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Open Road Racing our Porsche 928
by Susan Kirby & Marc Thomas of DEVEK Performance.

928kirby.jpg (37714 bytes)Nothing goes together like open road racing and a Porsche 928.

Made as the ultimate cruiser, there are very few opportunities for 928 owners to (legally) drive their car like they would on the autobahn. Late last year, during a trip to Germany, Marc had the "pleasure" of being overtaken by a 928 GTS travelling in excess of 160 mph. It reminded him of how the 928 was meant to be driven.

For a group of very lucky people, several times a year, a public highway is closed for the day and they do just that…pedal to the metal excitement for 90+ miles!

Marc and I started racing our ’88 Porsche 928 5 speed in 1994. We participated in several driver’s ed. track events and time trials throughout Northern California with such groups as NASA, Touring Car Club and others. We were looking for an event where we could compete as a team and decided to give open road racing a try. With a driver/navigator team, you select a target average speed and the team that comes closest to the target speed wins that class. There is also a division called "Unlimited", where the goal is to be the fastest car, period. At our first three events, we entered the 150mph class, and with Marc driving and me manning the stopwatches and course notes we placed in the top three every time. Then Marc made a big mistake – he gave up his driver’s seat at the next race!

Entered in the 135mph class, I was excited and nervous at the same time about driving at such high speeds! With some new modifications to the engine, we had more power than before, and it was actually a comfortable drive, keeping the top speed around 160mph (our "tech" speed – maximum allowable speed with our safety gear). Marc’s navigation proved to be far better than mine as we cruised to a first place finish, averaging 135.012 mph!

Open road races are held several times a year on the highways of Nevada and Texas. The road is closed for the day and competitors leave the starting line one-at-a-time, at intervals of approximately one minute. The fastest cars start first to lessen the chance of any overtaking or passing. I can count on one hand the number of times we have passed another car!

More than just a fun thing to do together with our 928, these events proved to be the best testing ground for DEVEK products, providing extreme condition durability testing and performance data that could not be obtained any other way. Products that seem to work well at normal speeds and suspension loads often show weakness at higher speeds. Numerous suspension modifications have been made to make high-speed handling safe and predictable. Improved coilover suspension, front sway bar, pinned rear Weissach arm, and more have been developed over the course of our racing activities.

....go to part two