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12 Apr 2017

Clubnight at the Deanwater - Unique Porsche Specialists

Presentation from Darren King of Unique Porsche Specialists on setting up his business, the services he offers and his experience in Motorsport.

Darren's Words

I was recently asked to give a presentation for Porsche Club region 5 at the Deanwater pub in Wilmslow to talk about my first 12 months in business setting up Unique Porsche. Not something I've done before but I loved the opportunity and I was made very welcome by a friendly group of people.

One of the topics was my involvement in racing in 3 different championships in 2016, GT Cup running a 997 cup car, a 968 in the 750 motor club enduro series and a Boxster 986 in the Porsche Club Championship. This lead to being asked to write a few words about one of my proudest moments. As well as taking podiums in GT Cup with Jonathan Evans and Tom Bradshaw and also winning outright in the 750mc at Donnington with Jonathan and Ben Demitriou, this didn't come close to helping Talan Skeels Piggins compete in Porsche Club. 

Talan is a wheelchair user and is paralysed from the chest down but this never stopped him representing team GB in the winter Paralympics nor racing super bikes. So he asked me if we could adapt a manual Boxster S for him for his next inspirational challenge.

We found a Liverpool based company which specialises in adapting road cars for the disabled and ordered an electric motor which fitted under the bonnet and pulled the clutch pedal with a cable, controlled electrically by a trigger potentiometer on the gear stick called a "duck clutch".The throttle was controlled by an "over ring" fitted to the steering wheel and the brake was a lever bolted directly to the brake pedal using an adjustable rod. 

After testing the systems and taking part in the first few rounds of the championship, the electric clutch was not competitive enough to race with, taking a couple of seconds to change gear made us finish last everytime.

We needed a faster operation of the clutch and with the help of Rob from Orr Connect we developed an air clutch system. The idea was simple, we needed a ram to press the pedal, a trigger to operate it and a 12v compressor which ran around 120psi. 
However, there are no instruction manuals on things like this and with us working through the clock trying different rams and triggers we finally had something which could probably make Talan compete against the other drivers in his class.

The next meeting was at Donnington and after a brief testing of the air clutch and qualifying last, we were still proud of our unique clutch design in just a few days. 

At the start of the race Talan had to use the slow electric clutch system as he needed clutch control to set off, something the air clutch couldn't provide as it was either up or down. But once he got into 3rd gear he was able to switch over to air and several laps later he was getting faster and faster and gaining on the car in front. Within another 2 laps he was right on Hugo Holmes' tail, a very experienced driver in class 2.
It was my proudest career moment when Talan overtook him and we didn't finish last!
The feeling was immeasurable and to change his pit board position for him was better than any win. All the late nights paid off there and then. 
This guy was and still is an inspiration to me and I loved working with him. The last I heard he's now trying to beat the land speed record for a paraplegic on 2 wheels. Please YouTube him or find him on Facebook, there's only one!
Darren King

The April Clubnight was yet again very well attended, with a good-humoured and knowledgeable presentation by Darren King of Unique Porsche Specialists based near Bolton. Darren started in true cinematic style with a short movie on his business and the services it offers, from Porsche servicing, diagnostics, and vehicle inspections, right through to full race-car preparation.   

Darren is well known in Porsche circles, with many years experience at Porsche Bolton and then at Hartech before forming Unique. It was great to hear some of the race-car stories and to share his knowledge  -  and he even had some very happy customers in the audience!

Thanks to Darren for an interesting evening, and also to Seb Graham for the technical support.


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