Wishing you and your’s a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from digitaldtour
With life and work placing an ever-increasing demand upon my spare time, I’ve found myself with less time to devote to my blog. So in an effort to continue providing content to those of you who have been kind enough to become followers and /or subscribers of my blog, I will be altering my format slightly. These changes should get me back on track to providing a greater frequency of blog posts.
So here goes…
In previous posts I’ve written about how external influences can affect one’s photographic inspiration, be it from weather, temperature, lighting, a particular event or even participation in a weekend car show. In many cases the experience, as well as the perceptions during an event can blur. It’s only when uploading the imagery onto the computer and beginning my post production work, that these patterns and the influences become apparent.
Over the past several months, I’ve experienced this phenomenon multiple times, and the following digital snippets represent the end results of my photographic observations.
Please stay tuned for my next installment…
(All photos by the author)
I recently had the opportunity to renew my long-standing quest of recording as many series/ build numbers possible from my personal encounters with Porsches 911GT3 RS4.0 model. The example shown below has now become the latest addition to my ongoing sightings list.
As I approached this white RS4.0 for a closer look, my initial thought was could this be one of my previous white bodied, white wheeled RS4.0 sightings? However, as soon as I saw its license plate, I knew this would be a brand new sighting. Now there was just one remaining clue to search out, which would reveal the final clue as to this RS4.0s true identity.
So onto the interior… as seen, standard issue on the 911 GT3 RS4.0.
A quick look at the glove box mounted, serial number build plaque revealed that this GT3 RS4.0 was chassis #040 of 600 total worldwide! This car immediately jumped to the top of my spotters list (and marked my 12th sighting), by virtue of this car being the absolute lowest series number I’ve encountered to date.
As I’ve noted in previous posts, my very first in – person GT3 RS4.0 sighting occurred back in October 2011, at Porsches Rennsport Reunion IV held in Monterey, California (as recorded below).
Back at cars&coffee, time to continue the photo documentation of my latest sighting.
As I made my way to the rear of the car to continue my explorations, the owner (who had been standing back watching me shooting his car), came over and introduced himself. I told him about my long-standing interest and passion for Porsches and my quest to record as many GT3 RS4.0 sighting as possible. He responded by sharing with me his passion for collecting Porsche 911 RS models, and in particular Porsches top-tier 911GT3 RS. It turns out that this owner has a rather deep collection of 911RS and GT3RS models in addition to his GT3 RS4.0. However, there is still one key player absent from his collection, and that has alluded him, and ironically the one that started it all; Porsches 1973 911 Carrera RS.
Our next topic of conversation addressed the incredibly low series build number assigned to his RS4.0. It turns out that the owner has an interest in numeration. Webster’s dictionary defines numeration as “an act or instance of designating by a number”. The owner was also a strong believer in lucky numbers.
I then learned that when Porsche introduced the GT3 RS4.0 in 2011, the owner contacted Porsche and expressed his interest in purchasing one of the new models, in particular chassis # 040, to commemorate his 40th birthday. Obviously the car parked before me was proof of his negotiation skills. This same interest and focus applied to his quest for the license plate seen below.
According to a friend standing nearby, the owner spent a small fortune to secure the license plate with the 777 designation, which apparently is his lucky number, and is now proudly displayed at both ends of the Porsche.
When the owner returned to his car, our conversation continued, and he shared his anxiety over waiting to take delivery of his latest Porsche acquisition ; one special ordered 918 Spyder. Any guess at what the chassis / series build number will be (out of the 918 total Porsche is targeted to produce)?
For now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if a certain, low series build number Porsche 918 Spyder gets imported into the states, and reveals itself some early Saturday morning at a certain car show.
(All photos by the author)
September 17, 2014, or 9/17, a date that each year marks the anniversary of my blog. And this year, 09/17/14 marks three years since the debut of digitaldtour.
In looking for an appropriate image to use for this anniversary posting, I selected one that I shot at a recent event, and perfect for the theme of this posting. The car in question, the signal orange Porsche 911 ST (below) owned by Chad McQueen, arrived at the show wearing the perfect, symbolic license plate.
I would like to take this time to once again thank everyone who have become followers of my blog, and have taken the time to email me with feedback on my postings. I’d also like to thank those of you that I have had the pleasure of meeting in person at a variety of cars shows and events throughout Southern California, and have become friends with over the past three years. And thank you for continuing to share your car history and back stories with me.
As digitaldtour approaches its 4th year, expect to see some changes over the year, but know that I will continue to write about and photograph the Southern California car culture. And for those of you who have asked, yes, I am still working on part 2 of my 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans blog post, and expect to have it completed and ready for posting soon.
So please stay tuned for some surprises, and watch as digitaldtour continues to grow and evolve.
(911ST photo by the author)
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
One of the several Porsche 911S models on display, and representing the RGruppe car club.
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.
Like begets like; a silver 911S reflected in the fender of the host 911S.
Representing the 1973 model year, was an example of a Porsche iteration that firmly established the 911s competition pedigree; the Porsche 911 Carrera RS…
and a model that introduced the world to the brands new duck tail spoiler.
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.
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.
The view of Evolution row from the opposite end (below).
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).
A glimpse of the Singer’s austere engine compartment and its highly modified, purpose-built motor (below).
Interesting details and technology abound from any angle.
Rear decklid with graphics and Singer badging.
(Below), A close up view of the Singer’s dimensional rear decklid badging.
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.
Another of the Porsche parked out front of the Deus Ex Machina facility; in this case one very cool, black 993 Carrera C4 coupe.
A four-wheeled, Porsche 993 mirror… (above and below)
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 !
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.
Another of the unique, identifying design details found on the 993 GT2 (as seen below); the three-piece modular, Speedline racing wheel.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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…
Parked in the outer row with its fellow 911s was this beautiful, owner restored Sand beige 1967 911S as seen below…
with its spotless motor…
and wearing a set restored and increasingly rare, 4 -1/2 X 15 inch Fuchs 5 spoke alloy wheels.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Beginning at the far left, was the ultra rare, Ivory colored 1949 Porsche Gmund coupe.
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.
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.
Next in line was another historically significant Porsche race / street car; in this case the silver, 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS seen below.
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.
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.
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.
As seen below, one of several “356 Outlaws” present and awaiting judging.
A beautiful Stone gray 356 Speedster, equipped with the seldom seen hardtop option.
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.
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.
And what every concours participant aspires to; taking home the highly desirable Best of Show trophy.
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.
A group shot of the class winning Porsches from this years concours.
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.
Unfortunately, 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)
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…
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.
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.
After lunch, we walked back across the Seine, and made our way over to the second most recognizable landmark within Paris: Notre Dame.
Within 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?
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).
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).
On Friday morning, we ventured out to visit the nearby 16th century Renaissance palace, Chateau de Chenonceau (as seen below).
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…
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…
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.
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…
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.
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”.
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…
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.
Next up were several more automotive manufacturer boutiques; first up was Aston Martin Racing…
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…
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.
Located a short distance from the Michelin display was the Spark boutique, dedicated to the fans who like their cars on a smaller scale.
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 !!
Located right next to the Spark boutique, was GM’s display and boutique, which displayed a single, 2014 charcoal gray Chevrolet Corvette C7.
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.
The reflective surfaces also made for a great photo opportunity, as witnessed below…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Another Porsche venue (Spirit of Le Mans) discovered on my walk back up through the infield village…
Being the ever inquisitive Porsche fan, I walked up to the tent flap to see what was inside.
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…
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)…
(All photos by the author)
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 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.
“If two lights are good, then four should be even better”.
Rear whale tail, covered in Valvoline themed confetti and Andial graphics; a winning combination (below).
Family portrait time…
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…
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.
A peek inside the closed cockpit…
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.
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.
Sharing space; the 1967 Ford GT Mk IV and its neighbor, the red Porsche 356A Speedster.
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.
The Healey’s highly detailed interior. Equal in quality and attention to detail, on par with its exterior.
Another European classic encountered, parked amid a cluster of BMW’s. A spectacular, highly modified example of a mid 1970s vintage BMW 2002.
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
The competition inspired interior, complete with dual racing bucket seats, Hurst 4 speed shifter, Simpson harnesses and roll cage.
One of the last cars to leave the event that morning, yet still fielding questions from visitors interested in the Falcon.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Multiple examples of the newer 997 based GT3 Cup cars, as seen below, competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup series.
Taking its turn on the corner balancing fixture (below).
Pirelli GT3 Cup cars, staged throughout all three of the garages.
A glimpse at a GT3 Cup motor, and its visually dominant horizontal air box…
Spare wheels and Pirelli racing tires at the ready…
Driver and team equipment taking a break.
One of several GMG prepared Porsches; undergoing preparation for its next on track session.
And one of the few, non Motorsports purposed Porsches found in the paddock area; a classic Porsche Junior tractor with trailer…
complete with info plaque.
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.
Classic Porsche Motorsports issue: BBS modular, centerlock racing wheels.
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…
heading out onto the track, prior to the line up for a rolling start.
In formation, and accelerating across the start / finish line; here come the Cup cars…
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.
More of the PCA club racing based, GT3 Cup cars.
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.
So with the assembled time trial groups release, it was time to focus on shooting some Porsche race cars at speed…
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…
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.
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.
The following images represent a small sampling of the different GT3 Cup cars competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup car, race #2 on Saturday…
As seen below, the winning Porsche from the PirellI GT3 Cup race #2.
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.
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.
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)