Driving Tours – A Note from Gary Feldmann our ORPCA Tour Chairperson
With the start of better weather this season our thoughts as Porsche owners turns towards driving and enjoying our cars on some curvy roads. As the tour chairman this year, I have been thrust into a constantly controversial discussion on driving pace at the monthly Arrive & Drive tours. I’ve heard from members who feel pressured from others behind them making them uncomfortable and others who would be happiest going faster. As a regional club we have a responsibility to enforce national PCA minimum tour standards and as of the start of 2018 these standards are no longer “suggestions”. In these regulations it is required of us to obey all local traffic laws including speeds. In order to apply for, keep in force and maintain our ability to obtain liability insurance for the tours it is essential that we do our best to abide by PCA standards. Without this insurance there are no tours period. Standards require all participants to stay behind the tour leader and ahead of the sweep car. If you pass the lead car or stray from the tour route intentionally you are considered no longer part of the tour and therefore no longer covered by club insurance.
Our Arrive & Drive tours attract drivers and cars of various abilities and as such we need to be mindful of our own limitations as well as the capabilities of our vehicle when driving on a tour. Just because the GT3 in front of you can negotiate a curve at high speed you can’t assume your car can do the same. It’s easy to get too comfortable when focusing on the car in front and forget to focus on the road ahead.
As for the faster among us it is important to not pressure those in front you by following too close or passing dangerously. Generally, we try to have more spirited drivers toward the front and leisurely toward the rear. This doesn’t always happen and my apologies if we neglect to announce this at the driver’s meetings. Having said this, it is obviously a slippery slope when you encourage “spirited” driving in light of PCA tour rules and by no means is it a license to speed or drive at the limit of you or your car! As always, the tour leader sets the pace!
If you find that drivers behind you seem to be following to close or seem to be pressuring you to go faster than you feel comfortable going you are encouraged to find a safe place to pull over and wave on those behind while staying ahead of the sweep car. Likewise stay a safe distance from the car in front, usually 1 Car length per 10 mph.
As I’ve mentioned at tour driver’s meetings these events are not races, rallies or any form of competition and aggressive driving is discouraged and may lead to a request to leave the tour. I’ve driven on tours led by 5 different car clubs and seen a range of behaviors including speeds in excess of 140 mph and dangerous passes as well as cars leaving the road and injuring occupants and near misses.
I don’t want to see this on any tours on my watch and count on all of you to temper your enthusiasm and save it for the appropriate venues. We have a great Autocross program led by Eric Freedle as well as several road race tracks in the Pacific NW to get your fix.
In closing I encourage you to sign in at the National PCA web site and look for “Forms and Documents” when you hover over the “Home” button. You will find “PCA Minimum Driving Tour Standards” under Region Management. Please take the time to read it through for a better understanding of what is expected of all of us on tours.
Let’s SAFELY enjoy the summer!
ORPCA Tour Chairman