“One if by land, GT2 if by Deus Ex Machina Luftgekuhlt”…

As the sign outside Deus Ex Machina stated, Sunday September 7 was to be the site for Luftgekuhlt, which loosely translated, implies a celebration of air-cooled cars, and as stated on this morning,”Porsches”. Not unlike the sign sent to Paul Revere many years ago, but in this case a signal sent out to rally the Porsche community.

Deus exterior sign facing Venice blvd_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

And what a signal it was. The amazing turnout clearly demonstrated that the message had been received. By the time my son and I arrived at 8:30 AM, the parking lot was already packed to the gills…

Deus rear parking lot with Porsches_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Fortunately, the event hosts (Patrick Long and Howie Idelson) were able to squeeze me in, and found a spot for me to park amid my fellow Porsche 911 owners. Since this was intended as a celebration of air-cooled Porsches, a full compliment of models were present, starting with a variety of 356 models, displayed in coupe and cabriolet form…

Gray Porsche 356 cabriolet_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

 Porsche 356 gathering _Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Green Porsche 356 with fender and hubcap reflections_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

and supplemented by an eclectic cross-section of Porsche 911s. Examples ranged from early 911s (aka Longhoods), represented by an early 1966 911 GT, one 1968 911, a variety of 911S models, and an example of Porsches ultimate 1973 911; the 911 Carrera RS.

Below, a 1969 911S race car, club raced back in the day by the late Paul Newman and by Bill Freeman. This car represents one of the latest acquisitions by the automotive group TruSpeed, based in Costa Mesa , CA.

1969 Porsche 911S race car_Paul Newman & Bill Freeman_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

1969 Porsche 911S race car_Paul Newman & Bill Freeman_side view_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Another of the race inspired RGruppe 911, in this case a 1969 911ST, owned by Chad McQueen, obviously influenced at an early age by his father (the late Steve McQueen), and his collection of Porsches, and their families involvement in racing.

Orange 1969 Porsche 911 ST_chad mcqueen car_3/4 rear view_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Orange 1969 Porsche 911 ST_chad mcqueen car_show dash plaque_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Orange 1969 Porsche 911 ST_chad mcqueen car_ rear view_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

One of the several Porsche 911S models on display, and representing the RGruppe car club.

Ray's black 1970 Porsche 911S_3/4 side view with reflections_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

A hint to this motors modifications beyond stock; a twin plug ignition, with its snake nest of 12 spark plug wires. An obvious clue that this is no longer a stock  2.2 liter 911S motor.

Ray's black 1970 Porsche 911S_engine shot_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Like begets like; a silver 911S reflected in the fender of the host 911S.

Ray's black 1970 Porsche 911S_fender reflection of silver 911S_Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Representing the 1973 model year, was an example of a Porsche iteration that firmly established the 911s competition pedigree; the Porsche 911 Carrera RS…

white with blue accents_1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_3/4 rear viewLuftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

and a model that introduced the world to the brands new duck tail spoiler.

white with blue accents_1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_rear ducktail spoiler detail shot_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014white with blue accents_1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_3/4 rear side view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

The sole representative from the 914 community was one very cool, blue Porsche 914-6  (below), seen hanging out with a variety of Porsche 911s.

Blue Porsche 914-6, parked with 911s _3/4 rear view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

The unintentional Porsche 911 evolution row, from front to back; white 1986 911 Carrera, blue 1979 -1983 911SC, white 993 Turbo and at the opposite end, a white 964 Carrera coupe.

Porsche evolution row_1986 911 Carrera, Blue 911SC, white 993 Turbo, white 964 coupe_3/4 side view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

The view of Evolution row from the opposite end (below).

Porsche evolution row_1opposite end nview_3/4 rear view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Parked immediately across from Evolution row, and next to a trio of Porsche 911s from Magnus Walker’s collection, was another rare and highly modified Porsche; one of the latest 911 creations in white from the team at Singer Vehicle Design (as seen below).

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_3/4 rear view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

A glimpse of the Singer’s austere engine compartment and its highly modified, purpose-built motor (below).

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_motor detail_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_3/4 side view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Interesting details and technology abound from any angle.

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_front view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Rear decklid with graphics and Singer badging.

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_rear decklid with spoiler, grill and graphics_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

(Below), A close up view of the Singer’s dimensional rear decklid badging.

White Singer Porsche 911 coupe_rear decklid with dimensional badging and flat background graphics_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Parked out front of the Deus facility, helping garner attention to the mornings activities, was this beautiful red VW single cab transporter, embellished with hand painted Porsche super graphics.

Red VW single cab transporter with Porsche graphics_3/4 side view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Another of the Porsche parked out front of the Deus Ex Machina facility; in this case one very cool, black 993 Carrera C4 coupe.

Black Porsche 993 Carrera C4 coupe_3/4 side view with reflections_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Black Porsche 993 Carrera C4 coupe_door reflections_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

A four-wheeled, Porsche 993 mirror… (above and below)

Black Porsche 993 Carrera C4 coupe_3/4 side view w/ reflections_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

As the morning progressed, and with participants coming and going, our hosts were challenged with being sensitive to the surrounding businesses. So for some of us, that meant the need to move to the primary Deus parking lot, and consolidate with the remaining cars parked in the Deus lot. So imagine my surprise when I found myself now parked between two icons; Porsche ultimate expression of the 993 model, the GT2, to my left, and to my right, the Signer 911…and all three cars in white !

White Porsche 993 GT2_group shot_86 carrera & Singer 911_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

For those unfamiliar with Porsche 993 GT2, just seeing one in person is incredible, given the rarity of this model. This is only the second true 993 GT2 that I have seen in person (my first sighting was of a silver 993 GT2 parked on the streets of London, while on a business trip back in 2000).

Porsche only produced the 993 based GT2 from 1993 to 1998. The 993 GT2 was powered by a 3.6 liter, twin turbocharged flat six motor producing 430 horsepower. Then in 1998, Porsche increased the GT2s performance, boosting horsepower up to 450. Power was managed through a six speed manual transmission, and capable of delivering 0-60 times of 3.9 seconds, and 0-100 mph times in only 8.7 seconds. According to my research, Porsche only built a total of 57, 993 based GT2 road cars, with 7 of those models manufactured for the right hand drive market.

White Porsche 993 GT2_3/4 front view_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Another of the unique, identifying design details found on the 993 GT2 (as seen below); the three-piece modular, Speedline racing wheel.

White Porsche 993 GT2 coupe_front speedline modular wheels_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

The model specific rear wing, with dual air intakes, designed to feed cool, fresh air to the twin turbocharged motor, and wearing dual GT2 embossed end plates.

White Porsche 993 GT2 coupe_model specific rear wing_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

The owner of this GT2 was kind enough to field a mornings worth of questions about his car;the most common question being what is it? For those in the know, it was obvious that this was in fact a 993 GT2, and not a clone or re-creation. The owner also shared with us that this particular car possessed the horsepower upgrade (450 horsepower), making it one of the 1998 models. We also learned two more interesting facts about this particular GT2. The first was that this car had been purchased from its original owner in Japan, and  secondly, upon its successful importation into the United States, it became what is to be believed only one of two true 993 GT2s residing within the USA.

White Porsche 993 GT2 coupe_3/4 front view, drivers side_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Where else but in Southern California, could an event of this magnitude be held, and draw as diverse and rare a collection of Porsche as those that participated.

Deus event poster gracing entrance door_ Luftgekuhlt event_Sunday September 7, 2014

Given the success and turnout experienced on September 7, and based upon comments shared by one of the events host (Patrick Long), it appears it will only be a matter of time before a second Luftgekuhlt event will once again be held.

(All photos by the author)

A UFO sighting during this years 2014 Dana Point 356 Concours…

Waking up on Sunday morning July 20th, I was greeted by high gray cloud cover and warm temperatures, yet it was just 6:30 AM; Interesting weather for the start of this years 2014 Dana Point 356 concours. At least the cloud cover did not appear to possess the ability to deliver rain, as had occurred during the past two Dana Point 356 Concours.

I arrived at the Lantern Bay Park overlooking Dana Point harbor at around 7:30 am, anticipating an early entry to the grounds for Porsche 911 “display parking” by 8:00 AM, only to be told that this year the 911s would have to wait until 8:30. I was then told that I would need to leave the area at the top of the hill to make room for any of the late arriving Porsche 356. So with no place to wait, I turned around and descended the hill and headed back towards PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) for those unfamiliar with Southern California highways. Fortunately there was a Denny’s restaurant on the corner, so I decided that this would be a good place to park and wait for 8:30 AM. As I pulled into the lot, I could see there was already a group of early model Porsches parked together towards the back corner, so I headed in their direction. After parking near a pristine, Sand beige Porsche 912 Targa, I got out and struck up a conversation with the owner, who was standing beside his car. After talking with the owner (Ned) about the obvious topic (Porsches, and the pending concours), a Porsche 356 pulled into the lot, parked and joined in the conversation. Our conversation then shifted to the 356 he was driving (an “Outlaw” i.e. a highly customized 356 that most Porsche 356 purists frown upon due to the non-factory type alterations made to an original car). The driver turned out to be one of the mechanics from the shop that had worked on the car for a client, and who was now tasked with displaying the car at the concours. It was now getting close to 8:30, so the 356 was started up and driven off to the show. At the same time, the owners of the cluster of Porsche 912s returned from having breakfast, fired up their respective cars, and headed out single file back towards Lantern Bay. Ned and I followed their lead, and both made our way back to Lantern Bay.

Once back on top of the hill, it was obvious that the 356 competitors were now all in place, and neatly aligned in rows. However as I pulled onto the lawn, I was surprised to see a large gathering of early Porsche 911s (made up of members of the Early S Registry and the RGruppe car clubs), already parked on the lawn, opposite the 356 concours area. As I continued, parked to my left was another group of Porsches, all 912 models, and representing a full range of model years. Many of the 912s were in fact the very same cars I had just seen parked down the hill in the Denny’s parking lot. As I reached the end of the 912 row, I made a loop out behind the standing row of pine trees, and found an open spot, making sure to avoid any overhanging tree branches, since these Pine trees during the summer months have a reputation for weeping sap. So after grabbing my camera, it was time to take a closer look at the multitude of assembled Porsches.

Looking across the sea of Porsche scattered throughout the park, I believe that this years event drew one of the largest turnouts compared to the last couple years. Obviously with such a large selection to choose from, my photographic challenge was where to start. And since I was parked amidst my 911 and 912 brethren, this was where I would start…

Platinum colored "Forza 6" porsche 911_3/4 side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Platinum colored "Forza 6" porsche 911_Amber headlight lens shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Platinum colored "Forza 6" porsche 911_reardecklid pinstripe_ _2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014_

RGRuppe  gathering_Rolly's 1966 911 GT, 3/4 side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Viper green Porsche 911 RSR 3.6  re creation_front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Viper green Porsche 911 RSR 3.6  re creation_rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Viper green Porsche 911 RSR 3.6  re creation_interior shot, plaid inserts & alcantera trim_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Viper green Porsche 911 RSR 3.6  re creation_3/4 side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Signal orange Carrera RS recreation_3/4 side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Parked in the outer row with its fellow 911s was this beautiful, owner restored Sand beige 1967 911S as seen below…

Sand beige 1967 Porsche 911S_3/4 rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

with its spotless motor…

Sand beige 1967 Porsche 911S_motor shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

and wearing a set restored and increasingly rare, 4 -1/2 X 15 inch Fuchs 5 spoke alloy wheels.

Sand beige 1967 Porsche 911S_4-1/2 X 15 Fuchs  5 spoke alloy wheel_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

While checking out this amazing 1967 911S, a buzzing noise could be heard overhead, and upon looking up to see what was making the noise, we caught a UFO hovering overhead. As we watched, it began to track over the rows of parked Porsches, and then without warning, reversed its direction and headed back in our direction. Since I was the only one equipped with a camera, I grabbed a quick shot skyward to record this flying object. The image below is the UFO just before it disappeared. Upon closer inspection of this image, it appears that we were being recorded, as evidenced by the GoPro attached to its underside.

UFO shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Now back to the show… Two examples of the beautifully restored Porsche 912s gathered for this event; my new friend Ned’s 1969 Sand beige 912 Targa below…

Sand beige 1969 Porsche 912 Targa_3/4 rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

and my friend Brad’s Irish Green 1968 912 coupe as seen below, complete with a unique back story. His Porsche had been purchased new by his father while stationed in Germany, and was driven throughout Europe while he served in the military. The 912 has remained in the family to this day, with Brad taking over as the current caretaker.

1968 Irish Green 912 coupe_3/4 rear view & reflections_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

With the sun finally starting to burn through the morning haze, it was time to check out the 356 concours side, and begin my exploration through the pristine rows of multi hued coupes, cabriolets and speedsters.

Bridging the gap between the two display areas was the quartet of Porsches seen below.

Group shot_Gmund coupe, Carrera GT, 904 GTS, 911ST_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Beginning at the far left, was the ultra rare, Ivory colored 1949 Porsche Gmund coupe.

Ivory colored 1949 Gmund coupe_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

To its left was another equally unique, early model Porsche 356. This particular coupe, a 1959 356 Carrera GT, was being displayed in an unrestored condition, and it too possessed a unique history.

Blue 1959 356 Carrera GT_3/4 side view _2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

As a sign on its windshield stated, this Carrera GT was the Swedish Ice Racing champion two years running from 1959 to 1960. There was even an example of the custom prepared, studded ice racing tires (below), worn by the Carrera GT back in the day on its way to consecutive Swedish ice racing championships.

Blue 1959 356 Carrera GT_3/4 3/4 front view with ice racing custom tire _2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Next in line was another historically significant Porsche race  / street car; in this case the silver, 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS seen below.

Silver 1964 Porsche 904 GTS_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

This particular car (Chassis # 904-064) has an interesting resume, having raced in German Hill climb competitions, as well as races held at Monza. It had been owned and was restored by a previous owner, the late Vasek Polak. Mr. Polak was well known within the Porsche community as the owner of the Southern California (Manhatten Beach) Porsche dealership, and as one of Claifornia’s prominent race team owners.

Silver 1964 Porsche 904 GTS_3/4 rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Representing the Porsche 911 community, was the highly modified, RGruppe / Early S Registry inspired, Gulf Blue 911ST coupe, riding on a set of silver, period correct minilite race wheels.

Gulf blue Porsche 911ST recreation_RGruppe_3/4 side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014 The classic Porsche 911 silhouette, bathed in Southern California sunshine (below).

Gulf blue Porsche 911ST recreation_RGruppe_ side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Venturing over to the 356 display side, owners could be seen hurridly completing their last-minute detailing, prior to experiencing their pride and joy undergoing scrutiny by the roving bands of concours judges.

356 group shot_ robin eggs blue 356 in forground_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

red 356 cabriolet group shot with white 1955 Continental coupe in background_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014White 1955 continental coupe_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Stone Gray 1959 Porsche 356 coupe_front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Light metallic blue with tan top, 356 speedster_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Red Porsche 356 Carrer 4 cam_rear grill & motor detail shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Blue Porsche 356 speedster with tan interior & top_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Blue Porsche 356 speedster with tan interior) side mirror reflections shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Blue Porsche 356 speedster_rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

As seen below, one of several “356 Outlaws” present and awaiting judging.

Silver Porsche 356 outlaw coupe with orance wheels and hood stripes_side view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014Blue 1965 Porsche 356 SC cabriolet_3/4 rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

A beautiful Stone gray 356 Speedster, equipped with the seldom seen hardtop option.

Stone Gray Porsche 356 speedster with black hard top option_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014Stone Gray Porsche 356 speedster with black hard top option_side mirror reflections_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Dark blue Porsche 356 cabriolet with  tan interior & top with reflections_3/4 front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Another example of a 356 Outlaw on display. This particular silver Porsche 356 is owned by the Emory family who were responsible for popularizing the “outlaw style” of modification, and credited with coining the term.

Silver Porsche 356 coupe_ Emory outlaw build_rear view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Upon completion of the mornings judging and with the results being tallied, the trophy table (below) was being readied for a 2 PM start of the awards ceremony. This years trophies were once again modeled after last years theme of surfboards.

Concours trophy table display__2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

And what every concours participant aspires to; taking home the highly desirable Best of Show trophy.

Coveted Best of Show trophy _ detail shot_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

The final awards of the day went to the red 356 cabriolet seen below. Not only did this cabriolet win best in class, but also received the concours top prize, the Best of Show trophy.

Red Porsche 356 cabriolet_ double winner-best in class & best of show_front view_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

A group shot of the class winning Porsches from this years concours.

Group shot of concours class winners_ from back row_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014

Once all of the winning cars were parked together, it became very apparent that the judges at this years concours had a thing for the color red, given the high percentage of red hued, winning 356s selected at this years show.

Class winners_ 3/4 side view of front ends_2014 Dana Point concours_July 20, 2014Unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait for the 2015 show, to find out what model and or color will appeal to next years judges, and influence their awarding of the multiple class winners, and the coveted “Best of Show” award.

(All photos by the author)

 

The fulfillment of a lifelong dream; attending the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, and my pre and post race journey…

For anyone familiar with the Porsche brand, the name Le Mans has always been closely linked to their impressive racing history. After developing a passion for Porsches as I entered my teenage years, I began studying and researching these significant Porsche race cars and those victories achieved at this mysterious French race track. At that moment, the hook was set and attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans  race became a lifelong aspiration.

I did come close to fulfilling this very dream of attending Le Mans twice; once in 2001 and the second time in 2002, while living and working in France. However, each year due to schedule conflicts, I was unable to attend. So imagine my surprise when Porsche announced their return to Le Mans for 2014, after a 16 year hiatus with the following statement – “Mission 2014. Our Return”. And return they would, with a pair of brand new race cars; the Porsche 919 hybrid. Not to mention Porsche bringing a pair of new 911 RSR’s, competing in the GTE / Pro class. So after a discussion with my wife about planning our vacation for 2014, she quickly agreed on a trip to France, which we would schedule around my attendance at this years Le Mans 24. My wife’s sole travel request consisted of being able to travel through France’s Loire Valley, and occasionally stay at a Chateau. Ironically, Le Mans is roughly located towards the center of the Loire. So working with this years race date of June 14-15, 2014, my wife went to work on searching out and booking us at several Chateaus and hotels scattered throughout the Loire Valley. We quickly learned however, that trying to book a hotel in or near Le Mans for 2014 was downright impossible. As a back-up plan, we found several chateaus in the village of Amboise, located about 1 -1/2 hours south of Le Mans, each with available rooms. Since I would be attending the race by myself (my wife is not a race fan), she would be staying behind at Chateau #2 (which worked out perfectly), since it was located within walking distance to the town, and good for sightseeing, shopping and dining.

So with the rest of our travel plans now finalized, it was time for me to begin researching how to attend ones first 24 Hours of Le Mans race. After a google search, I found the official 24 Hours of Le Mans / ACO website.  As a spectator, I learned I would need a basic admission ticket and a parking pass to gain admission into the track. Since my plan was to walk around the track and photograph the race from multiple locations, general admission would be perfect. There was also the option to book a grandstand seat at a variety of locations situated around the track, at an additional cost; the more desirable locations carrying the highest prices. Because of my desire to be mobile, I passed on the grandstand seating. Parking options also varied, and recommendations as presented were based upon ones direction of travel. After a quick review of my trusty Michelin road map, I selected one of the several available in-field parking areas (green / Vert), figuring that having easy access to my car in the event of bad weather or fatigue would be a good idea. With my decisions made, it became a simple process to order my tickets online, and for a minor fee, have them delivered via UPS to my home in the States. About three weeks after placing my order, my packet was delivered, and I now held my general admission ticket and parking pass for the green ( Vert) lot, section M-1…

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans ticket and parking pass_June 2014

So on June 6, my wife and I boarded our Lufthansa flight to Munich Germany, with a short connecting flight that would deliver us to our final destination, the Charles De Gaulle airport in France.

Below, sunset over the polar route, on our way to Munich, Germany.

Lufthansa flight_sunset shot ,polar route_June 6, 2014

We arrived in Munich on schedule, and after a brief lay over, were on our way to the Charles De Gaulle airport, located about 45 minutes to the east of Paris. After collecting our luggage, we picked up our rental car from the company Sixt. ( should anyone be planning a trip to France, I would highly recommend this rental car company). Even though we came prepared with our Michelin maps for navigating France, our car came equipped with navigation, which proved to be invaluable during our trip. After programming in our first destination, and adjusting the language section to english, we were off to the Marne La Valle area, where we would be staying at a friend’s home.

For our first couple of days we traveled into Paris, revisiting some of our favorite districts and landmarks. We had lunch at one of the many sidewalk bistros in the 5th district; the photo below was shot through the bistro’s open window.

Rue Saint Severin street sign_Paris_ June 9, 2014

After lunch, we walked back across the Seine, and made our way over to the second most recognizable landmark within Paris: Notre Dame.

Notre Dame_Front view_Paris_June 9, 2014

Notre Dame_Side view_Paris_June 9, 2014

Notre Dame_Rear view_Paris_June 9, 2014Within 10 minutes of taking the photos above (the less seen side and back views of Notre Dame), the gray clouds intensified, and rain began falling. This quickly sent everyone running for cover or for those prepared, reaching for their umbrellas. Nothing new for Paris in early June…

By the time Thursday rolled around, it was time for us to load up the car and head out towards Paris, then detour south towards the village of Amboise. Imagine our surprise at encountering the vehicles seen below, also heading south. Any thoughts as to their destination?

VW Vanagon outside Paris with Porsche 2014 graphics_Side view_June 12, 2014

VW Vanagon outside Paris with Porsche 2014 graphics_Rear view_June 12, 2014

After giving them a thumbs-up as we passed, we continued south towards our final destination. Our next stop however would require a slight detour, to another of France’s architecturally significant Cathedrals; Chartres. Since my wife had never visited Chartres, we decided to stop for a quick tour (this would mark my third visit).

Chartres cathedral, France_front view_June 12, 2014

Chartres cathedral, France_partially restored interior_altar view_June 12, 2014

Chartres cathedral, France_Restored leaded glass window_June 12, 2014

Our brief stop was well worth the time spent; Chartres immediately became one of my wife’s new favorite Cathedrals in France. And as the photos illustrate, the interior of the cathedral was undergoing a full restoration, with a high percentage of the walls, ceilings and stained glass windows having recently been restored, with the remaining areas still awaiting their turn. (Definitely a brighter appearing interior, and beautiful, vibrant leaded glass windows, noticeably improved over my last visit 12 years ago).

Once back on the road we continued south, and several hours later finally arrived at our destination in Amboise, despite one major road closure that sent us on a one hour detour. Amboise would become our new home base through the weekend, and for the next two days, residence at the 750 year old Chateau de Pray (below).

Chateau de Pray, Amboise France_Rear view_ June 12, 2014

On Friday morning, we ventured out to visit the nearby 16th century Renaissance palace, Chateau de Chenonceau (as seen below).

Chateau de Chenonceau_ tree lined entry_Amboise France_June 13, 2014

Chateau de Chenonceau_ view from the garden_Amboise France_June 13, 2014

Chateau de Chenonceau is reported to be the most visited Chateau in all of France, and given its sheer size, spectacular location, architectural and interior details as well as its history, it was easy to understand the attraction.

When the sun rose the following morning, it was now Saturday June 14, and time for me to make my long-awaited trek to Le Mans. After getting my wife checked into our next Chateau for the weekend, it was time to head off to the race that had been a lifelong dream. After programming the Le Mans race track into the cars navigation, I was literally off to the race. After driving for roughly 1-1/2 hours through the Loire Valley countryside, I was finally near my destination as seen below…

Highway to Le Mans_Le Mans race track roundabout_June 14, 2014

After navigating several more roundabouts, I spotted the roadway signage indicating the entrances to the different race track parking areas. Fortunately, my green (Vert) parking area was one of the first signs I encountered, and after following the signs, I found myself in one very long line…

Highway to Le Mans_Le Mans race track parking, Vert_June 14, 2014

One hour later, I was now parked in section M-1, and began collecting my camera gear in anticipation of the fulfillment of a lifelong dream; experiencing and creating a photographic record of my around the clock adventure at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.

So with all of my gear stowed in my backpack, it was time for “Step One”; Finding the entrance into the race track. Fortunately, the entry structure was visible from the parking lot, and just a short hike from my car. As I approached, It quickly became obvious as to its function; the entry side was to the left, and the exit was to the right.

Entry portal into the Le Mans race track_from the Vert parking lot_June 14, 2014

The entry procedure turned out to be very streamlined and efficient; multiple staff members were stationed at each portal with a hand-held scanner, giving them the ability to keep the flow of fans moving quickly. Throughout the 24 hours, whether entering, exiting or re-entering, your admission pass was scanned, to insure validity, and eliminated the need to rubber stamp people’s hands. I personally tested this process out several times over the 24 hours, and can attest to its efficiency.

So now that I was inside the track, and after climbing several sets of steep stairs, I was face to face with a landmark I had first seen on the “Wide World of Sports” television show back in the late 1960’s; the iconic Dunlop bridge that spans the Le Mans race track, so this became my very first exploration…

Dunlop Bridge from grandstand side_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

It also became apparent that the European race fans take their motor racing very seriously, as witnessed by the crowds already present, and the ever-increasing number of fans that continued to fill the track, as well as the grandstands adjacent to the bridge.

Dunlop Bridge grandstands _Le Mans24_June 14, 2014
Dunlop grandstand_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Having completed my hike around the outside areas of the track near the Dunlop bridge, it was time to return to the infield area and begin exploring the infield area known as the “Village”.

La Chapelle location_infield directiory sign_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Walking past the silver paneled Audi boutique, I could see through the gathering crowd, what appeared to be one of Audi’s new R-18 e-tron race cars on display. Time to stop and get a close up look at their latest creation…

Audi Boutique at La Chapelle_2014 Audi R-18 e-tron on display_3/4 side view_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Audi Boutique at La Chapelle_2014 Audi R-18 e-tron on display_front view_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

After leaving the Audi boutique, it was time to explore more of the venues present within the Village. Walking along the pathway, I came across the Top Gear simulator, which every few minutes would swallow up a new batch of guests in their motion base simulator. The audio volume within the simulator had been cranked up so high, that standing outside, you could still hear the internal audio track.

Top Gear motion base simulator_infield village_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Next up were several more automotive manufacturer boutiques; first up was Aston Martin Racing…

Aston Martin Racing boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014and right next door was Lotus.

Lotus boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Continuing further into the village, I began hearing what sounded like live music, and rounding a corner, was almost run over by this roving brass band as seen below…

Brass band_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

After escaping from the band, I made my way over to the Michelin display, which described the development of race tire technology (as used on Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid), and the transfer of these technologies and applications to their street tires.And to demonstrate their street car applications, they just happened to have on display one very silver, 2014 Porsches GT3 shod with Michelin tires.

Michelin tire display_ Porsche 919 hybrid_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Michelin tire display_ silver 2014 Porsche GT3_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located a short distance from the Michelin display was the Spark boutique, dedicated to the fans who like their cars on a smaller scale.

Spark scale model boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another of the very crowded boutiques, but with a predominately male shopper. As the photo below illustrates, Spark produces some of the nicest scale, display models of any company. The large-scale, Audi R-18 e-tron on display was amazing, as was the asking price; 3000 euro, which in dollars worked out to roughly $4080.00 !!

Spark sclae model boutique_ audi R-18 model for sale, 3000euros _village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located right next to the Spark boutique, was GM’s display and boutique, which displayed a single, 2014 charcoal gray Chevrolet Corvette C7.

Corvette display & boutique_charcoal gray 2014 C7 corvette_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another of the impressive sights found within the Village, and close to the Paddock; the massive, polished metal Audi monolith, positioned in the middle of the plaza.

Audi Monolith_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

The reflective surfaces also made for a great photo opportunity, as witnessed below…

Audi Monolith_spectator photo op, reflectiions_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located directly opposite of this monolith, was the automotive boutique that I had hoped to find. Positioned out front were two examples of Porsches latest race cars; a GT3 Cup Car, and an example of their brand new LMP1 class, 919 Hybrid.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_GT3 Cup Car_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 front view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_front wheel & tire detail__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 rear view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Serving as the backdrop for these two race cars, was a semi tractor-trailer designed as a rolling Porsche boutique, complete with pop-outs to deliver an expandable showroom.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

As much as I wanted to enter the boutique to check out the contents, the line to enter continued to grow in size and the number of people entering was being regulated, so I figured I would return later.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_roof top banners__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Ironically, located immediately behind the Porsche Fan Spot boutique was the Paddock area and the entrance to the garages, pit area and pit lane grandstands. And as the following photos illustrate, Porsche took full advantage of this particular area to advertise their 2014 return to Le Mans…

Porsche supergraphics_nos fans_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014
Porsche supergraphics_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_nos fans#2_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_La meilleure energie motice qui soit_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_the most powerful..._pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Below, the multi-storied Race Control building, whose occupants would be responsible for managing the race for the full 24 hours, and located at the entrance to pit lane.

Race control building_pit row _Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Circling the garage / paddock area, I was fortunate to spot the latest race car transporters for the Porsche factory team; commissioned with delivering their new LMP1 919 hybrids to race tracks throughout Europe.

Porsche race car haulers_ 919 hybrid_paddock/garage area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Spotted parked four rigs over from the end, was this tractor/trailer combo for Porsche Motorsports. I suspect that the large boxes on the rear lift gate contained body parts for either the latest 911 RSR’s or the new 919 hybrid.

Porsche motorsports parts trailer_paddock/garage area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another Porsche venue (Spirit of Le Mans) discovered on my walk back up through the infield village…

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Being the ever inquisitive Porsche fan, I walked up to the tent flap to see what was inside.

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_908/02 #48_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Looking inside, I found a crew still in the process of working to complete the display. I was able to grab a few quick shots as they made their way toward where I was standing.

My first shot (above), was of what appeared to be the Porsche 908/02 that Steve McQueen and Peter Revson drove to a second place finish at Sebring back in 1970.

My second shot (below), captured what looked to be Porsches last overall Le Mans 24 race winner from back in 1998; the awesome 1998 GT1LM…

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_1998 GT1LM rear view_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Would having this car on site bring luck to the multiple Porsche teams competing at this years race, and would Porsche repeat their overall race victory this year with their new 919 hybrid?

Please stay tuned for part two of my blog, which will cover the entire 24 hours of the race, as well as my post race travels through the Loire Valley and return to Paris.

(Here’s a sneak peek of two race shots)…

Porsche 911RSR #91_LeMans24_2014

Porsche 919 hybrid#20_LeMans24_2014

(All photos by the author)

Porsches return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 16 years in the making, and the fulfillment of a life long dream…

Dear readers,

You may have been wondering about my lack of blog postings lately. Rest assured I have not given up on the challenge of writing a blog, but have instead been preparing to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So as I write this very post, I am currently in the village of Coupvray, France, (about 23 mile east of Paris), staying with friends, prior to my wife and I driving south (mid-week) down to Le Mans for this coming weekends race.

So in anticipation of Porsche returning to Le Mans with a factory team after a 16 year absence, and as a tribute to their last victory, I have posted as the header to my blog an image of their 1998 Le Mans winning car, the GT1LM.

So please stay tuned for my upcoming series of blog posts, which will be based upon my first hand experiences and impressions of attending my very first 24 Hours of Le Mans, and on this very special year for Porsche. And with a little luck, I hope to be present and able to share firsthand, coverage of Porsche on their way to class victories with this years new GT3RSR, but to also witness Porsche score an overall win with their brand new 919.

And as Porsche has advertised leading up to this years Le Mans; “Mission 2014. Our Return”.

Celebrating the classics, Cars&Coffee style…

Celebrating the classics was an underlying theme recently at Cars&Coffee / Irvine. This fact became quite obvious as I pulled into Porsche row just behind the Type 964 / C4 Pikes Peak rally car seen below. Driving and navigation duties were carried out by two young women, who just happened to be the daughters of the owner. With a deft hand, the 964 was backed into its space, parked beside their father’s 1953 Porsche 356A coupe.

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

“If two lights are good, then four should be even better”.

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_driving light cluster detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_3/4 side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Rear whale tail, covered in Valvoline themed confetti and Andial graphics; a winning combination (below).

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_rear wing graphics detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Family portrait time…

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_3/4 rear view,2 car portrait_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Continuing with the classics theme, was a 1960s vintage race car, making its presence known by the quickly gathering crowd as witnessed in the “featured parking lot”.

An unmistakable classic, making only its second Saturday morning appearance at cars&coffee…

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

For anyone growing up during the 1960’s and who followed auto racing, it was obvious as to the identity of this low slung, white race car with black striping. Hard to mistake this race car for anything but the iconic, American built factory backed race car that it is; a 1967 Ford GT MK IV.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_3/4 side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_door meatball #9_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

A peek inside the closed cockpit…

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

and out back, a close up view of another classic component; the premier Ford race motor of the 1960’s, the mighty 427. And as seen on this car, a motor with its dual carburetors housed within a clear polycarbonate chamber, allowing the motor to be force-fed fresh air by dual NACA air ducts, each located on the rear deck, atop the rear fenders.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_engine detail shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_rear view with open decklid_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Visible through its rear window (below); the single, treaded “spare tire” and immediately to its right, the fabricated aluminum “luggage box”. A requirement mandated for all competitors in the Prototype Endurance class, per F.I.A. competition regulations that remained in effect into the 1970’s.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_view of motor thru rear window_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_drivers side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Sharing space; the 1967 Ford GT Mk IV and its neighbor, the red Porsche 356A Speedster.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_3/4front view with red speedster in foreground_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV and red Porsche 356A speedster_group shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Red Porsche 356A speedster_rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Further down the row, awaiting discovery by fans of english sports cars, was this beautifully restored Austin Healey 100, adorned by an assortment of rally badging, and flanked by a pair of driving lights complete with stone guards.

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_front grill shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

The Healey’s highly detailed interior. Equal in quality and attention to detail, on par with its exterior.

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another European classic encountered, parked amid a cluster of BMW’s. A spectacular, highly modified example of a mid 1970s vintage BMW 2002.

Fjord Blue, custom built BMW 2002_ side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

And as the fender graphics proclaim, a twin turbo, updated to the owners specifications, with a hint to its true potential revealed by the rear badging; “3002 ttii / twin turbo”.

Fjord Blue, custom built BMW 2002 "3002ttii"_ rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another classic Ford present on this morning, and making what I believe to be its debut at cars&coffee. As seen below, a 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint, built by the firm VinRacer, as their interpretation of a period correct “Trans Am Racer”.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Vin Racer describes themselves as creators of “vintage speed”, dedicated to the building of high performance, pre-1969 vehicles specific to a client’s desires. For anyone interested, please use the link above to check out their website for a full description of their services.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_front hood with louvers and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_rear view with reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 rear fender view and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 front view with reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_closed front hood with meatball and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Even the engine compartment was as impressive as the exterior. Hidden beneath the louvered hood and braced within its spartan engine compartment, was home to the impressive, HI-PO 289 cubic inch motor, good for a reported 300 horsepower.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_289 c.i. motor detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_oblique rear view with reflections and shadow_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

The competition inspired interior, complete with dual racing bucket seats, Hurst 4 speed shifter, Simpson harnesses and roll cage.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

One of the last cars to leave the event that morning, yet still fielding questions from visitors interested in the Falcon.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 rear view, reflections and lit taillights_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another example of why attending this show on a weekly basis is so rewarding. Surprises abound, and regardless of your favorite make or model, you’re assured of finding a vehicle to capture your interests.

(All photos by the author)

2014’s California Festival of Speed; Porsche GT3 Cup cars as far as the eye could see and a few surprises…

2014’s California Festival of Speed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California has come and gone, and what an amazing weekend it was. For me, the anticipation had begun building on Friday, as I checked Instagram postings throughout the day, uploaded by friends already out at the track. The kicker was the video post of Patrick Long ( the sole American Porsche Factory team driver), behind the wheel of a certain Guards Red, 2014 Porsche Turbo S, with the owner recording Mr. Long’s skills behind the wheel.

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 front view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 front view ,drivers side pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Upon arriving at the event on Saturday morning, I ran into the owner of the Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S seen above, and she shared with me her previous days excitement at having Patrick Long behind the wheel of her car, and witnessing firsthand his skill and finesse for piloting a Porsche at speed, all on a cleared track for half a dozen laps. She then opened up the front trunk, revealing Patrick Long’s autograph, applied to the underside of the hood, to commemorate this rare opportunity (see below).

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_underhood autograph_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

If one 991 Turbo S is good, then a pair is even better. Below, a second 991Turbo S on display, painted in the spectacular Sapphire Blue metallic.

2014 Sapphire Blue metallic Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 rear view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2014 Sapphire Blue metallic Porsche 991 Turbo S _nose view on pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Parked directly across from this pair, was another unique Porsche 991 that I have had the pleasure of shooting on multiple occasions. What sets this particular car apart from its 991 brethren, in addition to its aerokit cup package, is its unique color. As I shared in a previous  postng, when the owners picked up their special order model at the Factory this past summer, they were informed that their car was the only Porsche 991 at that time to be painted Riviera Blue.

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_side view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_rear deck reflections_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_3/4 rear view with fence shadows on pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

An amazing car from any view… and since I was literally at the entrance to Vendor row, it was time to check out what surprises. My first stop was at Dutchman Motorbikes, where Mark had his latest creations on display.

Dutchman Motorbikes_group shot of display_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Dutchman Motorbikes_detail shot of #73 on display_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Dutchman Motorbikes_Jagermesiter logo on top tube shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Next up was the Porsche Cars North America display, which on this weekend showcased their upcoming Experience Center, currently under construction in Carson, California. First up was the site map…

Porsche Experience Center_overview of test track facility_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

supported by the adjoining narrative graphic (seen below), highlighting the featured areas that will make up the test track portion of the Experience Center. According to the Porsche representatives on hand, the Experience Center is scheduled to open in 2015.

Porsche Experience Center_overview of test track features_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

My next stop was just several displays down the row, and hosted by bbi Autosport. The featured vehicle on display was the GT3 Cup Car that they had prepared for 2013’s Pikes Peak race, piloted by Pikes Peak multiple class winning driver, Jeff Zwart.

bbi Autosport display_GT3 Cup car, Jeff Zwart's Pike peak car_3/4 front view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi Autosport display_GT3 Cup car, Jeff Zwart's Pike peak car_3/4 front view/passenger side_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

After checking out all of the bbi Autosport goodies, it was time to go in search of my prime objective for the weekend; Porsche GT3 Cup Cars. So off I went to check out the three paddock garages, which would be home to the majority of the Cup Cars throughout the weekend.

As I rounded the corner of the first garage, imagine my surprise at encountering the Porsche seen below.

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 front view at garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Unexpected, and a treat for all, provided by the folks at TruSpeed. One of Porsches most successful race cars of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s; the iconic Porsche 935 twin turbo. And in this case, the recently restored icon, as originally campaigned by the Interscope Racing team out of Newport Beach, California back in 1978.

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 rear view with top of fender reflections _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_dashboard shot thru window _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 rear view with fender reflections _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

But wait, there’s more. TruSpeed had another treasure tucked away in the garage, which Terry Brewer from their sales group was kind enough to show me, and shared that if I was interested, this GT3 Cup was for sale.

TruSpeeds white Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car for sale_3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Parked on the opposite side of the garage was another collection of GT3 Cup cars, all in various stages of preparation, and being readied for an afternoons worth of track time.

Silver & Black #85, Porsche type 997 GT3 Cup car_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

An example of a Type 996 derived Porsche GT3 Cup car, rendered in classic stone gray with contrasting orange accents; a returning competitor from last years event.

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ rear wing strut /  in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Multiple examples of the newer 997 based GT3 Cup cars, as seen below, competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup series.

Blue discountechnology type 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pair of white Air powered racing  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Black #99 with red mirrors Trefethen winery type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Black and gold mylar wrap # 06, Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

white w/red and blue stripe, all star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Taking its turn on the corner balancing fixture (below).

Werks II # 25 Porsche type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view_on corner balance fixture in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup cars, staged throughout all three of the garages.

white w/red and blue stripe, All Star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ side view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

A glimpse at a GT3 Cup motor, and its visually dominant horizontal air box…

white w/red and blue stripe, all star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ view of motor _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Spare wheels and Pirelli racing tires at the ready…

Porsche GT 3 Cup car wheels and Pirelli race rubber_tire rack in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Porsche GT 3 Cup car wheels_Wheel details_tire rack in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Driver and team equipment taking a break.

Drivers helmet, clipboard and stop watches on bench_ in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

One of several GMG prepared Porsches; undergoing preparation for its next on track session.

Blue GMG #155, type 997 Porsche GT 3 Cup_rear view  in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

And one of the few, non Motorsports purposed Porsches found in the paddock area; a classic Porsche Junior tractor with trailer…

Porsche Junior tractor and trailer_paddock area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

complete with info plaque.

Porsche Junior tractor_data plaque_paddock area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

My last stop before lunch was out to the trailer parking area in search of a particular Type 996 GT3 cup car; one that I had watched over Instagram posts in the days leading up to the event. The first post documented the car getting its new graphics treatment, while the second was a brief video shot on its return to its trailer, having completed its initial shakedown laps, piloted by its new owner.

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_front view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 front view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 rear view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_rear view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 rear view /roof, fender & wing_in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Classic Porsche Motorsports issue: BBS modular, centerlock racing wheels.

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_BBS center lock wheel detail_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

After lunch, it was time to shift my focus towards track related activities. On tap was an afternoon of Porsche Club of America club racing sessions, bbi sponsored time trials and the Pirelli GT3 Cup race.

First up was one of several Porsche Club of America, club racing sessions. From my vantage point, camped out above the viewing area atop pit row, I could watch the different classes stage on the grid, and then be released out onto the track.

Staged and awaiting release onto the track…

PCA club racing series _grid shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

heading out onto the track, prior to the line up for a rolling start.

PCA club racing series _GMG's #155 GT3R entering track_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ Red GT3Cup entering track_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

In formation, and accelerating across the start / finish line; here come the Cup cars…

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _start of first lap_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _start of first lap,  group shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _#496 air powered racing GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Below, a wolf in sheep’s clothing; if you look closely, you’ll see that this Porsche GT3 is not a GT3 Cup car, but instead the next model up on the Porsche competition vehicle list; the GT3 Cup cars big brother, the GT3R. After watching this car turning laps on the track, it became obvious as to the R’s performance advantage over the base model GT3 Cup.

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _GMG's #155 GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

More of the PCA club racing based, GT3 Cup cars.

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _True Course #29 GT3 Cup at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Red, white & black #220 GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _White #336 GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Stone Grayw/orange accents #95_ GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Black #59 GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Gray to white fade #271 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As the checkered flag fell on this PCA Club race, the next event scheduled was the bbi sponsored time trial, and could be seen starting to queue up in the grid area. From my vantage point, perched in the viewing stands above pit row, I could watch the cars and the drivers last-minute preparations, prior to their release onto the track.

bbi autosport sponsored time trial_Porsches queued up on the grid_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

So with the assembled time trial groups release, it was time to focus on shooting some Porsche race cars at speed…

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver Porsche #1 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Black Porsche #91 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Gulf blue and orange #61 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver Porsche GT3 #62 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

In regards to the Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car captured below, at the conclusion of the event on Sunday, while checking my Instagram feed, I learned that this Cup car had posted the top time of the day (TTD) in the time trial class. Not bad for this owners first competiton outing with his newly purchased GT3 Cup car. Congratulations Tom…

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _white Porsche GT3 cup car #997 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver with blue graphics Porsche 944 turbo #409 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Once this time trial session had concluded, next up was what would be my last observed race for Saturday afternoon. And what a race to wrap up the afternoon with; the Pirelli GT3 Cup race. Being a huge fan of Porsche’s  GT3 models, and even more so of the GT3 Cup car variants, this race turned out to be one of my favorites of the day.

Below, final staging underway for the last of the Pirelli GT3 Cup races for the afternoon, and Porsche GT3 Cup cars as far as the eye could see.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, overall shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, close up view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, end of two rows view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Then with a blast from the grid marshal’s whistle, the Cup cars roared to life and began their single file trek towards the track entrance portal. With a collective roar, the group was off on their formation lap, and by the time all had arrived at turn 20, they were aligned in rows two by two, with the pole sitting Porsche GT3 Cup car (#17) setting the pace. After crossing the start / finish line, #17 immediately began opening up a lead over the second placed GT3.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /start of the race_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

The following images represent a small sampling of the different GT3 Cup cars competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup car, race #2 on Saturday…

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /white #10 pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /blue & white #81 pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track / black #99 Trefethen Porsche pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white, red & blue , #28 All Star fire equipment Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / blue & gold #65  Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white & blue , #94 justice brothers Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white #03 911 Design Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white & green , #53  J&M Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / silver, black & red , #02  Discount Tire Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / black & blue , #84  Discountechnology.com Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white #23  Porsche GT3 Cup car, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars /black & gold vinyl wrap , #06 CM racing  Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white, blue& red , #25  Werks II motorsport Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As seen below, the winning Porsche from the PirellI GT3 Cup race #2.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / black with chartrues  green mirrors , #17 Trefethen Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As I made my way through the garage parking area, headed out towards the Porsche parking corral, a flash of light caught my eye. After stopping to take a closer look, I realized the flash had been created by a reflection, and an interesting one at that. Parked immediately behind the car hauler, was the vehicle generating the reflection and source of the flash; a pristine white Porsche type 997 GT3RS, and a fitting subject for my last photos of the day.

 Car hauler  / trailer rear door reflection_paddock area_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

 Car hauler  / trailer rear door reflection close up_paddock area_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Low key and discreet, with the only hint to the cars true potential being the subtle green graphics, applied onto the lower leading edge of each door.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ white GT3RS with green door graphic_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Here sat another example of Porsches continued pursuit of excellence; a street car that can deliver race car levels of performance, due to technologies developed from competition, similar to what I had witnessed throughout the afternoon.

I wonder how many Porsche owners as they left the track that weekend, departed with aspirations of racing a GT3 Cup car, or experienced the desire to get involved and go PCA club racing or to compete in time trials. For me, the event evoked memories of my time behind the wheel of a friends Viper Green 2007 GT3RS, and further cemented my resolve to one day own a Type 997 GT3. In the meantime, these experiences have helped me develop a set of benchmarks to use in my quest to enhance the performance of my own Carrera.

(All photos by the author)

“Thunderstorms hit Southern California”, yet fail to dampen the spirits of those attending the 2014 LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show, and the Phoenix Club’s Porsche show and swap meet…

“Thunderstorms hit Southern California”, yet fail to dampen the spirits of those attending the 2014 LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show, and the Phoenix Club’s Porsche show and swap meet.

Below is an example of the crowd present for this years  LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show. I was told by friends who had arrived early to be part of the paid “early entry” at 7AM, that they had never seen so many people show up for the early entry, and that the crowds at 9 AM were equally impressive.

One of two grand ballrooms_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

One of several display tables with an assortment of driving lights, fog and tail lights.

Driving, fog and tail light display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

Vintage Hella tail lights, application unknown. However, the Hella 128 fog lights (as noted by the price tag seen below) were optional on Porsche 911s dating back to 1966. It pains me to see the current asking price for a set of 128s, especially since I sold a pristine pair to a friend back in 1973 for $45.

Hella Tail light detail shot_ display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

Several rows over was another table full of favorites; car grill / badge bar commemorative plaques…

Grill /badge bar plaques_ display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

all very cool and expensive, with each possessing unique detail and color.

Grill / badge bar plaques_ detail shot_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

One of the nicest Porsche parts displays present (seen below), showcasing an unrivaled variety of Porsche 356 parts for sale, presented by the firm Stoddard NLA-LLC.

Stoddard parts display_ detail shot_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

The following day (Sunday) traditionally hosts a larger, outdoor swap meet and car show down in Orange County, at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. In all of my years of attendance, this was the first time rain would impact the event. The Porsche community however is a hearty lot, so a little rain was not about to affect their show…

Front hood emblem on dark blue Porsche 911 Carrera_rain drops & emblem_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Dark blue Porsche 911 Carrera_headlight, fender and hood shot with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

An early 911 headlight (below), equipped with a European spec, amber French lens.

Silver long hood Porsche 911_headlight with French amber lens_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One highly visible, glow in the rain Porsche 930 turbo.

Day glow yellow Porsche 930 turbo_side view & reflections_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One rain drenched Porsche super car; the rare Type 959. Even at rest, the rain sheets right off…

Black Porsche 959_front view with rain tracks_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the Porsche 356 representatives present, showing no apprehension regarding the morning rain.

Turquoise green Porsche 356_3/4 front detail view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Proof that water does bead up on highly waxed surfaces.

Turquoise green Porsche 356_ front hood handle / badge detail and hood with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Representing the early long hood community, was this beautifully prepared Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911.

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ 3/4 side view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Rear decklid and side stripes with a rally sport inspired graphic treatment; could these graphics be the handiwork of werkcrew founder Bob Tilton?

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ rear deckled detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

The equally impressive, rally / race inspired motor.

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ Motor detail shot_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

More proof that Southern California Porsche owners drive their cars in the rain…

Bright blue Porsche 911 Carrera_ hood badge and raindrop detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

and the rest of the car covered by the morning rain.

Bright blue Porsche 911 Carrera_ 3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Several of the early morning arrivals, parked up close to the building and protected from the majority of the rain showers.

Early Porsche 911s_ orange 1970s 911T, 1973  Blue 911S_3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

A pair of Porsche GTs staged out in the rain; a 1972 911 GT and the rally prepared,1970 914-6…

Porsche GTs_white 1972 911 GT, yellow 1970 914-6 GT_3/4 front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

The real deal; a close up view of true 914-6 GT factory fender flares.

Yellow 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT_fender flare detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Proof of this vehicles pedigree; a record of its previous participant and survivor status in the Panama / Alaska Rally.

Yellow 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT_rear deckled rally plaque, raindrops & reflections_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the early 911S models on display at this years show…

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_3/4 front view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

complete with a recent acquisition by the owner, proudly displayed on the dash.

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_356 model displayed on dashtop_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

This burgundy 911S was also one of the few Porsches at the show equipped with a roof mounted, Leitz brand luggage rack.

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_rear view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the local RGruppe members, displaying a variety of magnetic vinyl club event plaques on his front hood.

White 911T_RGRuppe with Martini stripes_front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One rain-soaked rear decklid, wrapped in Martini racing graphics.

White 911T_RGRuppe with Martini stripes_rear deckled with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Below, further evidence of the morning drizzle…

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_front hood, badge and raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

on what initially appeared to be an early 1970s vintage Porsche 911. However, upon closer inspection it became obvious that this car was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Concealed beneath its skin lurked a 1986 3.2 liter, Porsche 911 Carrera having undergone a conversion known as “backdating”. That effort combined with the visually correct, optional front and rear bumper overriders, created a convincing 1970s appearing Porsche 911.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Suspicions confirmed… and itemized.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_backdating shopping list_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

A convincing re-spray, in period correct Irish green.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the apparent casualties of the morning rain; a shrunken Porsche 550 Spyder, reduced in size and now able to fit into the bed of a single cab VW type 2, being displayed by the folks from fibersteel.

Silver Porsche 550 Spyder pedal car_fibersteel_side view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Even with rain impacting this years event, there was still a huge turnout, illustrating the impact that this event holds for the Southern California Porsche community. And based upon the variety of different foreign accents overheard during the weekend, it’s easy to see the wide reaching pull that this event has on Porsche fans from around the globe.

The next event coming up for the Southern California Porsche community will be the California Festival of Speed, at the Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, California from April 4-6. Let’s all hope for a warm sunny weekend…

(All photos by the author)