Spectre 341 Challenge

Waiting my turn down at the bottom, I hear anecdotal evidence that the 911 Turbo is possibly the hardest-launching car that anyone here has ever seen. I can believe that, because through the first two gears, the car feels like it's on the verge of pulling a wheelie. And in fact, a 997-series Turbo will occasionally lift the inside front wheel off the ground when powering out of corners. Ask Hurley Haywood to demonstrate sometime.

Another frequent comment concerns the Porsche's noise. Apparently, it makes quite a din on takeoff as it bangs up through the gears. Inside, you're too preoccupied with driving to pay much attention to the cacophony going on behind you -- in my notes, I wrote "noise like Lucifer yawning," and I'm not really sure what I was talking about. I might've been suffering from the effects of too many launch-control starts.

By the end of the day, I feel like I've got a basic handle on the course. But I'm still erring on the side of caution. I'd rather come out of a corner a little too slow than go into one a little too fast. As Rosenbaum points out, there are no prizes. Ultimately, the Spectre 341 Challenge is you against yourself, and I'm trying not to become my own worst enemy. That said, at the end of the day we see our times, and I pushed hard enough to join the 3:41 Club. On my fifth run up the hill, I clocked a 3:34 -- for historical context, about three seconds off the early-'90s record time for a closed-wheel car, set by an Audi Sport Quattro, which was basically a homologated Group B rally car. The Porsche has more speed in reserve, but the question is whether I'll be bold enough tomorrow to try to find it.

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