2023 Presidential Race

Published in the March 2023 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”

Presidential Race                                           by Pedro P. Bonilla Suncoast PCA

As you may know from my previous articles, I'm one of the two Committee Chairs for Tech & Impound for the 48 Hours at Sebring Club Race.

This year, our 30th Anniversary, was somewhat hectic the first couple of days because of a lack of personnel, both local and National, due to the bad weather up North and a few illnesses.

Nevertheless, our team picked up the slack and the race went on without a hitch.

On Saturday morning, as things had settled down, I was happy to see an old friend and new PCA President, Aaron Ambrosino stop by the Tech & Impound Circus Tent to say hi.

We chatted a bit and I told him that the 48 Hours puts on a great Autocross (AX) event on the track's skid pad called the Zone 12 AX Challenge, where we get some of the best AX drivers from all of PCA's Zone 12 and beyond.  I told him that he should take the challenge and go run it in my Boxster.  I also told him I that I would go with him at noon, just before they break for lunch.

He said that he was really tied up, but thanked me anyway.

I tried to insist and he politely declined.

But, lo and behold, just before Noon, Aaron was standing behind me, waiting.

(I knew a Spec Boxster Racer like him couldn't pass up the opportunity to race).

So, we got in my car and drove the short distance from the circus tent, over the bridge and onto the Skid Pad.  

When we arrived, AX had just shut down since the organizers (Steve and Dottie Kidd) were ready to do the Charity Track Tour with many of the AX participants.  I introduced our new President to them and told them how we'd tried to be there earlier but couldn't make it on time and how we'd love to run the course.

Steve said: Take a reconnaissance lap together so you understand the layout and we'll leave the timing clock on so you can do your own (private) runs.

I thanked him and we did our parade lap with me at the wheel.  

Taking my time, I made the run in 58.9 seconds.

When it was done, Aaron got out of the car and I lined up the Boxster at the starting line to do my first run.

Steve had created a very nice layout in the limited constraints of the Sebring Skid Pad.

Leaving the start line I trip the electronic eye that sets the timing clock into motion.  Immediately heading to the edge of the tarmac where a hard left followed by a quick slalom and a long and fast sweeping left sets me up for a series of tight slaloms and a Key West Box that dumps me right onto the slippery Skid Pad itself, where I have to negotiate one and one half laps and be prepared to finish with a trio of very hard left-right-left turns and a final short straight to the other electronic eye which stops the clock.

All of the above needs to be negotiated without hitting a single cone, since hitting them generates a 1 second penalty for every cone hit.  

Aaron is watching my run with eagle eyes!

I'm able to stop the clock at 55.3XX seconds.

I look at the time and know I can do much better still.

I now prepare myself for my second and last run.

Now the race is on!  It's against the clock, but it's against another fierce competitor that I know will do his best.

I manage to get another clean run and the finish-line clock shows 53.755 seconds.

It's a good run. I hope it holds up.

I get out of my car, take of my helmet and give them both to Aaron.

He sets up the car at the start line and takes off!  

I'm now the one with the eagle eyes.  

He does a clean run.  It's in the 56 second range.  I can't see the last digits from the starting line.  

He comes around for his second and final lap and takes off like he was stealing my car!

I run to the finish line while keeping an eye on his run.  I've got to see the final time.

It's a clean run and it's going to be tight.

I see my beautiful car being accelerated, gyrated and stopped like I would do it and then the clock stops!...

... It reads  53.675 seconds!!!

The President beats me, in my own car, by a mere 0.08 seconds.

Aaron was ecstatic.  He kept showing me his index finger, meaning first!

I accepted my defeat (kind of) but kept thinking how did that happen?

Aaron is a good driver, he knows the Boxster, but how did he beat me?

And then it dawned on me, and when he showed me that index finger again I told him: you know you beat me because I warmed up the tires for you!

It was a fair race and I lost (by a tiny margin) but It'll haunt me for the rest of my life ;)

Thank you, Mr. President.  I had a great time.  Next time let's do it in your car!

For more information on Club Racing, AX and more, please visit my website: www PedrosGarage.com.

Happy Porsche'ing,


2023 Technolab / PedrosGarage.com