From the first time we read Ross Bentley’s summary about the Garmin Catalyst, we knew we had to add it to our product catalog. So we’re proud to announce that GeorgeCo Motorsports is now an authorized Garmin Dealer. We’ve gotten our first few units in stock and as soon as we update the inventory database, they’re gone.
So let’s back up. What’s the Garmin Catalyst and why get so excited about a tablet computer? There are many lap timers and data acquisition systems out on the market, some better than the others. Some (most) are complicated to use, and require off-track analysis. The Garmin Catalyst takes a different approach, offering real-time feedback to improve your driving. It’s not about RPMs, brake pedal pressure, or throttle position. It’s about pace and form and line.
The Catalyst isn’t for every HPDE driver. A beginning student is going to be too inconsistent lap-to-lap and would find the feedback “carry more speed” is probably dangerous. And on the other extreme, the experienced racer looking for that final tenth isn’t likely to find it here either. (My go-to coaching advice: it’s your pedal release….) But the advanced intermediate to experienced advanced HPDE driver who knows there’s .5 to 2 seconds a lap to still be gained — that’s the target. You get the benefit of an experienced AI coach riding in the right seat, without the additional weight penalty of carrying a passenger. This could be a great tool for an enduro team to use in practice, especially if there’s a huge range of skills among the drivers that have teamed up for the race.
Too many lap timers give you an “optimum” lap time by pasting together your best times through every corner on a track. But that’s not how the real world works. Fast out of one corner often means a compromise into the next. The Catalyst gives you realistic track segments, and offers not only advice on line, speed, turn in, apex and exit, but can also show you what that line looks like. You can also choose how much coaching feedback you want to receive as you’re driving. Turn off the audio coaching and use it as a more traditional lap timer and review your session back in the paddock. Turn on basic coaching for feedback as you drive, or enable the advanced coaching feedback to fine tune your line.
Read about the details or purchase over on our product page. Look for upcoming posts as we unbox and install it. Garmin offers several mounting options and more accessories are coming out in the coming weeks.
I went to school in Stuttgart in the 80’s and always considered it a sort of second home town. I was excited to have the opportunity to go back this summer and have a few hours to hang out at the Porsche Museum. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend a visit.
In this second post, I wanted to show some of the other cars that caught my eye at the show. They included a K20A2 Honda-swapped 964, Movie Bullitt Mustang, Toyota LMP1, and some pretty cool VWs. Below are a few of my favorites. I especially liked the Type 2 bus pickup with the Subi swap. The Toyota LMP1 was sort of sad. It was off in a far corner and it was just there to shill for a rear view camera.
For those of you who live in constant fear that your M96 engined 996 is about to self-destruct, you should take some comfort in these photos: This is the stock dual-row IMS bearing that came out of my old car at 105,000 miles. It still turns smoothly, and the bearing seals are intact. It was replaced with a ceramic bearing from LN Engineering by the car’s new owner along with a new clutch and resurfaced flywheel. The clutch had 45,000 miles on it and was only worn 50 percent. It was only replaced because it makes sense to do it along with the RMS at the same time as the IMS bearing.
Keeping mind my past experience with a carpet swap in a BMW E30 some years ago, I finally found a good replacement for the carpet in the 996 and, uttering those infamous words “how hard could it be”, set off to do the carpet swap last weekend. If you’re curious how much of your interior you have to remove to do this swap, here’s your answer: almost all of it.
Pelican parts has an excellent DIY write-up which I won’t duplicate here, but do have a couple of helpful pointers for those who endeavor to follow. Here are the key lessons learned from my experience:
Just cut. Follow the Pelican Parts top tip and just cut the new one in half down the middle (under the center console.) I didn’t do that, and it would have made it a whole lot easier to maneuver into position in the passenger footwell. You might have to use some extra contact cement along the center tunnel since the two halves aren’t held together any more, but it is totally worth it in reduced aggravation. And you won’t have to remove the shifter cables from the shifter or the e-brake handle mechanism from the tunnel.
Give yourself the weekend. The two hour estimate is off by a factor of 5 (maybe 10.) It took me 2 hours just to remove the accelerator pedal (and I’ve done that before.)
Bend don’t remove side panels. To release the rear corner of the carpet on each side, you have to remove the rear-seat side panels from their lower catches. You don’t need to remove the entire panel, just carefully bend the panel as you pull up and you can free it from the slots in the carpet and have enough room to maneuver the new one into place when the time comes.
Frustration ahead. The accelerator pedal can be a bear to remove and reinstall. To remove, take out the set screw, pull forward by the top (what looks like an old cell phone antenna housing) to release the top catch, then slide up to release the cleat. Expect buckets of frustration when you try to put it back. It’s easier to do if you do put it back before you reinstall the seats.
Don’t turn the key. Once you disconnect the electrical connections to the seats, you will get an airbag light if you turn the key to the on position (to roll down a window, for example). If you have a reset tool like the Schwaben Professional Scanner (with the right Porsche software module from Foxwell) you can reset it yourself. Otherwise you’re heading to the Dealer and pleading for them not to charge you for the reset.
The photo above will help you visualize what’s going on with the accelerator pedal module. When you remove it, you pull out to release the round peg, then pull up to release the square-ish cleat. To install, slide the cleat in first, then push down and forward to lock the peg. Secure with the screw. Or better yet, upgrade the whole thing to a fully adjustable throttle assembly (though that probably means cutting your new carpet….)
You also learn interesting things by tearing apart your interior, like how unnecessarily complex the center console design really is or that there is in fact a coin tray in the console box (which you have to remove by carefully prying the top to get to one of the screws).