DRON DRONES

911 Porsche World - - 928 Road Racers -

Porsche Cars GB – aka AFN – raced two 928s dur­ing the 1980s, and both were helmed by se­nior­mo­tor­ing scribe Tony Dron, nomean racer who’d pi­loted a gal­axy of sa­loons and GTS fromthe early ’70s in­clud­ing the works 924 Car­rera GTRS at Le­mans. I’ve known him­for years and we chat­ted about the 928 ex­pe­ri­ence. ‘Yes, they were stan­dard 928s which I drove for AFN, and the idea be­hind racing the 928 in Porsche Club GB events from AFN’S point of view was prob­a­bly not so­much to win as to demon­strate that their com­par­a­tively big lux­u­ry­ma­chine could hold its own amongst the 911s. There was a real dan­ger in those days of it be­ing seen as a bit soft. I won the Will­hire 24-hour race at Snet­ter­ton in 1983 in the 928 S2, co-driven by Andy Rouse, Win Percy and Phil Dowsett. I went back to AFN in the 1988/1989 sea­son, driv­ing the lat­est S4 SE, and that proved amuch trick­ier beast on a cir­cuit than the S2 had ever been – at first, any­way. The prob­lemwas twofold, first the sus­pen­sion was in­clined to de­velop up and down­mo­tion at speed, and se­condly, the ABS sys­temwas too keen to in­ter­rupt brak­ing ef­fort when­ever the sus­pen­sion was in one of its up strokes, so to speak. Once I got it sorted it was quite good. But when I first drove it as a stan­dard road car it was un­ac­cept­able be­cause the ABS would cut in and the thing would just be float­ing like a por­poise with­out the brakes work­ing, so I had to de­lib­er­ately spin it ev­ery now and then to avoid trou­ble. The AFN teamwanted to stiffen up the sus­pen­sion, and I said that won’t do any good, but they did it any­way and it­made it worse, so I said, right, the usual thing I al­ways do in those cir­cum­stances is to get (sus­pen­sion and han­dling guru) Rhoddy Har­vey-bailey in, and he iden­ti­fied the prob­lemin that the fre­quency of the front dampers was in­com­pat­i­ble with the elec­tronic fre­quency of the ABS sys­tem, as it just turned off the brakes ev­ery now and then. He spec­i­fied a dif­fer­ent front damper, and put­ting the stan­dard springs back on it trans­formed it, and it worked re­ally well. It was a very good car in the wet. But al­though we took pole po­si­tion sev­eral times, the 911s were stronger than ever in Porsche Club GB racing by then, and we never got a sin­gle win with that 928. Our one big chance came at Phoenix Park in Dublin where we looked set to win in the wet, but the sun came out, the cir­cuit dried and I was picked off one by one by a string of 911s.’

Re­view­ing this par­tic­u­lar 928 S4 SE in amo­tor Sport track test in Oc­to­ber 1989 along­side Tony Dron, journo Jere­my­wal­ton de­scribes it as, ‘reach­ing out to the red line with stun­ning con­vic­tion,’ and when ap­ply­ing toomuch throt­tle, ‘dis­cov­er­ing in slow cor­ners why nearly ev­ery driver has spun this­ma­chine,’ while us­ing the ‘gen­er­ous brakes too hard, that a 928 loves to over­steer.’ He fi­nally de­clares in rev­er­en­tial tones that he was ‘re­lieved not to have dam­aged it’.

makes it very unique. It’s got its orig­i­nal ex­haust sys­tem, mi­nus the back box, and it’s got a straight-through pipe. Both SES still have their cats. We’ve got the air con­di­tion­ing work­ing, which is a bit of a mis­sion on these cars when you see the num­ber of belts go­ing on down the front of the en­gine. Have you ever seen a tim­ing belt off one of these? It’s the long­est you can imag­ine! It doesn’t have cruise con­trol whereas all the pro­duc­tion cars did, lack of sound dead­en­ing on the bon­net and bulk­head, the pre-pro­duc­tion gearbox where they’d ob­vi­ously changed the in­ter­nals – yet they hadn’t got that type of gearbox ready for this car, which the pro­duc­tion cars had, and other than the fact it’s now got two seats for ease of use, we’ve tried to repli­cate it as a pro­duc­tion racer. I used to race in the Porsche

I’ve had a lot of fun pre­par­ing this car back to its for­mer glory

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