Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI returned to Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca in September, to celebrate all things Porsche but most notably the marqueʼs rich motorsport history. Itʼs generally recognised as being the worldʼs largest gathering of Porsche racec
Kristina Cilia visits the largest gathering of historic Porsches in the world
What has now become a Porsche tradition, this year ʼs sixth reunion celebrated seven decades of motorsport and manufacturing history for the German manufacturer. During the four day programme this ʻinternational family reunionʼ, as it was referred to, featured track competitions, celebrity guest speakers, an evening rock concert featuring numerous bands including top performer Seal, several new cars such as the new limited production 935 and Speedster concept, parade exhibition laps, and the first ever Porsche tractor race.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche was also in attendance for the 70th birthday celebration. As one of the oldest family members representing the company, it only seemed natural that he would be the one driving 356/001, the original Porsche roadster, around the track during an exhibition lap. Well publicised in advance, the event attracted approximately 80,000 Porsche fans who descended on the iconic circuit to pay tribute to the famed marque through the long weekend.
This year ʼs Rennsport theme ʻMarque of Championsʼ highlighted the legends of the brand: championship-winning Porsches, their design engineers and the drivers who celebrated victories throughout the world. The prominent list included approximately 50 well-known drivers: American endurance driver Hurley Haywood, who took to the track during the event; six time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx; five times Le Mans winner and arguably Britainʼs most successful driver Derek Bell; co-creator of the Porsche Rennsport Reunion and racing driver Brian Redman, plus numerous other champions and Porsche factory drivers, including 919 Hybrid Evo pilot, Timo Bernhard.
Also highlighted were two of Porscheʼs most influential engineers: Norbert Singer, father of the Porsche 962 and the Carrera GT V10 engine, and Hans ʻMotoren-papstʼ Mezger, who was famous for developing the flat-six 911 engine as well as the flat-12 for the legendary 917, among others.
Each day attendees got to watch a variety of some 350 Porsche racecars competing in seven different classes throughout the day. When you grew tired of racing (if such a thing is possible), located in pit row was a notable Champions Garage with eleven victorious Porsche racecars for you to peruse, and next to that was the Chopard Heritage
tent for you to get up close and personal with many famous race cars allowing you to begin piecing together the various elements in this storied history.
There was plenty of time to check out the paddocks as well, to see impressive displays of 356 Outlaws and cars from the R-gruppe, along with a 959 collection, and chat with various members of the racing teams. There were also prize giveaways inside the Porsche Park plus a signature guestbook and a Porsche RRVI billboard for all to autograph. And Porsche did not forget about its junior members with a near life-size neon green Lego Porsche car on display adjacent to the large dry white board featuring an outline of a Porsche 356 for kids to make their own design, a mini race track with mini Porsches to ride on, and a youth judging event sponsored by Hagerty.
One standout event, new to the Porsche Rennsport Reunion this year, was the first ever Porsche tractor race. Drivers were allowed a historic Le Mans-style start as the crowd watched 17 tractors race from the starting line to the Mother ʼs Polish Bridge between turns four and five. Notable drivers in this event were Jeff Zwart and John Oates (of ʼ80s rock band Hall & Oates), but it was Patrick Long who claimed victory. This event was definitely a crowd favourite and will hopefully continue to be on the programme at future Rennsport Reunions!
Porsche Rennsport Reunion is not only a passionate tribute to the auto maker ʼs rich heritage but to all Porsche owners and enthusiasts as well. Although the event may be over, its memory will live on in the smiles of all who attended, as well as the thousands – millions? – of photographs taken that helped capture those memories. See you at the next Reunion? CP
“THE EVENT WAS DEFINITELY A CROWD FAVOURITE…”
Clockwise from top left: Le Mans winner (1970) Richard Attwood interviewed; Chopard Heritage Display showcased some of Porscheʼs defining moments in history as seen here with a selection of Porsche 917s, 908s and 910s; Wolfgang Porsche enters the track in Porsche Number 1; Larrousse Porsche 911 ST, owned by Historika (driven by Patrick Long) flies through the corkscrew
Below left: Overall view of Chopard display. Impressive!Below right: 356s parked in the ownersʼ Corral
Clockwise from top left: One Porsche enthusiastʼs hand built tribute to the Type 64 parked in the Corral; ʻMarque of Championsʼ display at the entrance to the Porsche Park; Jeff Zwart (of Pikeʼs Peak fame) does his best to gain more speed during the first ever Porsche tractor race at RR; Porsche 917/30 enters the track for an exhibition lap
Below left: A group of RR attendees pose for a photo with Chad Mcqueen under the Chopard tentBelow right: Now thatʼs what we call a pit lane…