Sunday 21st September saw a new event in the motoring calendar – the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch, organised by circuit owner MSV in association with Porsche Club GB and supported by Porsche Cars GB.
The event, billed as a celebration of all things Porsche, attracted a huge number of Porsche fans from around the UK, with the surrounding roads containing a steady stream of Porsches of all descriptions making their way to the circuit to throng the trackside car parks.
The lure of the day was a unique opportunity to not just meet like-minded Porsche fans, but to see some very close racing as several rounds of a number of Porsche racing championships were hotly contested.
As if that was not enough, a number of the leading Porsche independent dealerships had brought along a variety of top-notch cars for sale, ranging from Paragon’s gorgeous 356 on offer at a mind-blowing £275,000 to a much more reasonably priced 996.
Not to be outdone, Porsches official dealerships were displaying the cars competing for their 2014 restoration challenge, mainly 924, 944 and 964 models. The workmanship which had gone into these was truly stunning, although the man-hours which had been poured into some of them hardly made for cost-effectiveness – think an incredible 650 hours for a 944 rebuild – at Porsche dealership rates……………..! The challenge was won by Porsche Centre Guildford with their stunning 964 Targa.
As well as displaying their range of new cars, including the impressive Macan, which looks far more attractive in the flesh than its bigger sibling Cayenne, which many commentators have dubbed one of the least attractive cars presently on sale. Although priced from a reasonable £40k, dipping into the options pot can easily jack the price up towards £80k, so beware!
The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart also provided a fascinating collection of historic race cars, including the 1987 Porsche 962, which scored Porsche’s seventh consecutive victory at Le Mans that year. The star of these, for me, was the unusual and almost unique little Dreikantschaber coupe from 1963. This was probably Porsches first true race car, based on the 356, which took class honours at the 1963 Targa Florio, following this up with a class win and respectable 4th place at the Nurburgring 100km event. A second car was built to compete at Le Mans, however both cars retired with engine failure. By 1964 however, the Dreikantschaber was outclassed by the 904 GTS.
The cars from the historic collection were displayed in the circuits pit garages, allowing spectators a rare opportunity to walk on hallowed ground normally seen only from a distance. Prior to one round of the Bayliss & Harding Porsche Championship spectators also had an opportunity to join the competitors and cars – not to mention the statuesque Pirelli pit girls! – on the starting grid, again an unusual and privileged location. Leaving the start-finish straight after this experience gave an opportunity to cross the track at the top of Paddock Hill Bend and realise not only just how steeply the track drops away but how heavily cambered the track is at that point – no wonder I normally end up in the gravel trap there when playing Gran Turismo 6!
Well done to the Porsche Club of Great Britain for putting on a great day – we look forward to the 2015 event!