Apex Competition's 996 Carrera 2 Project Car

So what's this all about? It's about the impressive Porsche GT3 Cup cars that we can't drive everyday... so why not take an affordable 996 C2 and modify it to arrive at a semi-comfortable yet formidable weekend club sport toy... One that can still be driven to and from the circuit and even everyday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Black boot & bonnet release

OK this is hardly a performance mod but I was getting tired of looking at the worn out paint on my OE hood and engine decklid release levers. So when I stumbled across yet another cheap find on EBay I snatched it up.

It is a black on black set of release levers and the housing. Not sure what car this came from but it was shipped from Germany and appears to be NOS (new old stock but never installed)

One of my goals with this car is to eliminate ever bit of the original "Graphite Gray" interior trim and replace it with solid black. I just cannot stand the Graphite Gray. It looks cheap. One of my biggest complaints about the 996 series is it's poor interior finish. There is too much cheap plastic that doesnt wear well over time. Compared with early 21st century interiors from Audi, BMW and even VW, Porsche was way behind. So this helps with my conversion to an all black interior. Just a plain no frills black interior is the way to go in my book.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gimme a Brake - Whats that light?

OK this week we spend a little more time on the brakes. Last time we improved the ability to cool them... now we can try to push the braking system a little harder. I hope the ABS cooperates! We'll know soon enough as our next test day is at the end of July.

So, one of the things you will encounter when you begin to track your 996 or GT3 (especially if you run race compound pads and tires) is that you will begin to generate massive amounts of heat in the braking system. The 911 will stop on a dime if set up for the track and the brake pad wear sensors can literally burn up as installed. This will of course cause the brake warning light to stay lit all the time. Porsche, Pagid & others actually recommend that you do not run the pad sensors when you track the car.

There are two things you can do about this:

A) You can remove the sensor wires before each event. If you are the type that spends a lot of time prepping before an event this may work fine for you. This works well especially if you do pad changes for track events. Note that when you simply pull the sensors out of the electrical connector located on the back of the hub, the brake pad wear light will come on. Another alternative is to pull the pad sensors out of the pad before they fail and fold them up and tie wrap them out of the way. This is a good intermediate step before you make the decision to disable them entirely.

B) If you are like me, and you run race pads on the street and DOT race tires which you leave on the car for extended periods, you may prefer a more permanent option. Below I have outlined my particular method for disabling the brake warning light when you don't use pad sensors.

Here is a photo of the complete Porsche brake pad sensor wire. On the left you can see the plug that goes into the electrical connector shown below. On the right you can see two "pins" that are each inserted into holes drilled into the side of the brake pads. When the pad wears, these pins grind down and expose the wires that are looped around them. Eventually the wires break and the circuit is broken. So we are going to modify the wear sensor wiring so that the circuit remains permanently intact.

First, locate the electrical connector on the back of the hub carrier. It's located on the back of the hub carrier just above the outer CV joint. Flip up the metal clip that locks the connectors in place. Trace the wires back to their sources. One goes the the brake pads and the other is your ABS sensor. It's quite obvious which is which. Remove the brake pad sensor plug and pull the entire sensor and wiring off of the car. The pins in the pads just pull out.

Now with the pad sensors completely removed you will cut the rubber wire sleeve and wires about 2" from the white plug end of the sensor. Then strip the wire ends so that you can twist the two wires together. Put a crimp connector on them and then re-attach a small section of the rubber heat protection tubing to keep out the dirt and moisture. Fold over the tubing and seal it off with a tie-wrap or similar. Voila you are done. No more brake pad warning lights. Ever.

The photo above shows the wires stripped. It is for explanation only. In actuality you will not leave the wires anywhere near this long.

Shown on the left here is the brake pad wear sensor wiring in it's final state. Plugged back into the connector with the short 'pig tail' of wire all sealed up inside the rubber sleeve. All in all a simple mod.

Should you ever wish to return the car to its original brake wear functionalty, the sensor wires can be purchased for under $10 per side.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

GT3 Brake Ducts - Take 2

Earlier we installed GT3 brake ducts to improve cooling. (Shown at left above) However since we drive pretty hard on a regular basis (while instructing at BeaveRun) it has become appearent that still more cooling could be used. This really came to light after we started running Pirelli Corsa track tires and began generating much higher brake torque as a result.

So to assist with more cooling we have installed a set of 997 GT3 brake ducts. These are deeper and have additional channels to feed more air to the front brakes. We will be testing soon and will see whether they suffice or whether we need to go full tilt with the 997 GT2 ducts. The GT2 ducts are so large that they can reportedly scrape speed bumps man hole cover etc. So hopefully the regular 997 GT3 ducts will suffice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Aerokit rear wing finally installed.

OK so we've had this GT3 like, mk1 Aerokit rear wing sitting around for months and finally have found some time to paint it and get it installed.

This is an OE factory Aerokit wing found, like the other items, on ebay. It's made in a small town in France right on the German border by a company called Turnwald.... but I digress :)
The wing arrived already primed and since we were very happy with the PPG products used earlier to paint the other components knocking this out in a weekend was going to be no problem. The same paint, bonding agent and clear coat was used. Thw wing was disassembled to allow painting all edges. Also we decided to paint the underside semi-gloss black. This was done for a few reasons. One it made setting it down to paint easier, Two, it should reflect less heat back into the engine compartment and finally because we had seen factory Carrera Cup cars in Germany with the inside painted black.
The wing was then re-assembled by reattaching the plates, pins and hinges that allow the wing to be adjusted to different angles of attack. (Another reason to get a true factory wing)

Finally the wiring harness, engine bay fan and weather stripping were swapped over from the original Carerra rear decklid. Note: We were told the C2 harness would work as is. This is not actually correct. The C2 wiring harness can be used but it needs to be cut and this destoys the ability to simply reinstall the C2 decklid if you want to retrofit it easily. We would suggest you source the proper Aerokit decklid harness from a dealer.
And there you have it. The complete mk1 GT3 look... finally.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Track Alignment

Now that the GT3 wheels and track tires have been on the car for a while it was time to take a good look at the alignment. So we headed over to our friend's shop who has a hunter machine. After taking a look we discovered the rear toe was off and that the camber settings would have to be adjusted to keep from destroying the R-compound Pirellis on the track.

After reviewing a number of setups and especially looking over the GT3 recommendations from Porsche race engineer Roland Kussmauls, we came up with the following track / street compromise.

Front axle:

Toe total: +4'
Camber: -1.7º
Caster: 8° +/- 30'

Rear axle:
Toe total: 33’ +/- 2'
Camber: -1.8°

These are our starting points. Depending on the performance on both street and track we will adjust from here as time goes on.

If we were going to optimize for track use we would go with Roland's Motorsport recommendations:

Front axle:
Toe total: +5'
Camber: -2.5º
Caster: 8° +/- 30'

Rear axle:
Toe total: 32’ +/- 2'
Camber: -2.4°

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fabspeed Mufflers

We've been running the stock mufflers / exhaust system on this 996 ever since we tried the muffler bypass pipes. Those pipes were fine for the track but we just too loud for a daily driver.

So when the opportunity came along for us the grab a set of Fabspeed mufflers we took it.
Nice and throaty but definately not too loud when you are not on the gas hard.  The manufacturer claims 8-12hp.  We're not sure about that, but the reduction in backpressure should help in some areas and they definately remove 12 lbs of weight from right were you want to get rid of it!  Oh, and they do sound sweet :)
There are also headers available in the aftermarket for these cars. However the exhaust manifolds on the 996 are superior to those found on the 997 Carreras. They are similar if not dentical to the headers found on the 996 GT3 so changing out the headers (manifolds) is not required.

Here is a video from Fabspeed of their 996 muffler's sound.

Installation of the mufflers on a 996 is extremely simple.  They are fastened by 2 bolts per side which fasten the muffler to a mounting bracket. Then there is a clamp on the crossover pipes.  That's it.  Loosen the clamp, slide it out of the way toward the cat. After you remove the 2 bracket fasteners, the mufflers simply slide back and down out of their position within the rear bumper cover.  It's easier without the tires in the way but can be done with the tires in place. A simple mod and definately worth it if you like the music of the Porsche flat 6.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

mk1 GT3 wheels

We found a set of mk1 GT3 wheels from a bloke on Rennlist. (If you dont know about www.Rennlist.com, its the oldest and perhaps best Porsche owners forum on the web)

I say mk1 because these wheels are 8" wide in the front. Later GT3 used the exact same style however the front wheel width was changed to 8.5". The plan is to use the GT3 wheels primarily as track wheels mounted up with some good race rubber.

We're going to run a set on the street with Michelin Pilots and/or Continentals. For the track our second set of wheels will be shod with Pirelli PZero Corsa race rubber.

The track wheel/tire specs we run are as follows:

Front: 18 x 8 ET 55 with 235/40 Pirelli PZero Corsa

Rear: 18 x 11 ET 65 with 315/30 Pirelli PZero Corsa