THE USUAL SUS­PECTS

Johnny Ti­pler has his say

911 Porsche World - - Contents -

PIL­GRIM FAR­THER

Big-time events are like pil­grim­ages. And of all the ma­jor his­toric race meet­ings on the com­pe­ti­tion calendar Peter Auto’s Le Mans Clas­sic that fol­lows a fort­night af­ter the cen­tre­piece 24-Heures is un­doubt­edly one of the best, vy­ing for top spot with Sil­ver­stone and Spa Clas­sic, Lime Rock, Zand­voort and Al­garve His­toric GPS, and the Nür­bur­gring Old Timer. Com­ing so soon af­ter the WEC 24Hours, the Clas­sic’s on the radar of many Brit race fans and, like the all-nighter, there’s a fair pres­ence of geezer­dom livin’ it large in the camp­sites ad­ja­cent to the cir­cuit. I’d gone over with snap­per Sarah Hall, trav­el­ling in the Boxster S via the overnight cross­ing from Plymouth to Roscoff, courtesy of Brit­tany Fer­ries, on ac­count of all other routes be­ing sold out. We were bil­leted in the Mai­son Blanche camp­ing ground, about 100m from the track but like­wise handy for the pad­dock. Less well ap­pre­ci­ated was the er­rant be­hav­iour of a few Porsche hot­heads, dough­nut­ting on the camp­site’s black­top, in­clud­ing a red 928 that had to an­chor up a bit sharpish when con­fronted by a cou­ple of kids on skate­boards. The Norfolk cop­pers would have had some­thing to say about that – like, you should be set­ting some kind of ex­am­ple. On the other hand, the round­about in the cen­tre of Ar­nage was equally fair game for tyre smok­ers of all per­sua­sions, en­ter­tain­ing din­ers in the over­flow­ing road­side restau­rants, though on Satur­day night the spec­ta­cle was su­pressed by a large po­lice pres­ence.

As for the rac­ing, what we saw of it was ex­cel­lent, given our priv­i­leged track­side van­tage points and pit­lane ac­cess, though it was ex­cru­ci­at­ingly hot, mak­ing the me­dia cen­tre over­look­ing the start-fin­ish straight a more than wel­come refuge. The Porsche-only race was en­ter­tain­ing, and grat­i­fy­ingly won by a long­tail 908 coupé, whilst in­escapably keep­ing an eye on vet­eran Porschiste Gérard Lar­rousse as he worked his way up from 16th to 6th in the won­der­ful yel­low-and-red swirls 911 ST. Con­sis­tency was his se­cret, he told me later.

JOHNNYTIPLER In­ter­na­tion­al­porsche ad­ven­tur­ist

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