The next morning, twenty or so cars stage at the bottom of the course while corner workers test their radio systems. I have no illusions of winning, but I still have a goal -- one that I hope won't lead me to do something regrettable with Porsche's lovely $147,000 car. I want to join the 3:41 Club, so named for the drivers who've completed the course in less than three minutes and forty-one seconds. That requires averaging about 85 mph, and only forty-seven drivers have done it in the history of the event. So, while the 911 Turbo is undoubtedly a monster, it's also unmodified -- rare in this crowd -- and entry to the 3:41 Club is by no means a gimme. The course record, set by Rosenbaum in his Ferrari F40, is 3:10. Some of the guys with the faster cars are talking about beating the record, but we're all about to get a hard-won understanding that 3:10 is outrageously, unattainably fast.
I watch some of the other drivers take off up the hill. It's early and tires are cold, so the big-power rear-wheel-drive guys are setting off gingerly. I, too, plan to take it easy on my initial runs, but when I have a chance to use launch control, I'm gonna take it.
Yes, I picked a 911 Turbo with the PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. Look, if I were going to buy a 911 Turbo for myself (delightful hypothesis, that), then I'd get one with a manual transmission. However, I'm trying to set the fastest time possible up this hill, and Turbos with the PDK gearbox are simply quicker than Turbos without it. If Porsche engineers are going to stay up late designing a super-robot transmission to make their cars faster, the least I can do is use it.