A New Porsche Gathering
While the website was down for maintenance, winter flew by in the blink of an eye. And as we’re settling into a new season, I realized there were some unposted experiences to share from the past few months; one of which is Zuffenhausen In The Park in Arcadia, California.
During a trip to Southern California in late fall, I decided on a whim to check out the inaugural Zuffenhausen In The Park (Zuffenhausen for short) event at the Santa Anita Race Track. I don’t recall what prompted me to go, but I imagine it had something to do with dreams of P-cars and some late night Googling where I eventually landed on an Event Bright page. Did I mention the event was FREE?
At first, the excitement of finding a show last minute was great, but then reality kicked in: I was still jet lagged and recovering from food poisoning. Ugh, what terrible timing. After mapping the route, I decided I would try to get a good night’s sleep and evaluate how I felt in the morning; after all, it was a free event so I had nothing to lose if I couldn’t make it. Surprisingly, the following morning I woke up feeling slightly better so I quickly got dressed, hopped into the rental car and headed to Zuffenhausen at Santa Anita Park.
Santa Anita Race Track
I can’t remember the last time I was at the track or in the San Gabriel Valley when I lived in L.A., and I especially don’t recall the freakishly tall palm trees, but I do remember the San Gabriel Mountains set in the background.
Having arrived just before nine, cars were already at the In-Field Parking lot rolling through the tunnel to their designated spots. I didn’t know much about Zuffenhausen other than it was a Porsche gathering organized by Scientific Motoring Group and that it would have Porsche’s, a Biergarten, Bratwursts and horse racing. What more could you ask for, right?
While everyone was parking their cars, thoroughbred racehorses were warming up on the one-mile track in preparation for their afternoon races. The view of the track from the in-field was great so I paused for several minutes to watch the horses run and stretch their legs.
As I began walking around, I noticed a variety of air-cooled and water-cooled models from classics, outlaws and daily drivers; some of which were participating in Zuffenhausen’s People’s Choice and PCA awards ceremony scheduled in the afternoon.
On one side of the field, I found myself gravitating towards several classics, including a silver 356, a pristine 911S, and the pumpkin-colored interior of a 914. In addittion to the racehorses on the track, the central area packed some serious horsepower with a gang of GT3 RS’s and Bisimoto’s 850 horsepower twin turbo “widowmaker.” That car is badass! And of course, I can’t forget the purple RWB with a sign that said, “Please Do Not Touch.”
As I moved along to the other side of the infield, the smell of brats lingered in the air and although I really wanted one, I was still on the mend. Luckily I had a couple of cool 964’s to distract me and Benton Performance‘s Mein12.
And just as I was completing a full circle of the infield, John Benton rolled in, fresh from a victory at La Carrera Pan Americana, driving “Rayo Chapin.” After their win in Mexico, John drove “Rayo Chapin” back to Los Angeles, arriving at 2am, then up early for Zuffenhausen. Now that’s dedication! I had a super quick chat with John who made a comment that the car smelled of victory cigars and then found a bottle of Mezcal in the car. Ha! Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for very long so I took a quick peek inside the car and then made my exit.
Until Next Time
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to enjoy an event to its fullest. And although I couldn’t stay for beer, brats, awards and horse races, I managed to see some cool cars at the inaugural Zuffenhausen In The Park at Santa Anita Park.
Looking forward to what Zuffenhausen has in store in the coming years and I hope to make it back to their event so I can finally enjoy the rest of the flavors and sites the show and park have to offer.
Until next time…