A few weeks ago we received a package from Motorbooks, the world’s leading publisher and distributor of books for the enthusiast. This package included a number of Porsche related titles sent to us for review. Knowing that we wouldn’t have the time to read everything that was sent to us, in a timely fashion, we decided to run a contest here on FLATSIXES.com. The competition was simple. Write a review on any one of the five books we received.
- Race to Win: How to Become a Complete Champion Driver by Derek Daly
- “Porsche High-Performance Driving Handbook 2nd Edition” by Vic Elford
- “Original Porsche 911: The Guide to All Production Models, 1963-98” by Peter Morgan
- “The Book of the Porsche 356” by Brian Long
- “Porsche 996 The Essential Companion: Supreme Porsche (Essential Companion)” by Adrian Streather
If we published your review, we would, in-turn, send you your choice of any of the books. A number of people wrote in to take us up on the offer. If your still interested, let us know by commenting below on this post. Here is the first to be published.
Valerie Roedenbeck is the proud owner of both a Porsche 996 Cabriolet and a brand new Cayman S (her new track toy.) Valerie is quickly becoming a frequent contributor to FLATSIXES.com! In recognition of Valerie’s well written critique and hard work she will be receiving a copy of “Porsche 996 The Essential Companion: Supreme Porsche (Essential Companion)” by Adrian Streather.
Review of the Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook, 2nd Edition
The second edition of the Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook closes with a real world driving story. In January of 1991, author and Porsche racing legend Vic Elford found himself “test driving” the new 911 Turbo for his “Stuttgart friends.” He drove the car from Reno to San Francisco with his wife, picked up his two teenaged sons (and their luggage), and prepared to head home across the Sierras. The Donner Pass was closed due to heavy snowfall, so Mr. Elford decided to use the Rt. 50 pass instead.
It is at this point in the story that the reader truly realizes Mr. Elford is no ordinary driver. Unavoidably, there is a certain disconnect when one reads about racing, driving at over 200 mph, and participating in rallies in exotic places. Racing stories don’t register as deeply with the majority of drivers because most of us have never experienced such driving firsthand. On the other hand, driving in inclement conditions is something most of us have had plenty of (generally unpleasant) experience with. Sliding on black ice? Check. Aquaplaning? Check. Is Vic Elford about to cross the Sierras driving through heavy snow accumulation in a rear-wheel drive Porsche Turbo loaded with four people and luggage… and without PSM?
Yes, indeed. Once past the chain control at the foot of the snowy Sierras, Mr. Elford drove the 911 through the mountains, climbing up with the car “sideways most of the time,” then back down, sideways once again with the former rally driver “push[ing] the clutch in…steering it back straight…stab[bing] the brake pedal a few times to slow down, and then blip[ping] the throttle and get[ting] it exactly right in order to let the clutch out with perfect engine/road speed coordination” to help the car regain balance. Mr. Elford repeated this sequence over and over again for the duration of the trip, and found the experience “quite enjoyable.”
The moral of the story, Mr. Elford writes, is that “[r]emembering all the little things you have learned [about driving technique]…over the years and being able to pull out the one that counts…when it counts” can get you out of a bind. Mastering proper driving techniques and gaining a deeper understanding of the automobile is not just cool, but crucial.
The Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook is the perfect companion gift for the new Porsche owner
Written in an approachable, clear style, Elford’s book blends entertaining vignettes of his days as a rally and track driver with relevant driving and racing technique. Known for his success in various racing disciplines, Mr. Elford was the first driver to win the Monte Carlo Rally for Porsche and, a week later, the 24 hours of Daytona. His ability to drive on ice, snow and rain earned him several victories, including 4th place in his first Grand Prix. His engaging storytelling is complimented by the exceptional photos from his personal collection and the Porsche Archives.
While in some aspects the book is specific to driving Porsches, it manages to stay relevant to cars in general. The book opens with a discussion on comfort in the car (seat placement, driver comfort, etc.) and goes on to discuss key aspects of driving all automobiles: shifting, braking, and cornering, among others. In the chapter on balance, for example, Mr. Elford discusses not only the challenges (and advantages) of the bonafide 911, but also mid- and front-engine cars, as well as rear-, all- and front-wheel drive cars. Yet, there is still plenty for the Porsche lover. While the majority of Mr. Elford’s Porsche-specific driving experience was with the 911 rally cars and the 917/908 race cars, he gladly discusses current Porsche models, including the mid-engine Cayman.
The book briefly covers more advanced driving techniques such as heel-and-toe shifting and slide control, it does so only in an introductory manner. Drivers seeking to delve deeper into performance or rally driving techniques will have to explore other titles (and log time behind the wheel), but Mr. Elford’s Handbook is one of the finest places to start.
The Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook is perhaps the perfect companion gift for the new Porsche owner. Technical explanations are clear and well illustrated, even to non-engineers. The book’s conversational style makes it seem as if one is sitting with the racing legend, taking in technique secrets and enjoying unbelievable stories of his days on the track (and off). Do you know anyone who is interested in becoming a better driver? This is the book to get for them.
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