Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

Grand Opening Party at Porsche Minneapolis

Whew! I thought Monday’s ride and rally around town brought out some great cars… and it did. But last night’s party had a parking lot full of amazing Porsches of all vintages. The 918 and Singer from the previous day were there, but joined by an astounding collection of Porsches ranging from a 959 to a gorgeous 914-6 and no less than three 4-cam powered machines: a 356 Carrera, an RS60, and a ’58 Speedster.

The party and ribbon cutting happening inside, though, was no less impressive (ok. maybe a little less impressive than an RS60 with Sebring history). There were signature cocktails of course, and never-ending spreads of wonderful food, and a cigar roller, and the most spotless service area I’ve ever seen, and Magnus Walker working the crowd and signing posters, and a custom microbrew created just for the event. It all added up to a wonderful evening. Congratulations to the organizers.

PCNA COO Joe Lawrence was on hand to cut the ribbon

PCNA COO Joe Lawrence was on hand to cut the ribbon

Porsche Minneapolis was kind enough to loan me a 911 for the day. I think I’ll always prefer the vintage air-cooled variants of the 911, but you can still readily feel the legacy of Porsche’s motorsport heritage in the 991. Somehow despite all the revolutionary changes in every manner of engineering that goes into the modern 911, it still feels like a 911. A little quieter perhaps; a little more comfortable; a little less likely to spin on your when you’re decelerating in a curve—but it still retains enough of the 911 spirit that I can still imagine myself gritting my teeth through a turn on the Nordschleife or Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie in a stripped down 911R or RSR. I have personally been debating between a contemporary Cayman or SC-era 911 for my next car… after a day spent with modern Porsches, I think the only real solution is to get both… and maybe a few more for good measure.

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Scenes From a Minnesota Porsche Party

A Pack of Porsches celebrating the new Porsche Minneapolis dealer

Magnus Walker's iconic 277 car-before the crashPorsche Minneapolis celebrated the opening of their new facility in grand style today with a fantastic drive among several of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes that was intended to be led by Magnus Walker. After a rocky start to the day, the spirits and weather both turned for the warmer just in time for a wonderful blue-sky drive through the parks, farmland, and countryside of central Minnesota.

Magnus didn't seem to let the incident with 277 ruin his day. Solid dude.

Magnus didn’t seem to let the incident with 277 ruin his day. Solid dude.

Although the dealership’s focus is obviously on the current generation of Porsches, there was a large contingent of classic and specialty examples of the marque including a couple of dozen examples of air-cooled 911s of all vintages, the Singer Minnesota car, and some contemporary rarities including a (stunning) 918 and a pair of current generation, impossible-to-get GT3RSs.

That Singer is truly exceptional. Even the casual Porsche aficionados amongst the hundred or so attendees were entranced by it. There are no shortage of gorgeously lit and professionally shot detail photos of the Singer cars, but standing right in front of it I couldn’t help but crouch down and get close to see the very smallest of little touches that make this very very expensive car start to feel worth the price. Things like the custom boot latches and hinges; the perfectly manicured engine compartment; the subtle steering wheel-mounted bluetooth controls that allow for modern phone integration without a garish contemporary stereo head unit (who designs those atrocities?). It all adds up to a simply arrestingly beautiful car.

While I am sorry that I couldn’t get to see Magnus’ equally beautiful (but on the opposite end of the customization spectrum) 277 car join us on the drive, he’s still confident that the car will be back on the road in time for next month’s Rennsport Reunion. It’s an ambitious goal, but I wouldn’t want to doubt his resolve.

Amongst a sea of exquisite Porsches was one particular car that caught my eye. It’s a fairly nondescript example of an Irish Green 911T—exactly the kind of car you would expect to see any number of littering the parking lot at any Cars and Coffee. It was the receipt in the window, however, that made the car truly special for the event. Not only is this an amazingly preserved car with original paint and windscreen, this car was bought new in 1970 at Carousel Porsche Audi in Excelsior, Minnesota—The very Porsche dealer we were celebrating today. What a precious connection between the past and future of Porsche’s dealership network in the Upper Midwest.

Unrestored 1970 911T originally purchased at Carousel Porsche Audi

A grand opening party is on the schedule for Tuesday—I’m looking forward to it. More information at Porsche Minneapolis.

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When Safety Equipment Does its Job

Grattan Crash captured by Mark Whitney

Make no mistake about it, this crash at the VSCDA event at Grattan is very, very scary. One second, your picking your turn in spot and getting ready for your turn. The next, your helmet is millimeters off the tarmac. In many ways, however, this series of photos shot by Mark Whitney (played in quick succession here) represents the best case scenario in on-track incidents. Despite the very real danger here, the driver was able to walk away.

Stand up and walk out to your garage to make sure your rollbar is the right height above your helmet. It’s the difference between the roll bar doing it’s job and your helmet dragging across the pavement and pushing your helmet into a series of neck injuries or worse. I know that the temptation to preserve every period-appropriate bit on your car is very real, but make sure you too will walk away from crashes like this. Get a HANS. Check your rollbar. Build it safe.

Thanks for letting us share these Mark. This decidedly less glamorous end of the vintage racing world is where lives can be saved.

See these photos individually in greater detail at Mark Whitney’s Facebook album and join the conversation on the VSCDA Facebook page.

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2015 Vintage Racing Calendar Updated

As I look out the window at sub-zero temperatures it is easy to forget that the 2015 vintage racing season is already getting under way in many parts of the US. The Chicane’s Vintage Racing Calendar is now updated with this year’s schedule. Take a look, and let me know if your club’s events are missing.

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Goodwood Revival 2014 Greatest Hits

Here’s a smattering of videos that the (remarkable) media team at Goodwood have put together to mark the close of this year’s Revival event. I still don’t know how all those cars that spun in the TT race managed to avoid each other.

RAC TT Race:

Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy:

St Mary’s Trophy:

Whitsun Trophy:

Fordwater Trophy:

Richmond Trophy:

Goodwood Trophy:

It’s not quite being there, but I give huge accolades to Goodwood for allowing us to watch the action remotely.

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Goodwood Will Livestream This Weekend’s Revival

It’s official. As they did last year, and for this year’s Festival of Speed, The Goodwood team will be livestreaming the Revival festivities this weekend. What a tremendous joy for those of us not making the trek to the track.

Hopefully, they’ll archive the feeds for later viewing as well so we don’t have to rise before the sun here in the States. An embeded feed should be available here on The Chicane as we approach the weekend. Stay tuned.

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Porsche SA buys Kyalami

Here’s a round of auctioneering you don’t often see. Watch the bidding floor as Porsche SA purchases Kyalami for R205Million.

Thanks, Porsche for keeping Kyalami out of our Lost Tracks series.

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Robert Ristuccia’s 2014 Pittsburgh Vintage GP

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix photo by Robert Ristuccia

Is there some way we can pool our money together to hire the committee that created the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and ship them to cities around the country reviving true road course vintage race weekends? I just don’t know how they did it. Can you imagine the administrative dance required to gain approvals for this kind of thing? If we could only discover their secret for accomplishing this minor miracle in today’s litigious society, just think of what we could do.

I believe these visionaries could make flights of fancy like the Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, a revived Golden Gate Park Road Races, or a return to Bridgehampton’s or Elkhart Lake’s or Pebble Beach’s street circuits a reality. Hell, they even managed to get the state of Pennsylvania to issue a PVGP license plate!

Small bore grid at Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Photo by Robert Ristuccia

Thankfully, Robert Ristuccia’s beautiful photos from the 2014 running of the PVGP let us tag along on something more immediately real. Just seeing these lovely racing machines from a wide variety of classes running on the closed streets of Schenley Park passing by stop signs and approaching the curbs is a wonderful reminder that real road racing can still exist.

Check out Robert Ristuccia’s entire set from the weekend for more. Thanks Robert!

via Reddit.

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Goodwood Festival of Speed Full Day Replays

Goodwood has done us one better with their live streams of the Festival of Speed and archived replays of the entire day’s activities. Here is Day 3 of the 2014 Festival of Speed, Day 1 and Day 2 are also available on their YouTube channel.

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Reviewed: A Question of Speed

Fred Bonatto's A Question of Speed

There are a lot of photographic studies of classic motoring available at the bookstore. Most of these are a collection published by a stock motoring photography house, with a variety of photographers images from the past slapped together under a sometimes tenuous theme. Occasionally we’ll see a singular volume from an individual photographer’s catalog. I tend to be more drawn to these as the work takes on a new perspective than simply the subject of the photographs. The consistency of photographic technique and the photographer’s eye lends the volume a more personal and intimate point of view that holds the book together.

Fred Bonatto’s A Question of Speed is akin to this later type of work, but with a key difference. Rather than a collection of decades old photography, Fred spent the summer of 2013 traveling to the Donnington Historic Festival, the Spa Six Hours race, and Copenhagen Historic GP documenting the cars and—vitally—the community of contemporary vintage racing. I love it.

An image from Fred Bonatto's A Question of Speed

The past few summers I’ve not been able to attend the number of vintage races that I would like and Fred’s book makes me feel like I’ve just returned from a great race weekend. The reason is simple: he turns his lens at wonderful cars—some in the pits and some on track. Just as importantly he also trains his eye on the real reason race weekends are so wonderful: the people that make them happen. The moments captured of drivers, mechanics, spectators, and corner workers all hard at work/play give you a real sense of being in the paddock on race weekend. We all know that the on-track action is only a fraction of the enjoyment of a solid race weekend.

An image from Fred Bonatto's A Question of SpeedI also appreciate Fred’s commitment to capturing the atmosphere of a race on black and white film. Film! I’m not necessarily a personal stalwart for chemical photo developing, but I do appreciate the confidence and patience that it takes to limit yourself. When I’m in the paddock, I shoot hundreds and hundreds of images with my digital camera knowing that I’ll be able to find a precious handful of quality shots from the weekend. That is a luxury that the expense of film makes impractical for me, but in the hands of a much more talented photographer, there’s a beauty in the grain of film photography that A Question of Speed captures beautifully.

Fred Bonatto’s A Question of Speed is like a perfect race weekend that I can pluck from the shelf anytime I like—whether it’s because I’m missing whatever vintage event happens to be this weekend, or because it’s mid-February. I’ll always have this wonderful little escape to the paddock right there on the shelf waiting for me.

A Question of Speed is limited to 100 precious copies and is available from fredbonatto.com.

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