Good things are worth waiting for, and that adage fits Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion V perfectly. One of the commentators called the event epic, and I could not disagree with that. Organization was indigenous in this celebration. Attention to detail exhibited itself throughout. Displays, interviews, sub-events, and of course races permeated the Reunion V and permitted fans to experience Porsche across the decades to the present day.

Attractions appeared everywhere. There were three days of nearly nonstop on-track practice, qualification, and competition for 320 racing Porsches. Over 100 cars showed for the Le Mans-style Concours on Pit Lane. Seventy five cars of historic significance were on display in the Porsche Heritage Display tent. Add in frequent on stage action, multiple autograph sessions, more than 1,400 Porsches in the Porsche Club of America car corrals, other notable Porsches displayed on the grounds, and that makes a recipe for a fabulous event of all things Porsche!

Many of the Porsches on display at Rennsport V were quite rare. Some were brought in from the Porsche museum in Germany, while others came from notable Porsche collectors including the Revs Institute, Brumos Racing, Gunnar Racing, the Ingram Collection, and Canepa Design.

To appreciate the scale and effort of the Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion V it is worth noting its layout at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The focal point was the large, elevated stage, complete with a super size screen which projected on stage interviews for those at a distance. Three sides of the stage were surrounded by long autograph tables at times filled by the many notable race car drivers attending. The spacious Porsche store was positioned left of the stage, with tables and chairs in front. Closing the stage area on a raised platform were several noteworthy Porsches, including the victorious LMP1-H Porsche 919 Hybrid (2014-2015) which ran to the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June.

Continue reading for the full story.

Proceeding out from the stage area and past collector Bruce Canepa’s Porsches, about 100 meters away, was the Porsche Heritage Tent. Across from it were the Automotive Alley garages housing more noteworthy Porsches.

Behind the stage area and over the race track by bridge, at some distance were the two Porsche Club of America car corrals. The adjacent grassy park was dotted with more Porsches on display, mostly of the 911 and 356 variety. The Marketplace was adjacent and lined with purveyors. This layout should give some clue to the almost unlimited opportunities for fans to absorb everything Porsche.

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As I began to explore all this before Saturday morning had gone very far, someone passed me quickly on my left walking at a brisk pace near the stage. I recognized the face immediately due to seeing him frequently on television race in Formula One. It was Mark Webber, Porsche’s factory driver who achieved a second place finish overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past June. I tried to catch him for a few words, but he had already reached the autograph tables and was beginning a session. I managed third in line, and with a queue forming rapidly behind me we only had a moment for a brief exchange. He looked fit and in good spirits.

There were many exquisite and beautiful representations of Porsche genealogy.

My next stop was the sizeable Porsche Heritage Tent housing an array of at least 75 Porsche race cars. Most of the cars had either won their class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, or had a history connected to it. Its contents were so vast and so historically significant that I returned several times during the weekend to dig deeper into it. Anyone would be well tested to identify all the cars there. Each car thoughtfully had a detailed descriptor board by or over it of facts, parameters of performance, and racing history. All in excellent condition now, many older members had pure, simple styling that stood out as members of bygone eras. There were many exquisite and beautiful representations of Porsche genealogy. The assembly was truly a window into Porsche’s past.

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Dozens of high profile race drivers who had excelled in Porsches attended the Rennsport Reunion V. Many Porsche factory drivers showed including Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy from June’s wining Porsche team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Factory drivers Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister were also present.

The Co-Grand Marshals for Rennsport Reunion V were Jacky Ickx and Hurley Haywood, the two most successful Porsche drivers in history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ickx achieved six overall Le Mans victories (1969, 1975-77, 1981-2), and Haywood had three (1977, 1983, 1994). Native to Belgium , Ickx also achieved 25 podiums in Formula One racing, and excelled in rallies and the Can-Am series. Haywood, from Chicago, is recognized as America’s all time most successful endurance race driver. In 2005 he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Notable drivers also appeared on stage for interviews. One such was Derek Bell late Saturday morning. Bell is noted for winning overall five times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also raced in Formula One. An excellent narrator, Bell told a suspenseful story about a race in which he was surprised to find that his Porsche 917 (1969-73) was achieving a speed far higher than anticipated. After a race had completed, calculations revealed that the car had apparently exceeded 240 mph on the straights lap after lap!

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On Saturday afternoon as I was looking through the smaller Porsche car corral, a group of Porsche 918 Spyders (2013-2015), the plug-in hybrid vehicle, made their way slowly through the corral and over the access to Ducati Island. They positioned and parked alongside one another in the parking area there. In various colors of paint the cars were exciting to see. Swarms of fans followed them to inspect, photograph, and just admire.

The 918 is far more curvaceous than predecessor Porsches. Bold, exotic lines have probably produced Porsche’s greatest contrast yet to the eternal 911. The unique exhaust treatment, exiting the bodywork over the deck lid, provides multiple operational benefits.

Power for the 918 is generated by a mid-engined 4.6 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine developing 608 hp. Dual electric motors provide an additional 279 hp. This Porsche is a limited edition vehicle with 2013-2015 production under 1,000 units.

The conclusion of events Saturday was marked by a massive Le Mans style concourse of race cars covering the entirety of the lengthy Pit Lane bordering the race course. Hoards of Porsche fans converged on the vehicles, filling the area to look and photograph.

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With so much to see, I had decided to concentrate on non-racing activities on Saturday, and pick up racing on Sunday. As Race Group 4, the Weissach Cup, began three 12 cylinder Porsche 917s (1969-1973) led the pack. I positioned trackside for a good view and the great sounds. Race cars make quite different sounds from each other, some high pitched, others machine-like, and so on. The Porsche 917 simply makes a loud roar.

One 917, upon reaching a spot just before the apex of the straight, let out a plume of blue smoke on every lap.

One 917, upon reaching a spot just before the apex of the straight, let out a plume of blue smoke on every lap. I had a relationship of sorts with one of the Race Control members. He had reminded me several times to edge back from track a bit, as I continued to press forward for better shots of the 917s speeding by a few yards away. I suggested to him that the blue smoke could be wheel-spin, not unheard of in 917s. He said “maybe”, and that a decision had been made to flag the car off the track for an inspection. This took place on the next lap, and the 917 parked a few yards away from me. A group of Race Control officials descended on the car and began to inspect every part of it. The source of the smoke was not readily apparent. When I left for other photo duties, they were still evaluating.

Wheel-spin at high speed can occur. Mark Donohue had extensively raced the Porsche 917/30 (1973), a derivation of the 917, and probably the most powerful sports car ever raced. The 5.4 liter, 12 cylinder, twin turbo engine put out 1,000 ft/lbs of torque and well over 1,500 hp when set at full boost. Donohue had once stated that the 917/30 was the only car he had ever raced that could generate wheel-spin at 200 mph!

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The Porsche Club of America, now in their 60th year, assembled two car corrals upping the already massive car display count by another 1,400 cars. The Porsches were thoughtfully organized by model. This arrangement made comparison one to another quite convenient.

The long Automotive Alley garage was full of significant attention getting Porsche race cars. One of these was Porsche’s winning entry overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past June, the 919 Hybrid (2014-2015). The car achieved Porsche’s first overall victory there since 1998.

Late Sunday afternoon spectators started increasing facing Automotive Alley. Fans and pit crews moved rapidly, photographers appeared, and energy filled the air. Soon race cars rolled out and positioned in front of the garages. Many of these cars represented considerable racing history.

Momentarily Jackie Ickx entered a white Porsche 936. Ickx, Co-Grand Marshal of Rennsport V, is a six time overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He won overall at Le Mans with the 936 in 1976, 1977, and 1981. Porsche powered the 936 by an opposed six cylinder, turbocharged 2.1 liter engine.

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Five time overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Derek Bell appeared and seated himself in a yellow Porsche (Type 9R6) RS Spyder (2005-2010). The car was originally designed by a joint effort between Porsche and the Penske racing organization to compete in the LMP2 class at Le Mans. The RS Spyder won its class there in 2008 and 2009. The car’s exciting high pitched sound comes from a DOHC, 32 valve, normally aspirated, 3.4 liter V8 engine.

Soon the cars made their way to Pit Lane for the final two track events, exhibition laps followed by Race Group 6, the Stuttgart Cup. The cars put on a good display, capping a fantastic Porsche Rennsport Reunion V.

It is notable that Porsche is producing a model commemorating the Reunion, the 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Rennsport Reunion Edition. This model will be available only in North America and limited to just 25 units in total.

My simple summary for the Porsche Rennsport Reunion V, even with this event spanning three days, is “So much Porsche, so little time!” Already I find myself thinking, “I can hardly wait until timeframe 2019”!

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