Porsche 986 Boxster Tiptronic Track Car With Paddle Shifter
Sometimes we have the privilege of being involved with some very special projects indeed, and this Porsche Boxster is one such project.
The owner of this car is a former basketball player in the USA, who experiences problems with his feet as a result of his basketball. Unfortunately his foot problems mean that it is difficult for him to operate a clutch pedal with his left foot.
The same problem is quite common with former athletes, and also can affect older drivers with knee issues.
So what do you do when you have a foot or knee problem, love mid engine Porsches, and want a track car ?
The solution for this project was a unique combination of German engineering, Japanese engineering, US know-how and Australian know-how ...
Base vehicle, engine and drivetrain
The car is a 2001 Porsche Boxster S.
The projects power goals have been achieved by fitting an engine from a 911 - in this case the 3.6 litre engine from a 2004 Porsche 996.
To address the owner's foot problems, the car was fitted with a transmission that is an unusual choice for a track car, but one that is ideal in this application - a Porsche Tiptronic semi-sequential transmission.
With the help of with the help of the owner's mechanic in the US and a friend out of state, the owner completely upgraded the Bosch Motronic ECU from 7.2 to 7.8 which consisted of adding cam timing sensors and re pinning wires into a new and flashed ECU.
The car is only one of a dozen Porsches to have this electronic upgrade for engine swap purposes and the only one in the world that we know of that is mated to a Tiptronic semi-sequential transmission.
The owner of the car says ...
I am 6'5" and have feet problems from basketball when I was younger so
- I had to have the tip when I bought the car as it was my only car at the time
- I need a smaller steering wheel because I plan on time trailing the car after I show it off so to say...
So I wanted to put a race wheel in it, with some sort of paddle set up... I have the electronic knowledge now to make just about anything work, but I wanted some paddles... I like the Works Bell units because of their ease of use... but I am not the biggest fan of have the paddles stationary.
So the challenge was set to develop a bolt on kit, incorporating a quick release, and with the paddles rotating with the steering wheel, all while maintaining engineering, fit, finish and quality levels befitting such a stunning project car.
Developing the detachable paddle shifter kit for the Boxster
At The Tuners Group, we don't simply sell parts. We also have an engineering division which undertakes product development, aerodynamics consulting, a range of CAD design work, racecar development and special custom development projects.
In the tradition of specialised engineering teams like those used in specialised aerospace and defence projects, our engineering team is a small team of highly specialised senior experts, with many many years experience.
You can read more about our Engineering & Development Team here ...
Works Bell's paddleshifter units are precision engineered in Japan and revered in the Japanese car tuning world.
We had used various parts from Works Bell paddle shifters in custom racing applications, like on the Revo off road racer which won the South African Off Road Championships for special vehicles, a European WRX Rally Car project, the Mark Berry Advan Hi Octane Racing Nissan R34 GT-R Time Attack car (pictured) in which the paddle shifter is used as a custom system to control the 4WD transfer case / torque split system , and a number of other custom installs.
Back in 2009, The Tuners Group spent a lot of research and development time working out what combination of Works Bell components would be required for a detachable paddle shifter system for the Nissan R35 GT-R. This was for a very special R35 GT-R project car being built by one of our Australian customers
As we are one of only 2 exclusive national distributors for Works Bell worldwide, we have access to Works Bell's highly trained factory engineers in Japan, which is vital for the development of custom installations that have "factory fitted" appearance, engineering and quality levels.The detachable paddle shifter and quick release arrangement devised by The Tuners Group for the Nissan R35 GT-R
We came up with a unique combination of parts to make it all work in the R35, and as shown above the end result was a massive success.
The R35 GT-R kit was then made available to R35 GT-R owners as a bolt on kit by The Tuners Group, and were received with acclaim by the R35 GT-R tuning community.
You can read an article with reaction to the announcement of our detachable paddle shifter kits for the R35 GT-R here ...The detachable paddle shifter system installed in the Boxster
So for the Tiptronic Boxster project, we drew on our engineering skills and development experience from the R35 GT-R detachable paddle shifter project, and The Tuners Group devised a similar kit for the Porsche Boxster (shown above).
A standard length Works Bell steering boss was used in this particular Boxster instead of a Works Bell short boss, because the 6'5" tall driver has long legs and sits with the driver's seat a long way back, so he found that the standard length boss placed the steering wheel in an ideal driving position for him. Drivers who prefer the steering wheel further away and sit closer to the steering wheel can of course use a Works Bell short boss instead.
When we told the owner of the Boxster Tiptronic project car that we could supply him with a paddle shifter setup for his Boxster, with all the wiring concealed, and the paddle shifter and steering wheel detachable, and with the paddles rotating with the steering wheel, thereby meeting all the owner's project goals, he replied by email ...
Wow... yet again you blow me away ! You have convinced me this is the way to go!!!
You have also sold me on the quick disconnect and conductor connections... I was just planning on doing a clean coiled cord setup, but this is SO MUCH cleaner, that I think it would actually add to the appeal of the car!
I also think that this setup could really develop a following in the states with the upper level Porsche owners, especially with the growing popularity of the Porsche PDK transmission.
This kit is now available for other Porsche and BMW ownersThe detachable paddle shifter system installed in the Boxster
Just like the detachable paddle shifter kit for the R35 GT-R was then made available from The Tuners Group as a kit for other R35 owners to enjoy and fit to their own cars, the detachable paddle shifter kit for the Boxster is now also available for sale to Boxster owners.
The detachable paddle shifter kit for the Boxster can be purchased with the quick release available in a range of colours, so if you want a stealthy integrated look to your kit, a black version is also available.
Versions for the Boxster with either a standard length boss as used on the project car or with a shorter boss are available, so you choose which option places the steering wheel in your ideal driving position. The exact position of the steering wheel can also be fine tuned down to 10 mm increments with an optional Works Bell Steering Wheel spacer, to achieve the perfect driving position.
A detachable paddle shifter kit for the BMW E46 M3 is also now available from The Tuners Group, with 2 installs underway on the first two E46 M3's to receive the kit.
Of course we can also draw on our experience gained with the R35 GT-R and Boxster kits to devise similar detachable paddle shifter kits for a wide range of cars. Contact us if you are interested in a similar kit for your car.
If you want the paddle shifter without the quick release (a non-detachable paddle shifter) for your BMW or Porsche, non-detachable kits are now available for various models of Porsches including:
- 986 Boxster Tiptronic
- 993 Tiptronic,
- 996 Tiptronic
- BMW E46 3 series with SMG Steptronic transmission
- BMW E90 3 series with SMG Steptronic transmission
... all available from The Tuners Group.
As shown above, the end result is in the 986 Boxster Tiptronic project car is not only completely functional from an engineering perspective, but also looks fantastic.
But most importantly, the project has allowed a driver to continue to enjoy his passion for Porsches and for motorsport, and to not let his foot injuries from his sporting career hold him back on the track.
And that, as they say, is what it's all about.
Please contact us if you would like more info about a similar setup for your Porsche or BMW.