The tighter your suspension is set up the less your Porsche's chassis rotates on it's axis---leans---through corners. By minimizing lean, you reduce the mass that has to transition/rotate off the center line of your car and then return back once the apex of a corner has been passed. Minimization of this transition during cornering makes your Porsche handle with greater clarity and precision.
Newer cars have suspension systems that can be adjusted on the fly. This provides a refined ride under changing conditions as a Porsche's onboard computer makes automatic ride adjustments. Some degree of adjustment is also available through a car's driver's preference settings. Classic cars are locked into suspension settings given existing torsion and sway bar types, shock type & configuration, ride height, rake and corner balancing. All of these aspects effect how your Porsche handles.
Brake-ability is one of the most important aspects of any sports car for obvious reasons. Keeping an eye on pad wear is key to preserving your rotors. If your brakes pulsate, chances are your rotors have worn too thin and have wobbled from heat distortion.
Flushing your brake systrem and replacing old hydraulic fluid with new prevents internal corrosion of the system.
Do you know when your braking system was last inspected?
Your driving style has a great deal to do with what type of tires are most appropriate for your car. Hard compound tires are for casual drivers. Soft compound are for the more aggressive.
Tire profile also affects handling. Generally speaking, the lower a tire's profile, the higher the performance. Small profile changes do not require wheel changes. Beyond a certain point, a higher or lower profile change will not fit your existing Porsche wheels correctly---then wheels must be changed.
Tire width is a significant handling affective aspect because more width means more contact with the pavement is being made. Wheels, spacers, and fender flaring can come into play when modifying tire widths.
Racing is another dimension entirely where tire selection is concerned. Selection is a science that takes into consideration pavement type, weather including ambient temperature, altitude, track pavement composition, number and profile of corners. The goal being to maximize handling performance given the specific race environment on hand.
The stiffer a chassis is the less twist there is in when cornering. Chassis twist makes a car feel rubbery in corners---an undesireable trait. Among Porsches, coupes are more rigid than Targas and convertibles given the coupes roof structure.
To tighten a Porsche's chassis' rigidity, cross bars can be fitted to the cabin's interior behind the seats as well as in the front trunk. Rigidity for racing purposes is accomplished with roll cages and more aggressive cross-bracing front and rear.
The difference between a braced 911 and non braced is immediately apparent when driving a braced Porsche.
The most common of all handling related adjustments in any car is alignment---the pointing of tires relative to each other and the center line of a car. There are three controlable aspects to alignment. Toe, camber and caster.
Toe front and rear is typically set slightly inwards meaning your tires do not run parrallel to the center line of your car---the front of the tire is closer to the center line of the car than is the rear of the same tire. This is a "toe in" setting. The reason for this setting is to compensate for the natural tendency tires have to turn outward when being driven.
Camber is the angle of the tire relative to a perpendicular line of your Porsche's chassis.
Caster is the angle between the vertical steering line and the center point of a tire's ground contact. Caster is typically set positive. This helps a car self-stear based on the front tires ground contact being behind the stearing axis.
Differences in car form can aide or hinder a desired aerodynamic effect. And quite often one effect comes with sacrificing another. The chart (at left on desktop website only) shows aerodynamic effects for various Porsche car configurations. Click on chart to enlarge.
VIDEO BY: PORSCHE®
Porsche ice driving school.
Following the 356 series, Porsche took a quantum leap forward in the design geometry of their next rear engine series designated the 901. Peugeot objected to this naming on grounds of having rights in France to model names with three numbers with a zero in the middle. Rather than sell the new model with a different name in France, Porsche changed the name to 911. The first 911 went on sale in 1964 for $5,990. Compared to the 356, the 911 was a superior handling car---one that reflected Porsche progressively taking what they learned from racing and applying it to their production cars.
How does your Porsche feel to you under acceleration, decelleration / braking, and cornering? That's handling---the motion of your chassis as effected by your Porsche's corner balance, stance (ride height & rake), suspension (shocks, torsion and sway bars), braking componentry, tire type, chassis rigidity, alignment, and aerodynamics where high speed driving is concerned. Engine and transmission performance are not included as we refer to handling here.
While a stock Porsche handles exceptionally well, refinements to any or all handling areas of your car allows it to be highly tuned to your preferences. Very simply, you tell us what you want to achieve... we will intelligently get you there.
Stock ride height and rake compared to the same car lowered and raked 2 degrees. All else being equal, the lowered & raked version of this 930 will handle noticeably better than its stock iteration due to a lower center of gravity, tighter suspension, improved aerodynamic ground effects, and 2 degree rake for braking.
Porsche aerodynamic data. Speed is displayed in 7th column in kilometers per hour (V KPH.)
Click chart to enlarge.
At top, a Porsche's left rear corner sits on a scale. The read-out for this street Porsche looks good---front side-to-side is within 4 lbs... the rear within 16 lbs. Where corner balancing alone is concerned, this car will handle exceptionally well.
Set of front tires showing inside wear---the result of improper toe and/or camber settings.
Click photo to enlarge image.
A drilled rotor with a 4 piston caliper. This Porsche has 16 calipers pushing enlarged pads offering exceptional stopping power.
For optimal system preservation, we recommend flushing your hydraulic fluid every 1-2 years depending on your driving style. This removes moisture which can corrode internal components.
Front wheel camber for racing is often seen clearly negative. This benefits corner handling as the outside tire---during a turn---goes perpendicular thereby providing maximum contact with the pavement when it's needed most.
If you have a professional 4-wheel alignment with proper air pressure in all 4 tires and your car pulls to one side, there's a very high probability your car's not properly corner balanced. Not only does this condition adversely effect steering in a straight line but also when cornering and braking. In a nutshell, the more unbalanced a Porsche's corner weighting is, the more poorly it will handle.
What is corner balance? It is the weight of a car as distributed to the pavement through each tire. In a perfect world, (with scales under each tire,) the front left & right side weight of your car would be equal. Left & right rear weights would be equal too. This measure is with you in the driver's seat (or your weight placed in the seat.) Deviations from the perfect world are acceptable to a certain degree. The less deviation the better. Speak with any number of professionals concerning corner balancing tolerances and you'll get different deviation opinions. Our preference for street driven Porsches is for a side-to-side difference of 15 lbs (or less) in the front and 25 lbs (or less) in the rear. For racing, we like 10 lbs (or less) front as well as rear... but preferably equal side-to-side.
The weight of each corner is controled by adjusting the ride height at each corner. This might seem a simple matter but as one corner's weight is adjusted, the other corner's weights change too. The higher the chassis' corner is, the greater the weight being placed on that particular corner. Inversely, the lower the chassis' corner is, the less weight there is on that corner.
Regardless of all other handling considerations, to truly handle as a Porsche is designed to, corner balancing is required.
Stance encompasses ride height, rake, and wheel spread.
The lower the center of gravity your Porsche has, you know the better it will handle. At the same time, the lower it is, the tighter your suspension will be and so the harder your car will ride---some like a tight ride, others do not. While a lowered car for the street handles nicely and has a more aggressive look, driving public roads with tight below-car clearances translates into the need for driving with increased road surface awareness. In short, undulations in pavement, swails, speed bumps, debris, etc., all exist as potential threats to the bottom of your car. "Lowered drivers" will tell you there is "a way" of driving a lowered Porsche.
Rake refers to the pitch of your Porsche. Ideally, the setting is a 2 degree nose-down incline. The purpose in this setting is to improve front wheel breaking. Given a Porsche's heavy weighting on the rear wheels, the front wheels are at an immediate disadvantage in terms of frictional contact force against the pavement when brakes are applied. Rake improves frictional contact of the front tires through the pre-angulation of the chassis. In simple terms, rake partially eliminates the nose down travel the chassis of a car experiences when braking. While this is not a tremendous stopping advancement, any performance gain where braking is concerned is a welcomed gain.
Video presentation courtesy of Porsche N.A. Permission on file.
GP Auto Werks
805 NW 159 Drive
Bay #1, Miami, FL
GP Auto Werks is a Porsche service and repair shop located in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. Serving both road and track enthusiasts, GP Auto Werks provides a full range of Porsche maintenance from tunning to expert engine and transmission rebuilding for both classic and contemporary Porsches. Porsche, the Porsche crest, and Porsche car model names are under licensed use by Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) from the owner Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft, Porsche AG ("Porsche.") No association or affiliation with Porsche / PCNA or AG is intended or implied by GP Auto Werks. Videos shown are Porsche productions presented for education and entertainment purposes only. Permission for presentation is on file. Happy driving! And buckle up because... someone loves you ~
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Refining your Porsche to ride, corner & brake to your drive style.