A Long Time Waiting
After dreaming of attending Rennsport Reunion for many years, last month that dream finally came true. We made it to Rennsport Reunion VI (RRVI) held at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. It was Porsche paradise!
Taking place every four years, Rennsport Reunion (Rennsport) is the world’s largest four-day gathering of everything Porsche related. The event brings vintage and modern race cars to a track where enthusiasts, engineers, designers and Porsche race car drivers from all over the world can celebrate and enjoy Porsche’s rich racing history.
In addition, Rennsport Reunion VI celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary making this event all the more special; we overheard it attracted 80,000 visitors and some 2,000 cars over the course of four days. Wow! We suspect RRVI took place one year earlier than the usual four years in order to align with the 70th anniversary – makes sense.
Welcome To Paradise
We flew into San Jose and drove down to Monterey three of the four days and boy do we wish there were more hours in the day to take it all in. Luftgekühlt 5 may have prepared one of us for Rennsport – so we thought – but as first timers to Rennsport, the experience was overwhelming, to say the least. Porsche Paradise! We’ve never seen such a wide variety of competition cars and historic racing Porsche’s not to mention all of the race car drivers, past and present, all in one event.
Strolling the grounds, we stopped at several vendor booths, enjoyed snacks from various food trucks and walked through the paddocks. Located next to the paddocks was the large white Chopard Heritage tent displaying historically significant Porsches; some of which only participated in parade laps and not races, and we can understand why. In addition to their rarity or racing significance, we can’t imagine the insurance policy on some of these models.
Porsche Motorsports also revived the iconic 935 and debuted a new street-legal 700-horsepower 935, of which only 77 will be made. If you’ve got $800k lying around then this car is sure to knock your socks off, but we’re sure they were all accounted for before it’s unveiling. Another option would be something more stationary like a large Lego 911 which would make a great garden sculpture or jungle gym for the kiddos. It was located near the kiddo section – just saying.
We didn’t have a plan on how to break up our days so we just winged it and ran from one area to another like Scrat, the crazy squirrel, from Ice Age. Looking back, we’ll definitely make a mini-plan for the next one so we’re better prepared and cover more ground.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is a 2.238-mile track with 11 turns, one of which is a technical turn called the “Andretti Hairpin.” Throughout the day, several class races and parade laps were scheduled and there were several areas to spectate from. We found ourselves watching some of the races from the first few turns and two grandstand areas but later found the best views were at The Corkscrew, a steep downhill plunge at turn 8.
Fast, Faster and Tractors
In addition to parade laps, legendary race car drivers (some of which were 70+ years young) took to the track in vintage race cars and burned some rubber in their race class. Impressive! If we can manage to still drive by their age, we’ll be happy.
This was the first time (ok, the second time) we used our eleven-year-old hand-me-down Nikon on fast-moving objects on a race track. The first time we used it on a moving object was eight months earlier for barely 20 minutes, so does that really count? Anyway, let’s just say it was a huge learning curve, especially shooting really fast cars behind two chain link fences, so we spent more time enjoying the races than futzing with the camera. Full disclosure: we generally use our smartphones and have only used the Nikon a dozen times prior to this event. Noobs!
It was pretty cool to hear and see these cars in motion rather than just parked at a show or in a museum. The 919 Tribute also burned some rubber going for a track record and at times passing the two 911 RSR’s which were on the track at the same time. The sound of these machines was unworldly and we, of course, were lovin’ it!
The pace on the track was either parade laps, fast, faster and then there was, well, tractor pace. Yes, tractors! Porsche made diesel tractors from 1952-1963 and at 14-25 horsepower, the slow-moving but entertaining race had a very modified course – 3 turns to be exact.
Several legendary Porsche race car drivers were present at Rennsport and at certain times of the day, that didn’t interfere with their race schedules, autograph sessions were available. At times the wait to meet them was long but we made it a point to stand in line one day and we’re glad we did.
We were especially happy to meet and chat with Hurley Haywood about his upcoming documentary “Hurley.” He was surprised we had already watched the film. At the time, the documentary had not been released to the public, but we had a chance to see it in the spring and get our hands on a copy early through the director, Derek Dodge’s Kickstarter campaign.
Update: Click here to read a quick story on the campaign and how we received a copy of the film last spring.
A State of Extreme Happiness
On the evening of the last day, we stood in the Chopard Heritage tent sad to leave Rennsport, a Porsche paradise that put us in a state of extreme happiness – overwhelmed, but very happy, for three days. It’s not often we get to see several historical Porsches outside of museums or iconic and historical race cars zip around a track and meet several racing legends ALL in one place. And even though we weren’t at the event for the full duration, we were thrilled to experience our first Rennsport Reunion which we’ll look back on for months and years with a big smile. 😃
Can’t wait for the next Rennsport Reunion!
*Still sorting through photos so we’ll occasionally update the RRVI posts with additional images.