Member Profile: Bob & Alicia Hahn
April 29, 2012
The Historian’s Desk By Lou Scalzo
In the recent past, I have been writing the monthly TR Historian article about historical race cars, or races such as the recent 50th anniversary of the 24 hours of Daytona. This month I have decided to go in a different direction and do stories on some of our members in the Carolinas region that would like to share their Porsche interest’s and experiences in the club. I would also like to extend an offer in the future to anyone in the club that would like to share their own story, if so please contact me so we can put it into print in a upcoming issue.

- Lou
A few weeks ago I met with Bob and Alicia Hahn, at their South Charlotte home to talk about Bob’s passion, club racing with his 944 turbo. Bob grew up in Long Island N.Y., watching racing as a kid at the famed Bridgehampton racetrack back in the day. Later, after moving to Charlotte, he decided to get into PCA club racing after visiting Road Atlanta with friend Matt Hapgood. Bob bought a ’86 944 turbo and started PCA Club racing, entering his first race in 1999 at Roebling Road. Along the way he met a few other 944 drivers from the area, helping each other out, wrenching and preparing their own Porsche’s for club racing. Bob explained to me that he likes racing in the 944 turbo for club racing because it is very balanced, fast, and “a lot of sports car for the dollar”. Among the original 944 group were Matt Hapgood, Jon Stone, and Mats Herrstromer. “We usually would race at CMP, VIR, Road Atlanta, and Roebling Roads. But we did race at Sebring 3 or 4 times also,” said Bob.

Bob races in F Class which is a stock class, only allowing a different exhaust and air cleaner, with a minimum weight of 3148 lbs. On his current ’88 944 turbo S, he had Aaron from Eurowerks fabricate the roll cage, with Sellers Machine Shop in Paw Creek handling Bob’s machining needs. He has also replaced the front suspension A arms with Monoball Charlie Arms. Bob uses 944online, Paragon, and The Racers Edge for most of his parts. “My biggest expense have been tires and brake pads, I usually go thru 2 sets of each, every race weekend”

I asked Bob to share with us some of the lighter moments he has had in the last 7 years of PCA club racing, and he had several interesting stories. “Early on I didn’t know much about the car. I was having some engine issue’s with it at Roebling Road and I asked Matt Hapgood if he could test drive the car and check it out with me. We made it around turn 2 and then poof! Matt motioned for me to look into the rear view mirror to see billows of smoke and what was left of my engine in the background.”

“Another time, I took Alicia out for a ride for the first time during a practice session at CMP. The agreement was that I would not go over 90 mph, which I honored. But I never went much slower than that either”, Bob chuckled. Well needless to say, it was Alicia first and last ride in the 944! A 3rd story was the time Bob was checking out the extinguishing system test switch, during a pre- race inspection, “I should have gotten just the lights, but it was accidentally in the Operational position, I ended up with extinguisher dust all over me and puddles all in the car”.

A 4th story Bob told; “Last year at Road Atlanta for a club race, while driving thru the bottom of turn 5, I suffered a severe oil leak which caused me to spin, ending up backwards at the bottom of the S –facing 2 911’s coming at me, with flames coming out of the hood. I hit the extinguisher, which did not put out the fire. Luckily the track marshals arrived in time to get it out!

But Bob’s best and most satisfying story was this one; “I’ve never won a race, but I was running very well in 2nd place at Roebling Road when one of my eyeglass lenses fell out of the frames while driving, and I was struggling to see correctly. Luckily another car went off the track causing a fullcourse yellow flag. Thinking quickly, I found the missing lens on the floor and was able to pick it up. Then I saw some tape being used on the dash for something, tore off a piece with one hand and stuck on the lens to the skin on my cheek, allowing me to see once again and keep my position, finishing in second!” The current PCA drivers Bob usually enjoys going to events with are Charles Price, driving a RS spec 964, and Phil Theodore from the Peachtree Region.

Bob has also competed in the LeMons Racing Series, having raced a total of 3 times with fellow PCA driver Donnie Weymer from the Raleigh area. They took a dead 944, stripped it, got it running, and called it, “Team Phoenix, because it rose from its own ashes”. Also added for the theme was a chicken head bolted to the roof and chicken feathers glued to the entire body. “We lit in on fire for the technical inspection, but couldn’t cook it fully because we still needed to race it!” he mused. The first race, the 944 made about 3 hours before the engine let go. ”We were allowed to rebuild the engine for the second race, because the value of the car had dropped to below the $500 dollar value limit. Unfortunately by the 3rd race, the engine had decided it had enough and let go once more, putting an end to the mighty Phoenix for good.

For a street Porsche, Bob also drives a 2004 996 C2. “It’s stock except for the euro springs to lower the ride height. I prefer the euro ride height, which makes a big difference. It sits about 10mm lower than U.S. specification. The car is very settled and comfortable above 70-75 mph. I used to own a 2004 C4S. Although it was much more luxurious, with full leather and quieter interior, I prefer the more athletic C2. I also like the ability to steer it with the throttle, once you get used to the initial under steer of the 996. I hope there is a 996 GT3 in my future but we will see.”

Currently, Bob has been going to many PCA club races with another Carolinas Region club racer, Charles Price. “Charles has a 964, that he has converted to Carrera RS spec’s.

Charles is one fast guy, and I’ve learned a lot from him (and he’s suffered many question’s from me).” For Bob and Alicia, it’s not only about the fun he has had in PCA club racing and the LeMons Series, it’s about the great people they have met in the PCA along the way, And I could not agree more with them!

Till next month, Your Historian.