Few marques have as rich of a racing heritage as Porsche does. And this year, the storied company from Stuttgart celebrates its 70th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate this incredible milestone, than to bring together its most famous race cars, and many of the drivers who drove them. The 11 turns of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca played host this year to the 6th edition of the RennSport Reunion.
More than 300 cars split between 7 groups took part in races throughout the weekend. Many of the machines battling it out on course have significant racing provenance. And it was incredible to see these cars at speed, not just parked in a museum where many would be more than welcome.
In between races, fans were given the opportunity to walk amongst Porsche history. Displays both from its own museum, as well as private collectors, included cars dating back to its early days of racing, all the way to today’s Le Mans winning machines. To the delight of fans, many of these cars took to the track for demonstration laps. Among these was the first 356 prototype, which was driven around Laguna Seca by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche.
Those attending RennSport also had the opportunity to meet some of Porsche’s racing legends of yesterday and today. Throughout the weekend, drivers such as 5-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell were seen walking around the paddock. Many of these racing heroes had the chance to reunite with the cars they raced in the past. It was simply incredible to hear some of the “war stories” from racing’s past told directly by those who lived them.
Although many admirers of the marque may not know, Ferdinand Porsche himself designed and built tractors, many which were sold in the early 50’s. And to the delight of fans at Laguna Seca, 17 of these early Porsche machines took to the track for head to head racing. Porsche legends such as Patrick Long and Jeff Zwart took the wheel of these incredible machines for some of the slowest, but most exciting racing Laguna Seca has ever seen. Fans even had a chance to see John Oates of Hall & Oates at the wheel of one of these incredible machines.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum of Porsche’s history, the 919 Hybrid Evo did some high-speed demonstration laps. Le Mans winners Earl Bamber and Neel Jani both took turns throughout the weekend, setting some incredible speeds. Although they did not officially break the track’s record, their front straight speeds of more than 190mph are likely the fastest ever seen at the famed track.
Porsche also took the opportunity to unveil the new 935 at RennSport. This track-only monster is based on the road going 911 GT2 RS with a 700HP twin-turbo flat six and a 7-speed PDK gearbox. Its body panels are made of carbon fiber, keeping weight down to about 3,000 lbs. Only 77 of these incredible machines (all likely already spoken for) will be sold for around $817,000. And yes, an optional passenger seat will be available.
In all, more than 80 thousand fans were in attendance, which the track states is its highest figure in 5 years. Walking around the paddock, hearing the cars on track, and seeing the nearly 2,000 Porsches in the owner’s corral, it’s easy to see why there is no marque like Porsche.
RennSport VI Gallery (Photos by Andre Ravinowich):