Porsche Kuwait Test Run Coverage

Screenshot_2013-12-17-22-13-37On the 15th and 16th of December, Porsche Kuwait held an exclusive event at the SIRBB Circuit in Shuwakh which allowed a selected number of car and Porsche enthusiasts to truly test out the various unique features of the current Porsche line-up. The event was organized by Porsche Kuwait and involved a number of driving experts/instructors to guide the participants through the event. The event was well organized, and the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, and this showed us what sets Porsche apart from their competitors.

The event was not open to the general public, and was an invite-only event. I got my Media/Participant pass thanks to my friend Ahmed, who is actively involved in car meetups and events.

The test run takes place on the 15th and 16th respectively with no difference between the two test runs. I participated on the test run that took place on the 16th. The event started 3.30 and the day was planned out according to the Schedule. The schedule was as follows:-

SIRBB Circuit

SIRBB Circuit

15.30 – Arrival & Welcome Speeches

16:00 – Section 1

17:00 – Section 2

18:00 – Coffee/Snack break

18:30 – Section 3

19:30 – Demo/Taxi Laps

20:30 – Awards & Farewell Speech

Upon arrival, each participant was assigned a group. After the arrival speeches that was given,we were introduced to our instructors, and each group went down the track with their groups, to start the series of exercises that were planned for us. We were given a brief safety talk about the correcIMG_5584t position of driving, and how to properly adjust your seats and the correct way to hold your steering wheel.

There were four different exercises that each team had to take part in. Before the start of each exercise, the instructor would briefly explain the point and technique of each exercise, and then would take each participant in a demo lap of the exercise, before finally allowing the participant to take part.

Paul describing the techniques for the Slalom

Paul describing the techniques for the Slalom

For our group, the first exercise for us was the Slalom exercise with the 911 Carrera S. If you aren’t familiar with what a Slalom exactly is; it’s basically an arranged “exercise” with laid out cones that you are supposed to navigate through. The point of this exercise was to test out the dynamic handling of the Carrera S. In all honestly, this is a superb car to drive hard.

IMG_5597

It’s extremely light (well, compared to my Titan anyway!) as well as very stable. Also, it’s direct steering doesn’t get “twitchy” with increasing speeds. The car is well balanced, and it’s chassis control reduces body roll while cornering. The car maneuvered around the cones with ease. 

The 911 Carrera S

The 911 Carrera S

After that adrenaline filled rush of the 911 Carrera S, we headed down the track towards the Panamera GTS for our second exercise: Launch Control and braking. If you aren’t familiar with Launch Control, it’s an electronic aid that helps drivers accelerate from a standing start. The procedure was to push the brake pedal as hard as you can, and then do the same with the gas pedal. Once the Control Launch signal shows up, you release the brakes while still flooring the gas pedal, which sends you out flying towards the cones. As soon as you reach the cones, you slam your brakes as hard as you can to test out the braking.

Panamera GTS

Panamera GTS

Interior of the Panamera GTS

Interior of the Panamera GTS

While I personally have a huge dislike of the Panamera because of it’s bulkiness and design (Which I feel is un-Porsche like) my opinion of the car slightly changed once I got the chance to actually try it out. It’s interior is very well and beautifully designed.It was luxurious, spacious, and very comfortable. The Panamera handled itself quiet well, had a smooth yet powerful acceleration, and the braking was extremely sensitive and highly responsive. Needles to say, the Panamera had grown on me a bit.

The third, and probably the most fun session was the Timing Lap with the Boxster S. The point of this session was to test out everything the car had to offer: Acceleration, handling, stability, braking and most importantly – your skills. Each participant got a practice lap and a timed lap, with each participants time being recorded and compared to the other’s times for a mini-competition. As for the car itself, it was a quiet enjoyable. It’s acceleration was great, the car was well  responsive and stable on turns and was overall a very smooth, comfortable and powerful ride.

Cayenne V6

Cayenne V6

The last exercise we took part in was the braking test with the Cayenne V6. We got to experience hands on Porsche’s ABS system. If you aren’t familiar with the ABS system, it’s a system designed to prevent your brakes from locking up during hard braking. This allows you to brake hard while at the same time retaining directional control and steer clear of any obstacles. With this exercise, you are basically told to drive like you’re about to crash. You are given instructions to drive the car as fast as you can (basically flooring the gas) and once reaching the cones, you slam the brakes as hard as you can while simultaneously navigating/steering the car out of the cones. While it was kind of a scary exercise, having driven the Porsche Cayenne before, I knew there was nothing to worry about. This is a car you can trust while doing such exericses.

20131216_201552_Richtone(HDR)The final event of the day was a drifting/demo taxi lap around the track. Each participant withdrew a paper from a hat and was randomly assigned a car. It was either the 911 Carrera S, the Boxster S or the Cayman. Each participant then got the chance to drive along with instructors with one of those cars. The instructors took 2 laps around the circuit – dirifting! And it was incredible. I got the chance to tag along with the instructor with the Cayman, and man was he a pro! (Afterall it is what they do for a living!) Incredible handling techniques and accuracy around the circuit.

Porsche Team

All in all, this final demo lap concluded the activities for the event. Everyone then headed back to the gathering point in which we were given a farewell speech by  the  Porsche Kuwait staff and the instructors. The top three with the best timed laps were announced, and the winner was Salem Sawrij (and honestly it was a well deserved win – guy is a talent!)

Before I left, I managed to interview Andy Boux,  a registered Porsche trainer as well as the Head of Operations EMEA, who was responsible organizing and getting the instructors together.

Me: What would you say the purpose of this event was?

Andy: The purpose of the Porsche Test Run here in Kuwait is to give existing potential Porsche customers the opportunity to drive the cars in a dynamic environment and also ofcourse a safe environment.

Me: How would you execute one of the Porsche Test Runs?

Andy: From our side,we come over and sit with the Porsche Center here in Kuwait, and we would choose our model line up (based on the popular models here in Kuwait) and then we would look at the venue and decide what would be the most safe way to show off the car and also the most exciting way for the customer test drive the car as well.

Me: And how would you rate this event overall?

Andy: It’s been fantastic,again one of the main part of the event is always the people and here in Kuwait the welcome is always really really good and the people are always really fun to work with and ofcourse car crazy aswell and again this new venue is fantastic it’s absolutely ideal for what we need to do and again it’s a big step for Kuwait

Me: So would you do it again here?

Andy: Absolutely. We are already planning to come back. Everyone here is really welcoming and we can’t think of anything more positive to say about Kuwait it’s fantastic.

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All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful event by Porsche. Very well executed and organized. All the staff involved were extremely friendly and professional and they even took time to get to know the participants and converse with them. The only complaint I have, is that there were no parking spaces organized for us near the circuit and some participants (including me) hand to park quiet far off from the circuit as there were no available places to park.

Paul handing over my Certificate!

Paul handing over my Certificate!

Porsche Team with some participants!

Porsche Team with some participants!

To find out more about Porsche Kuwait, visit their site as they often update it with upcoming events and the latest news concerning Porsche:

http://www.porsche.com/middle-east/_kuwait_/

The Porsche Club Kuwait Website/Instagram

http://porscheclubkuwait.com.kw/

@porscheclubq8

Autoholics965 Special: Rotary Versus Pistons

Click the image to open in full size.

So you’ve probably been hearing about the Rotary engine for a while (Maybe not so much if you’re living in Kuwait). Well, if you’re wondering what a Rotary engine is exactly, and what’s the difference between the engine and the piston engine, well you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to break it all down to you.

Well, the Rotary engine is basically an internal combustion engine, basically the same one in your car. Everything back from the flywheel is pretty much the same, however infront of the flywheel, that’s where everything changes. The Rotary engine works and looks in a completely different way than your typical piston engine.

If you’re familiar with basic mechanics, you’d know that the standard piston engine uses a crankshaft and the connecting rods to convert the upwards and downwards motion of the pistons to rotary motion to power your vehicle. In the rotary engine the pressure is controlled in a small space by a part of the housing and sealed by a triangular rotor (imagine a spinning dorito, it pretty much looks like that). Which is what the rotary engine uses instead of pistons.

So for demonstration purposes, this is how your engine works:

With it’s 4 stroke cycle: Intake, Compression, Power and Exhaust.

And here’s how a Rotary engine works:

The triangular rotor follows a specific patter which keeps the peak of the triangular motor within contact of the housing, which engineered in such a way that the peaks of the triangular motor will always be in contact with the walls of the chamber. Each part of the housing is dedicated to one part of the combustion process.

The triangular rotor has peaks. Those “peaks” basically act like a piston. Since the rotor has three sides, those sides have pockets which increase the displacement of the engine to allow more increase of space for the air/fuel mixture.

As the rotor moves around, each volume of the gas in turn expands and contracts, which draws air and fuel into the engine, compresses it, and BAM! Power. After that, the exhaust is then that expelled.

DERE

Here’s how the combustion process works in the engine:

1) Intake: Fuel/Air mixture is drawn in the intake port. (Notice the one of the main differences between the two engines: There are no valves in the Rotary engine, instead it uses intake and exhaust ports which are directly connected to the exhaust and throttle respectively.)

wankel_in

2) Compression:- Mixture compressed in the yellow part

wankel_cmp

3) Power/Combustion: Mixture burns, driving the rotor.

wankel_pwr

4) Exhaust: Exhaust is expelled:

wankel_exh

The rotary motion is then transferred to the drive shaft by the eccentric wheel (Above, in blue). The drive shaft rotates once during every power stroke instead of twice.

Since we got the basics out of the way (and I don’t want to get into too much details here), I’m going to come right down to the battle. PISTONS OR ROTARY?

If we go down to the simplest 4 cylinder engine, it would have ATLEAST 40 moving parts, including your pistons, connecting rods, camshaft, valves, rockers, timing belt, timing gear, crankshaft etc. and you have more with the increasing cylinder counts once you move into V8, V10, V12 configurations etc.)  A two rotor engine has 3 moving parts (2 rotors and the eccentric shaft). This makes the rotary engine smoother, lighter, and produces higher RPMs. Your piston engine has to convert reciprocating motion into rotational motion and by doing so the pistons violently change directions. Rotary engine spin in one direction, and as a result are a lot more smoother.

One of the most important factors to put into consideration is that rotary engine are pretty much immune to total catastrophic failure. A rotary engine that loses compression, cooling or oil pressure will lose a large amount of power, but the engine is still able to produce power and operate. Piston engines under similar circumstances are prone to seizing or breaking parts that will result in major damage of internal engine parts resulting in an instant loss of power and operation.

Since it’s all good and dandy, here’s the bad sides:-

In a piston engine, the cylinder and piston have a rather large contact surface which is constantly lubricated and seals the combustion chamber against the crank case. In a rotary engine, the tips of the triangular rotor drive along the chamber walls to seperate the chambers. This means they have to be very precisely positioned and bear a lot of load, compared to a regular cylinder lining. The tips have to be extremely abrasion resistant and hard, but function as tight seals as well. That’s a difficult trick to pull of and makes the whole system somewhat less reliable. Also, a rotary engine will consume as much fuel as a V6, which gives it terrible gas mileage.

Also, the rotary engine is owned by Mazda. It’s design, improvements, and basically everything is owned by Mazda. You have thousands of companies in the world continuously working on improving the piston engine. With the rotary engine you have one company, which is Mazda, that’s actively restricting the ability of other companies to invest in it’s engine. Long story short, if you have 10 people working on one idea and 10,000 on another, you’re going to work more with latter idea. The piston engine is better-understood and its improvements are more accessible, someone working on a new engine improvement is more likely to start from that point than they are from a Rotary Engine point.

The average life span for a rotary engine is also normally less than that of a piston engine.

So, since you have all of that? Which would you chose? Rotary or Pistons?

Well, I’d personally go with my biased opinion.I prefer my engine Piston-runned. Viva La Pistons!

If you want to read/see more of the Rotary Engine:

http://www.nationalspeedinc.com/gear-and-tech/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-a-rotary-engine/

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/rotary-engine.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wankel_engine

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/27/this-is-what-a-six-rotor-wankel-looks-and-sounds-like/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BCgl2uumlI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyItjvs8nvI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocZ0veZjiBs