SLIPPERY WHEN WET (ORNOT)
The internet of everything reckons that michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s will be a bit too extreme for Brett’s Boxster, particularly in the wet. Well, not so far, anyway
Aconsequence of our prolonged warm, dry spell is that I’ve had very little chance to try my new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s in the wet. That’s not a complaint, merely an observation. In no way am I hoping for rain, it’s just that I’m curious to learn how my track-biased tyres will perform in conditions less clement than those we’ve enjoyed for many a long month now.
When I first thought of trying the Cup 2s I posted a note to that effect on social media. A mistake, I know, but I’m endeavouring to embrace the modern age. Within minutes of announcing my intentions the doommongers were in full flow and they were all warning of dire outcomes of using the Cup 2s in anything other than perfect conditions on a track. The common thread that bound their comments was that at the first splash of the first raindrop on a public road, I would be paying an unintentional visit to – or through – whatever was lining the roadside at the time. Any moisture would have the effect of coating the tyres in goose grease.
Being a Cynical Old Person I tend not to believe everything I read on the internet, particularly negative wisdom of the kind that populates most forums, but some of the comments did at least give me pause for thought. And then this morning I cracked open the curtains to discover that someone had cracked open a rain cloud…
Would I even be able to pull out of my driveway without pirouetting onto the road? Well put it this way, I’ve yet to endure any awkward conversations with my insurance company. Admittedly the road surface wasn’t streaming with water and ambient temperatures during this particular balmy October day were high enough to keep the tyres’ rubber compound within a sensible sector of its operational range, but the Cups did nothing naughty. Not pulling briskly out of junctions. Not when deliberately applying a tad too much power exiting a roundabout. The tyres just gripped, no drama.
Things will be different in the thick of winter, I have no doubt. Yet even then I don’t forecast much bother, as I’ll just adapt my driving style accordingly. It’s not hard to do, and I find that a honed sense of selfpreservation is the best form of traction and stability control. I’m lucky enough to have another open-top sports car, a Mazda MX-5 mk1, and when I fitted it with a set of Yokohama AD08S, also a track-biased tyre, the internet was equally swift to alert me to the perils of wet roads and winter conditions. And yet the MX-5 and I didn’t allow even the Beast from the East to chill
us off the roads and outsiders’ predictions of an almost certain roadster/hedgerow interface proved unfounded.
To date I’ve not managed to exceed the Cup 2’s dry surface grip. Not even a cheep or chirrup from the rubber. I know: must try harder. Locally, though, there are very few corners with sufficient clear vision through them to safely carry the lateral speeds with which the Cup 2s endow the Boxster, and on the one or two that I’ve pushed harder than I normally would, it was clear that my bravery had expired way ahead of the Michelins’ roadholding.
So instead of trying to find their limits on the public road – a practice we’re all guilty of from time to time, but ultimately is a silly idea – I’m using my trust in the tyres’ grip to take me more swiftly around tighter bends, and concentrating harder on my cornering lines now that I’m free of concerns about a possible slide. A track visit would be illuminating in terms of the tyres’ full potential, but that isn’t likely any time soon.
Back in the summer I went to a ‘show ‘n’ shine’ at a local microbrewery, which to my surprise was heavily populated with modern low-volume Porsches including a Carrera GT, 911R and 991 GT3 RS. There was also a WW2 Willys Jeep, and chatting to the owner, Steven – also part-owner of the brewery, Station 1-1-9 – he explained how well it was running after using some very low friction fuel and engine oil treatments from a German company called Faher. The Jeep was quieter, smoother and performed with extra vigour – well, for a Jeep, at least. You should try some in your Boxster, he recommended.
So having spoken to Faher UK’S extremely helpful Paolo Garcia, that’s what I’m about to do. In fact, I’d hoped to have poured in the ‘anti-friction’ fuel and oil treatments already, but Paulo advised that for best results the fuel treatment should be added to only about a quarter of a tank, and I’d recently filled mine. It’ll be fascinating to find out what difference the Faher products make, because my Boxster has always been filled with 98 or 99 RON petrol and Mobil 1 lubricant, so ought to be in rude health inside its injectors, and moderately slippery between its moving parts.
The engine might be in fine fettle, but the central locking is giving cause for concern. When I press the key fob to lock the car the horn gives a double beep, as if warning that a door is ajar or the central cubby lid isn’t properly shut. Except I’ve checked – lots – and nothing is open. And when I’m driving the little red light on the central locking button comes on, unbidden. Press the button on the move and there’s that double beep again, and the interior light comes on. Must consult the gurus of the forums in case all this is a portent of something more serious.
On the subject of annoying noises, the Boxster started making horrible screechy grinding sounds around right-hand bends. Fearing it might be a deflating rear tyre causing my lovely new Group 4 alloys to be striking the Tarmac, I pulled over, only to discover a piece of plastic air deflector had deserted its post underneath the car and was making a break for freedom. It’s not the first piece of underbody plastic to go AWOL, and I hope it won’t make a difference to the car’s high speed stability.
Finally this month, I bought some tent canvas cleaner and rid the hood of some of the grot that has accumulated over the summer. A couple of coats of Renovo reproofer followed that, and now water beads beautifully on the hood, just in time for the change of seasons.
Whatever you might think about the colour combo, you have to say that Brett’s Boxster does look good in a ‘stanced’ sort of way
Below left: Renovo hood treatment is clearly working. Below: Some new oil and fuel friction treatments from Faher to try
Some keyboard warriors reckon that Brett’s Boxster will fall off the road at the first sniff of rain with its Sport Cup 2 tyres
Below: Random piece of deflector has broken free from underside. Right: Central locking is double beeping randomly and needs investigation