The idea of a Porsche only race-event , was born on the occasion of 2 events back in 1998. The first event was The Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca with Porsche as featureed marque, as it celebrated it’s 50th anniversary. The second was a Brian Redman organized Porsche event at Watkins Glenn, called “50/50” as the event both celebrated the 50th anniversary of Porsche and 50 years of Racing at Watkins Glenn. Both events attracted never seen before amounts of visitors and media coverage, and the 2 organisers , late Bob Carlson and Brian Redman, started the idea of a 3 day Porsche only racing event to bring together vintage Porsche race cars and pilots in the summer of 2001 at Lime Rock race track in Connecticut. Porsche Rennsport Reunion was born, and after Lime Rock, the event visited twice the Daytona racetrack in Florida. First time in Daytona was April 2004, in 2007 the event moved to November to avoid the springtime heat and hhumidity which plagued the pilots and cars…
So this year, the Porsche Rennsport Reunion was in it’s 4th edition and the first time it stroke down at one of the, if not the most famous racetrack of the USA, Laguna Seca in California. And exactly as the 3 previous editions, it was a huge succes. Over 350 cars showed up, most for racing, some just as a show car. Hundreds of pilots driving the most valuable cars at high speed on the track, with sometimes real spectacular views for the spectators as a result, especially in the famous Corkscrew curve.
The thousands and thousands of spectators, literally coming from all over the world, were spoiled with a never seen before Porsche overload. The Porsche factory send some of the museum cars to Laguna Seca, Porsche North-America chose the Rennsport Reunion as the spot to show the brand new Porsche 997 for the first time to the American public. The Porsche paddock had wonderfull german beer and food, and ofcourse you could do some shopping in the Porsche Design and Selection shop. The Porsche Paddock was the place to be to have your memorabilia signed, with massively visited autograph sessions. Lines of people waiting more than an hour to get autographs of Hans Herrmann, Gijs Van Lennep, Jürgen Barth, Gerard Larousse, Romain Dumas, Patrick Long, Tony Adamovicz, Joe Buzetta, Melanie Snow, Hurley Haywood, David Piper, Willi Kauhsen, Richard Attwood to name just a few…
A real marketplace at the Cayman Island, with lots of booths , selling from the cheapest plastic miniatures to the many thousands dollars costing original factory posters of the 50s with the well-known great artwork of Erich Strenger. I was lucky enough to find a mint original 1959 Porsche carrera 4cam assembly manual for a cheap price.
But ofcourse, the Rennsport Reunion is about racing, and that’s what most people are there for. Or they bring one or more cars of their collection on the track, or they enjoy the race as a spectator. Races were divided into different groups. The Gmund Cup with Porsches 356, 550 Spyder, 718, 718 RSK, Porsche Carrera Abarth GTL. It’s just fabulous to see how collectors as Ranson Webster floor the pedal of their invaluable car , and throw it in the curves.
Group 2, the Eifel Trophy consisted of Porsches 911, 914 and 914/6 and some fabulous Porsches 904. The Porsches 906, 907,908, 910 and 917 competed in the Weissach Cup. Some great name here, with Gijs Van Lennep in the yellow Porscche 917, Brian Redman in a 908 from the Revs Institure, better known as the Collier Collection, and Joe Buzetta in a 907 of his personal collection. A great collection by the way, as it next to the 907, a 908 and 910 in it.
More recent cars, but still back in the seventies were the Porsches RSR, Porsche 934 and 935 in the Carrera Trophy. Especially on Saturday morning these cars made great pictures possible as the exhausts threw flames in the fog, after descending the Corkscrew and going to curve 4 of the Laguna Seca Raceway. Group 5, the Stuttgart Cup covered a large period in Porsche Race History going from the Porsches 956 up to the quite recent Porsche RS Spyders. Among the RS Spyders, the purple one , earlier racing for the dutch Merksteijn race group.
Group 6 was a combination of both the Cayman Interseries and the 911 invitational. It was great to see how the Porsches Cayman, often painted in the race colors of famous Porsches back in the seventies, as the Pink Pig, the Gulf or Martini colors. And it’s with great pleasure and pride that I can tell you that even the Belgian based 911Motorsport had a 993 RSR at the start of the 911 invitational. Good to know, this car, with only just over 2000 race miles on the tacho, won the concours d’elegance in its division. Group 7 was a rather divers group, with early Porsches 911 and. 914’s to more recent 911’s and they competed for the PCA (Porsche Club of America) Trophy. Finally the was the Rennsport Reunion Cup with the newest racers like the Gt3 Cup racecars on the starting grid.
Prescott Kelly, former president of Porsche Club of America, commented races and concourse d’elegance. His huge knowledge about Porsche history and his nice sense of hulour made it a pleasure to listen the comments.
I can only talk in superlatives about this great weekend, and I just hope it won’t be too long before we hear the exact time and place of Porsche Rennsport Reunion V.