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9 Moments We Won’t Forget From Rennsport Reunion V

Submitted by on October 22, 2015

Porsche Rennsport Reunion V

Images and story by John Young

Porsche Rennsport Reunion V was held at Laguna Seca in California last month.

The home of the famous Corkscrew saw hundreds of classic Porsches take to the track along with thousands in the Porsche Corral and visitor parking areas. At times it was so big it was almost too much. As a Porsche lover, the ‘kid in a candy shop’ analogy comes to mind.

Le Mans-Winning Porsches

1. The sense of history

You’d have been blind not to be taken aback by the history on show at Rennsport.

At Porsche’s own display, lined up were the first Porsche to take a class win at Le Mans in 1951, the first Porsche to win outright in 1970 and the latest winner from 2015.

The Chopard Marquee was dazzling. Rows and rows of Porsches with amazing history and provenance. The official program described it as “a collection of Porsche race cars unequalled in history.” It wasn’t an overstatement.

Porsche Legends

2. The legends

As at previous Rennsport events, Porsche ensured that many of the legendary drivers who had helped build the company’s reputation were there in force. ”Isn’t that Derek Bell?” “Is that Hurley Haywood about to do a parade lap in that 917?” “Is that Mark Webber over there?” The answer was always yes.

The 911s

3. All the things that started with 9

Like 911s of all ages, more than you could possibly count. 911s so old, they were among the first to wear the famous script on the right hand side of the engine cover. 911s so new, you probably haven’t seen one on a street yet. And just about every other 911 in between.

And then there were examples of 904, 906, 908, 912, 914, 917, 934, 935, 936, 956, 962 and 918. Not forgetting water pumpers including 924, 944 and 968.

Porsche 917s

4. The 917s

We expected to see plenty of 917s at Le Mans Classic in 2014, but this aspect of that fabulous event was a tiny letdown. Rennsport made up for it with a rare opportunity to see three Gulf liveried 917s side-by-side, along with the ex-Mark Donoghue Sunoco car.

As usual at Monterey events, Bruce Canepa arrived with something pretty special, this time entering a 962 and 917 004/017, the first 917 to complete an entire race. Currently in its Gulf livery as raced at the Brands Hatch 1000 on April 12, 1970, the car has just been the subject of a major restoration. We recently read it could be yours for a lazy 20 million or so…if it’s not already sold.

Early Porsches

5. Not everything started with 9

Chances are that you’ve never seen so many 356s in the same place. Not just at the event, but all around Monterey. Then there was the racing, in a field that included 24 Porsche 356s doing battle.

Of course, there are other Porsche numbers with special places in history. Like 550, RS60 and 718. They were there too.

Porsche Corral

6. The Porsche Club Corral

Simply amazing. The Porsche Club of America was celebrating its 60th year, and enthusiasts had travelled from far and wide to visit Rennsport.

The display of their cars in the centre of the circuit was something to behold, with 1,400 cars lined up by era and model. If you couldn’t find your favourite Porsche there, well, you don’t have a favourite model Porsche.

Porsche Racing

7. The racing, part 1

Motorsport Retro about just that – retro motor sport. So if you love vintage racing and you love Porsches, Rennsport Reunion will never let you down. Not for a minute. There were seven grids of Porsches from the Gmund era to the present.

At the Rolex event every August, drivers are on notice about pushing their cars too hard. From where we stood, guys seemed to be trying just that little bit harder at Rennsport, as one or two found out to their cost.

Australian Ron Goodman, for example, had shipped his pre-A 356 to the US in time for the Dana Point concours where he won his class. He raced successfully at the Pre-Reunion and Reunion events, but came unstuck in a big way in his Saturday morning Rennsport race. But he’ll be back.

There were gorgeous little early 911s racing, cars with period history that still get thrashed on the track on a regular basis. Mid to late sixties race cars with serious factory pedigree, like 904s, 906s and a personal favourite, 908s… all were there.

Porsche Cup Cars

8. The racing, part 2

If you like your racing Porsches big, serious or new, you would have been right in your element at Rennsport V. Group 6, called “The Stuttgart Cup”, included GT3s, Cup cars and at the sharp end, rare prototypes and four 962s.

Group 7 was for the current GT3 Cup Challenge, which made an awesome sound as they roared past. Not exactly retro, but what an incredible noise.

Porsche Marketplace

9. The Porsche stuff

There was a mammoth volume of Porsche gear for sale from more vendor outlets than you can count. It ranged from the great to the good to the not-so-good to the downright tacky. Whatever. Chances are not too many visitors went home empty handed.

Lerve was in the air, as the old song said. The spirit of the meeting was one of friendship, family and fraternity. A huge gathering of enthusiasts had come along to immerse themselves in Porsche culture. There was so much of it to see and feel, it was almost overwhelming. But not quite.

For Porsche enthusiasts, Rennsport Reunion is a must-do event.

John Young

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