Jack’s President’s Message – July/August 2024

July 2,2024


I have owned my 98 Boxster for 17 years. I’ve been a PCA member for the same amount of time. I have lived in five regions including the Absaroka region.

Over the years I’ve heard about High Performance Drivers Education (HPDE). I thought HPDE was about car racing like Rennsport. I didn’t want the risk. Why would I want to race my car!  You’ve seen the ads for Porsches “never been tracked”. I thought there must be something wrong with tracking your car.

This past year, I heard from a few of our members that they had been to the HPDE Lewistown and it was great. No one died at the HPDE.

I decided I would go for it, albeit with a lot of reservations and questions.

  1. Will my 98 Boxster stay together!
  2. Will the other participants with faster 911s just laugh at my 26-year-old base Boxster?
  3. Will I die driving with all those super fast cars. I’ve been to Rennsport and Road American and I’ve observed the spin outs!
  4. Will I die!

I figured I’m retired, the house is paid for, Patty will be financially comfortable, so I registered for the Lewistown HPDE, sponsored by our Big Sky region friends (June 29th & 30th.) My plan was I would trailer the Boxster with my RV because taking the RV and the Boxster on my trailer would give me the option of canceling the trip without a lot of penalties.

I bought a helmet, bled the Boxster’s brakes (twice), loaded the Boxster on the trailer and was ready to drive up to Lewistown on Friday the 28th.

Friday was a little windy with wind gusts up to 60 miles an hour. Not the best forecast for a high-profile RV transiting thru the Judith Gap. The weather forecast said the winds would slow down around 6:00 PM, so I waited all day for the wind to calm down. Around 5:00,  I headed out with the plan to drive to Lewistown via Roundup.

The wind was strong on King Ave and the RV was thrown all over the place. I decided to fuel up at the Town Pump at King and Shiloh, and wait for the wind to slow down.  I waited for almost two hours. My compatriots on this journey Duane House, Dan Gramins and Doug Oakes were on their way to Lewistown and we’re demanding updates on my progress.

I decided to go home and wait out the wind overnight. I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for Doug, Dwayne, and Dan already in Lewistown, and their encouragement me, I would have just bagged out of the whole adventure.

On Saturday, I slept in. I missed the 8:30 meeting, so I would not be able to drive on the track until Sunday. I arrived around 10:00, Doug, Dwayne and Dan had met their instructors and had the drive of their lifetime. They were all smiles.

What I observed on Saturday was that HPDE was not a race for fastest time or best car. HPDE was there so every Porsche and non-Porsche owner would learn to enjoy experiencing the true capabilities of their car. There were some awesome cars, PCA members, and other drivers who were there to learn about their cars and their capabilities to drive fast and safe.

On Sunday I got time to drive with an instructor. I was in the student group. There would be two Boxster’s in our group, myself, and Duane. Duane was driving with his instructor.

Was I too old to be doing this? Was my car too old to do this?  I told my instructor I was scared! We started off. My instructor Jim drove my car first. I was surprised what my 26-year-old Boxster could do on those curves. I don’t know how fast Jim got the Boxster going because I was too focused on the track and the turns. I do know it was faster than I had ever driven it!

When it was my turn to drive, Jim kept me comfortable and confident. What an experience! I don’t think I drove faster than the Montana speed limit, but I did it on curves.

My point in all this is I will be back to Lewistown HPDE. The instructors, participants and families were there to have fun. We were there to learn how to drive our cars safely and to the learn the car’s capabilities. My 26-year-old Boxster and it’s old driver had 22 miles of fun on that track that day.

The PCA Lewistown HPDE is an awesome event located in our backyard. The next event comes up at the end of August let’s go and have fun. If you haven’t gone to HPDE in Lewistown, you are missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime as a Porsche owner. I’m 80% sure that I will be in Lewistown at the end of August for HPDE.

There’s nothing to be afraid of. It isn’t a race. It’s a group of highly professional people willing to share their knowledge and driving skills.