I often get asked "how to you do this" or "why is this done like this" on my 914 race car and there are numerous posts on the Pelican Parts web site from new owners of 914s asking how to do something. I decided to write an article and take some pictures on what was done to my 1973 and explain why. Hopefully this will save someone some time and money when they start to work on their own car? I currently am focusing on racing with the Historic Sports Racing West organization (HSR West) which is a vintage group with slightly better year requirements than VARA, SVARA and most of the others. SCCA is possible but they don't allow many modifications, especially to Porsches and my car was not legal to race with them with a large 4cylinder engine. I would have had to go to stock 2 liter size or I could spend 12 thousand or so and convert to a 6 and I could have increased the size all the way to 2.7 liters! Go figure!
NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OR NECESSARILY THE BEST WAY, BUT IT WORKS FOR ME!
Rules to race by:
Buy a car someone else has already setup and spent the time and $$$ debugging it. This is what I did and Jerry, the previous owner, had a great shop do the original setup and modifications.
Find a shop that you are comfortable with and can trust. I did this when we bought our first Porsche over 7 years ago and while I buy things at all the various shops and stores in the San Diego area, one place does the major work such as engines and trannys.
Listen to your mentor. When he/she is offering advice it is usually because they know what will and what will not work. If I have to make decisions, I try to lean toward the side of safety or conservatism.
Build the car or make mods to the strictest set of safety rules. Usually this is the SCCA GCRs and you can get an uptodate copy from their national headquarters. If you live where there are race fabrication shops, they will know what is legal and what is not.
Try to have a goal in site, such as autocrossing and winning the class at the Porsche Parade or entering vintage races with VARA. This will make the choice of car and the mods you will do to it more focused so you will not have to redo anything over and waste $$$$$.
Get the BEST safety equipment! This includes SA rated helmets, 3 layer suit, fire proof underwear, neck brace, etc. You may be a total geek, but you're worth it!
Plan the race budget ahead of time. For example tires are $700 a set and will last maybe two race weekends. 100 octane race gas is $6 a gallon and I use about 15 to 20 gallons a race weekend. Motel, meals, tow vehicle expenses can make a race weekend cost well over $2000.
Do you feel uncomfortable wearing the 5 pt belts or fire suit or gloves or nomex underwear or helmet? Then practice more frequently than a once a month auto-x since we are not professionals and get to do this every day you will have to make up for it.
914 Modifications listed front to rear:
Removable one piece bumper/spoiler. I use two piece fiberglass bumper and spoiler that is bolted together and glassed with oil cooler and brake inlet duct holes. It is removable so the car can get on/off the trailer or I can attach a tow bar.
Front oil cooler is mandatory if you are racing to keep the oil cool. Use AN fittings and braided hose.
Hood pins will ensure the latch doesn't fail.
Fuel cell is mandatory for wheel to wheel racing. Use kevlar lined fuel lines and barbed fittings.
Fire bottle with three outlets and pull handle in the driver's reach. Hope I never have to use it!
BMW 320I calipers and stock rotors front/rear, tee in place of the prop valve, 23 mm master cylinder, ATE blue brake fluid, Metal Master pads. Cooling air to the front brakes and I have pretty darn good stopping while keeping the 4 bolt wheels. The brakes do not fade during a 20 minute race session.
Adjustable anti sway bar in front, set very stiff. Stock factory bar in the rear, hooked up.
Poly bushings at all suspension and sway bar pivots.
Goodyear 9x23x15 slicks on 7 inch wide rims front and rear. Fender lips are rolled in front only and fenders are rolled and stretched by cutting in the rear which is hard to see unless there is a stock 914 next to it. Jerry had done all of this before I bought the car and it works pretty well so I haven't changed it.
Koni adjustable sport shocks front and rear with larger torsion bars front and 300# adjustable springs in the rear. The car sits very low and slightly nose down to eliminate any understeer. The shocks are set about 50% of their stiffness. The heavy rear springs were needed to eliminate lifting the inside front wheel coming out of corners.
Autopower bolt in roll cage made of DOM tubing. The interior is mostly intact so I installed a bolt in cage which uses mounting plates on the side tunnels and bolts to the stock roll bar for 6 points of mounting.
Removable Momo Competition steering wheel was necessary after installing the cage due to the door bar.
Hard mounted seat mounted on ' x 1 ' inch steel bolted to the floor. This lowered the seat approximately 1 ' inches which helps cornering because of a slightly lower cg.
5 point Simpson harness for driver and passenger replaced yearly.
Gauges include Autometer recall tach, LARGE oil pressure light, oil pressure, oil temp, air/fuel mixture and an Autometer shift light. Column switched have been relocated to the dash and since the car is still street licensed there is a turn signal, dimmer and windshield wiper switches. Horn button is under the column.
Pedals have metal covers and blocks added to move them about 1 inch towards me. Large dead pedal was made so I have something to stomp against during the start of a race.
Video recorder system is from Super Circuits in Texas and has a color camera and sound that feeds into a 12 volt VHS recorder. Pictures and sound are great and the whole setup cost about $500 or so.
Radio system is from RLH communications in Chula Vista CA. RLH has supplied radios for the Baja CA off road races for years and the 8 channel radios with 5 watts of power work fantastic.
Interior was rust proofed with POR-15 during the roll cage install after removing the sealer on the floor. I installed automotive carpet from an outlet to let the car have some measure of comfort!
Battery was moved to the trunk inside a metal box welded into the trunk floor.
Engine is a 2.7 liter four with 10 to 1 compression, J&E forged pistons, Crower custom grind cam, type I lifters, Pauter roller 1.5 rockers, Pauter forged crank and rods, flowed heads with SS valve, double Crower springs, headers, dry sump 12 qt oil system with two stage oil pump, 911 fan conversion, Weber 48 IDF carbs, MSD ignition and it was all assembled by Black Forest in San Diego CA. I went with a big four for a couple of reasons, less weight and better pull out of a corner. The sixes will get me on top end but I can brake later than they can so we are pretty even and I don't want to go much over 120 MPH in that car anyway! The cost of a big four is slightly less than a comparable six so cost wasn't the big factor.
Transmission has short gear set with first through fourth close together and a Quaiff limited slip that I bought from Power Haus II, the gears people. The clutch has a 3500 pressure plate and six puck disk that still has springs to cushion starts and shifts. The transmission was overhauled by Black Forest and I use Swepco fluid. Transmission mounts are solid but the engine mounts in front are stock to ease the shock on the engine/tranny slightly. I replace the shift bushings yearly and do NOT use a short shift kit.
Body mods include the noted fender rolling and flaring, GT style engine cover and removal of the heating ducting/washer hardware in the front trunk area. I use a small wiper motor for boats incase of rain and to make the car street legal. Body work and painting was done at Garage Los Panchos in TJ and I use Dupont two stage enamel, in red of course. They also recovered the cracked dash and made new door panels to give the car a civilized interior.
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