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PCA Club Racing Driveway to Raceway: Don Jacobs

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Article by Kate Taylor and Don Jacobs

Don Jacobs' first Porsche was a 1976 911 early Turbo clone purchased in the mid-1980s. Jacobs went on to buy a 1989 Turbo, which he still owns, and joined the Porsche Club of America (PCA) in 1988. 

After reading about High Performance Drivers Education (HPDE) in Panorama, he decided to try his hand at an event. He recalls that his wife, Gayle, looked at him and said "Seriously? You're taking that car on a race track? You park it 300 feet away from any other car in parking lots!"

Now, the Riesentöter PCA Region member races in the PCA Vintage Series.

"Although it may look differently, the Vintage Series has to do with the cars and not the drivers...even though many of us qualify for that division," Jacobs joked.

THE APPEAL 

My first race was at Pocono Raceway in 1995. Actually, my car is the same one I'm racing today, but it has a much different engine in it now.

I won the race and Rookie of the Race at that event. Maybe I would be better off if I had lost; it would've saved me a lot of money! 

My race car went from 4 cylinders to a 2.2-liter Peter Dawe engine and ran GT5 for a while. Peter built a 2.8-liter engine and we moved it into the GT4 class. Later, the engine grew to 3.2 liters.

Fred Pfeiffer and several other PCA members created the PCA Vintage Series in 2016, and it's the best thing to ever happen to PCA! Although I missed the first race at Summit Point Motorsports Park, I've competed at every Vintage race since then. The vintage group is a great bunch of people to race with.

Gayle and I were driving to a race a few years ago and we passed by a car trailer with a sign on the back that said, "Enclosed in this trailer is a disease for which there is no known cure." 

We looked at each other and thought, wow, now that's the truth!

PADDOCK INSIDE SCOOP

We were on our way to a race at Lime Rock Park. Peter Dawe's shop was in New York, so we stayed in NYC overnight. The car was finally back together and running at 2 a.m. The next day, I had to break in the new engine and we had a lot more power in the car. I was racing against Ron Savinaugh and others. The gearbox locked up while I was leading the race and Ron went on to win. This is something that continues to stick in my mind!

The next race at Mid-Ohio, during qualifying, I burned a hole in the #5 piston. I took the car to Peter's shop and said, "Don't dial it back. I'm not interested in competing for second place!" 

JACOBS' PORSCHE LINEUP

  • 1987 Turbo Slant Nose
  • 1989 Turbo - (Our "Sunday go for ice cream car")
  • 1970 914/6 
  • 1975 914/4
  • 1972 911 T 
  • 1974 914 Race Car - 3.2 liter
  • 1975 914 Race Car - 2.2 liter

ADVICE TO NEW DRIVERS

There's nothing wrong with patience! You very seldom win the race in the first lap, but you could lose the race in the first lap. 

JACOBS' RACING FAMILY
Gayle and I have been married for 53 years. I was lucky to marry a girl who loves cars and Porsches just as much as I do! My first Porsche - I told the guy I would take it and I got home and told Gayle I bought the car and she wasn't thrilled. She wanted to see the car before I bought it! The impulse had overcome me.


Above, from left: Don, Gayle, Justin, and Jarrad

For Christmas last year, I bought Gayle a 1987 Turbo Factory 505 Option. Actually, I think that's her Christmas and anniversary present for the next 20 years or so! I keep trying to convince her that I bought it for her and not me. 

Our two sons are in their 40s and they have developed our enthusiasm for cars and racing. They do a lot of motorcycle track events at many of the tracks that we race - Summit Point and New Jersey Motorsport Park - among others. 

They invited me to do a track event with them at Pocono Raceway a few years ago. I was concerned about my younger son, Jarred, who disappeared at one point and I saw they were picking up bikes scattered around the track. He ended up coming back a little skinned up, but otherwise, he was totally fine. Now he's a lot better than his older brother...and his dad! 

Our sons keep encouraging me to add another car to the stable, so they can start doing PCA HPDE events. Gayle and I are considering it...

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