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02 Feb 2023

Photos by Alex Drobik

Behind the scenes at RPM Technik

Alex Drobik reports from the GT3 Register’s return visit  

Back in 2021, we held a Register visit to RPM Technik at Long Marston in Warwickshire. A partial lockdown was in force at the time, so our visit was conducted on the outside and with limited access to RPM Technik’s workshops. On 3 September 2022, we had our second visit and this time it could be without restrictions – what a difference!
A week out, we had 39 cars and 57 members signed up for the visit and the only slight concern was over the weather. A few members warned me that, if we had heavy rain as forecast, they may not be able to make it. Luckily, when the day itself arrived, the weather had cleared and we experienced a warm, dry day.

We had just over 30 GT3s, together with several more non-GT3s whose owners arrived in their alternative Porsches because their GT3s were not available. One even managed to get their friend to come along in their Porsche as long as they gave him a lift to RPM Technik! It was one of the largest gatherings of members’ GT3s that I can recall; we completely filled the main car park and there were cars scattered on the side and in the adjacent parking area too. We had a range of cars present, from the first GT3 models to the latest – as evidenced by the different ‘wings’ across the models. Alas, there were no 992 GT3 RSs but, then again, nobody seems to have taken delivery of one yet in the UK. My thanks to everybody who made the journey, some of whom came from quite far away. I appreciated the support of all.

The event kicked off with Sales Director Greig Daly giving the welcome introduction to RPM Technik and an overview of some of the work that they do in the various workshop areas. The first tour was a visit to the workshops right at the back, where bodywork projects are worked on. On the way there, I saw a stack of broken GT3 front bumpers that had clearly come from damaged – and, I assume, now fixed – GT3s. I wondered if they were road accident damage or, more likely, track damage. I mentioned it to Greig and he smiled. So they were from track damage, then.
From a bare-shell early 911 that was being completely restored to a 993 RS and a 959, there was a wonderful mix of cars. It was nice to see them, knowing as we did that the skills needed to service and repair such cars are considerable and different. Oh, and did I mention the Carrera GT in another workshop area? Very few garages indeed can work on 959s and Carrera GTs alike.

The wheel alignment area was busy. There always seemed to be someone asking about RPM’s Manthey Geometry which attaches directly to the wheel hubs, its set-up parameters, options and so forth. I had my car serviced there a few weeks before the visit and had a full Geo done, including adjusting some settings to help reduce understeer – an issue that 996.1s had and why the Manthey upgrade at the time was to cut slots in the front bumper to reduce lift and add downforce. Later cars had air vents and dive planes, and the new 992 GT3 RS has relocated the radiators to clear the way for front air flow to give more downforce/less drag. Anyway, on my car, the revised geometry added a degree of front-end bite – a mix of the settings used and also increasing the rake. I can’t wait to get back on the track.
It was nice to see everyone break into smaller groups – some to have a chat with friends, some discussing options for wheel alignments, some asking about niggling faults on their car, some looking at the GT3s in the car park and some spending time talking to Tim Harvey. I had a chat with Tim before his presentation and we discussed why the 911 is still a driver’s car. I opined that it is because Porsche put the engine in the wrong place, so you have to keep awake to drive it despite all the ‘gizmos’ to tame the rear weight bias. After all, I argued, nobody would build a sports car today with that overhanging rear axle weight. That said, it works and works brilliantly, but it still keeps the front light and alive. That is my theory, though I’m not sure what Tim made of it.
Tim then gave his presentation, where he gave his views on Porsches, mainly focusing on the 911, then overviewed some of his racing history from the golden age of touring car racing (and crashing) and explained why he continues to be a true petrolhead. He also described the need to make very, very nuanced minor adjustments when driving fast on track, each move compensating for some situation, particularly when cornering – traffic, track condition, position and so on. He also mentioned his favourite tracks – typically hilly and fast, with the Nordschleife being number one. Spa-Francorchamps was also high on the list, as was Oulton Park (a mini-Nürburgring). Silverstone was not high on his list, being fast but flat (as are many airfield circuits in the UK), and I had to agree with Tim; the hilly ones seem to be more fun in a Porsche.
I smiled at his story of coming back home from Spa and still wanting to drive his GT3 further. I admit that, after driving mine home from the same circuit, I really didn’t want to go any further than where I live. Perhaps the newer cars are more comfortable? Tim took a number of questions and stayed the entire time talking to members. Many thanks, Tim.
Our visit continued until midday, with many members taking the opportunity to socialise as well as asking the RPM Technik team car-related questions. Indeed, towards the end, I saw one member being helped to clear an ECU fault and another considering which brake discs could be a good upgrade. It was great to see so many friends there and I had many members come to me to say hello, some of whom I had previously known by name and email address only, so it was good to put faces to names at last.
The visit ran its course by the early afternoon, which is when I left after thanking Ollie, Greig, Darren, Ricky, Tim and all of the RPM Technik team for hosting us so well. I hope everyone who made the visit found it interesting and fun. The feedback I had was very positive but, as always, it is great to hear from others about what could be improved and what other visits we could do.

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