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AKKK  What have I done now???

The NORMA M20.  Still new to me. Built by Norma Auto Concepts in France, 2007 model.  Check the button below for more info, and while you're at it, DONATE to Wikipedia while you're there.  You can afford it.  You use it.  Play fair.

Running the Norma is a complex undertaking.  Only way I could ever consider it is with help from very accomplished friends.

Dohta Kahrl - Lifetime of motorsports, some as a driver, most as a brilliant mechanic, machinst, welder, fabricator, trainer, etc.

KC - Many years of Indycar crew experience, preceded by other formula car work, and now premier air-cooled Porsche shop owner and mechanic in Cocord CA.

Dickson - ditto

Tundra tow truck has been sold and will be replaced Q1 2020 with a new Ford Transit (tow vehicle + windsurfing + kart hauler + kayaking hauler ++++)

Prior 20' TPD has been replaced fall '19 with a TPD 24...more space to store crap.  Lives at Thunderhill.

This is my narrow window in life to play with such a toy.  While my 29 years of track driving and training and the last 5 years of 125 and 250 shifter karts prepared me some for's only some.  Cornering speeds are counter intuitive.  I chicken out in high speed corners - my rational side knows I don't have to lift, but facing turn 8 that I'm supposed to be able to do at 125+, I lift.  My intuition overrides rationale, and I lift.  The moment I lift (notice the theme here...I lift) , I know I didn't need to lift, but it's too late....already bled off speed even if just for an intant.  Try again next time 'round.

In a most recent outing May 2022, I finally got my comfort level up to go flat from 6 through 8, which got me 120 in 8. Smoking horrifyingly fast for ol' me!


Check out some youtube links here.  Yes my car has lower power than many in the vids, but the same or better cornering and braking because mine weighs less.  I think it's around 1300 lbs dry, with a 260-270 hp Honda K motor built by wizards. One of the previous owners did a mid-120s at Laguna Seca in this car.  I'll never get near that, but it provides some perspective on the car.

No lift upshifts (no clutch operation by driver) and auto-blip downshifts (transmission system blips the throttle for rev-matching downshifts with no manual clutch operation).  This video on the right demonstrates.  Driver isn't using the clutch lever for this.

The video below is one of many found by searching on "Norma hill climb", showing these cars in action.  Not me.  The cars.  I'm just tryin' my best....

No I don't keep it in the garage covered in bubble wrap.  I drive it.

Clarkson's perspective for his TV audience.

Too much drama, but it's amusing

Ferrari F430Finally sold it since it was becoming a collector item from the perspective of the Ferrari community and it's just inappropriate for lil' old me to be using a collector item as a daily driver.  Last of the 3 pedal mid-engine V-8 Ferraris.  One of six known 2009 model year 3-pedal F430 coups ("Berlinettas") to have made it into the US. Highest stiker 430 in the U.S.  The engine noise is half the experience.  Um, OK, maybe not halfffff, but certainly a big piece of it!! Heel-toe downshift and punch to 8500rpm.  I've been a 3-pedal driver forever and am just not ready to step away. 

485hp I think

0-60 4.1 sec

1/4 mile  12.5 sec

....... slower for 3 pedal cars


CarbonM has the history on the six cars and has helped me document this one. For perspective:

  • The first 2009 US-spec F430 Berlinetta F1 (F1 = paddle-shift sequential transmission, with only two pedals) was built in February 2008. A total of 86 Berlinettas were brought into North America as 2009 model year cars.

  • Approximately 200 manual transmission F430 Berlinettas were imported to North America across all F430 model years (2004-2009).

Carbon's Report:

The 2009 model year manual-transmissioned North American-spec (Canada and US) F430 Berlinettas number only six. These six cars represent just seven percent of all of the 86 2009 US-spec F430 Berlinettas delivered to North America, and just two percent of the total number of manual F430 Berlinetta models delivered to North America for all model years. If a buyer wants the last mid-engine V8 model Ferrari with a manual transmission, an icon of Ferrari production, he wants an F430 Berlinetta with a manual transmission, and therefore has extremely few from which to choose - a mere six examples exist to consider from the final production model year.  The final model year of any Ferrari is the best year from which to choose an example of any given model, and with just six manual F430 Berlinettas imported into the USA in 2009, this is the one to choose.

The F430 series began production in 2003, and deliveries to Europe and other countries started in late 2003 and early 2004; US-spec F430s didn’t begin production until 2004, and the very first examples were 2005 models – the first of which was built in October 2004. The first US-spec manual F430 Berlinetta was 141311, and was built between January and February 2005.

Ferrari built approximately 10,000 F430 Berlinettas total. Rounding up, Ferrari built roughly 4,000 US-spec F430 Berlinettas. Rounding up, Ferrari built about 200 manual F430 Berlinettas for North America between 2005 and 2009; only six of those manuals are 2009 models.

We heat them up to get them soft, squeeze them both into the van, and then hammer the doors shut

The 125 motor is wonderfully high revving and peaky.  Mind numbing punch for a second, and then you're already late for your next upshift.  bambambam.  In contrast, we don't buzz the 250 motor up as high, but the power band is broader and it punches even better....borderline undriveable on super short tracks because the traction limit under acceleration is so easily exceeded.  Teaches good throttle-on oversteer techniques.  Both karts taught me much more about trail-braking, not to mention speeding up my reaction times in general.

125 & 250 cc SHIFTER KARTS

Replaced both older models (black body work in these photos) with relatively new Tony karts (white/green strip body work). Everything just works better. Astounding brakes and handling! Adopted the CR125 and 250 Honda motors from Dr. Kahl to the chassis. Still sorting out the 125, but we got the 250 flying!


....waaay too much fun.  Go read about these if you're unfamiliar.  Or if you are...The most violent thing I've ever done, and more decisions per second on a short track than anything I've faced.  Check the video below (one of many easily found)...I've learned to drive like this. Watch the hands and the counter steering, and the right hand constantly shifting.  My little blurry window into why Indy and F1 drivers practice in these things during off season.  Absolutely bananas.   The red buttons below lead to good info as well.

These are fun reads if you care

2017 Porsche Turbo S

Sold it finally, to step back from the PDK (auto) transmission to my manual transmission roots (see below).  I ordered this new to get exactly what I wanted. For example, no black interior for me.  Nope.  2017 model year because of the improvements made over 2016.  Exact color.  etc etc.  Great back road trip car!  License plate frame says "I often wish this had 3 pedals".  Yup, it's a paddle shift car...cause these aren't available with 3 pedals.  It's OK, the paddles are wildly entertaining when things are happening quickly, such as mid-10s quarter mile times or tight twistys.  Much has been written and videoed about these cars so I'll spare you here.   Fastest street car I've ever driven on track, but its a porker compared to the Norma.  Not a track car though of course it works on track.  R&T says "Porky fat robot mother genius.  Come with stones. And when you find yaw at big speed, just keep your foot in it and believe in the silicone."

580 hp

0-60 in 2.5 sec,  1.26g to start, I've read.

1/4 mile in 10.5 sec @ 132 mph

Yeah this is an odd level of punch for mere mortals like me.  Striking.  Not real.  It's the all wheel drive traction thing at low speeds.  But a buncha supercars and baby supercars like this (and the fast Tesla and other supercars are even quicker) are all sorta in the same performance envelope, so the Porsche is not unique in this regard.  It takes a while to get used to the punch.  At least a couple of seconds.  :-P

This is an intersting read if you give a rip or are curious

But I often wish it had three pedals

2022 Porsche GTS Manual

Started chasing this in earnest in the fall of 2021, got an allocation to order in early 2022 so promptly ordered, and finally got delivery in late summer 2022. Porsche finally made a new 911 with reasonable HP and a manual transmission. Those of you manual pilots out there know that this is way more entertaining, even in low speed around town jaunts. This is a 2 wheel drive version. Somewhere around 3350 lb curb weight (subject to check) so a little less of a porker. A little less or more than 500 hp depending on which performance testing editors you read. Spectacular car.  Lotsa reviews on YouTube and scattered across the net, so you'll find it easy to view test editor opinions if you look.  License plate frame says: "Yes, it's slower, but it has 3 pedals." 0-60 2.8 seconds, 1/4 miles 10.9 seconds....depending as usual on which magazine test editor you listen to. This is for street use so I chose it over a GT3.....which I couldn't order anyway. Good choice. Perfectly acceptable balance between comfort and performance for the street. Yeah, it's noisy with the throttle open....good thing actually. But noise level cruising at speed is fine.