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)

Advertisements