944 vs the Dragon

Photo by Glenn Holden

Porsche 944 vs the Dragon

We took our newly acquired 1986 Porsche 944 to the Dragon 8 hill climb in Robbinsville, NC. We figured this would make a good shakedown before our first endurance race.

This year Registration and Tech was located on the hill rather than in the town of Robbinsville. So we made the 12 mile trek and unloaded the car at the bottom and drove up and staked out a spot to paddock on the side of the road.

Tech was a breeze since this car already had a log book. Once registration was complete we set up our spot and saved a spot for our friend Dave (aka Captain Chaos) who uses an ambulance body for a tow vehicle. S2000 driver Krafton and Julie were there with lots of snacks as well. We tuned our radio to the worker frequency so we could keep up with what was happening. The ambulance made a great place to hang out and change in and out of our sweaty driver suits.


We met up with more friends from previous events and went back to town to eat at Lynne’s place. With the event going on in addition to the regular weekend motorcycle traffic, the restaurant was packed. But we had fun catching up and telling car stories as we waited. The food was excellent as usual. I had the dragon tail chicken.

Saturday morning the weather was beautiful. No fog like in years past. Tom took the first run up the hill and ran 144. I followed with a 144 of my own. My best time last year in the Sentra was 147.


We were feeling pretty good about the car until on one start, I went to shift from 1 to 2 and found only neutral. We spent some time trying to diagnose on the side of the road and finally decided to load up and take it back to the shop hoping to return on Sunday.

We were working to meet up with our mechanic friend who was on his way up to see us race. He offered some suggestions, so we stopped at the Walmart in Murphy to check the linkage more closely.

I set the ramps out on jack stands and was able to back the car out and had sort of a mini lift. This made access to the transaxle much easier. I soon found a set screw had backed out of the shift linkage. I put it back in and we headed back to the hill.

We had missed a few runs and lunch but we each got in two more runs on Saturday. We were both down to 140 being careful with the shifter.

Saturday night we went to the historic Tapaco lodge for dinner. We ate outdoors by the river. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a variety of foods including wood fired smores pizza for desert.

Sunday morning, I broke into the 139’s on my first run. I also broke the shifter again on the way down. However, this time I knew what to do and had it fixed in time for Tom to make his run group. He was tentative in his shifting and stayed in the 140’s. I will be putting a safety wire on this screw before we endurance race it.

I slowly chipped away at my times during the day. Being careful with the shifter, I started running in third and just holding at the rev limiter in the short straights instead of shifting to forth. This method actually helped my times. By the end of the day I was at 138.1. Tom got 138.5.

time slips

I really enjoyed diving the Porsche. The balanced handling gives me a lot of confidence in the car. I think this will help when driving in traffic on the road course.

Glenn Holden got some great shots of our car: (some of Dave and Krafton as well)

In car video is up on youtube.