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Nugget pic
February 2012. Volume 52, Issue 1
In This Issue
From the Wurst Wing
A GREASED lightnin' Awards Show
Letter from the Editor
Porsche Pets Rule
Competition Corner
Membership Report
The Power Chef
Social Report
Common Questions about GGR PAX and Classification Systems
25 Hours of Thunderhill
Quick Links
Dear Porsche Enthusiast,

Welcome to The Nugget, the email newsletter of the Golden Gate Region, Porsche Club of America.
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Thanks for reading.
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CoCo Giselle, CG
Executive Editor of The Nugget

CoCo preps for Valentine's Day by napping with her two heart-shaped pillows on her favorite white silk Victorian love seat.

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From the Wurst Wing  
celona4 --by John Celona, GGR President

A Grand Kick-off to the Year at Sparky's Hot Rod Garage  
If you were one of the fortunate folks to attend our annual awards banquet held this year at Sparky's Hot Rod Garage, you were treated to a spectacular venue, meal and show! See the story after this for full details, and congratulations to the winners! Also, many thanks to my event co-chair Bubba Gong who managed the event and provided a live Grease tribute performed by the Foothill Repertory Dance Company. As one attendee said to me, "It ended all too soon!"

2012 Autocross Schedule

Our 2012 autocross co-chairs Chris Hamilton (continuing for one more year--yay Chris!) and Elaine Macey have been hard at work putting this year's schedule in place. Here it is:





Mar 17


Autocross #1

April 28 - 29

Marina Airfield

Autocross #2 GGR (Sat), LPR (Sun), Zone 7 Autocross weekend

May 19


Autocross #3

July 21


Autocross #4

July 22


Annual Porboy's Beginners' Autocross School

August 18


Autocross #5

September 8 - 9

Marina Airfield

Autocross #6 GGR (Sat), LPR (Sun), Zone 7 Autocross weekend

September 15


Autocross #7

October 20


Autocross #8

November 17


Autocross #9


That means you've got nine chances to cord your tires and burn through your brake pads before it starts raining again! (If it ever starts raining again...) Plus the LPR events to make two whole weekends away from home chores.  


Also, we'll be putting on another beginners' autocross school for those folks who still haven't learned how to REALLY drive your car (under completely safe and controlled conditions, of course). Here's hoping you'll join our gang of "How fast you went on 280 is really SO lame." drivers and meet some of the great members of our club. It's worth it just to see Terry Zaccone and Larry Sharp's tie died wardrobe leftover from the 70's.

2012 Track Schedule

Meanwhile, our Drivers' Education / Time Trial / Club Race chair Carl Switzer has been equally hard at work laying out the track schedule for 2012. If you're looking for HOURS of seat time and lifetime bragging rights at the coffee machine, come on and join us. Here's what's coming up:

  • March 23-25: our annual 3-day spring Drivers' Ed, Time Trial, and Club Race at Thunderhill Raceway Park
  • May 26-27: our likewise annual Drivers' Ed, Time Trial, and Club Race at Buttonwillow Raceway Park
  • July 14-15: back to Thunderhill for Drivers' Ed and a Time Trial. (Note: this past year the temperature was in the 70's for this event!).  
  • September 8-9: we (maybe!) end the season with a Drivers' Ed and Time Trial at Thunderhill.  
I say "maybe" because, as you may know, Carl pulled off a real coup this past year with getting us back to Laguna Seca for a great day-long event in November. Will Carl do it again this year? It won't be for lack of trying! Stay tuned as the season develops...


Annual Meeting of the Members Coming Up  

As you probably noted in carefully reading through the entire new club bylaws before voting on them (LOL), they call for an annual meeting of the members. This is your chance to reward all the club officers and event chairs with impromptu and unsolicited cash tokens of your appreciation (kidding!).

No, really, we'll be looking at scheduling this at the next board meeting and will announce it in the Nugget. All members are welcome to attend, and we'll probably be setting up some sort of confirmation process so we know how many are coming. If all 2700 club members decide to attend we'll be sure to take a photo for Panorama.   


Till next month...  





A GREASED lightnin' Awards Show     
 --by Bubba Gong, Event Co-Chair  

GGR's Annual Awards Banquet  


GGR's annual Awards Ceremony was a blast from the past lighting up 2012 with a sparkling awards show that would rival Hollywood's Golden Globes or the Oscars. Sparky's Hot Rod Garage bathed in neon colored, twinkling lights, Elvis, Marilyn, Muscle cars and MORE collection of 50s memorabilia, set the stage for a truly SPECTACULAR event.   



 The sights, sounds and senses were bombarded in an overload of submarine yellow, period 50s turquoise and hot pink linens with Muscle Car centerpieces and Tiger striped lollipop favors. Guests were welcomed with music from " at The Hop" and a hosted bar featuring red and white wines selected by the Wall Street Journal. A "gourmet 50s diner experience with a twist" included Coconut fried shrimp with sweet and sour sauce, Grilled Cheese points served with a heirloom tomato soup in demitasse cup, and Petite beef sliders with carmelized onions and dijonaise. And that were just the appetizers! Slot Machines and Pin ball action provided entertainment during the appetizer and cocktail hour while guests roamed freely to observe the amazing private collection of the founder of Black Mountain Waters.   


 GGR members could belly up to the bar in the real working "diner" where Milk Shake Mixologist Travis made his magic to the delight of children of all ages. He made to order old time favorite creamy, sweet, whipped concoctions from cookies and cream with mint, strawberry and banana blend, peanut butter and chocolate, to my personal favorite Kahlua and Cream. Gelato, luscious Lemon bars, and oatmeal granola and chocolate chip cookies appeased those of us with a sweet tooth.  



 The buffet lunch followed with a roasted Sirloin Tri Tip in rosemary with horse radish sauce, Mac n Cheese in individual ramekins topped with Truffle oil, a pan roasted Brussel sprout au gratin, Grilled Vegetables in Season from Zucchini, Squash, Portabella mushrooms, Red and Yellow Peppers; Egg plant Parmesan, Artisan Breads with butter and a Goat cheese and cranberry salad with Arugula and Spinach.  



 Jaci Rossi, the owner and founder of Bash Catering, has catered to the stars from Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford to Tony Blaire and Mikhail Gorbachev. She and her staff attended to every need and detail with service and a smile. Dancers from Foothill College in car hop costumes, polka dots, and leather jackets provided the atmosphere and entertainment thoughout the briskly paced awards program.  


Larry Adams provided the annual raffle of prizes from this year's Sponsor of the Awards CARLSEN PORSCHE assisted by 50s beautie Angela Herrera and Homecoming Queen Terin Kandarian. Joe Hamilton and Chris Lee presented the Auto Cross Awards. Carl Switzer presented the Track Awards. All winners were photogoraphed with our very own "SANDY" from the film Grease Tara Harte-Rodriguez.  



 President John Celona, dressed in leather bomber jacket and shades, served as the Master of Ceremonies with wit and kept the awards moving at a brisk and entertaining pace. The Opening Act featured a live stage performance of the award winning Foothill Repertory Dance Company directed and choreographed by Bubba Gong. Wearing poodle skirts and leather Thunderbird jackets, the dancers performed excerpts from the motion picture Grease and included favorites such as Born to Hand Jive, Venus, and Peppermint Twist where everyone could get up on their feet and DANCE! Shirley and George Neidel were the last ones on the dance floor and could have given all of us dancing tips. They both looked picture perfect in George's Varsity Wrestling Sweaters.  



 Award Winners included the following presentations:

Paul Marty presented the Don Lang award to Heath Spencer. Linda Adams was presented with the Don Matthews Memorial Award. The Perc Bliss Award was received by the team of Andrew Forrest, Mike Cullinan, Warren Walker, and Carl Switzer. Bubba Gong received the award for Event of the Year.


Don Lang Award is given for good sportsmanship and service to the Club. Heath Spencer makes the trek from Lake Tahoe to participate in GGR events and makes it a family affair where he was joined by his wife Janine at Laguna Seca. He is known for going out of his way to help other members. Recently, he came to the rescue of another member whom he did not even know and trailered the disabled member's car home.  



 Linda Adams has been the face at our Registration Table for the last two social events. She is always there to volunteer and assist with grace and efficiency and a smile. She lends her energy and support to husband Larry Adams at countless events including Carlsen Concours and has attended Parade many times. Now she is even signing checks as TREASURER of the Board of Directors.


The Perc Bliss Award is given to members deemed to have made the greatest contribution to the club during the year. This years winners recognize the cumulative effort in turning around the Track Series. Andrew Forrest led an effort at both GGR and the National level to adopt new minimum DE requirements which would allow drivers of unmodified cars to participate. When the great recession hit hard Mike Cullinan and Warren Walker brought club racing to GGR. Carl Switzer was instrumental in bringing join events with other regions. Our first event at Thunderhill was joint with Diablo Region; Buttonwillow with Central Coast Region and Zone 8. We also had a 3 day joint event with Coastal Driving School at Laguna Seca which opened the door for the first GGR-only event at Laguna Seca in November.   



 Lastly, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Bill and Ruth Benz for their kind comments and presentation of the award "Event of the Year." I wish to thank all those who contributed in making the Volunteer Appreciation/Board Inaugural Black Tie Dinner at the San Mateo History Museum such a singular success; most especially, my spouse who wrote and directed the "COURT TRIAL" comedy skit, all the PRIME TIME players who improvised like seasoned professionals (Bill, Joe, Carl, Chris, Louise); Andrew "Ho Ho Ho" Forrest who along with Santa's Helpers (Shirley and George) made a grand finale and to all the GGR members who contributed toys for our TOYS FOR TOTS CHARITY contribution.  



 GREASE was the word at the GGR Awards banquet!

And like a fine tuned Porsche, the event sparked our passion for the cars we love and ignited our appetites for new and veteran members alike to eat, play and come together and make more memories to celebrate in the New Year!


Gung Hay Fat Choy in the New Year of the Dragon!

Cheers to more FUN TIMES!





Letter from the Editor  
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--by John Celona, Nugget Editor

Thanks to Contributors

Continuing thanks to all the folks who keep sending in contributions to the Nugget each month: Bubba Gong for the article and photos on the Annual Awards Banquet at Sparky's Hot Rod Garage, David Leong for the article and photos on the 25 hours of Thunderhill, and Ken Park for sending in a photo of the family PCA official. Keep them coming!

Send in your pet photos! Porsche Pets are people, too! 


Thanks for reading.   


Porsche Pets Rule!  


Ken Park kindly contributed this photo of a member of his family who is, to his knowledge, the only PCA Race Official certified canine in the world. Very good at sniffing out rules infractions!

Send in your pet photos! Porsche Pets are people, too! 


kahlers 3
Competition Corner 
--by Bill Benz, Competition Director


A few years ago one of the AUTOWEEK writers put together a 10 question test to determine how close to automotive lunacy we have all descended.  Some questions seemed so automatic  that they barely merited mention.  Of course I wanted to name our two boys Ayrton and Huschke and of course Ruth blocked this but I don't see how this makes me auto-obsessed.  Similarly, doesn't everyone want to use vegetable-based oil (Caster bean oil) in their engines?

One of the questions really did hit home.  Yes - I do drive a racing line with my cart at the supermarket.  And, I'll even confess to giving the matter a fair amount of thought.

It was in the late 1980's I was returning home from the Zone 7 two-day beginners' autocross school (the precursor to today's beloved Howard Yao/John Siedel school) brimming with the importance of vehicular lateral placement, late apexes, turn in points and trail braking to induce rear end cooperation during tight or decreasing radius turns. I stopped at a Lucky store.  As I pulled out of the cart pit and headed down the first straight (aisle) it was inescapable.  Of course I needed to have a suitable turn in point, apex and track out point at the far end because this upcoming turn which was  going to be followed by a second right angle turn and another straight..

Old supermarket tracks were often merely an orthogonally-arranged set of parallel straights (aisles).  Tracks have improved dramatically with the advent of larger stores and more imaginative layouts.  My current favorite is the big Safeway in Menlo Park.  Yesterday, as I was accelerating through a series of free standing produce kiosks - red, green and yellow bell peppers followed by organic fruit followed by loose root vegetables I was drawn to the esses at Buttonwillow and turns 7 and 8 at Infineon or the ever-popular decreasing-space slalom found in nearly every autocross course.  Next, past the low frozen meat  coolers at 5/10th - great visibility negated by too many carts abandoned on the racing surface while their drivers searched for  the perfect frozen chicken. (Give it a rest, a chicken is a chicken, already)  Accelerating hard through the pharmacy on a big sweeper past chilled juices into the bakery is just like turn 1 at Infineon or NASCAR at Buttonwillow.  Then all sorts of possibilities present themselves.  Two hard lefts mirror Thunderhill's 13 and 14 and you're rocketing back up through semi-premium wines.  One not-too-hard left takes you past the bagel and doughnut  kiosk to check out.

This  is not to say that there aren't hazards in these more technically-demanding modern circuits. There are two areas to be avoided - senior products and dry cereals.  Senior products include Depends, denture adhesives and protein shakes and is populated by Bill Benz and his contemporaries.  Think about it.  Noting good from a pace maintenance point of view comes from going down this aisle. 

Dry cereals -even worse.  Who's in this section?  Mothers and children.   Trust me, a bad combination.  If  the mothers' aren't doing their jobs, and they generally aren't,  there's a fair chance that one or more of the little weasels will stroll out onto the racing line and high jinks will ensue.  If you think that the mothers will be understanding - think again.  You're in for a huge ration of yelling and freaking out that will seemingly last forever.  They just don't get it.

There's one other reality  to making your way though grocery stores - some folks just have less talent than others. Yesterday I was on my second lap (When you're focused on the line it's easy to skip items.) I had just picked up 24 cans of diet Pepsi and was accelerating down between soft drinks and bagged snack food when I heard  the telltale clicking of plastic wheels right on my tail.  I set up OK for my turn in but then blew it by turning in about two cart lengths early which sent me off past pre-made salads right into sushi.  I glanced to my left and the competition was sailing past.  She had nailed the turn I early-apexed and was flying down to checkout.  Now I  know that I could mention the weight penalty that 24 cans of soft drink entails, not to mention a half gallon of orange juice and almost 5 pounds of meat but the reality is that I was outdriven- plain and simple. It's not the first time.         



Zentrum SS

Membership Report 

Mike Sherman--by MIke Sherman, Membership Director


 GGR Regional Summary - December 2011



Congratulations! Wow, if you look at the anniversaries in this column, you'll see 55-year and 50-year anniversary members - Bob Webster and Dean Olsen! That represents a great commitment to the Porsche marque, and we're proud to have Bob and Dean counted as GGR members! Our PCA/GGR records don't go any farther back than 1956, although I'm sure more "old-timers" will turn up. A quick review of some pending 50+ members does show that we have a few more such anniversaries coming up in the next couple of years, so stay tuned. On another note, as you can see, we slowed our new member additions; so I'll ask all of you to look around the neighborhood and if you see a Porsche sitting in a driveway without a PCA sticker, let them know that GGR is ready to sign them up! All the best and remember - wave, honk or flash, we're all in this together.  

Captain Mike


Primary Members        1,459              

Affiliate Members            962                 

Life Members                     6         

Total Members             2,422


New Members/Transfers: 12 (+3 Affiliate Members)

Anand Abhyankar                                             2006 Boxster S             Gray               

Stanley Anderson (Transfer CCC)                    2012 911 GTS             White

Edward & Pam Bancroft                                   2002 911 S               White

Nathaniel & Jessica Begeman                         2010 Cayman S             Gray

Donald Home                                                   2009 911 Turbo             Silver

Ken Jew (Transfer MBY)                                 1983 911 SC                        Black

Daniel Landeck (Transfer SVR)                       2000 996 C4                        Black

Jesus Lara                                                       2010 Carrera S                                   White

Mark E Miller                                                    2012 Cayman R             Blue

Margarita Vargas & Raymond Kott                  2005 Carrera S

Douglas Zeman                                              1969 911

Karl Kramer (Transfer MBY)                           1976 912E


December 2011 Anniversaries


55 Years - 1956!  

Robert Webster                                                1976            914


50 Years - 1961!

Dean Olsen                                                      1961            356B


45 Years

Joseph Reitmeir                                              1970            914


35 Years - 1976

Frances Costa


30 Years - 1981

Mark   Proctor


20 Years - 1991

Mary Anglin              

David & Nancy Howell                                   1977            930

Pam Stallings              


15 Years - 1996

Lori Hageman-Dean                                       1977            911

Steve Howitson                                               1974            914

Ann Rothman       

Michael Sweeney                                            1964            356C

Melissa Bauman                      

Karl Hageman                                                 1996            Boxster


10 Years - 2001

Craig Burger                                                    1997            993     

Edna Falk                               

Richard Grialou                                               2002            911     

Gary Howerton                                                1977            911S            

Mark Primeau                                                  2004            911     

Bejan Rafii                                                       1988            911 Carrera             Blue

Jeffrey Rosen                                                  1986 928S             Black

Barry Wood                                                     1996            911 Targa   Red     


5 Years - 2006

David Blake                                                      2007            911     

Tim Brown                                                        1995            993                  Silver

David Fambrini                                                 2007            Cayman             Maroon

Hali Forstner                          

Karl Kramer                                                     1976            912E            

John Murray                                                    1999            911                  Silver

William Shrader                                               2003            CarreraC4S Silver

Hendrik & Heike van Geel                               2006            BoxsterS     Atlas Grey

Jennifer Chinn                        






Pacific Power Motorsports
The Power Chef®  

NE Bike --by John Celona, The Power Chef


On "Health Care"  


With working a fair amount in the field of health care over the last few years and watching the ongoing health care crisis and reform efforts, I've been musing over the whole topic of "health care."

You all know the headlines: health care costs have been spiraling out of control. Medicaid and Medicare costs account for a huge amount of federal red ink. Many people can't afford health care or can't get health insurance or both. For people without insurance, routine care is handled by a visit to the emergency room, which are legally required to treat anyone who gets there regardless of ability to pay.  

Accordingly, all sorts of efforts are in progress to rein in the cost of health care, including the federal legislation currently being challenged on multiple fronts in the courts. Toss in managed care organizations, medical malpractice and insurance, computerization of health records, and tax treatment of employer provided health benefits and the stew very quickly gets to a real stink.

So here's a crazy thought: maybe it would help if we ourselves and the medical profession actually started focusing on real "health care" for a change. Let me explain.

An observer from Mars might conclude that the entire "health care" system doesn't provide health care at all. Instead, it's all about diagnosing and intervening in injuries and disease. A better term might be the "Disease and Injury Care System."

Real "health care" is something very different, and is very difficult and simple at the same time. I might venture that real "health care" is diet and exercise. If you have a good diet and get some exercise (as we explore at length in this column), you'll stay healthier and need less of the "Disease and Injury Care System."

Start with diseases. Poor diet, too much weight, and not enough exercise are well documented risk factors for a legion of both chronic and acute diseases. Healthier people get sick less and recover faster when they do. And, even when something really nasty strikes (like cancer), healthier people tolerate the course of treatment better and have better chances of a faster and more complete recovery.

Then there's injuries. Staying active keeps your body in better operating condition and less prone to injury because, as we've discussed here, we're organisms rather than mechanisms. Stretching and strengthening prevent injuries and help you recover faster. As we've also discussed here at length, preventive stretching and strengthening and as a recovery method are often far preferable to surgery.

Unfortunately, despite the strong imperative of the medical profession to intervene with every patient who walks through the door, medical intervention is often not a cure, and certainly not a substitute for practicing good health to avoid the need in the first place. Here's a very dramatic recent example. The Health and Human Services Department's Preventive Services Task Force issued a report in October, 2011 recommending an end to PSA screening in men without cancer symptoms.

The PSA test "doesn't distinguish cancer that will never make a difference in a man's lifetime from cancers that will make a difference," prompting many men to undergo aggressive treatments they don't need, Virginia Moyer, the panel's chairwoman, said yesterday in an interview. 


"So you go from being a guy who feels fine and who potentially is one of the majority who never would have known they had this disease, to being a guy who wears adult diapers," said Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "This is not insignificant." 

The "cure" sometimes is worse than the condition.

So there's the hypothesis: real health care is a potentially powerful means of tackling the crises in the "Disease and Injury Care System." Simply put, people who take care of themselves with diet and exercise need far less of it. 

Maybe we need a cute acronym to help this along. Instead of the "Disease and Injury Care System," how about DICS? The advice to people would be to take care of yourself and stop DICS-ing around.

Looked at this way, who is actually doing "health care?" Well, not your doctor. Otherwise, the first prescription to every patient would have to do with diet and exercise instead of drugs. Sure, you doctor probably chides you about these. Just ask your doctor when was they last time they worked out.

Of course, there are huge diet and fitness industries. They're pretty much all selling the same thing: a promise of nearly instant and dramatic results with minimum effort. Just pay the money. If only what they sold was real.

I propose a different approach: just get a little better with your diet and exercise and really stick with it. Then get a little better as you're able to. That would be real health care.

Too idealistic and simplistic? So is "love your neighbor as yourself." Sometime the best prescriptions are the simplest.

Bon Appétit,  

The Power Chef


Here's a start to taking charge of your own health care: an outstandingly delicious and nutritious salad that's almost a meal! Also great with pieces of grilled chicken tossed in.    


Citrus-Avocado Salad      



The Gist

Butter lettuce leaves are tossed in a dressing of walnut oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Orange sections, red onion, and mint are tossed in a dressing of olive oil, sherry vinegar, fruit vinegar, salt and pepper.  



1 head butter lettuce 
3 oranges, peeled and cut in sections 
3 ripe Haas avocados, peeled and sliced 
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
4 Tb. fresh mint, minced

Dressing for lettuce:
4 Tb. walnut oil 
1 Tb. white balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp. salt

Dressing for oranges:
4 Tb. extra virgin olive oil 
2 tsp. sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar 
2 tsp. fruit vinegar (such as raspberry) 
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper 
1/4 tsp. salt 


Wash the butter lettuce and keep the leaves whole or tear them in small pieces, then spin them or toss them with paper towels to dry. Place the leaves in a bowl, cover with more paper towels, then place them in the fridge to chill.


Make the two separate dressings and whisk each together.  


Lightly toss together the orange sections, sliced red onions, and mint. Gently toss in the avocado slices or leave them separate to arrange on the leaves. These can also chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve.


Toss the lettuce leaves with their dressing and arrange on plates. Toss the orange etc. with its dressing. Arrange the avocado slices on top of the leaves, then put a mound of the orange mix in the middle. Serve!


You can try tossing the orange sections and avocado together, but avocado slices are rather delicate and tend to break. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it!
For a final garnish, you can sprinkle each plate with a little chopped fresh chives or some more minced fresh mint.



If you're adding pieces of grilled chicken, you can toss them with either the citrus or the lettuce leaves--either dressing would be delicious on them! 


Social Report

Joe Sweis --by Joe Sweis, Social Director

Our First Social Event of 2012 is scheduled for Saturday February 11th, 2012 at 10am. We have been invited for a private viewing of the Bertolotti Family Auto Collection. Following the showcase we'll be getting together for lunch at Pedro's Cantina in Santa Clara at 11:30am. While the event has filled up, if you haven't RSVP'd but would like to attend, please email me at I will compile a waiting list and, if there are any cancellations, I will let you know as the event nears if we can squeeze you in. If there are only 1 or 2 people on the waiting list I'm sure we can make it work. Also, if you couldn't get to the viewing but would just like to join some Porsche owners for lunch and fellowship you're more than welcome to join!

I also sent out a survey asking you the members what you would like to do in 2012 and the results are clear...anything that gives you a reason to drive your Porsche! I've updated the survey and taken out non-driving related activities and added a few others. Again, as a Board we want to do our best to maximize your membership benefits. If you are a new member or did not complete the survey, please feel free to do so by clicking on the link below (does the link work in the Nugget letter? If not copy + paste):  

Other than that we have our regularly scheduled Social Events. The Boxster Brunches at Alice's Restaurant (17288 Skyline Blvd.) in gorgeous Woodside put on by George & Carol Grialou; all Porsches are welcome. To work off brunch, the group will often tour the nearby mountain roads afterwards. Friday Night Socials are organized by Shirley Neidel to meet at Harry's Hofbrau (1909 El Camino Real) in Redwood City the third Friday night of every month.  No reservations are required but it's best to RSVP with Shirley at, and just stop on by! Check the calendar for upcoming dates and times.

Lastly, I'm working on putting together an event for March (hopefully) and onward. My goal is to setup multiple events in advance so that you the members can better plan your schedules. A very special thanks to one of our newer members Michael Griffin who provided me with a map of fun twisty routes he's been on before in his motorcycle days...thanks a million Michael!!

As always, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO REACH OUT TO ME if you have any great ideas for a social event. If it sounds fun...we'll do it! I've already received some great suggestions from members and will be including those in the calendar.

"Look where you want to go"

-Joseph Sweis
GGR Social Director




Common Questions about the GGR PAX and Classification Systems

--by Chris Hamilton, Autocross co-chair

I've been getting a lot of questions about our Performance Index ( PAX ) and Classification system. I have selected a few that come up often. I hope this article will clear up any questions you have about PAX and classing and give a good overview of the system. Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Q: What is PAX?
A: PAX is a handicap system designed to allow drivers to compete across a wide range of car models and levels of preparation. PAX allows competitors in cars of different ages, models and levels of preparation to compete on even ground.

Q: What does PAX stand for?
A: I have no idea.

Q:Why bother?
A: Car classification is a problem that can be addressed in many ways. Professional racing series typically try to balance several factors including: safety, cost reduction, and entertainment value. The most common solution to this problem is to have classes with prescribed modifications that can be done to the car. These classes could allow suspension modifications, but disallow internal engine modifications, or allow engine and transmission modifications but disallow tire or wheel changes.

Q: What's wrong prescribed classes?
A: There are several problems with this approach. One that affects many of our members is the lack of flexibility in what modifications can be made to the cars. Imagine you want to take an early long-hood 911 and put a 3.6L motor in it. Congratulations, you are now classed alongside shifter karts and the Eurofighter Typhoon in some associations. A class with prescribed modifications will also tend to become exponentially more expensive to compete in as cars are maximized to the allowable modifications. Squeezing the last drop of horsepower out of your allowed 2.0L motor is a lot more expensive than swapping in a larger mill. You get to have any rear swaybar you want? Better get the titanium one to keep ahead of your competitors.

We have a classification system that avoids these issues. By not specifying what modifications are allowed we sidestep many of these issues. Modifications need not be expensive, or even performed at all in order to compete in PAX.

Q: OK, so how does it work?
A: We assign numerical values to car models based on performance. We also assign numerical values to modifications. By summing the car points and modification points we can get a general idea of expected car performance. The higher the points, the faster the car. We may then create individual classes based on small ranges of points. The total points are used to determine what class the car belongs in. We have 16 classes from AX01 ( the fastest ) to AX16 ( the tamest ).

[car points] + [mod points] = [total points]

Each of the 16 classes has an index value associated with it. This index is a number between 0 and 1 that represents approximately how much slower the cars in that class can be from absolute time and still be competitive. In order to calculate PAX time, you multiply the time the car took to complete a run by it's class index.

 [Time] x [Class Index] = [PAX Time]

I know this can sound rather complicated, but in practice it is quite simple. Here is an example from the first and second place finishers from the last autocross of 2011:

Terry Zaccone drives a 1968 911L Targa with some modifications. He is in class AX12 and the fastest time he was able to turn was 53.133 seconds. He ended up competing with Andrew Blyholder, who drives a 1966 912 with slightly more modifications. He runs in class AX10 and his fastest run was 52.533 seconds.
To get Terry's PAX time you multiply his time by the class index for AX12.

[Time 53.133] x [Class Index 0.928] = [PAX Time 49.307]

This can now be easily compared with Andrew's PAX time, which can be determined the same way:

 [Time 52.533] x [Class Index 0.946] = [PAX Time 49.696]

As you can see, Terry's PAX time is 0.389 seconds faster than Andrew's. So despite having a slower overall time, because his car is not as highly modified as Andrew's he is able to take the win.

Q: You sound like a huge nerd, don't you have anything better to do?
A: Yes, let's move on please.

Q: Is the system perfect?
A: There are limitations to any classification system.
We have a limit to how granular we can be when assigning points to modifications. When we determine points for tires we use the DOT treadwear rating to give us an idea of the performance of the tire. There are dozens of new models of tire released every year and the performance disparity between differing brands or models of tires with the same rating can be very significant. This means that there are a small number of very highly performing tires in each treadwear category that are going to be necessary in order to have the optimal configuration. The only way to avoid this would be to create tables of points for every single model and sub-model of tire, which is well beyond the resources we have. This is one example of a modification that we have to simplify in order to make the rules work.

Q: Why do I take points for modifications that did not make my car faster?
A: When we determine the points values for modifications we have to assume that each competitor is making the modification in the most optimal way. It is entirely possible to install performance parts that do not improve performance.

Q: Why don't we just use Parade rules?
A: Please see the above question about prescribed classes.

Q: What about street stock classes?
A: Street stock classes are a set of classes for absolutely bone-stock cars that we have adopted from the Parade rules. Our members have the option of running eligible cars in either the designated street stock class, or in our typical classes. The PAX indexes for the street stock classes are set to match the index values of the corresponding classes in our system.


Autocross Classes





Point Range


PAX Index

1151 - 32767



1001 - 1150



901 - 1000



801 - 900



751 - 800



701 - 750



651 - 700



601 - 650



551 - 600



501 - 550



451 - 500



401 - 450



351 - 400



301 - 350



251 - 300



0 - 250










European Autotech
25 Hours of Thunderhill

--article and photos by David Leong

Three in a Row for Mercer Motorsports at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill



 For the third year in a row, Mercer Motorsports take their 997 GT3 to the top step of the podium at the 25 hours of Thunderhill. It was back in 2009 that we first reported an overall win by Mercer Motorsports at this longest race in North America and we speculated on the possibility of back to back wins. Since that time they have not only achieved the back to back, but with this win, they have accomplished the threepeat. During the course of winning their third 25hour race, they also scored the Grand Slam of racing, by winning the pole, fastest lap, and win.


Mercer is owned by GGR member Scott Mercer, and piloted by a core group consisting of GGR members Johannes vanOverbeek and Rich Walton, along with Grand Am champ Jon Fogarty, and Flying Lizard Crew Chief Tommy Sadler. Each year, the fifth driver has been a guest, and this year it was multi-champion Wolf Henzler. A pretty compelling case can be made that Porsche has dominated this race having won 7 of the 9 events, including more than one 1-2 finishes, and even a 1-2-3. Not really surprising considering Porsche's dominance in endurance racing worldwide, but one notable data point is that typically there are very few Porsches entered in this event. Only 2 Porsches were entered in the 25 hour race, (A third 911 entered the 6 hour portion of this race) and they finished 1-2, as the Pirelli World Championship Team of TruSpeed Motorsports in another GT3 was next across the line. Mazdas and BMWs clearly dominate the entry list and get their share of class wins. One of those Miata wins came from GGR member Dean Thomas.



The challenges in a 25 hour race are varied, and you never know, from year to year what obstacles the winner will have to overcome. Some years it is the rain, others the cold, and you never know when a Daytona Protoype, or other big gun will show up. The only cars to challenge Mercer on speed were prototype cars, in class ESR, but these typically have reliability issues, and this year was no different, as the best ESR spent almost half the race in the pits.


 This year's event was relatively smooth, won by 48 laps, and had it not been for having the track shutdown for a car fire, Mercer would've broken their own distance record of over 2,000 miles in 25 hours. I asked Scott what brings him back each year, with relatively little competition. "The "value" is obviously intangible, but nonetheless important to me.  The satisfaction of building a team and then watching that team excel, while having lots of fun along the way, is very special to me.  I know that for the drivers and crew it is a very enjoyable event.  It's a chance for them to participate in the sport they love without the pressure of points, standings, budgets, sponsors, or career worries."


There is never a shortage of big teams and celebrities, and this year we had the Honda factory, and All-Star Pitcher CJ Wilson, brought a pair of cars.



 When you race 6,390 miles in three years and dominate the race, not everyone is going to be your friend, and this was the first year I heard some grumblings in the paddock. More than one team complained of aggressive driving by the Mercer team, but there were zero official protests or penalties, and NASA head, Jerry Kunzman, pointed out that "Mercer had to make an estimated 5,000 passes during the race.  There's bound to be a couple of ruffled feathers". VanOverbeek used different math, but essentially said the same thing: "Over the last three years we did an average of 693 laps for a total of nearly 6,000 miles. We passed an average of thirty cars per lap which means over 20,000 passes per race and over 60,000 over three years! In the three years we've had one minor scratch on the car and one wheel that broke due to contact; that's it. So, I'm sure that we've upset somebody after 20,000 passes per race-it's unintentional but unavoidable. "


Next year's event will be the 10th anniversary, and I am sure there will be many teams who would like to end up on top for this prestigious running of the 25hour.




After 3 wins in a row, I think I have just the ticket. Scott owns several Porsches and it would be interesting to see if he can get another of his cars into a class win, in addition to an overall trophy. The Spec911 he has been driving lately, fits in to the E0 class, and fielding 2 cars in separate classes would be a formidable challenge. Come back in 2012 and we'll see what new mountains Scott chooses to climb.


More photos here: 



Hope there was enough to read this month! See you next month...

As always, thanks for reading.
John Celona
Porsche Club of America-Golden Gate Region
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