Reader Submissions: Jim Goodlett's Porsche Race Car

Jim Goodlett’s Porsche Race Car

By Petrolicious Productions
December 31, 2012

Jim Goodlett’s passion for cars, and in particular vintage Porsches has led him to acquire during the last year not only a beautiful grey market 1984 930 Turbo, but also an impressive 1973 911 built to RSR specs for racing.  We had the opportunity to catch up with Jim at Roebling Road where he was testing his RSR-spec 911.

Q: Tell us about your car.  

A: It started life as a 1973 Porsche 911 and was later built up as a left coast, IMSA track flogging Porsche RSR with tube framing that brings weight in at a svelte 1,980 pounds dry. All body panels save for the roof are glass fibre.  Furthermore, I did what most race car owners did with their 1973 and earlier era Porsche 911s when the 1974 3.0 litre motors showed up on the scene: out went the 2.7 litre of its day, and in went a case-splitting, 3.0-litre motor mated to a 5-speed optioned 915 transmission.

Q: What is it you love about the 911?

A: Not many (if any) auto manufacturers have had a nearing 50-year run to perfect a form, an engine/suspension, if not the brand around this iconic piece of brilliant engineering found in the variants of the 911.  But for those in the know, the 70’s and early 80’s era cars have such incredibly rich race history during an era in which Porsche reigned supreme, though that tradition of winning still continues today.

Q: What is it like to own a street and track pair of 911’s?

A: I can only think of one word that describes it most: humbling.  For the streetable ’80s-era 930, it commands attention when applying foot to pedal and hand to wheel, so I have to pay it mind and increase requisite skills.  If I am early in to work, it has a tendency to steer me across the bridge to the Isle of Hutchinson racetrack, which doubles as a deserted roadway most days, and five laps are attained to spirit the day. The same can be said for end of day if I get the rare chance to leave before sun goes down. In total, the 930 is meant to be driven on curvalicious roadways.

As to the RSR, it is not just a thing of beauty looking like it has been suction-cupped to the ground with proper aerodynamics and wheel arches big enough to use as a dinner table, but I must say that the lines which whisk back to the elongated whale tail can have me sitting out in the garage staring at the bloody thing all day.

On the racetrack with the RSR, one needs to have their wits about them even more so, for as my friend Jeff Beck said, “it’s quite the visceral ride at speed”.

Q: How does the driving experience compare between the two?

A: Well, the RSR build is as light as a helium balloon but is quite sticky to the road (even though it feels like being shot from a cannon when power is applied roaring out of pit), whilst the 930 has a kick-in-the-pants turbo boost ability that feels like my Ducati 916 when I whack the throttle.

The RSR has more rubber to it and is so light, so slinging it deep into brake zones and tossing it into corners is easier, but the 930 has this rather disgustingly fun turbo thwack that gives you unending grins when you keep it on boost and apply foot into floorboards.  In total, you bloody well better be pointed in the right direct with both cars, because you are going to get there in one helluva hurry.

Q: Why did you go for vintage Porsche rather than modern versions?

A: It goes back to my days as a young lad, poring over racing magazines from Europe.  The Porsches of that era were devoid of most electronic mumbo jumbo, and required one’s full attention as there was and is simply nothing to autocorrect an erred steering, brake, or throttle input gone awry, other than experience and quickness of limbs.  In total, they are quite simply a driver’s car.

Q: What are your hopes for the car and your adventures with it?

A: Tracking and racing the RSR build is as much about the thrill of being able to drive a period-correct racecar at pace, as it is to learn the skills that were requisite back when.  Fortunately, there are a good number of these cars flogging about in HSR races that will allow me to run the process of learning at speed and do something that is just as much bloody fun: meet the fanatic nutters who drive these cars like they stole them.

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