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Patrick Long Hustles an 800-Horsepower 935-84 Around Laguna Seca!

Though these three laps were supposed to calm, Patrick Long didn’t get the memo. Either that, or his natural talent was enough to carry him to ~1:31 laps around Laguna Seca during last year’s Rennsport Reunion VI. The unspoken rule at events like these is to take things a little calmer—these cars aren’t cheap—than one might in an IMSA race. Some more cynical observers might call them a high-speed procession. Long had different ideas.

Long, sporting a retro-styled helmet for the event, gets to grips quickly with the 935 after one relatively slow lap. Even when his first flyer begins, traffic hinders his progress and makes his time all the more impressive. After threading through a pack of 935s, he demonstrates his disapproval of the other driver with a telling shake of the head (2:37). For a driver who’s always so diplomatic and measured in his speech, it’s nice to see some real emotion brought out by the heat of battle.

After getting held up through Turn 6, Long shoots this driver an irritated glare.

Still, like a icy cool professional, he proceeds unfazed. Despite the traffic an relatively cold tires, he loses minimal time, puts the 800 horsepower down cleanly,and rows the slightly notchy four-speed so smoothly. Without any major errors, he snags a 1:34 and makes it look simple.

The second lap is even faster. Free from as much traffic, he can ring out the 3.2-liter motor over Laguna’s Turn 1 and give us a great idea of the small nuclear explosion he’s riding on top of. The power delivery is quite abrupt, but the car still puts it down without much any histrionics; only a bit of wheelspin in slower corners like Turn 2 and The Corkscrew. In fact, the most oversteer appears at turn-in—watch how he has to mildly countersteer as he but Long’s quick hands keep the car pointed in the right direction. Only a consummate professional like him can make it look easy.

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Project Flatnose: The Secret Development of the Porsche 935

From the middle of 2017 until its release at Rennsport Reunion last September, the 935 project was a hush-hush affair. Nobody knew of the small-batch successor until its unveiling, and the team had to work quietly and quickly. Even other departments weren’t aware of the development of « Project Flatnose. »

The striking appearance of the car is the result of the vision of Grant Larson—the man responsible for gems like the 997 Carrera and the Carrera GT. The exterior design had to be designed in just four days, which meant one shot at making the car turn heads.

This project was special because of all the freedom we had. There wasn’t going to be any homologation, so both we and the engineers were free to design as we wished,” said Grant.

However, the upside to having to work at a feverish pace meant they had carte blanche where the visual design was concerned. By taking cues from the original Moby Dick, they established the foundation. The flatnose design, headlights mounted in the massive front intakes, and flowing Martini livery were clearly linked to the original. The rear took a modern twist with the elongated bodywork, the recessed taillights and tunnel-like shell mimicking the massive venturi tunnel underneath.

The rear end of the 935 is pure fighter jet.

« The engineers were onboard earlier than usual in the design process. We normally join the process in the wind tunnel stage at the latest, but with the new 935 we were already included at the design studio phase—it created a special group dynamic,” said Matthias Scholz.

Unshackled by restrictions, fueled by the success of the past, brought together by the unique conditions present, the team put together a truly unique thoroughbred. It seems the pressure and the urgency actually helped here. The team have turned out a stunning, and stunningly fast, Porsche.

Grant’s skilled hands sketching out the wild shape of the 935.

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PROJECT GOLD: THE TRUE STORY

It’s a fascinating venture which has stirred up sizeable interest, partly because we never thought this could happen: we’re in the year 2018 and Porsche has just built an air-cooled 911, some two decades after its last. Incredibly, the car has just sold at auction for a whopping $3.1million too, so it might well be the ultimate collector’s Porsche 911. But what do we really know about it? 

Okay, so it’s a remake of the 993 Turbo rather than a brand-new model, Porsche giving Project Gold, as it’s been dubbed, a chassis number following directly on from the last 993 Turbo rolling off the production line in 1998. Finished in Golden metallic, the car is modelled as an air-cooled version of the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, this 993 built by Porsche Classic using its enviable itinerary of some 52,000 genuine Porsche Classic parts.

There is an air of cynicism surrounding this project, though. Porsche says the car was built from the last remaining 993 Turbo shell it had ‘laying around’; emissions regulations mean it can’t be registered and thus driven on public roads, and those same reasons are precisely why the car won’t be present at its own auction lot at RM Sotheby’s Porsche sale at PEC Atlanta – in fact, it won’t be in the US at all. Then there’s the spec: Porsche states the Turbo’s flat six produces 450hp, which means it comes with the coveted Powerkit, standard on the Exclusive-built 993 Turbo S. The optional side air intakes are Turbo S-spec, as is the carbon dashboard.

In fact, Project Gold is a set of yellow calipers away from being a fully loaded 993 Turbo S rather than a mere Turbo. However, Porsche has opted against branding it as such, likely because that would have left the 345 owners worldwide of the 993 Turbo S extremely upset that their investment-grade collectible had lost a modicum of rarity. It certainly smacks of marketing fanfare, but is this fair? Uwe Makrutzki, manager at Porsche AG’s Classic factory restoration team, and Philipp Salm, sales and marketing manager at Porsche Classic, have joined us at Rennsport Reunion to dispel the myths.

We ask first about that lone spare shell. “It’s not unusual to have spare parts when you change from one generation to another. In the case of the 993 to 996 we had a spare 993 Turbo shell – only one – which was stored in an outdoor hall in a town called Möglingen,” Uwe tells us matter-of-factly. “We’d known about the shell for years but didn’t have the desire to do anything with it. Then we were asked to do something for the 70 years of Porsche celebrations.

For the full exposé on Project Gold, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 172, in shops now or available for direct delivery to your door. You can also download the issue, which features bonus image galleries, to any Apple or Android device. 

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Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Racing Stripes Edition : C’est l’Amérique !

La manufacture suisse Chopard a célébré le 70e anniversaire de Porsche, son partenaire en endurance depuis 2015, lors de la 6e édition de la Rennsport Reunion sur le circuit de Laguna Seca, en Californie. Un anniversaire mémorable marqué par une belle série limitée sportive. Le Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph Racing Stripes Edition reprend les fameuses […]

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Our Mind-Blowing Weekend At Rennsport Reunion

Rennsport Reunion VI was among the most memorable automotive events in my recent memory. The showmanship involved on the part of Porsche’s employees, their pride in the brand’s history, and their willingness to talk about nothing but Porsche for the week of Rennsport is commendable. The event went off without a hitch, and I’m sure it took absolutely hundreds of willing and able volunteers. It was definitely well worth attending, and I will definitely be at the next one. Here’s what my three-day adventure looked like.

The Momo Road To Rennsport

I was invited on this cool one-day rally up the spine of California by Momo, and I couldn’t turn that invite down. Early in the morning of the Wednesday prior to Rennsport I drove from my home in Reno, NV to a friend Lane’s house in Santa Cruz, CA. Lane joined me on the Momo rally in the above 1984 Porsche 944. It’s a European example with no sunroof and Pasha interior. It’s a ton of fun. Lane and I are co-founders of the Radwood car show for 80s and 90s cars, and this car is something of a marketing device for the show. With a Hugo Boss-inspired livery, it certainly gets attention, and it performed like an absolute champ. We piled in the Rad44 and headed further south to Santa Clarita for the start of the event.

Thursday morning The Momo rally began, and it was a good time, all in all. There were a few things that could have been done better, if I’m being honest. The rally began in a crowded shopping center parking lot, and emptied out onto a busy road, meaning the 100-plus contingency of Porsches was separated out into small groups of two or three cars by a traffic light. The second minor complaint is the complete disorganization of the lunch stop at Willow Springs Raceway. Those are minor issues, however in a long day of incredible roads and awesome driving. We eventually hooked up with a pair of Carrera 3.2s for a nice post-lunch drive to the race track. We were all paced pretty well with each other, and had the roads to ourselves, by and large.

In The Paddock

I spent most of Friday hanging out in the paddock scoping out the awesome cars that would be on track through the weekend. There was a wide selection of modern and classic Porsches. I was perhaps even more enamored with some of the awesome street cars.

One of my favorite anecdotes of the weekend was a small Q&A session with Vic Elford, Gijs van Lennep, and Gerard Larrousse. Gijs, who won the 1971 Le Mans 24 at the wheel of a Martini-entered Porsche 917, mentioned off hand why his car had success and both the cars of Elford and Larrousse suffered failures. Evidently in 1971, Porsche 917s suffered from a failure of the bolts that hold the engine cooling fan to the hub on which it spins. These fans were spinning at something like 15,000 RPM on the long straights, and when the bolts would fail, the fan would shoot skyward a hundred feet into the air like a tiny helicopter. As soon as the Martini team heard about this failure, they rustled up a collection of new bolts. In order to prevent stress failure, the team would remove and replace one of the fan bolts at each pit stop. They could complete the replacement without losing time in the pits, and they would simply replace the next one in line at the next pit stop. Obviously this wasn’t the only thing that won the team its 24 Hour success, but it certainly contributed.

Upon hearing the story, both Vic and Gerard stared at Gijs in shocked silence. « I never knew about that, » exclaimed Elford when it was his turn to talk. The room laughed raucously.

On The Track

No Porsche historic event would be complete without a huge contingency of racing cars on track. Everything from the newest 919 Hybrid Evo (which did not set a record, by the by, it was about 2 seconds shy of Ferrari’s Formula 1 car) to the first 356 ever built hit the track with verve. The debut of the new 935 dovetailed nicely with everything else there, as it was a throwback to the good old days. I think I watched about fifteen sessions of racing through the weekend, but only managed to photograph a handful of them on Saturday, as I’d forgotten my zoom lens for the Friday showing.

Detail Shots

And finally, here are a few photos that I shot mostly in the Chopard historic display tent of some interesting views that caught my eye. Did you know that you could get a 959 with Pasha interior? I didn’t know that.

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