If you enjoyed Part 1 of our Rennsport coverage, continue reading here.
A plan to attend a local Cars and Coffee was eschewed in favor of watching the 919 Evo fly around the track, and so the Sottiles and I were at the track by 8:30 a.m. Nestled into a particularly tight corner, we watched the 935s come screaming past at close proximity in their various liveries: Coke, Interscope and Hawaiian Tropic being just some of the cars that boosted through the corner. Scrabbling for grip as the turbos spooled up, these cars were not for the faint of heart and it quickly became apparent how ballsy these men were, piloting cars from a time when cigarettes and cocaine were considered an integral part of a regular breakfast.
Half an hour later, the 919 did make its way around the track, but with the exception of a couple laps, it seemed like the driver was not really pushing the car. It may be the technology, it may be the instructions from his crew chief or it may be something else, but everyone noticed that the car was restricting itself. Either way, it was nice to watch the white blur zip around Laguna Seca but the real racing came after that.
I took a break to wander around the paddocks to see the 934s and 935s that I had seen on track up close. As mechanics worked feverishly to iron out any issues that had arisen on track, it was a treat to admire the little details on the race cars that set them apart from their street going counterparts. Massive flares, turbofan wheels, vents practically everywhere, an interior that would make a chiropractor grin with glee and a gauge cluster that was peppered with old school labels from a label maker. It was all about function, which was a welcome change from what we’re so used to. Want to turn up the boost on your massive turbos? Just twist a knob and get ready to hold tight as your car suddenly hits warp speed. There’s a reason they called it dial-a-death!
Around noon, I made my way up to the Corkscrew (in a courtesy shuttle) to catch Tony as he took “Pablo” around the track for the parade lap. It was a motley crew for sure, where 356s shared track space with Cayennes, Caymans, GT3s and 911Ts.
Immediately after, I rushed down back to ground level to catch the tractor race. A new addition to the Rennsport schedule of events, it highlights Porsche’s roots as a tractor maker and more importantly, proved that the Germans have a sense of humor. In fact, it was a challenge to actually photograph the tractors racing, I was laughing so hard! The fact that Jeff Zwart decided to engage in some tractor acrobatics during the race combined to form a more than amusing interlude to an otherwise serious day of hard but enjoyable racing.
The rest of the day was spent walking the track and paddock with Tony and Jay and sneaking in a shot here and there as light conditions improved. Dusk found us still at the track, talking about the cars and the people that form the Porsche community that we’re part of and have a deep affinity towards. We were sitting with Matt and Brian, founding members of the Achtung Kraft, a small group of Midwestern Porsche enthusiasts, of which the Sottiles are also a part. Time flew and the sun bid us adieu. Little did we know that the track officials had also bid us adieu and we had been locked into the track! Cue some hijinks on our part and we were soon through the gates and comfortably settled at our AirBnb.
The next few hours were spent cracking jokes about the cars and the events of the weekend. Halfway through, it got me thinking. Porsche is a brand like no other, with such a diverse and loyal following globally, that they can put on an event like Rennsport every three to four years with ensured success. 81,000 people attended Rennsport VI, but it’s not just the cars that they come for. It’s the people, the shared bond of owning a P-car and being passionate about what Porsche stands for. Whether you’re part of the R Gruppe, the PCA, the POC, or just part of a small bunch of Porsche-crazy friends like the ones I was sitting with, there is a place for you.
You may notice that I haven’t mentioned sleep, food, or other amenities much through this entire feature and that’s for good reason…they were all expendable. I was high on the fumes of freshly-burned race gas, my ears echoed to the sound of high-performance horizontally-opposed motors and my soul was being filled with the boundless enthusiasm that I was surrounded with. Sure, Porsche launched the new 935 and there was a concert with Seal headlining but neither of those formed the real appeal of why we were there. It didn’t matter what walk of life you came from, you were a Porsche fan and that was enough common ground to form new friendships with the people around you.
By the time I got home on Sunday evening, I was exhausted, five shades darker and very glad to see the door of chez Bandit. As I turned Wein11 off, I happened to glance down at the odometer. Somehow, from the time I had left to the time I returned, I had managed to accrue exactly 917 miles.
If that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is…
A massive thank you to the Sottiles for their hospitality and to Matt and Brian for being stand up guys! Kudos to Porsche too, for putting a spectacular event at Laguna Seca. Here’s to the next one.