What a difference a month makes! Last month's report included
coverage of two Redwood Region autocross events, and both events were
two days in length. This month, well, our Region entered our annual
autocross hibernation period, so there are no events to report on.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the event sponsored by the
Sacramento Valley Region at Infineon Raceway on November 19, but my
sources tell me event was enjoyable, and the weather did not have an
impact like it did in 2010.
With no autocross events to report on, I thought I'd cover some of
the other Porsche-related events of the past few months. Earlier this
year, I had the opportunity to drive a friend's Panamera Turbo. Yes, the
engine's in the front, yes, the car is huge, and yes, the back end can
look awkward if painted in a light color. Oh, and it was a PDK without
the steering wheel shift paddles to boot. Nevertheless, once behind the
wheel, these "problems" didn't seem important. I quickly figured out a
simple system for the shift buttons on the steering wheel that mimics
the operation of "proper" paddles. I'm sure you've read unending
criticism of Porsche's system in the enthusiast magazines, but I found
that it just takes a small adjustment by the driver to make the system
work (it's like learning how to shift a 915 gearbox smoothly). Once in
motion, the car gathers speed quickly, with ferocious acceleration once
on boost. Cornering power is impressive, especially for such a large
car. Switching from "Normal"
mode to "Sport Plus" completely transforms the car by sharpening
throttle and steering response, and speeding up the PDK gear changes
when in automatic mode. In "Sport Plus," I'll bet that the Panamera
Turbo would make a handy, if large, autocross car. I'd love to see a
shootout between a Cayenne
and a Panamera next year at an autocross, but the drivers will need to
set aside additional funds for their tire budgets!
Less than a week after the Zone 7 Autocross, it was time to head down
to Laguna Seca to witness Rennsport Reunion IV, the gathering of Porsche
race cars. Rumor has it that there was considerable on-track activity on
Friday, but Chris Harrell and I missed all of it. There were so many
stunning examples of race cars in the paddock that we spent the entire
day walking around and photographing the best examples. In addition to
the race cars in the paddock, there were over 800 cars to ogle in the
Porsche corral. Again, there were beautiful examples of the entire range
of Porsche road car history, from early 356s, through all of the various
911 iterations, up to the latest 997,
Cayenne, and Panamera. As an additional treat,
the latest (and greatest?) 911 was unveiled on Saturday. The new 911 (or
991 in Company parlance) is a very contemporary design, but it is, at
least to my eyes, noticeably larger than the outgoing 997. I suspect
that the 991 would positively dwarf the original 911, but it will
undoubtedly offer performance figures that many of the Porsche race cars
participating in the event couldn't match. Such is the price of
progress, I suppose. Thankfully, for old-school people like me, there
are still plenty of early 911s out there at semi-reasonable prices.
I did watch a great deal of the racing on Saturday and Sunday, and it
was quite entertaining. Since it was a "vintage" event, it was
understood that the cars weren't being driven quite to the ragged edge,
and that many of the drivers were "gentleman drivers." Nevertheless, it
was thrilling to watch the old prototypes, many wearing the iconic
Gulf-Porsche livery, powering down the hill through the Corkscrew. The
sights, and especially the sounds, were simply awesome. We were able to
hear a symphony of flat-6, 8, and 12 engines, each with a distinctive
sound. I remember hearing a couple of 906s going by, thinking sure wish
my 911 sounded like that!
There have been rumors that the next (as yet unscheduled) Rennsport
Reunion will return to Laguna Seca. If that happens, I plan to be first
in line for tickets. I would encourage all of you to fight for second
place in line behind me!
Happy Holidays to all of you, and I hope to see you at the "One One
Fun Run" on New Year's Day, 1/1/12!
here for detailed results from all Redwood Region autocross events.