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Daily Archives: September 29, 2011

VIDEO: New, 7th-Generation Porsche 911 to Make North American Debut at Rennsport Reunion IV

First roll-out will be part of Porsche’s celebration of a 48-year success story

By the late 1950s it was obvious to Porsche that the 356, which was the company’s sole product line since 1948, needed to be updated. Replacing it was necessary, yet perilous.

Who knew that the eventual replacement for the 356, the 911, would surpass its predecessor in sales, longevity and glory?

Or that it would be so fanatically cherished by its owners that Porsche hasn’t been allowed to replace it. Or that the Company would be introducing its latest iteration all the way in 2011?

And, with Porsche Motorsport concentrating on its development of prototypes for Le Mans and elsewhere, there wasn’t much initial effort by the factory for racing the 911, but it became the most successful race car in history, with hundreds of samples of its 48-year legacy to be displayed and raced at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, October 14 – 16, 2011, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

The surprise is that the new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera, the completely redesigned seventh-generation sports car icon, and a fore-bearer of race cars to come, will be on display for the first time in North America for Porsche enthusiasts to see up close at Rennsport Reunion IV.

“As the 911 race car and street car histories are completely intertwined, it is fitting to show our latest 911 at a motor racing extravaganza,” said Bernd Harling, who is heading up Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV for event host Porsche Cars North America.

“Everyone will see that this newborn is truly a member of the family,” said Harling.

 

From every angle it is unmistakably a 911, holding true to the Porsche 911 Carrera evolution, not revolution’ design philosophy. The new car has a longer wheel base, but is both lower and lighter than its predecessor. With its two engine sizes, the new 911 Carrera is able to provide improved performance and handling, and even better fuel economy than before.

The 911 Carrera is equipped with a 3.4-liter, 350hp six-cylinder boxer engine, while the Carrera S is fitted with a 3.8-liter, 400hp six-cylinder boxer powerplant, both with the optional PDK transmission available.

The new Porsche 911 Carrera celebrated its world premiere at the 2011 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, while the official North American debut will be held at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The first new 911 models will arrive in U.S. dealerships beginning in February of 2012.

It took a while for Porsche Motorsport to warm up to the 911 as a race car, but, as has happened several times in the company’s history, the customers took the lead. Almost as soon as the 911 went into production, buyers were using it in hill climbs and autocrosses and Porsche itself started to produce lightweight and enhanced performance vehicles for their motorsports customers.

In 1967, Porsche built 20 911 “R” models stripped interiors (no carpet, for instance), thin-skinned aluminum doors, fiberglass deck lids, taillights swiped from a Fiat, oversize carbs, a magnesium engine case, dual spark plug cylinder heads and much more. With about 210 horsepower on board, these race-ready, lightweight rockets were the start of the 911 racing legend.

Vic Elford, one of the most famous Porsche drivers in history, was one of the first to compete in the Porsche 911 at a high level, winning in the mid-‘60s in England using a race with the very first demo model imported by the factory distributor, and later driving to victory in 1968 at the Monte Carlo Rally.

 

The Porsche 911 race car started to make noise in the U.S. when IMSA’s Camel GT series started in 1970, with Brumos Racing and Hurley Haywood taking their 1970 Porsche 911S to its first championship in the 1972 season. Haywood and co-driver and Brumos co-owner Peter Gregg went on to win IMSA championships in 1973, 1974, and 1975.

After the Porsche 911 Carrera RS and RSR models won IMSA and Trans-Am championships in the mid-70s, the company introduced the radical Porsche 934 and 935 race cars – 911 silhouette bodied cars with big, twin-turbocharged engines. After being banned for a season from the Camel GT, they came back with a roar to become the cars to beat in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

The 1980s and early 90s were prime time for Porsche Motorsport’s 956 and 962 prototype race cars, and the 911 took a bit of a back seat on the GT side to Porsche 924 and 944-based models.

Then, in 1997, Porsche introduced the GT class 911 GT2R at Le Mans where this 996-based water-cooled coupe promptly won its class, followed by the famous Porsche 911 GT1 which gave Porsche its last overall victory at Le Mans (1998).

The current generation of 911 race cars, initiated by the introduction of the Porsche 911 GT3 R in 1999, and promptly driven to the 1999 American Le Mans Series GT championship by Cort Wagner. The iteration of this family is the current Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, with Dick Barbour Racing, Alex Job Racing, and Flying Lizard Motorsports – all U.S.-based teams – leading Porsche to victories in U.S. sports car championships a well as Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans.

The other family of 911 race cars, in production since 1989, is the 911 GT3 Cup, which was developed for the Porsche Supercup and Carrera Cup one-marque series which take place around the globe. The latest version, the 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which also competes in the American Le Mans Series, the IMSA GT3 challenge by Yokohama, SCCA World Challenge, and Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series, will have its own feature race during the Rennsport weekend.

SOURCE: Mazda Raceway Press Release Database

 

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Porsche Owners Preparing to Descend on Monterey Peninsula for Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV

Porsche Car Corral Nearly Sold Out Five Weeks in Advance of Event

Anticipation for the first-ever West coast appearance of Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV October 14-16 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is running high.

Complementing the more than 350 of the rarest Porsche race cars competing on the track will be an unprecedented field of 800-plus Porsches staged in the traditional car corral area. The demand is so swift and the support from the Porsche Club of America so positive that an additional parking area with limited space is being designated as another Porsche car corral.

“This is the first-time a single marque has completely occupied the entire car corral area,” explained Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “The Monterey Peninsula will be a Porsche-lovers paradise, and one that will be long remembered by participants, fans, the community and local businesses.”

An impressive lineup of Porsche race and sports cars, and what quite possibly will be the largest reunion of former and current Porsche drivers will be attending. More than 50 legendary drivers will be available for autograph sessions, mingling and plenty of story-telling of their days driving the now-legendary Porsche race cars.

In addition to the already full Rennsport Reunion IV weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Porsche Race Car Classic, an exclusive display of more than 180 of Porsche’s silver race cars from the 1950s and early ‘60s will be held on the lawns of the nearby Quail Lodge in Carmel on Sunday, October 16.

For more information on the Porsche Race Car Classic or to purchase tickets visit www.porscheracecarclassic.com

 

SOURCE: Mazda Raceway Press Release Database

 

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Display Cars Trace Porsche Motorsport History at Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV

Jacky Ickx at the wheel of the 1977 Porsche 935 “Baby,” which now resides at the Porsche Museum.

 

September 29, 2011 – Press Release

More than 350 Porsche race cars have been accepted to participate in the on-track racing during Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, October 14-16.

They will tackle the historic 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where many of these same cars once turned a wheel in anger during their professional racing day.

Complementing the race cars in the paddock will be a very special display of approximately 50 Porsche race cars that will be showcased to Porsche fans, and each one has its own story.

This includes cars from two very significant collections: the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany, and The Revs Institute for Automotive Research at the Collier Collection in Naples, Florida.

Special cars from Porsche Museum include:

  • 1971 Porsche 16-Cylinder, the only one built  and  intended for the Can-Am series

  • 1973 Porsche  911 RSR, winner of the last Targa Florio

  • 1977 935/2.0 “Baby,” which “added lightness”

  • “Moby Dick,” the original that many consider to be the ultimate 935 Porsche

  • Porsche 961, considered to be the “Uberporsche” race car, and is the one and only

  • 911 GT-1 98 LM, which is widely thought to be the ultimate 911

The Revs Institute is an internationally-recognized collection that focuses not only on the automobile as a technological device, but as an agent for social and economic change, and worthy to be considered among the masterpieces of creativity. This 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational foundation is a vast collection in the highly specialized field of automotive historical research, comprising an enormous resource on automotive history for scholars, historians, media, institutions and academia.

Cars from the Revs Institute’s exhibit: “Porsche: Designed to Excel” include:

  • 1953 Porsche 550 Coupe, the very first 550 built and raced at Le Mans

  • 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, raced extensively in 1959 by now-legendary drivers

  • 1960 Porsche Abarth-Carrera GTL, the only factory entry in the 1960 Le Mans

  • 1967 Porsche 911R, winner of the 1969 Tour de France and Tour of Corsica

  • 1971 Porsche 917K, of the famous Martini Racing Team, founded by Louise Piëch

“This is just a sampling of some of the significant Porsche race cars that will be visible for fans,” commented Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “With all the supporting entertainment, legendary Porsche drivers, vendors and fan activities, Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will be a delight for everyone interested in motorsports.”

 

SOURCE: Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA

 

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