Rennsport Reunion 5: A look at one of The Revs Institute’s charges; the 1969 Porsche 908LH

There’s something about the pre 1970s Porsche race cars that over the years have drawn me to them from a photographic and design standpoint, and the Porsche seen below is no exception.

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The car in question is a 1969 908LH, Porsches winningest chassis (#908 025); one very low and sleek, built for speed streamliner, powered by a 2997cc air-cooled flat 8 motor, developing 350 horsepower. Sufficient to propel this car into the realm of 200 mph, and on this weekend, onto the memory card within my DSLR.

I first encountered this very car back in 1992 at the Monterey Historics, displayed by the Collier Collection, based out of Naples Florida. In 2009, The Rev’s Institute was founded, as an evolution of the Collier Collection, by its founder Miles Collier, with the goal of creating a venue for the further promotion of “automotive research and historical studies”.

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(Below) The pilot for the weekend was none other than Gunnar Jeannette (dressed in black), intently focused on securing a GoPro onto the roof of the 908LH.

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GoPro track coverage set, fore and aft…

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Prepped and rolling out for its track session.

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Staged on pit lane (below), as a participant in Saturday afternoon’s pit lane concours.

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One striking detail that I noticed was changed from the last time I saw this car, were its colored body accents. This was a very graphic way for Porsche to differentiate their individual team cars when part of a multi car team. Back in 1992, I remembered the green accents being much darker, similar to Porsche’s Irish Green. However, when I spoke with a team member from The Revs Institute about the color, he said the current color is a more accurate representation of what was applied back in 1969. This current application in addition to being matte fluorescent green, also exhibited brush strokes. So my second question was regarding the actual paint make-up, and the response confirmed my suspicions. All of the green accents were painted using water based tempera paint, similar to what’s routinely used in grade school art classes.

This paint medium approach to nose graphics appeared to have been embraced by a variety of the other Porsche race cars (from the same time period), also wearing similar matte finish graphics in a variety of period colors. Unfortunately, the one question that I failed to ask was regarding the effect of weather on this paint. If it rained, would the fluorescent green paint wash off, or would it become a visual tracer, ideal for studying the aerodynamic airflow over the car? Or would the painted accents be intact, protected by a matte clear coat finish?

So if anyone from The Revs Institute happens to read this blog post, I would appreciate some closure to my question: matte fluorescent green accents; clear coat protected or ?

All photos by the author

Rennsport Reunion 5; selected images suitable for sharing

After an extensive time away from my blog, it’s finally time to get back to the task at hand. And that dear readers means digitaldtour is back, and will once again be sharing Porsche centric, photographic content from near and afar.

To kick things off, I’m going to start with one of my favorite images captured from this past September’s Porsche Rennsport Reunion 5. For those unable to attend, the car below is a 1949 Porsche Gmund SL Coupe, which holds historical significance as one of Porsches earliest class winners at the Le Mans 24 hour race, dating back to 1951.

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This car was lovingly ressurected just prior to Rennsport Reunion 5 by Southern California’s own Porsche guru Rod Emory, who’s metal fabrication skills made it possible for Porsche to showcase this car alongside two of their other Legendary Le Mans 24 overall winners seen below; the red & white scalloped Porsche Salzburg 917 from 1970, and this years outright Le Mans 24 hour winner, the 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

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So this concludes my first post in a very long time. I hope you will return to see what lies ahead…

All photos by the author

My most difficult post to complete to date…The fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Part 2; my photographic record and impressions of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

After an overly long delay, here goes; “better late than never.”..The fulfillment of a lifelong dream, Part 2.

So having left Porsche’s soon to be completed “Spirit of Le Mans exhibit, I figured it was time to scout out a location for watching the start of the race, and one where I could have a good vantage point from which to begin my photographic explorations. Fortunately, I remembered seeing an open spectator area right behind one of the food and beer concessions, complete with tables and chairs, and based upon the information from my track map, I decided this very area facing the Dunlop curve and Dunlop chicane would be ideal, and give me good afternoon lighting. (Little did I know the side benefit that this location would provide, but more on that later).

For those that follow my Instagram feed, you may have seen a post I made leading up to our departure for France. The Porsche magazine Christophorus, had arrived in the mail, and issue # 366 just happened to be dedicated to Le Mans.

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Inside, I discovered an article written about one of the newest racing drivers to join the Porsche factory team, Brendon Hartley, and his unique talents as a top simulator / virtual test driver. Brendon would be co-driving Porsches new LMP-1, 919 hybrid (car #20) with team mates Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard. Within the article was a sidebar that included a track map with key sections highlighted, and linked to a description penned by Brendon Hartley, focused on the making of an ideal  lap. Seven different track sections were described, and each accompanied by his personal approach to driving the 919 at optimum speed. It was an amazing article, and his insight into racing at Le Mans made for a great read, not to mention providing me with a list of locations to explore and observe during the race.

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Now back to my trackside adventures…

Since it was now 2 PM, I had just one hour to select my trackside viewing spot, and prepare for the 3 PM start of the race. Given the height of the trackside safety catch fencing, I needed a location with some elevation in order to minimize the fencing’s visual impact. Luckily, there were still some chairs and space available on the elevated concrete patio behind one of the concession stands, so I grabbed an empty chair close to the edge of the patio, and set up my camera gear. This location gave me a solid panoramic view (to my left) of the Dunlop curves…

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and to my right, the Dunlop chicane and bridge.

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With the clock ticking and less than 1/2 hour to race time, one of the pre race activities included an aerial show. After a brief PA announcement, the event’s focus shifted skyward, just in time to catch a trio of skydivers beginning their descent.Their ultimate landing / target turned out to be the start / finish line.

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With all eye’s turned skyward…

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With the last of the skydiving trio successfully back on the tarmac, the final countdown to the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours race began. After another brief announcement over the PA, there arose a collective cheer that could be heard coming from the grandstands situated along pit row, and suddenly race cars appeared on the track. Leading the pack was the brilliant red Audi RS6 Avant (as seen below), representing one of the multiple Safety and Race Control Cars provided by Audi, which would pace the pack for their warm up laps. These red Audis RS6s would reappear multiple times over the next 24 hours, anytime race conditions warranted the need for a safety car on track (in the event of an accident on the circuit, or weather issues). After picking up the race leader, the Audi RS6 Avant would control the pace of the field, until race control determined all current concerns had been resolved, and it was safe for the competition to resume.

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Following a short distance behind the Audi, was the crowds first glimpse of the competitors we had all come to see, beginning their initial warm up laps.

The first of the new Porsche GT3 RSR’s below; leading the pack was the Porsche Team Manthey (i.e. Factory team car) 911 RSR #91, competing in the GTE / Pro class…

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and for 2014 from the Proton Competition / Dempsey Racing team, their new for 2014 Porsche 911 RSR #77, competing in the GTE  / AM class.

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Below, one of the first LMP1 cars to appear; Toyota’s TS040 Hybrid, part of the two car team as campaigned by Toyota Racing.

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Another of the Porsche 911 GT3RSR’s, a joint effort between the Belgian Prospeed Competition group and the American firm Weathertech.

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Following behind Weathertech’s Porsche 911GT3 RSR, was one of the first LMP2 class race cars to appear. This particular car (#42) was entered by Caterham Racing, but managed by Greaves Motorsport. Ironically, the drivers line up for this car consisted of two american drivers  (Chris Dyson and Matt McMurry), with the third (Tom Kimber-Smith) representing Great Britain.

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Representing the United States, was this duo of Corvette C7Rs, fielded by the Pratt & Miller team.

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Following close behind was Nissan’s ZE0D RC (a solo entrant), entered by Nissan Motorsports Global.

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Another team representing Great Britain was Aston Martin Racing, competing with a pair of V8 Vantage coupes.

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And finally the LMP1 class team cars from Porsche rolled into view; first up was the #14, 919 Hybrid…

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For the Tifosi assembled, the 2014 Le Mans 24 contained a total of fourteen Ferrari 458 Italia models, competing in both the GTE PRO and GTE AM classes. Below, is one of the 458 Italia’s, competing in the GTE / AM class, for the AF Corse team.

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As the cars filtered past, suddenly there was an eerie silence as the last car in the race car conga line disappeared under the Dunlop bridge.

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Then from the direction of the start/finish line, a roar went up from the grandstands, just as the clock struck 3:00pm, signaling the start of the race. Continuing this crush of sound were the first cars to come into view; an  R18 Audi e-tron followed closely by a Toyota TS040 hybrid and Porsche 919 hybrid…

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Following closely behind these lead LMP1 cars was an assortment of GTE PRO, GTE AM and LMP2 class cars.

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My first hour and a half of the race was spent exploring the Dunlop curve and Chicane area of the track. And by 4:30pm, the Dunlop curve location proved to be a good choice, especially when the gray clouds that had been gathering over the track, decided to rain on this automotive parade. As the skies open up, I was able to take cover beneath the projecting roofline of a cantina located on the infield side at the Dunlop curve. Here I could  stay dry and continue to shoot the race from under cover for the next half hour as the storm passed. Fortunately, this was the only rain that would fall on the event.

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So with the skies now clearing, I decided to make my way south towards the start / finish straight, with a stop along the way to watch the cars returning to the track at the pit out / exit. This also afforded me a unique perspective to view the cars close up and at speed, as they accelerated on their way towards the Dunlop curve.

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With the sun now beginning to cast longer shadows, I decided to do some more track exploring and wanted to check out the view at the Dunlop bridge. For the spectators with reserved seating in these grandstands, this area provided an ideal vantage for watching the cars race through the Dunlop curve and Dunlop chicane, and set up for passing beneath the iconic Dunlop Bridge, and then continue towards the “Esses” section on the opposite side. This location also made for some interesting photographic captures …

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As the sun continued its arc across the sky, and the light levels began to drop, I figured it was a good time to refuel and grab some food. So heading back into the village, I found a small cantina offering up a variety of sandwiches. The jambon y fromage baguette (ham and cheese) had been a good choice at lunch, so another two were consumed for dinner, washed down with a large Coca Cola to caffeine load for the long night ahead. (I had decided that since this was my first trip to Le Mans, I did not want to miss a minute of the race, and was determined to stay awake for the entire 24 hours).

So after my quick dinner, it was time to continue my exploration of the track, which was beginning to fall under a cloak of darkness. Since I was still in the proximity of the Dunlop chicane, I decided to check out the area between the Dunlop bridge and the Tertre Rouge bend. On the way, I stopped to watch the cars flying through the Esses, and capture some of the action ( these images were taken at around 10:30 pm).

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By midnight, the darkness closed in and the perspectives shifted again…

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Exiting the Tertre Rouge bend,  the cars transition onto the longest straight located on the track; the world-famous Mulsanne straight. So I hiked out to this area of the track in the dark, and discovered an illuminated pedestrian corridor running beneath the race track, which allowed access to the viewing area located to the outside of the track. This proved to be a great location for observing the stunning performance capabilities possessed by the LMP1 class vehicles (in particular, the Audi R-18s, Porsche 919 hybrids, and the Toyota TS040s). It was equally amazing to watch the GTE PRO and AM class cars follow the same trajectories, but at a slightly reduced top speed, and with a uniquely distinct exhaust notes.  It was surreal to watch how fast these cars could track through the turn, only to disappear into the darkness down the Mulsanne straight. As the cars disappeared from view, you could still hear them accelerating and hitting their shift points, as they raced  down the Mulsanne.

With the hours passing, and in an effort to stay warm, I decided to do some more exploring of the track, so I went in search of a classic visual icon; the neon illuminated ferris wheel, located by the Maison Blanche section of the racetrack.

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With it now close to 3 AM ( the halfway point of the race), I felt it appropriate to check out Porsche’s infield Hospitality center.

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Access into the facility turned out to be by invitation only, which contained a cantina, boutique and product showroom, and a floor to ceiling video display wall, located on the back wall of the vehicle showroom, and broadcasting live coverage of the race.

As I stood on the outside looking in, I was surprised at how many people were still inside given the hour (shopping at the boutique and watching the video display). The showroom also housed an example of  Porsche’s new for 2014, 919 hybrid race car, as well as a copy of the latest 911RSR iteration, identical to the two team cars being raced in the GTE PRO class.

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With the temperatures still cooling, it was time for me to once again refuel with something warm, and fortunately I found a cantina in the Village still open, serving up coffee and hot chocolate. Time to take a break, put me feet up and take my backpack full of camera gear off for a while, and warm up with two hot chocolates, and watch the race coverage streaming on one of the large video displays located within the village.

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A total of 6 jumbotron video displays were situated around the track, and were a great tool to have for staying current on the action taking place on and around the track. In addition to the imagery, race standings were posted over the duration of the 24 hours.

Warmed up, refueled and still awake at 4:30 AM, I decided to return to the Esses and Tertre Rouge area of the track, to watch the sun rise over the track, and watch the early morning light illuminate the race cars  circulating around the track. Once again, the elevated berm in this area served as an ideal platform for viewing the racing action in these two zones.

A series of shots captured at the Esses, with the aid of the early morning light.

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With the sun on the rise, I made way down to the Tertre Rouge bend, and staked out a spot at the top of the berm, as a good vantage point from which to photograph the remainder of the race, and slotted in amongst the crowd that had begun to assemble.

Below are a random assortment of shots I captured over the course of the morning, and wrapping up at the conclusion of the race at 3 PM.

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An instance where the safety car (above) was dispatched to pace the field…

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(Below), the crowd that grew around me Sunday morning, on the berm at the Tertre Rouge bend…

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At 2 PM, suddenly the race took a negative turn for both of Porsche’s 919 hybrids (#14 and #20), which for the previous 23 hours had collectively given both Audi and Toyota a run for their money. But now, both cars were in the garage, with the #20 car retired with motor issues, and the #14 car sidelined by gearbox and drive train issues. For the remaining hour, the two Audi’s and the sole remaining Toyota continued lapping the track, chasing the clock to 3 PM. However, unknown by their competitors, Porsche had been working on the #14 race car, in an effort to return it to the track. And with only 10 minutes remaining,the 919 returned to the track, unfortunately circulating at a less than competitive pace.

The two Audi’s R-18 e -trons and the sole remaining Toyota TS040 soldiered on, and at 3:00 PM, Audi took the checkered flag, and once again finished in 1st and 2nd place, with the Toyota TS040 placing third.

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And to everyone’s surprise, the #14 Porsche 919 hybrid had returned to the track, taking its final lap and crossing the finish line.

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At the completion of the 2014 race, Porsche announced their intentions to return in 2015. And it appears that they were true to their word.

As of this posting, the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans concluded today;  Porsches three car 919 hybrid team (#17, #18, #19)  not only qualified on the pole, but also captured second and third place on the starting grid. As for the race, at the end of the 24 hours, Porsche scored a win, taking first and second place overall, with car #19 f and car # 17 respectively. Porsches third 919 hybrid (car # 18), finished in 5th place, behind the two Audi R-18s, which captured third and fourth place.

Porsche fans world wide will be celebrating this years Le Mans 24 one -two victory, as well as the manufacturers overall Le Mans 24 victory tally being increased by one to a total of 17.

And with Porsches upcoming Rennsport Reunion V , with a “Legends of Le Mans” theme, September in Monterey promises to be a continuation of the celebration of this milestone victory.

(All photos by the author)

Porsche GTs in abundance at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto show…

Porsche GTs in abundance at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, or so the rumors went. In a break with tradition, my son and I attended the 2014 Los Angeles Auto show on the next to last day of its week-long run. Normally, we have always attended opening day, but our collective schedules did not allow that for 2014.

As my son and I ascended the escalator into the convention center, he asked “first stop at Petree hall”?  Our yearly tradition has been to start every show with a first stop at Petree Hall, to take in the surprises waiting at the Porsche display.  And for 2014, our tradition was upheld.

And what better thematic setting for making an impression upon present or future Porsche owners than the first scene of their display within Petree Hall, with the view seen below.

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Framed as a scene taken straight from a race track, and positioned center stage, was one of Porsche’s latest race cars; the 911 GT America. As we approached, it became obvious this race car possessed Southern California roots, campaigned by none other than Dempsey Racing; piloted by Southern California resident  / actor Patrick Dempsey, and co-driven by teammate Joe Foster.

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Strategically placed near the car, was a display case containing the helmet worn by Patrick Dempsey during the 2014 Tudor United Sports Car Championship racing season. Wrapped in what has become a signature motif, the helmet graphics were designed and executed by Troy Lee Designs.

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Rounding the corner into “scene 2”, we encountered Porsche’s Hybrid display, showcasing the Cayenne and Panamera hybrid variants,  all displayed in a white. However, the focal point of scene 2 was one centrally located, pearlescent white 918 Spyder as seen below.

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In sharp contrast to the hybrid display, was the showcase / world premier display area for Porsches latest GTS model lines. As seen below, and as described by the wall graphic, was Porsches new 911 Carrera GTS; one in cabriolet form…

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and to its left on a second turntable, a GTS coupe.

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Even Porsche’s Cayenne model was a recipiant of the GTS treatment, wrapped in the same red paint finish, as witnessed by the image below.

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The Cayenne GTS rear tail lights were also the souce of a visual reminder (to those who looked closley), as to the manufacturer behind these latest wonders on display.

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I suspect that next years Porsche display at Petree Hall may have a decidedly RS focused theme, given the pending introduction of their brand new for 2015 GT3RS.

(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…

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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).

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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).

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

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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…

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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)

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)

“Sky Blue and Black”; An unexpected visit by #00, Interscope Racings 1978 Porsche 935

“Sky Blue and Black”; An unexpected visit by #00,  Interscope Racings 1978 Porsche 935. And what a surprise it was.

As the sun began to rise, word spread quickly that someone brought a Porsche 935 to the event, and now it was parked near the entrance to the overflow lot. It became obvious as to the car’s location, judging by the gathered crowd.

Being a big fan of  Porsche 935s, I was eager to check out the mystery Porsche.  As I approached, I immediately recognized this particular 935, having chased it through the viewfinder of my camera at IMSA races throughout the late 1970s and into the 80s.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing… Southern California’s own and Newport Beach, California-based race team, which successfully fielded a pair of Porsche 935s from 1977 to 1982. The two car team consisted of car #0, piloted by team owner Ted Field, with the second car (#00) driven by teammate Danny Ongais. Danny “On the gas” Ongais was no stranger to motorsports, having started out in the NHRA, driving top fuel dragsters in the mid 1960s. From there he graduated to racing Indy cars, and then in 1977 began racing Porsches with and for Ted Field.

The Porsche 935 seen below was raced by Danny Ongais in 1978 in the IMSA series as part of the Interscope team. It is currently owned by one of the partners at TruSpeed, a local Costa Mesa, CA based Motorsports company, and here it was, making its debut at cars&coffee, showcasing its recent restoration.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Standard issue on the Porsche 935; Gold, three piece modular center lock BBS race wheels, in this case shod with present day Michelin race rubber (Goodyear tires having been the dominate brand raced back in 1978).

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_Gold BBS racing wheel & reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

In talking with the staff from TruSpeed, I learned that the car had spent time the previous week being put through its paces at the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, in Desert Center, California. Present for this shakedown, and handling tuning duties, was none other than Dieter Inzenhofer, one of the three founding partners of Andial, which became the premier race shop for building winning 935 motors for the IMSA series through the 1970s and 1980s. All of this work was  in preparation for a trip to Sebring, Florida, to compete in an upcoming historic / vintage car race scheduled to take place in early March.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_3/4 rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_Gold BBS rear race wheel & fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Flawless, concours quality paint finish, perfect for reflecting one’s surroundings.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Bi- level, Porsche 935 specific rear wing and fender, complete with trademark Interscope tri-colored graphic striping.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear wing detail & fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

(Below) A view familiar to its many competitors back in the day; the full width, rear wing complete with Interscope graphics, massive Porsche 935 rear fenders, and centrally located, dual exhaust and peripheral waste-gates.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

A bugs-eye view of the twin turbo set-up, with centrally located, converging dual exhaust and the laterally positioned, dual boost wastegates.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_bugs eye view of twin turbo motor & dual wastegates_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

The classic silhouette of the Porsche 935, and the iconic tri -colored striping of Interscope #00, restored and ready to once again compete with its rivals within the ranks of the Historic racing community. Best of luck to the entire TruSpeed team on your upcoming competitions.

(All photos by the author)

Where else but in Southern California…

Where else but in Southern California could you wake up early on a Saturday morning, drive to a car show and come face to face with a collection of Porsche race cars like those pictured below.

1966 Porsche Carrera 906 &1970 Porsche 917 recreation_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_January 25, 2014

However, before the morning was over, the open space to the left of the Carrera 6 (Type 906) would be filled, and the white Porsche 928 to the far right would bow out to make way for a 914-6 GT race car. A rumor circulating that morning was that a Porsche 911R was on its way to the show, its intended parking space next to the 906 Carrera. Half an hour later, that rumor became a reality, as a white 1967 Porsche 911R, with its distinct exhaust note, pulled up to the featured lot and took its place alongside its Porsche brethren.

1967 Porsche 911R #001, 1966 906, 1970 917 recreation and 928_group photo_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Given the rarity of the Porsche 911R model (just four pre production prototypes were produced, followed by a limited production run of only 20 models). Just seeing one in person is epic, however, this particular 911R (pictured above and below) takes epic to a completely different level, due to its historical significance.

This particular 911R is currently undergoing restoration by the Torrance, California shop of Callas Rennsport. A clue to this cars origins can be found displayed on each door. Have you figured it out? If not, for those unfamiliar with the Porsche 911R, I’ve included a brief history regarding this limited production model, as well as details specific to the 911R captured at cars&coffee:

The  911R was a purpose-built vehicle that came out of Ferdinand Piech’s experimental department at Porsche in the spring of 1967. An initial batch of four prototypes were produced, all ultra light weight examples based upon Porsche’s 911, each capable of demonstrating their competition potential in both under rally and GT based racing conditions. Each prototype started life as a standard 911, however lighter weight, thinner gauge steel panels were substituted for the chassis stampings where feasible. Body panels were fabricated using both fiberglass and aluminum, to maintain a stock appearance, and contribute to overall weight reduction efforts. All of the windows were also put on a diet, with all side and rear windows produced in Plexiglass. Even the windshields were included, and made as thin and light weight as possible. The stock front vent windows were replaced by fixed panels, with each incorporating a single round, aircraft sourced pop out vent (as seen below).

1967 Porsche 911R #001_fixed front quarter window with circular push out vent_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Each rear quarter window, in addition to being produced in plexiglass, included a set of louvers to aid with interior ventilation.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_rear quarter window with louvers _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1967 Porsche 911R #001_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

The 911Rs potent 1991 cc race motor (delivering 201 HP), came complete with dual ignition, 46mm Weber carburetors (complete with water shields), and smaller diameter cooling fan with the natural finished, fiberglass cooling shroud ( as seen below). Power is delivered through a 5-speed transmission, linked to a ZF limited slip differential. These components had been sourced from another of Porsches successful race cars, in this case the Carrera 6 (Type 906). Ironically, on this morning the white Porsche race car (#11) parked to the right of the 911R, just happened to be a Carrera 906…

1967 Porsche 911R #001_1991 cc race motor, 3/4 rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Visible just to the left of the fan is the massive, twin plug distributer, sparked by the dual, blue Bosch coils. Fuel delivery is provided by the dual Bendix fuel pumps as seen below.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_1991 cc race motor_ dual Bosch coils and Bendix fuel pumps_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Porsche’s abbreviated tail light design, created for and utilized solely by the 911R.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_the original 911R rear tail light assembly and reflector- Detail view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

(Below) A freshly restored, fiberglass rear deck lid with integral rear mesh grill, left unpainted on the underside, as originally delivered.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_restored rear fiberglass decklid_inside detail _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

This 911Rs first taste of competition came on July 23, 1967, in a 330 mile race in Mugello, Italy. In its debut event, piloted by Vic Elford and Giis van Lennup, this 911R finished third, behind two Porsche 910s and ahead of a Ford GT Mk IV. Then in late October of 1967, this very 911R was called up to the big leagues. A Swiss race team was at Monza (Italy), attempting to set world and 2.0 liter class records for distance and speed, driving a Porsche Carrera 6 (906). Unfortunately, the 906 experienced suspension problems after 12 hours into its quest. Sponsors for this record-setting attempt were BP and Firestone, and to honor this sponsorship commitment, the Swiss team contacted Stuttgart regarding a replacement car in order to continue their record-setting attempt. Porsche responded back, stating that they could send a 911R as the replacement, confident in its capabilities to meet the teams needs.The 911R was then driven from Stuttgart, and delivered to the waiting team at Monza. After being loaded up with the spare parts required for this type of event, the car was sent onto the track, to begin its record-setting attempt. The following four drivers would take turns behind the wheel of the 911R over the duration of the attempt: Rico Steinemann, Jo Seiffert, Dieter Spoerry and Charles Vogele. Over the next six continuous days, the 911R was run flat-out, and succeeded in setting eleven time and distance records in the 2.0 liter class, as well as posting five world records at 15,000 kilometers, 10,000 miles, 20,000  kilometers, 72 hours and 90 hours. Their average speed recorded at the end of the six-day run, (of over 20,000 kilometers), was 130.02 mph. All of these records were accomplished by the 911R seen here, recorded as chassis No.118 990 001. This chassis came to be noted by Porsche as the very first “production model” out of their limited run of twenty cars, thus establishing this individual car’s historical significance.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_3/4 side view with hood and rear deckled opened _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Front wheel detail; the 911Rs “deep six” X 15 inch, Fuchs 5 spoke alloy wheel, wrapped in Firestone rubber. Rear wheels measured 7 inch X 15.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_front wheel,deep six fuchs alloy wheel, clad  in Firestone rubber _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Seeing is believing; the powerful, dual lamp Bosch H1 headlight, with 911R specific front running lights, and its unique front air intake, designed to provide cooling air for the dual oil coolers tucked into each front fender.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_Bosch H1 headlight with model specific running lights _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1967 Porsche 911R #001_3/4 front view with opened front hood _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

The highly detailed front trunk, with its prominently placed fabricated steel fuel tank with central filler, and the welded in place, front shock tower strut bar. Located directly below, are the dual set of hard lines linked to each front fender mounted oil cooler, providing cooled oil for the motor. Also visible is the restored underside of the front fiberglass hood, showcasing its natural, unpainted finish, as originally produced back in 1967.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_restored front trunk_ front view _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1967 Porsche 911R #001_restored front trunk_ 3/4 front view _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Another of the design features unique to the 911R; the rear fender mounted, dry sump oil tank filler with exposed cap. This very feature would reappear in 1972 (the dry sump oil tank moved forward to in front of the right rear wheel, for the supposed benefit of better weight balance), as a one year only feature found on all 911 models.

1967 Porsche 911R #001_ 3/4 rear view _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

During this cars world record-setting run, the team back in Zuffenhausen had begun work on their initial batch of 20 “production 911R” models. Due to the limited production nature of this model, Porsche had contracted with an outside firm (Karl Bauer of Stuttgart), for the production of the bodies. Porsche ended up making a series of minor changes to their production run of 20 vehicles, when compared to the spec for their four prototype 911Rs. These variations would consist of the following: the production versions all had body parts manufactured from normal thickness steel. The windshield glass was specified at 4 mm thick, while the remainder of the windows were specified as 2mm thick Plexiglass. Up front, one major departure from the prototypes was the piercing of the front hood, providing access to the central mounted fuel filler and cap. In regards to the 911R suspension, the production models were equipped with Koni shocks and anti roll bars similar to those found on the Porsche 911S model, and had their suspension ride heights set lower by two inches. Subtle changes made to the motor consisted of the use of Weber 46IDA3C1, triple throat carburetors. Transaxles could now be configured from two unique final drive ratio offered. Standard body color for the 911R was white, unless the builders were given a three weeks advance notice of a desired color change. Upon completion, the finished production 911R weighed in a full 450 pounds less than a stock 911S. Ironically, its final weight of 1810 pounds (for the production 911R) was only 45 pounds heavier than its much lighter 911R prototype siblings. Unfortunately, plans by Porsche to produce additional runs of 911R models never materialized, so fans and collectors were left with only 24 cars to relish. On a personal note, I have been fortunate enough within the last year, to have seen two out of the final 20 production 911Rs in person (#001 and #017). To view 911R # 017, please use this link to access one of my previous blog posts…

1967 Porsche 911R #001_ 3/4 front view with 917 in background _cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

As I noted earlier, after the white Porsche 928 had moved over one space to make room for the 914-6 GT (pictured below), those in attendance were now treated to a rare assemblage of Porsche race cars. Was it a coincidence then, that this gathering took place on the very same day as the start of the 2014 24 Hours of Daytona race?

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT with Porsche race cars_ 3/4 group shot_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1970 Porsche Salzburg 917 recreation_ rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT with Porsche race cars_ 3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014 This particular Porsche, the Lufthansa sponsored 1970 914-6 GT, serial # 914 043 1415, also possesses a unique history. Not only is it one of only eleven team cars built, but it also holds several records set during the 1970 Nurburgring 1000KM race. In addition to finishing second in class, this 914-6 GT also set the fastest lap time, and now here it was on display 44 years later, looking like it had just rolled out of the Race Department at Porsche.

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT with Porsche race cars_ 3/4 rear group shot_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

The power source for the mid engined 914-6 GT; as seen below, its immaculately prepared, 2.0 liter twin plug boxer six, also derived from the Porsche Carrera 6 (906).

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT with Porsche race cars_ motor detail_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT with Porsche race cars_ rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

Another example of the ” European market only” rear badging, with the circular Porsche badge used to cover up the stock rear trunk lid lock location, removed for racing and replaced by a pair of rubber hold downs as seen above and below.

1970 Signal Orange Lufthansa Porsche 914-6 GT _ europe only rear badging_cars&coffee/irvine_january 25, 2014

California has long been considered a hotbed for all things Porsche, and it never fails to deliver up a multitude of treasures hidden away in garages and the private collections housed throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Surprises can vary from Porsche street cars to the rare and in some cases, seldom seen Porsche race cars. And what makes this particular venue so amazing, is that one never knows what jewels will make their debut from week to week, to an always appreciative crowd.

(All photos by the author)