Story and photos: Don Chaisson
Rennsport Reunion VI is over. If you missed it, you missed a truly epic event.
Just look at the numbers: over 81,000 attendance, 266 historic race cars on track, a dozen Porsche tractors in a race both Saturday and Sunday, 55 Heritage Display Cars (sponsored by Chopard), 1:06 min lap time for the 919 EVO (“not a record” — continue reading!), rows and rows of product displays/shops (including our YOS member, Braken Helms – Circuit6four), enormous (and sold out) Porsche Corrals, 4 days of racing (practice/qualifying and competition), member cars on a lawn display — one of “each” car Porsche produced over the 70 years!, on-and-on. The covered paddock was taken over by special Porsche race cars and specialty cars (Mission E prototype, 919 EVO, IMSA 911 RSR (the one with the motor “ahead of the rear axle”) and including my absolute favorite Porsche, the 911 GT1 ( oh yea, its motor is “ahead of the rear axle”… just say’in).
The days were total and deep Porsche immersion — to the point that our president, Chuck Pierce lamented Sunday afternoon, before the last two races, “… I’m Porsche’ed out.. lets go home!” Yea, that much immersion!
There were all sorts of story lines over the weekend. Here are two,
The 919 EVO was at the event for “demonstration” laps — though the hot rumor was it was there to set yet another lap record, here at Laguna. Just to get the car on the course took a large contingent of engineers (there are 7 just in the photo here). You don’t just jump in, turn the key and fire it up. The tolerances on the bearings, piston rings, etc are so tight that the motor unit, KERS system and battery system has to be pre-heated before it can be started. Fan access to the paddock was remarkable, we were able to get right next to the car while they prepared it for its session. A couple things jump out when you get close to the 919 without all its cladding: it is complicated and tightly packed!
Chatting with a systems and the V4-engineer, more interesting numbers. The LeMans car was required to comply with various controls, e.g. fuel flow, aero packages, etc. But the rules for the 919 “tribute” car were opened to “whatever”. The result, the 2 liter V4 went from 550HP to over 700HP, similar jumps in the electromotive — total now over 1100 HP. The “tribute” aero package generates about 50% MORE downforce than the LeMans trim and a F1 style adjustable rear wing installed, — apparently the list goes on and on. I was between turns 4 and 5 for Sat practice and it went by like a bullet!
Then the subject of the lap record came up. The engineer, sadly announced ” It will not be allowed.” What, not even a try at the record?? He went on, “… We received a message from the ‘Board’ that we were not allowed to try and break the record. The car is too valuable and must be delivered to the Museum intact. Today will be the last day the car will be ever run at speed. So, no record for the car today.” Then, with a wink, “... but, we vill be ‘close’ ...”
The Official lap record at LS is 1:07.7 by a Penske Camp Car. The “unofficial” record is 1:05.88 in a Ferrari F2003F1 but since it was an exhibition, not in a race, it cannot be official. Rumors were that the 919 was in the 1:06 range, so not “a record”, but…CLOSE ! Some speed trap numbers give an idea of how it was running: 170+ mph entering Turn 5 and @195 mph under the start bridge on the front straight.
So, we got to see the 919 lap in anger for its last time … pretty special.
<<< Rumor Report: reports are surfacing that the engineers & drivers hung around to play some more with the 919 on Monday after Rennsport. Was there a “record run” after all??? >>>
Speaking of special; Migliore Motorwerken. Recall that (now) YOS member Nico and Victoria Castellacio invited our members to their pre-rennsptort BBQ? Well, Migliore was at the track with their trailer and stable of cars, including the 935 Fabcar and a bunch of 911/GTR3 RSR’s. To say that they had a successful weekend would be an understatement. Patrick Long piloted the 935 to a decisive win in the Gp4 race after starting outside the top 10 (problems with qualifying including a misbehaving timing sensor!). Remember the photos of the 935 just a week prior — front end still in re-assembly, motor being worked on, problems in practice with front hub or something, then.. straight to the front at the start (Long went from 13th to 3rd in three corners!!)
Another update: Here is a “helmet cam” of Patrick Long driving the 935.. what a beast ! — the 935 that is! Starts off with some final coordination with Nico..
Jorg Bermeister and Estre finished Sunday’s final race, Gp 7, in the same order as their qualifying race, 1-2. That’s 2 of 7 races contested at Rennsport that Migliore (OK, with their factory drivers!!) won. I don’t remember if they only entered those two races… which would make their weekend even more special: 2 for 2. Congratulations to Nico and their hard working team.
There were other stories. Like YOS member Greg Pyatt being asked to show his 930 flatnose 911. The YOS members at the event came to gather for a group photo:
Porsche also took the occasion to debut a new car: a tribute to the 935 race car. This new 935, based on a GT2RS platform, has a 700 hp motor, track capable in every way but with creature comforts, eg. air conditioning will be offered at $817,000 to only 77 buyers. But don’t call Porsche, I think all 77 have already been spoken for!
Again, if you missed Rennsport VI, you missed something special. And worse, you’ll have to wait at least 3 years for another Rennsport (VII) to come around. We hope it will be at Laguna Seca again. See you there ??