Rennsport Reunion V Recap: The Paddock
It’s time to settle down with a nice beverage, or perhaps even a snack; this is going to be a long post. As I mentioned in the previous Rennsport Reunion post, we arrived at Laguna Seca in the afternoon and only saw a race and a half. However, the track would still be open all day, which was good thing because there was an overwhelming amount of things to see.
Laguna Seca translates to “dry lagoon”, which is a name that’s lost some of its playful irony as the lagunita in the infield complex has shriveled during the recent California drought. I’ve never seen it so low.
Into the paddock now, and there were about a million things to point my camera at. It’s definitely a sensory overload for a Porsche lover, with 360º worth of sights, sounds, and smells to tempt you.
How about this cute little bus?
Or a 991 GT3? I really love this livery.
Next to that, a stunning long-hood car. Look at that air dam!
Here’s another way to go wide. The smooth body reminds me a lot of the current GTLM-spec 991, and perfectly matches the 993’s aesthetic.
Oh, it’s just Hurley Haywood driving by in his personal 918.
Another rally/safari car. Now I’m really wondering what it’s like to off-road a 911! Check out those huge tires.
I wish I’d been around to watch the Stuttgart Cup races, which featured the 993 and 964 Carrera and Super Cup cars (among many other things). This period-correct livery really brought me back; I was a big Altavista fan in the late 90’s, before some young upstart named “Google” popped up.
This yellow 934/5 is one of my absolute favorites. It still really looks like a road-going 911, down to the lights and impact bumpers.
Which is crazy to think that this beast came along only a few years afterward. Still based on the 911, this Kremer K3 is also one of my favorite 911 race cars.
This is a 908/2. What a beautiful car…I just love the look of prototype racers from the 60’s and early 70’s.
The 924 is pretty unloved, but the 924 Carrera GT is a badass looking car.
In the background of the 908/2 photo, you may have spotted a Singer 911. After all the cars pulled out from the paddock to the pits, I realized I was standing right in front of their designated spot in the paddock, so of course I went for a closer look. While checking the cars, I also noticed Rob Dickinson floating around and chatting with people.
I’d seen the white coupe before, so I was really excited to see the brand new “Cupertino” Targa.
I would definitely get a non-sunroof coupe if I ordered a Singer, but this Targa is still incredible. The interior in particular was something very close to how I’d want mine, with a low-key brown and black setup. The only thing I don’t like about Singers is right there on display: that chrome ring around the horn button. Give me a Momo button with a matte black ring and I’m done–these cars are perfect to me.
If you were wondering what makes a Singer so special, just compare these original Porsche lights to the ones on the Singer, with their hidden hardware and perfect fitment.
How about a short hood?
Ah yes, the Footwork FA12, a complete failure of a Formula One car. Porsche delivered the engine to Footwork behind schedule, but it was way too big so they had to start the 1991 season with the previous year’s car while they re-did the chassis to accommodate the oversized powerplant. When the Porsche engine was finally in the car, it failed to qualify on a few occasions and never finished a race. So Footwork switched to a Ford DFR, which at least let them qualify and finish some races, and that was the end of Porsche’s ignominious return to Formula One in the 90’s.
From an early 90s narrow body Carrera Cup 964…
…to a modern wide GTLM 991. I can’t even begin to pick a favorite.
The Porsche Museum brought out a few cars, including this 356 SL.
Under a nearby tent was an excellent exhibition of classic Porsche race cars. I was enthralled with this original GT1; I love the early cars which took their visual cues from the 993.
Of course, one problem with taking pictures at events is all the people wandering around. This would have been a much better photo if there were no dudes walking around, but hey, what are you going to do? Those people have as much of a right to wander around as I do.
Much is said about the 911 S, T, and even RS, but not much about the original 911 R. Speaking of which, I’m pretty excited to see what the new 911 R will be about (if that’s what they indeed choose to call it).
Very cool minimalist interior.
For some reason after I post a long-hood car, I feel like I have to post a short-hood one!
These GT1’s are so awesome in a 90’s racecar sort of way; I just love everything from that time. Maybe it’s simply because that’s when I grew up. By the way, I couldn’t figure out how to make this photo work in color, so I just went for a black and white edit.
Simpler light on this side, so I was able to showcase the fluorescent “Marlboro” livery.
The 911 GT1 had 993 elements and the GT1 Evo had 996 elements, and those both had road car equivalents that were sold to people around Europe for road use. But it seemed like the homologation rules devolved into “make one, we’ll glance at it and give you a thumbs up”, and that’s where this GT1-98 came from. Indeed, Porsche made one Straßenversion road car, but it wasn’t even for sale, then or now–Porsche still has it! However, the improved focus on the race car ultimately paid off, because they finished 1-2 overall at Le Mans in 1998 in the new GT1-98’s.
Normally these camera cars are Cayennes, so when I saw a Panamera I was intrigued. Even more so when I saw the Espresso interior with a ton of carbon fiber!
This narrow beauty seemed all period correct. Check out the old school racing tires, low-back bucket seats, and curved “roll hoop”.
It was nearly impossible to get a clean photo since there were thousands of people clamoring amongst cars on pit lane. Miraculously, the crowd split and I jumped in to shoot this 904.
And to think that this was actually street legal somewhere.
Another rare car from the archives, the 968 Turbo RS. This is the only one that was made in Guards Red, but then again there were only four cars total. I suppose there just really wasn’t any demand for it as a race car at the time, even though it was faster than the contemporary 3.3L 911 Turbo.
If getting a shot was difficult before, there was no chance now. When hundreds of cars disappear from their normal display areas, people take notice.
So of course I went the opposite direction. This is Ryan Gates’ badass 930, which he had shipped (trucked?) from Minnesota to SoCal so he could drive up to Laguna Seca. Why get a mediocre rental car when you can drive your own air-cooled Porsche?
The small face, big lip BBS E50’s throw back to vintage race cars but still manage to look impossibly fresh. And the more you look at that exhaust setup, the more you wonder what this thing sounds like approaching redline.
Out of the show and into spectator parking, there were still plenty of interesting things to be seen even though most people had already cleared out.
Rennsport Reunion is the type of place where 993 Turbos seem common. If you’re the type of person who’s hyper focused on a single particular model of Porsche, I’m sure you’ll be satisfied by what you find here. Hell, I saw a GT2 RS in a restaurant parking lot.
I love Arena Red, so imagine my surprise to see two Arena Red 993’s bathing in the sunset. I love playing spot-the-difference between the wide and narrow bodied cars.
Cool detail of a 993 Turbo wing in the fading light. At this point we were due to meet for a gathering of GT3 owners, so we had to wrap things up. I wish I’d been able to attend at least one of the two other days so I could have seen more of the show. Hell, there’s some stuff that I would have wanted to see again the very next day. I may have inadvertently procured some of their intoxicating sweet beverage along the way, because for me there’s something so addictive and special about Porsches that makes you come back for more.
And that’s why, even when I was starving with the promise of fresh restaurant food on the agenda, I still wanted to run out and capture my friend Jono’s new GT3 RS right as the light faded.
(note: if you’re reading this way in the future, like 2016 and beyond, I want to point out that at this moment in 2015, the 991 GT3 RS is still extremely rare in the USA. Even at Rennsport I only saw one, and it was an official display)
We had to trek a bit to get to the car, and I was astounded that he had parked next to another GT3 RS. Apparently the whole place had been super crowded when he arrived–hence the remote parking space–and he just randomly stumbled upon the only empty spot, right behind another GT3 RS. There were at least twenty 991 GT3’s, but these were the only two RS’s.
Unfortunately, the dinner as an event and a meal were, quite literally, nothing to write home about. So I won’t bother. But what I will tell you is that on the way out I was walking with Art and scoping out the cars that were still in the lot, which included the aforementioned GT2 RS and a 991 GT3 vinyl’d in hippie livery. But out of everything, that JALOPNK plated wagon stood out. Euro wagon with a Jalopnik plate..? This intrigued Art and I, having just been at a Jalopnik event.
At that moment two dudes walked up to us and we had one of those “oh yeah that’s my car” moments. We asked if they worked at Jalopnik, and…they do not. Just huge fans of the world’s largest automotive tabloid (my words, not theirs). More surprising, however, was the admission that their BMW was not quite the brown manual diesel with cloth seats that one would expect from a hardcore Jalopnik fan.
We thanked them, and continued on our way back to the San Francisco Bay Area in the darkness. That concludes the Rennsport Reunion V coverage! There are tons of photos that didn’t make the cut for this post, so click here if you want to check those out.