It's a question that's been on my mind ever since I got the 993 a few years ago.
Going straight is, of course, not complicated. The only thing I can tell you is that there's no point revving the engine and dropping the clutch. A factory standard non-turbo engine dies doing that. As for braking, it's worthwhile learning to toe-heel well and keep the car balanced as you slow down.
But the correct way to take a corner is open to more debate. The huge weight of the engine behind the car's centre of gravity makes this a critical question. While this offers tremendous traction in the rear, it leaves the front-end very light.
Beginner track drivers are warned to always brake in a straight line but Vic Elford in the "Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook" explains that you should gradually ease the brake off right up to the apex. This makes sense in order to keep the weight on the front wheels as long as possible. This is called "trail braking".
A friend and I went to the Trackdays event up at Rockingham (very quickly in his 996). It was a nice event but unfortunately it was poorly attended. At a near empty seminar, I was able to pose this question to Mike Wilds who is a very accomplished race car driver and instructor. It turns out he also owns a Porsche 911. Here are some of his comments.
- Look up and through the corner. Don't watch your dials.
- Toe-heel brake smoothly up to the turn-in point. Position is key.
- Make a single turn of the steering wheel ("commitment") avoid steering adjustments
- Never turn hand over hand. If you must, slip the wheel through one hand keeping the position of the other.
- Don't bother driving fast until you can consistently drive the race line well hitting a perfect tangent at the apex.
- "slow in, fast out" - enter the corner slower than you might think and gradually increase power all the way out. If the car is understeering, you're entering the corner too fast.
As for trail braking, he believed it wasn't really needed. This agrees with the "point and shoot" description I've heard for driving a 911. But he did say it was fine to trail brake but the technique was to apply the throttle at the turn-in point while still keeping the brake on up to the apex. Using both at the same time was a new idea for me.
This obviously calls for a trackday to try some of these things out.