Getting To Know You – PCT Hill Climb 2013

UPDATE – Re-posted with larger gallery!


Sunday November 17 saw the Porsche Club of Tasmania host a hill climb at Baskerville Raceway here in Hobart. I took my 968 ClubSport along to see what it’s like to drive the car unfettered.

Was it fun? Yes it was. Well, for 4.5 minutes, at least. More on that at the end.

Here’s a diagram of the track. Our course started just before turn 10 and finished at turn 7.


It’s not quite the course that comes to mind when you think of a typical hill climb. This is no long drive up a twisting, turning, mountain road. As mentioned, the course was only 1000 meters, it’s on a track, and it met the simple definition of a hill climb by virtue of the fact that the finish line was at a higher elevation than the start line 🙂

IMG_6135Still, Baskerville is a technical course and it’s easy to mess up the esses. You’ve got to get your gearing right for the final climb between turn 6 and 7, which is all uphill and relatively steep.

This was my first event since buying the 968 so my goals for the day were fairly simple:

  • Improve my times throughout the day, and
  • Bring the car (and myself) home safe and sound.

I’m pleased to say I was able to do both.

This event was hosted by the Porsche Club of Tasmania but it was also a round of the Tasmanian Hill Climb Championship, therefore open to other clubs and competitors who had competed in earlier rounds of the same championship. There were a lot of competitors driving prepared cars that were either hill climb specialists or proper race cars. You could tell these cars by the fact that they arrived and left on trailers (there should be 10 second penalty for cars that don’t arrive and leave under their own power, I reckon 🙂 )

The fastest car of the day was a Nissan GT-R with massive power to all four wheels. There were quite a few cars doing sub-40-second times today but the GT-R topped them all with an incredible 33.5 second run.

Black944My favourite cars of the day were a black Porsche 944 S2 and a couple of the Alfa Romeo Alfettas. The Porsche was left-hand drive and definitely not standard, running around 300hp at the wheels (standard is 210hp). That car ran twice as often as most because two guys were sharing it on the day and it ran without a hitch all day. It ended up with the equal third-fastest time of the day, too, running a 35.33

As for me?

Like I said in the title of this post, this was a ‘getting to know you’ session, the first opportunity for me to drive the car in this sort of environment. Consistent with the most of the other Class C cars (that weren’t race prepared), I was logging in the mid 40’s in the morning session (4 runs) and managed to lower that to a best of 43.41 in the afternoon session (3 runs). I’m quite sure that there’s at least another 2 seconds to be found and the fact that they weren’t found on the day was down to me, not the car. It was flawless.

I improved throughout the day and that was my primary goal when I left the house this morning. Good times.


The economics of Hill Climb track days.

It’ll give you a much better night’s sleep if you skip doing the maths but I couldn’t help it.

Cost – $120 plus $80 for two changes of tyres (from road to track and then track back to road – just another reason I’ve got to buy a spare set of rims). Most people don’t incur that $80 cost, but I’ve still got to count it.

Waiting at BaskervilleCompetitors ran individually at 1 minute intervals and each of my runs was around 45 seconds. That means you drive for 45 seconds and then wait for 45 minutes to drive your next 45 seconds.

We had 7 runs but I stuffed up one of mine by forgetting to put my helmet on. I didn’t realise until the countdown clock had 5 seconds to go (I was chatting with the start-line guy about his 968 and we were both oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t helmeted). It was totally my fault, but still, in doing the sums I only got 6 runs.

I won’t count fuel as I only did 6kms of timed driving.

Bottom line – I spent all day doing 4.5 minutes of competitive, timed driving at a cost of $33.33 per run.

I’m not complaining. I loved the day and had a great time at my first hill climb event. However, I think I’ll aim more at regularity events or maybe even super-sprints in the future, where you get a bit more time on track for the same amount of money.


Photos and video

Video first. Feel free to ride along and critique if you wish. I’m in the Rumsfeldian position where I don’t even know what I don’t know about driving a car like this to its full potential. There’s plenty wrong going on here, I can assure you, but I still had fun.

The video shows runs 6, 7 and then 5. I didn’t have the cameras set up during the first 4 runs in the morning.


A few of the photos in this post are mine but all of the on-track ‘action’ photos – and all the photos below – were taken by James Tucker, who’s dad was in the green Porsche 911SC. It was a hot day and the sun in Tasmania is a killer sometimes. James did a trooper’s job out there taking more than 700 photos through the course of the day. A champion effort.

Click to enlarge.

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  1. Doing the actual runs is only part of the fun. Hanging out with like-minded enthusiasts and watching others often is as much fun as well.

    Looks like a great time! 🙂

  2. [i]Feel free to ride along and critique if you wish.[/i]

    Are you flat from the start through that first corner? I feel that you’d be faster running wide after the apex, then coming back across the track to take the next corner. That being said, if you’re already flat and the car is handling the corner flat and that tight than there is no need to make the track longer.

    Also, stop shuffling the wheel! Hold the wheel at 9 and 3 and keep your hands there, don’t let go (unless changing gears). It’s ok to cross your hands (see even Webber do it at the Monaco hairpin ). As soon as your hands move around the wheel you lose your reference to where those front wheels are pointed and end up using too much lock, increasing the slip angle on the tyres and making the understeer worse.

    I feel like you should be using more revs before changing up, you seem to get higher revs on down change than before a change up.

    Less engine braking on the track please, pads and discs are cheaper than engines.

    Hard to tell anything more than that without knowing car and track better.

    1. I could take that first corner quicker, but seeing I was in ‘getting to know you mode’ and seeing the tyres never really had a chance to get warm, I was cautious.

      Wheel shuffling, noted.

      Revs – again, it’s ‘getting to know you’ mode and being scared of the fact that I haven’t had a belt change yet. That said, I didn’t rev-match well going down to second on one of those laps (your engine braking comment) and risked the engine just as much.

      Next time will be better.

      1. Was chatting to a mate of mine who races professionally. A comment on the 968 CS “Remains to this day the most fun wet track experience I’ve ever had, the chassis balance is just freakish.”

  3. Not going to claim any racing pedigree, so these thoughts are highly unqualified…
    – unless you hit the limiter, maybe the last gear change before turn 1 could have been avoided?
    – Since turn 4 seems rather slow, maybe a tighter (and possibly faster) approach to turns 2 and 3 would have been worth a try? You’d get a less ideal angle into turn 4, but maybe not losing so much since it was fairly slow anyway.

    1. 2 and 3 take some time to master. i’m not sure how well the video portrays it, but there’s quite a change in elevation there, and the turn tightens on you more than you realise until you’re in it. It’s a tricky one.

      As mentioned in my reply to Brendan, I could have taken the first corner quicker and it’ll cut a second off my time once I get my confidence up, but I’m still learning where the boundaries are 🙂

  4. Great post!
    Also great to see new car/motorsport enthusiast’s getting out there an having a go on the day…

    Speed will come over time with practice, car setup and feeling. Its seems sad and repetitive that at the end of a good motorsport post keyboard racers throwing in there there two bobs worth!

    It was a great event ‘Porsche car club Tas’ Keep it up.

    1. Lol keyboard racer! Thinking about it I actually might be a keyboard racer due to the simulator work I do.

      I often am in the passenger seat giving tips/training to people at track days. I think I might stick to that since the internet has too many keyboard warriors.

    2. Were you there, Johnno? Which car? I hope you enjoyed the day as much or more than I did. I’m going to stick to regularity more in the future, I think. More time on track.

      Brendan, don’t sweat. I know you, know your experience and appreciate your thoughts. Cheers, mate.

      1. Yeah was a great day an we’ll run too, couldn’t catch Moorey in the skyline ahead, but tried to keep him honest. I was in the targa spec early Subaru sti.

    3. Johnno Dee, initially it read “Feel free to ride along and critique if you wish.”, so it kind of invited keyboard racers to chip in.

      People commenting here are usually familiar with Swade in different levels, and I don’t think he would be too upset with the comments(at least the ones I have seen. )

      Of course, we could have done a ton of Viggen jokes with Swade, but I think he might have heard enough of those…