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Rennsport Reunion V: There Is No Substitute

9O0A008417 It's like Stuttgart loaded a gigantic cargo plane and dropped its contents, perfectly placed, onto the paddock of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It's called Rennsport Reunion and if you swoon when you hear the sound of an air-cooled, turbocharged flat six, you will find Mecca here. This is only the fifth installment of this notable automotive celebration in the past 15 years so enthusiast from everywhere add this to the bucket list. This dedicated Porsche event has shifted between Daytona International, home of the famed American 24 Hour Endurance classic, Lime Rock and for the last two installments, here at MRLS. 9O0A006451 Porsche, and the famed marque's faithful, have gathered from all over the world to celebrate the six-decade history of German automotive engineering and its artistry. While Dr. Ferdinand Porsche's highest volume design might have been the "People's Car", the original Volkswagen also known as "The Beetle", it was he and his son, Ferry's amazing designs and motors that won the races and subsequently, the hearts of so many enthusiasts. 9O0A008161 For a Porsche-phile and historian, Rennsport Reunion V might be the perfect storm in viewing and hearing everything from the LeMans winning 917 and 962 prototypes to the dominant Can-Am championship winning 917-10 and 917-30s to the beautiful IMSA 935s and host of every generation of 911 and everything before and after. Rolling art history in flashes of color and song stir the mind, shake the body and emote the soul. If it sounds like the writer has been completely entranced, it's not far from the truth. 9O0A009931 The races themselves are a breathtaking sight: from a vantage point high above was to see a snake of Stuttgart bullets slither around the twists and turns of the Monterey landmark circuit. Race groups counted as high as 52, almost too many cars for the 2.238-mile track, and made for menacing racing as drivers of many skill levels smoothly or erratically took to the 11 turn course. 9O0A009604 Where else in 2015 can you see a factory prototype 1967 910 Long-tail giving chase to a pair of 1971 Gulf-liveried 917-Ks in a nose to tail battle with Flat 12s at full song? Where can you time machine back to the '80s and the famed IMSA Camel GT? Those slant-nose 935 Twin Turbos, a series fueled by vice, providing unencumbered development in up to 900 horsepower and slippery aero. Only here. 9O0A005496 The colorful and historic liveries on so many of the cars call to mind a more gilded age in racing. Names like Brumos, L&M, Sachs, Rothmans, Martini, Jaegermeister, Sunoco, Wynn's, Coca-Cola, Andial, Interscope... For the true fan it was a walk down memory lane. For the casual observer, a treat of sight and sound. Renn 472 9O0A009334 In the original racing classes, the 356s, 550 Spyders and RSKs buzzed by in almost endless flashes of silver (the original German national racing color) reminding of the innovations in racing from almost the very start. 9O0A006890 Aside from the ensuing chaos on track, Porsche erected an entertainment pavilion with live music, driver panels and autograph sessions with so many legends. Notable drivers from the endurance world including Grand Marshall Jacky Ickx, Can-Am Champion George Follmer, 917 legend Jackie Oliver, to F1 hero turned endurance champion Mark Webber, to LeMans 917 champion “Quick” Vic Elford. Many others, representing so much Porsche racing history were present and the legendary cars on hand called to mind the greats who weren't, including late racers, Mark Donahue, Peter Gregg, James Dean, Steve McQueen and the ailing Tony Adamowicz. Renn 474 9O0A010205 Typical historic racing is a rolling art show, usually with varietals of many different makes and histories, and there are few OEMs that can put on a show like Rennsport Reunion V. Because Porsche has such a comprehensive racing history, with so much provenance amongst the cars, it works. The challenge, beyond finding and inviting the cars to participate, is organizing the cars into the proper run groups; again perhaps a tougher proposition for less competitively involved marques. 9O0A007976 One pro series even made a special appearance: the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. With so much history in the air, Rounds 15 and 16 of the all GT3 series was an exhibition of progress and a glimpse of future Porsche Heroes as Elliot Skeer of Carlsbad, CA clinched the series title as the season concluded here in front of the faithful. 9O0A007661 Mazda Raceway's garages were chock full of the most successful Porsches to ever grace a track. A 30,000-square foot Chopard heritage tent added another hundred cars to drool over but not too close. To look at a 1952 356 then view the current LeMans Prototype 919 is to look at a Radio Flyer wagon next to Anakin Skywalker's pod racer. From the storied history to the current and the unveiling of the future, as day three of the famed reunion concluded, like many around me, I still couldn't wipe the smile off my face. 9O0A008718 (Photos: Kyle Burt and Norm DeWitt)

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