Rennsport VII

Porsche 911 in the beautiful California countryside. [Jack Webster Photo]

Porsche 911 in the beautiful California countryside. [Jack Webster Photo]

By Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is the ideal place to hold a Porsche reunion. The track offers excellent facilities, the area has plenty to offer (for even the non-racing spectators such as the driver’s and owner’s wives in places like Carmel), and usually at the end of September, the weather is superb. It was with this backdrop that Porsche faithful from around the world descended upon the Monterey Peninsula for the highly anticipated Rennsport Reunion VII.

The event was literally a sellout, with an announced weekend crowd of over 90,000 in attendance. If you weren’t up at the crack of dawn and at the track, you had little luck finding a parking place, and that is after waiting in traffic to even get into the facility. Even with those inconveniences, the event was stellar and Laguna Seca and Porsche put on great and well-organized show.

Whether you liked old Porsches like the 356 or early 911 or were intrigued by the latest machinery like the all new GTP Porsche 963 or Le Mans winning Porsche 919, there was something for everyone, including tractors. Two all Porsche tractor races were held during the event, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

If you were into celebrities, you had you pick of them as well. Patrick Dempsey, Jerry Seinfeld and John Oates (who drove a tractor in the tractor race), were among those in attendance.

Of course, the great appeal to us, other than the cars, were the legendary drivers and Porsche personalities who were on hand to greet spectators and sign autographs at the numerous autograph sessions scheduled throughout the event. Alwin Springer of Andial fame and former Porsche factory driver Patrick Long were Grand Marshalls and they were joined by such Porsche legends as George Follmer, Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, John Fitzpatrick, Brian Redman, David Hobbs, David Piper, Thierry Boutsen, Timo Bernhard, Roman Dumas, David Donohue, Jim Busby and many, many more. Porsche fans had the rare opportunity to meet and talk to these legendary drivers in a relaxed atmosphere where it felt more like a family reunion than a race meeting. Hats off to Porsche and the organizers for making it such a fan friendly event.

For the kids (and us big kids as well), they got to see ‘Rexy’, the Porsche 911 RSR in the T-Rex color scheme that has been running in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship this season. For us older kids, we got to see a couple of Gulf-Porsche 917Ks mix it up at speed on the track. The sound alone of those cars accelerating out of Turn 11 made attending worthwhile. In addition to all the classic Porsches running in various classes, IMSA was even on hand with the Porsche Carrera Cup and held two pro races during the event. A huge favorite among the spectators were the aforementioned tractor races (we didn’t know that many Porsche tractors still existed!). Of course, not to be forgotten were the high-speed demonstration laps put on by the Porsche 919 Tribute car, the Porsche Penske 963 and the all-electric Porsche RSR.

Even a few showers on Saturday couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, and later in the day the rain stopped and Sunday typically Monterey beautiful.

Aside from the long lines to buy Rennsport souvenirs (Porsche needs to work on that), the only complaint we heard all weekend was that there was just too much to see and do. Now, that’s not a bad problem to have.

We can hardly wait for the Rennsport VIII – hopefully coming soon. Be sure not to miss it.

See you at the races.

Share Button