The BL760 Experience

When I became involved with Boost Logic, I learned about a research and development project the shop was working on. This was very early in my research; at this point, I was simply taking photographs and still getting to know the crew. However, the project involved a Porsche 911 turbo, and I had been a Porsche fan my entire life — I even drove my brother’s 944 for a while. Thus, I was very interested to see how the project was going to evolve.

marc_working_on_bl760 (Small)
Marc fabricating the BL760 kit
marc_showing_bl760_headers (Small)
Marc showing a BL760 prototype header

The project involved Marc creating a set of custom headers. As Marc fabricated, I learned more about the project from Kean, Chris, and Justin, all of whom were involved with the process. I learned that Kean and Chris owned Boost Logic (though they’d later sell it to Zohair), and Justin owned the Porsche involved.

When I first began spending time at Boost Logic, I was never formally introduced to Justin; we’d exchanged pleasantries once or twice, but that was the extent of our interaction. I was told he was “the tuner,” but frankly, I rarely saw him around the shop at all. However, I would come to learn that “the tuner” was actually one of the best and most in-demand tuners in the industry. The reason he wasn’t in the shop very often was that he was flying all over the world, tuning high-end street and race cars. As I learned more about the Porsche project, I began to appreciate just how instrumental Justin was in integrating the turbo system with the Porsche ECU.

I was fortunate to be present at Boost Logic when the fabricated kit was ready to be tested for the first time, and I was able to watch as Justin dyno-tuned the car. The car made well over 550rwhp on pump gas. I was astonished; I had never seen a high-powered Porsche before, other than going for a short ride in a Porsche 965 (1991 911 turbo). After Justin dialed in the set-up, he drove it for a few weeks, tweaking and making adjustments. At one point he gave me a ride in it; my first ride in a heavily modified turbo-charged car blew me away.

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On a trip to the track with Marc to settle a shop grudge about whether or not Marc’s car could trap 140mph, Justin took his Porsche and ran an 11.7 at 135mph.

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After Justin drove the car for a few weeks, he and Zohair moved into the second phase of the project, creating a refined and finalized product. At this point, my role in the project became more active. Zohair, the owner of Boost Logic, approached me and asked me to help create a promtional video about the kit. He also told me about a media campaign he was hoping to produce. I had already begun to help him manage Boost Logic’s web content and, given my background in producing car videos, I was glad to lend a hand.

Zohair and I discussed the details of the video he wanted, and we decided to order a car mount. Since this virtually exhausted our non-existent budget for the shoot, we decided to shoot with my small Canon HD video camera. In addition to the car-mounted angles, we also decided to get footage of the Porsche on the dyno as Justin tuned it.

Given everyone’s busy schedules, it turned out that the only day we were all available to shoot was a Friday. Coincidentally, my oldest brother, Mikey, who is a huge car nut, had mentioned he might come up from San Antonio to visit me in Austin that day. Although Mikey didn’t teach me to drive (I was actually afraid to ride in the car with him as a kid), he passed on a great deal of car knowledge to me as a teenager. He shared his Bondurant driving book with me, and took my other brother, Danny, and I to his job at Malibu Grand Prix, where he and Danny let me do laps and taught me a lot about driving.

Consequently, when Mikey called me around lunchtime on Friday to say that he was thinking of coming to Austin for the day, I told him to hurry up! He arrived at Boost Logic few hours later to the sound of Justin running his car on the dyno and the sight of me shooting the pulls.

Zohair wanted a shot of the Porsche’s dashboard as the car dynoed so that we could demonstrate how quickly the car accelerates. I had already shot this angle in a Lexus SC300 and figured it would be a pretty straightfoward shot. However, once I was in the Porsche, I realized this is a very difficult angle to shoot sitting anywhere other than in the driver’s seat. Eventually, we solved the problem by having Justin drive the car and hold the camera in front of the dash, and the set-up worked reasonably well.

BL700 being tuned (Small)

After we wrapped shooting on the dyno, we were ready to go shoot on the road. I volunteered Mikey to drive my Honda S2000 so that I could direct the shoot and not have to worry about paying attention to driving. To say that Mikey was excited about this would be an understatement.

Next we needed to choose a shooting location. We needed a safe space that would allow us to shoot at a decent rate of speed. The road upon which we decided had light traffic and was shaded by some very photogenic oak trees.

We mounted the camera in various positions on the S2000, such as the hood and the trunk, to get trailing and following shots of the Porsche in action. Although the car mount proved to be somewhat shaky, we went ahead with the shoot anyway, reasoning that at least we’d be getting good test footage.

I really stepped into a directing role when it came to the trailing shots. I instructed Mikey to drive the S2000 at a constant rate of speed while I rode with Justin and directed him to move his Porsche either further or closer to the S2000, hoping to mimic an effect I’d seen in a video for a 1994 Porsche 993.

My Brother Driving the S2000
My brother, Mikey, driving the S2000

Riding with Justin, I was struck by how quickly the Porsche accelerated and decelerated. The way in which cars of this caliber alter your mind’s ability to judge distance and speed is astonishing. Very few people will ever have this experience, however, once you have, it gives you a brand new perspective on how your brain registers its surroundings. The stopping power in cars like this will also change the way you think about breaking; the majority of people probably don’t think of breaking as anything remarkable, but the stopping power in a heavily modified car is almost as revelatory as the acceleration.

Having experienced these sensations myself, I wanted to share it with my brother. After we wrapped up all the test shots, we needed one more shot to finish, and I asked Justin if it would be all right if Mikey rode along with him, and he said it would be fine.

BL700 Black and White (Small)

I had never seen Mikey so excited. When he got out of the car at our final location, where we were going to shoot some still photos, he was wearing a huge grin and could not stop exclaiming his appreciation for the Porsche. Talking later with Justin about the day, Justin mentioned that Mikey smiled from the moment he got in the car to the moment he got out.

Interestingly, when I initially explained my brother’s excitement to Justin, he didn’t understand it. He added that he drove cars like the Porsche every day, and couldn’t see how it would seem so special. I pointed out that not everyone gets to drive 600+ horsepower cars every day, or even in their lifetime, and I could see the new perspective dawn on him. I think he appreciated that he could take part in a moment like that in my brother’s life.

Justin and my brother Mike
Justin and my brother Mike

The same desire to share such a once-in-a-lifetime moment with my brother is the same desire that motivates me to share all of my experiences with others. While reading this dissertation, I hope you begin to feel your heartbeat pound and realize that when I’m fully immersed in my work, the little kid inside me is yelling with enthusiasm while I reflect on how lucky I am to have met such kind people who share their lives’ passions with me.

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