Ferraris are for looking at, Porsches have always been for racing. Now Porsche owners can be more like race drivers and engineers, reviewing on-track speed, braking and cornering performance via smartphone.
Porsche Track Precision, a free app, is pre-loaded with the layouts of more than 200 racetracks around the world and can map any other track you’re on.
Once your 911, 714 Boxster or Cayman has crossed the start line, lap times are just the start of the information it captures.
The phone sits in a regular suction cup-secured holder — landscape alignment works better — with the camera pointed through the windscreen. There’s scope to add to a second camera for shooting video in HD or UHD.
There are numerous ways to get access to the data link to the Porsche Communication Management set-up. For the version 4.0 in use for today’s track day in a 911 at The Bend, east of Adelaide, we’re using the car’s Wi-Fi.
We click the “Do Not Disturb” function on the phone, keep it charging and avoid connecting to Apple CarPlay.
The app’s attention span, or continuity, during track work seems to suffer when power is low or when the infotainment set-up is engaged.
With the track of choice keyed in — there are two tracks at The Bend and it knows both — we hit the start button, accelerate over the line and the app goes to work.
The driver’s job is to remember the pro’s instructions on where to brake, where not to drop off the bitumen (everywhere, apparently) and when to turn off the electronic nursemaids (never).
Data is fed via the Sport Chrono package and the 911’s own sensors, giving the driver access to braking and turning sharpness, stability control applications, telemetry such as G-forces, steering angles and speed — and of course, lap time.
The best efforts are hailed with audible updates efforts and readout shows timing splits.
Extensive detail in the app runs to post-lap analysis linked to the video, ideal for those looking to pick up precious fractions of a second on laps, just like a race team’s download and review session.
(Unlike a race team, the app won’t advise on such tactics as saving fuel or stacking up the field behind you to give a teammate a clear run.)
The Bend is among many venues for Porsche’s track days around Australia. The app differentiates the 3.93km East track, with a smaller pit building, from the West track, a 3.41km layout that incorporates a long main straight, main pits and hotel.
Porsche Australia marketing and motorsport director Toni Andreevski says Australian participation in track days trails only Germany and the US. About half of the brand’s annual 4000-odd buyers attend such events.
“We’ve had examples of owners who bought a car, had no intention of doing a track day but did, had a great time and are now running in the GT3 Cup Challenge, having gone right through the Track Experience and club days,” he says.
Thanks to unseasonal wet weather at The Bend, not only do we put the app through its paces but we also test the Wet mode on the new 911 Carrera S. The showers dappling the track slow our pace — but not much.
A dry line soon appears and the more cautious drive mode is quickly abandoned for the Sport modes as confidence grows in the rear-wheel drive’s abundant grip and traction.
Rain returns to make getting 331kW and 530Nm to the ground a more thought-provoking exercise — and the telemetry readouts from the app display minimal interference from the stability control.
The Porsche Track Precision app gives drivers bragging rights for about track-day exploits and they can take to social media with evidence of their prowess. Worthier than that, they get the means of improving their lap times and honing their skills behind the wheel.
Originally published as Must-have car app will blow your mind