Reader Report: Steven Cabales’ Rennsport Reunion
Friend of the blog, Steven Cabales wrote in about his trip up the coast with my dear friend (and old housemate) Heather for the Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca. Part of me thinks he just sent it in to fuel my envy.
Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV. After this weekend I’ve learned that no other manufacturer has earned more endurance racing victories than Porsche. Was this new knowledge? Not really. I like Ferraris and Alfas (had a 1974 Alfetta GTV) but I love Porsches. Nothing could prepare me for what we were about to witness. Being in the midst of the legendary winning vehicles and their legendary drivers was total nirvana.
We rolled up Saturday at Mazda Raceway at 7am and directed to the 993 section of the Porsche corral. There were a few cars there already but pretty empty that early. Foggy and cold we slowly made our way to the track. Vendor stalls started opening as we walked past. Once across the bridge and past a few more stalls, through the fog there they were. 935 Moby Dick and the amazing RSR in front of the Porsche Paddock on the asphalt. No ropes, no “do not touch” signs, just sitting there for anyone to touch, which I did. These and 54 other of Porsches finest steeds came directly from the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. That museum must have looked very empty during the week.
Could it possibly get any better than this? Hell yes it could. Just walking past the Brumos staging area nearly gave me an aneurysm. Hurley Hayward’s Daytona winning 914-6 was sitting there. At Canepa’s, multiple 917’s in Gulf livery. In the pit paddock, racing Porsches from every era, all in chronological order! In the “tent” there must’ve been no less than 8 550s a 356 Abarth Carrera, with Carrera Panamerica livery, a Martini 917, and a lot more I’ve leaving out. It was like walking into the history books of Porsche racing. Shortly after checking my pulse to see if I was really alive still or not, we discovered the Porsche Corkscrew shuttle. Porsche set up a free shuttle service with brand new Cayennes to the Corkscrew. Nice marketing.
At the Corkscrew the fog started rolling in. I feared they’d delay first practice session. I was wrong. First thing we saw was flashing lights of the pace car (Panamera Turbo) leading the group, and then the sound. The sound of wailing 4 Cam Carrera motors bombing down turn 7 and up throttling in before turn 8. RSK, RS60s, Abarth Carrera, Speedsters. I couldn’t talk at this point even if I tried. Next up Eifel Trophy: 908, 904, 914-6s, 911s. One car I did recognize in this group was Hurley Haywood’s Daytona winning 914-6, only to learn later who was driving this car. Hurley Haywood!
Now next group is really what I came to see. The Weissach Cup cars. I could nearly feel tears swelling up in my eyes hearing the flat 12s of the 917s, followed by 910s, and 906s screaming down the screw, spitting fire on the overrun. Oh look, there goes Brian Redman in the Gulf 908. Hi Jeff Zwart, I sure like that 906 you’re driving. It was that surreal to me. Still is.
I could go on and on about which cars we saw and which drivers I talked to, but the auto rags have done a much better summary than I possibly could. The most important thing I came away with from this event is Porsche has endurance racing DNA in spades. Nothing even comes close. My first memory of a Porsche was in 1976. I was six. We bought our first Mercedes that year. A 1976 240D. Mustard yellow. Slow as molasses, tough as iron. Next door was a Porsche dealership. I asked my parents, ‘why can’t we get one of those?’ ‘Because mom can’t drive stick’ was my dad’s answer. Super. So after years of growing up with Benzs, I still coveted Porsches. I still covet aircooled 911s and 33 years later I now have my first one. Rennsport Reunion confirmed I made the right decision. DNA really is everything in racing.
Thanks again for sending this in Steven. See more of Steven and Heather’s photos from the Reunion here.