Jump to content
Simonk

Tracking a Tiptronic 997

Recommended Posts

One of the first questions I get asked when I tell people I have a 997 is “is it auto or manual”. “It’s an auto” I respond in a somewhat unenthusiastic manor. I then go ahead and justify my reasoning for buying an auto. “It’s a daily, my wife can’t drive manual, I spend a lot of time in traffic, blah, blah, blah.” Is the other person still listening or have they drifted off, knowing the car is no longer worthy of their attention? Why am I even being asked this question? Is it to gauge my manliness and my skill as a driver? Why do I even care what they think anyway?

Well, I don’t really to be honest. Purchasing the tiptronic was purely for practical reasons. A manual would be nicer but I do already have a manual 3.2 Carrera to prove I’m manly and skill full. Being active in the Porsche community and having the opportunity to talk to many Porsche enthusiasts, it’s interesting to note the growing number of people starting to consider the tiptronic cars as a genuine option.

45525492795_915f4740f4.jpgIMG_1158 by RR Films, on Flickr

Yesterday, the Classic Porsche Australia Facebook page held its first annual track day at Sandown. I’d already done 5 track days in my 3.2 so I was keen to try out the 997 to see how it would perform on the track. My biggest concern was how the auto would perform, especially gearing down coming to a corner. The tiptronic doesn’t rev match like newer cars so would the jolt as it changes down unsettle the car? The other unknown was brake performance.

Heading out onto the track for the first session, everything felt a little weird. The steering was so light compared to my 3.2. The suspension is softer, the tyres have less grip, the brakes are woeful. By lap 3, I had cooked the brakes and destroyed a brake pad sensor in the process. I realised pretty quickly that I can’t drive the 997 the way I drive the 3.2. With the 3.2, I can wring its neck lap after lap and the Turbo brakes and R Spec tyres are up to the task. The 997 is a bog stock C2 and wasn’t quite ready for serious track work. So I backed right off and let the brakes cool and then eased my way into it. By the end of the first session, I’m starting to feel comfortable with what the car can do.

I’m using the tiptronic in manual mode and learning which gears I want to be in at each part of the track. Again, forget the 3.2 as it’s a different beast. I change up a gear between 5-6,000rpm to keep it well clear of the redline. The lag between pressing the button and the box changing gear isn’t great but I’ve had the car long enough that I didn’t even have to think about when to press the button. If you condsider it takes about the same time as pushing in a clutch, selecting a gear, and releasing the clutch, the timing of gear selection in the tiptronic is quite natural. On the down shifts, it was impressive. The change is very smooth with only the slightest jolt as it engages the lower gear. If you downshift too soon, the car will hold off the change until it’s safe, avoiding over revving the engine. The engine will rev out as high as 6,000rpm on the down shift. The auto also locks the torque converter which means that once in gear, it’s the same as a manual so you get proper engine braking as you gear down.

45525492185_73cb5e81da.jpgIMG_1160 by RR Films, on Flickr

By the time we stopped for lunch I was buzzing from how good the car was. I’d worked out what the brakes could handle so they performed consistently for the whole session. The M96 engine felt bullet proof pulling strongly to over 200kmh up the back straight. The tiptronic was flawless the whole day and a joy to use. I did briefly put it into auto mode but where I'd gear down to 2nd at turn one, it stayed in 4th then as I turned in and put my foot down, it changed into 3rd. I said to myself, "that's crap" and instantly switched it back to manual mode. On reflection, I probably should have given it more time as I believe these things learn or sense your driving style and adapt so i don't know if it would have performed better if I'd gone a few more corners in auto. I really didn't like the mid corner gear change and therefore didn't trust it to do the right thing.

The biggest advantage of the tiptronic is that it is one less thing to concentrate on. In a manual, particularly in older cars, you’re thinking about slotting it into gear correctly, heel and toeing and at the same time, modulating your braking, turning in at the correct moment, etc. If you take away the manual gear change, it’s less to think about so you can concentrate just on braking and turn it. This is ideal for those that are relatively new to driving on a track.

When I arrived at Sandown I assumed the Tiptronic would be a little boring but I ended up having an amazing day and absolutely loved it. For me, it certainly didn’t take anything away from the experience and I had just as much fun as I normally do in my 3.2 Carrera. I suppose for an amateur, the feeling of driving fast, hard cornering, and nailing a few good laps is more than enough to walk away with a big grin on your face.

So here’s a lap of Sandown in a boring Tiptronic 997 Carrera 2 😊

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, TwoHeadsTas said:

Good one Simon, great story.  I look forward to doing same in my 996.2 Tip at Symmons Plains next year.

You'll love it. My only advice would be to research what's best for brake performance like what pads or fluid to use.Mine just had the standard road pads and they really weren't up to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a great read Simon. The downshifts look quicker than a manual to me, and as you say you can concentrate more on driving. Ofcourse I have bagged auto's etc before as I do prefer a manual, yet the older my knee gets, the more I think about a tip will be in my future. 

 Have you tried left foot braking at all? It's a bit trippy/unnerving at first, but once you get used to it, it helps the braking/getting back on the gas. Having raced karts for a couple of years I got used to it, yet even now I always use left foot braking in any auto I drive, and occasionally when I drive the SC when I leave it one gear (usually 3rd) in the hills, as it's easier to trail the brake and be on the loud pedal at the same time trying for more corner speed, and/or its quicker to dab the brake if you're too hot into or through a corner. That's my philosophy anyway but it does work in my limited experience. 

 As for what people say about them, if you don't mind, it don't matter mate 👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least with the tip you could check your watch for your lap time? Great write up! I wonder how an S would feel in comparison to your car. Then a pdk, then.... Great to see a daily at the track on Sunday and work on Monday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said and explained Simon, I have to say I enjoyed the tipper in manual in the yellow 986 Coxster S on the SMT's. 

Never got to put it on the track, but they are surprising, and once you work out that little gap in the down shifts they are pretty good.

They become very predictable, and as you say, one less thing to worry about while wringing its neck.

I definitely enjoy the Croc 6 speed a lot more now, but when I didn't know the difference between the two, I could never quite work out why everyone ran the tippers down.

 

Having said that driving an auto... speed yellow.. Coxster , took a big set of kahoona's.

  (not that I'm saying I have a big.set of Kahoonas)  :ph34r:  (just saying..) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this highlights what driving on a track  is all about..... Having fun, driving within the confines of vehicle, track condition and driver ability.  You could have fun in a 900cc Diahatsu without too much effort!

 The tiptronic box is a lot of fun.  Point and shoot.  Anyone driving a PDK will be doing about the same with their vehicle....pick a gear or select auto and then concentrate on steering. A manual requires the left foot for clutch, that's about the only difference.... Whether this is "really" driving or simply driving obsolete technology is up for a circular debate, and I don't really care either way. 

Get in and drive is the proper message.

 Nice story Simon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  When the non forum owners find out about this thread, you watch all tip and pdk cars for sale go up by $10k 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, jakroo said:

I think this highlights what driving on a track  is all about..... Having fun, driving within the confines of vehicle, track condition and driver ability.  You could have fun in a 900cc Diahatsu without too much effort!

 The tiptronic box is a lot of fun.  Point and shoot.  Anyone driving a PDK will be doing about the same with their vehicle....pick a gear or select auto and then concentrate on steering. A manual requires the left foot for clutch, that's about the only difference.... Whether this is "really" driving or simply driving obsolete technology is up for a circular debate, and I don't really care either way. 

Get in and drive is the proper message.

 Nice story Simon.

 

I must admit, having had my Tip for 12 months, and wife having 981 PDK  (with flappy paddle wheel) for a couple of months, I do find the flappy paddles much easier to use when driving hard - also a little less confusing.  I have managed to change down rather than up by mistake more than a couple of times with the Tip switches.  I am seriously considering doing an AMG flappy paddle switch conversion on another Tip wheel I can get my hands on, so see if that is easier to use.  Looks like I can get the wheel for zilch (or perhaps for a slab or a bottle of something...) and I think I can get AMG switches for probably $125 or so out of Germany if I can't source locally, so that is a reasonably cheap price for an experiment.  Who else has done this, any specific tips?  I believe there's someone who makes up a plug & play wiring harness out here - anyone know about this???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 @TwoHeadsTas  No help to you with your request, but I swear I've seen some sort of modification for the tip buttons. Possibly some custom carbon thumb paddles of sorts? Will have a look around and see what I can find

 Well that didn't take long

Look a little strange, but would be a helluva lot easier I imagine. Stick on too, so easy to remove 

https://www.agency-power.com/porsche-tiptronic-owners-can-now-shift-with-excitement/?v=6cc98ba2045f

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

PFA [Porsche Forum Australia]

This is an online platform for like-minded Porsche fans/fanatics/tragics to come together to read, chat and share.

It is also a platform to arrange and participate in off-line social meet-ups, events and drives.

×
×
  • Create New...