Q: “I attended a seminar on Porsche suspensions put on by the Citrus Region of the PCA. After the presentation I asked what, besides tires, would be the best bang for the buck to improve lap times as far as suspension goes. His answer was a good seat. I was a little surprised, but agree with him. I use a clip-it on my seat belt for good improvement in my 991 and have experimented with a torso harness. I would be very much be interested in your thinking.”
A: I did an article in Speed Secrets Weekly a while back exactly about that, but it’s probably time to do another. You (and the PCA fellow) are right – a seat is hugely valuable. One could spend thousands of dollars to install trick suspension components, and then hire someone to tune it all for you. And yet, if you’re moving around in the seat you won’t have the sensitivity to tell whether it’s made the car handle better and have higher limits than before. While good seats are not cheap, they’re less expensive than a lot of other components!
For some drivers, a seat is not as sexy an upgrade as tires and suspension components, and that’s why it’s not top of the priority list. And some drivers want to keep their cars stock-appearing for re-sale purposes, and/or they want the car to be comfortable for daily driving. But both of those objections can be addressed with a good quality, nice looking, and comfortable seat.
It’s interesting that you mention tires as being one of the best “bang for the buck” improvements. For sure, tires are number one in terms of what to do to make your car handle better. But I could make the argument that a seat is even more important. Again, if the tires provide better grip, but because you’re not connected to your car well enough due to a mediocre seat, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of them.
A good seat and harness locks you in position so, instead of using the steering wheel and your arms to hold yourself in place, you can use a light, sensitive grip to make precision moves and to feel the feedback.
Brakes and brakelines?