Subject: Protect Your Porsche On The Track And Autocross
   by Larry Reynolds
   One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, "Will I damage my
   Porsche during PCA Driver Education and/or Autocross Events?" The
   answer is, if you are careful and take some precautions, you
   shouldn't. Normally, stone chips are about the worst damage your car
   will suffer at a driver's education event and cone rubs are usually
   the worst that an autocross has to offer. You will brake harder than
   you normally do on the street, so will increase brake pad wear and
   thus you'll see more brake dust on the wheels. The tires will take a
   little extra punishment, but when you consider that both activities
   are just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on, it's
   worth the extra brake and tire wear. There are a few simple things
   that will minimize, if not eliminate, possible damage to your car's
  A. Wax:
   The benefits of a good coat of wax can not be over emphasized. The wax
   will help protect the paint against everything from 100 mph bugs to
   autocross cone rubs. Autocross courses are outlined by rubber traffic
   cones and the fastest way around the course is to miss these cones.
   All of my cone rubs occur when I direct my car to just miss the cone
   and it suddenly decides to ignore my directions and, of it's own free
   will, jump on the cone instead. These rubs are easily removed with a
   little 3M Imperial Hand Glaze followed by a coat of wax. The
   wheel-wells and wheels will also benefit from a coat of wax. Prior to
   an event, clean the wheel-wells thoroughly with a citrus degreaser
   such as P21S Total Auto Wash, rinse thoroughly and apply a coat of
   wax. Also, clean your wheels thoroughly with a quality wheel cleaner
   such as P21S or Sonax and give them a good coat of wax. I have found
   that a couple of light coats of Sonax Spray Hard Wax provides
   excellent protection for both the wheels and wheel-wells and requires
   little buffing. After the event, be sure to thoroughly wash the car,
   the wheels and wheel-wells.
  B. Nose Mask/Bra & Mirror Bras:
   These are one of the most important aspects of your protection
   program. Of all the brands on the market, Porsche and Colgan (Colgan
   makes the Porsche bra) are, in my opinion, the best fitting and thus
   able to withstand the higher speeds of driver education events without
   flapping and beating the paint to death. They are manufactured from
   heavy vinyl and fully lined with a soft felt. There are magnetic bras
   made from the same stuff as refrigerator magnets. They are usually
   comprised of several sections that will cover most, but not all of the
   nose. These gaps in protection may result in "stone chip strips". If
   you use racer's tape to fill in the gaps, they provide reasonable
   protection. Make sure you wash the car thoroughly before installing
   any bra, but especially magnetic bras as they have a tendency to
   scratch the paint if dirt is trapped underneath.
   There are a few caveats concerning the use of a bra.
   1. Take your time and install the bra properly the first time, as this
   will determine the quality of fit for the life of the bra. There are a
   few keys to proper installation. It takes two people to initially fit
   a bra. Read the directions several times. You will need a screw
   driver, needle nose pliers, regular slip pliers and a white grease
   pencil. Remove the front license plate. Lay your new bra out in the
   sun for several hours to smooth it out and let it get as hot as
   possible. With one person on each side of the car, start in the center
   and stretch the bra over the nose as tightly as possible. Continue
   stretching (with each person pulling against each other) until you
   have stretched/fitted it evenly to the front wheel-wells. Use your
   grease pencil to mark all of the tabs, on both sides, where they meet
   the radius of the wheel-well.
   Place the side of your needle nose pliers along a line 1/4" TIGHTER
   than your grease pencil marks. Bend the tab into an L shape using the
   regular slip pliers. If you have fairly large needle nose pliers, you
   can use them as a jig to bend the tab into the required J shape.
   Continue bending the rest of the tabs 1/4" tighter than your original
   marks. Trial-fit the new bra and make any necessary adjustments. On
   911's the hood release may have to be adjusted slightly to allow for
   the thickness of the bra material.
   2. Make sure that your car is freshly washed and the inside of the bra
   is thoroughly cleaned before you install a bra. This way, you do not
   trap dirt underneath it, creating "sandpaper" that will scratch the
   paint. 3. Do not leave the bra on the car for extended periods of
   time. The paint that is exposed to the sun will bleach out at a
   different rate from the areas covered by the bra. You have just
   created "tan lines" on your car. There are places for tan lines, but
   the front of your Porsche is not, in my humble opinion, one of them.
   4. Remove a wet bra as soon as possible. We are not talking emergency
   slam on the brakes and rip it off type of removal, but don't let it
   sit on the car for a several days after it has gotten wet. The water
   will be trapped by the felt lining and this nice warm wet environment
   promotes the growth of mold. Molds produce acids that can etch your
   paint. So unless your Porsche has a social disease and needs the
   penicillin, remove the bra at your earliest opportunity.
   5. Mirror bras are very simple to install and require no adjusting.
   They do wonders at preventing stone chips.
  C. Racer's Tape:
   Buy a roll of racer's tape. Racer's tape is NOT duct tape! They both
   use a cloth backing, but the difference lies in the adhesive. Racer's
   tape uses a semi-permanent adhesive, whereas duct tape uses permanent
   adhesive. Duct tape may gain a life-long affinity for your paint,
   resulting in patches of primer seeing the light of day when your paint
   goes home with the tape. Racer's tape is an inexpensive way to protect
   areas that are not covered by a bra. You can even buy it in matching
   or contrasting colors and make fashion statements if you wish. Tape up
   the headlights, fog lights, turn signal lights, gaps in the bra and
   the base of the mirrors that are not covered with the mirror bra. The
   back radius of the front and rear wheel-wells are areas to spend time
   protecting with racers tape. Cover the inside lip, and outside 2-3
   inches of the wheel-well opening with the tape. This is the area most
   likely to get stone chips. A couple of layers will prevent any but the
   most determined of missiles from damaging your paint. The mirror stems
   are another place that should be taped. Look at your car head on from
   a low angle and try to visualize the areas that would be vulnerable to
   a rock kicked up by a car in front of you. If these areas are not
   covered by a bra, you may wish to use racer's tape. If some of the
   adhesive remains on the paint after removal of the tape, a little Oil
   Flo Safety Solvent on a rag will remove it. Rinse with water and apply
   additional wax to these areas. I would strongly suggest not taping the
   windshield, as this adds unnecessary guesswork to your driving
  D. Some do's and some don'ts:
   I would strongly suggest that you do not apply leather conditioner to
   your seats or steering wheel just prior to an event. The extra
   slipperiness will add a level of excitement that you don't need. I
   also feel strongly about not using loose fitting seat covers for the
   same reason. As far as the do's, keep a close watch on your fluid
   levels and tire pressures and most of all, HAVE A BLAST!
   If you have any questions, or cannot find the products mentioned
   locally, please give me a call.
   (Editor's Note -- Larry Reynolds also operates Car Care Specialties
   Inc., Distributors of Quality Porsche Care Products, Post Office Box
   535, Saddle Brook, NJ 07663-0535. Phone 201-796-8300, Fax
   201-791-9743, E-mail