forward to this season, making some new friends and driving fast.