Rennsport Reunion 7 Is Porsche Paradise on a Plate

Jackson Wheeler
8 Min Read


There is no other marque that carries the passion of Porsche. Sure, there’s whatever car name you just blurted out in your head preceded by “Oh yeah? What about…”—BMW, Lotus, Crosley, whatever it was—but nothing else combines pure performance with the reasonable accessibility of Porsche. Throw in 75 years of racing heroics and nothing else comes close.

“But Ferraaaaaaarrreeee,” you bleat. Ferrari is far more exclusionary and no average human being with a reasonable job could ever prioritize things enough to be able to afford a Ferrari. Could they? A fairly large swath of the G7 population could afford a Porsche, especially if they could do their own maintenance. Even today you can get a 25-year-old Boxster for half the price of a loaded Camry. They won’t even let you into the Ferrari showroom for that.

2023 porsche rennsport 7VIEW PHOTOS

Is there a car, or any object, as beautiful as the 917?

Regis Lefebure

All of which has endeared Porsches to generations of owners and enthusiasts like no other brand on Earth. And it was that passion, engineering precision, and racing prominence that was celebrated for four days last weekend at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca as Rennsport Reunion 7 rolled into town.

Of the 300-something employees at Porsche Cars North America in Atlanta, 250 of them made the trek to Rennsport to work as volunteers to help make the weekend a success. Every one of them—every one I saw, at least—was smiling like they’d just won a small part of a lottery.

The celebration this time focused on a few anniversaries: the 60th of the 911, the 75th of the brand itself, and the seventh time Rennsport Reunion has taken place.

“Rennsport Reunion was conceived by racing great Brian Redman and Porsche Cars North America’s longstanding press spokesperson, Bob Carlson, in 2001 to celebrate the racing heritage of Porsche,” the company said on its dedicated Rennsport web page.

“They envisioned an event at which drivers, enthusiasts and historians could gather to celebrate racing and pay tribute to the men, women, and cars that have helped build the Porsche legacy.”

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Co-grand marshalls Alwin Springer and Patrick Long.

Porsche

And what a legacy it is. Crammed into the paddock, spread across Laguna Seca’s many parking lots, backing up traffic on State Highway 68, and jamming the streets of downtown Monterey, were thousands of Porsches, each being piloted by their proud owners, who had saved up for and planned for this weekend for years, ever since the last Rennsport in 2018.

At the track itself, ground zero for Porschepalooza, the racing was the main draw, with eight classes of competition ranging from small-displacement 356s to every generation of 911, with 904s, 906s, 908s, and the mighty and powerful 962 all overseen by the professionals at Historic Sportscar Racing.

You can get a 25-year-old Boxster for half the price of a loaded Camry. They won’t even let you into the Ferrari showroom for that.

The current international prototype racer, the 963, was on track, and the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America held rounds 13 and 14 of its championship as part of the weekend with the fiercely competitive 911 GT3 Cup car.

You could barely speak, let alone hear anyone else speak, when the cars took to the track, which was all four days, rain or shine. Everyone was hoarse by Sunday night from yelling, like Flounder in Animal House, “Oh boy, is this great!!!”

“This is by far the biggest Reunion yet, and it looks just wonderful,” said three-time Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood, who has been to all seven Rennsports. “Its soul and its purpose is just how it was envisioned back when it all began, but it’s the number of different exhibits and opportunities that’s so impressive. You need days to take it all in!”

The drivers were as much of the draw as the cars: Derek Bell, Jackie Ickx, George Follmer, David Hobbs, Brian Redman, to name some of the greats you might expect to be there.

But there were also Porsche racers from their own eras in place, wandering the paddock, signing autographs, and just generally glad to be around and appreciated: Thierry Boutsen, Timo Bernhard, Joerg Bergmeister, Jim Busby, Stefan Johansson, David Murry, Jackie Oliver, David Piper, Chip Robinson, Danny Sullivan, and Mark Webber.

I was riding in a shuttle van one night and the guy next to me was talking about how the guy sitting next to him had let him take his last stint to finish a race at Kyalami once and that had given him enough points to win the Porsche Cup that year. It was two-time Le Mans winner Gils van Lennep, and the guy next to him, who had given him that seat, was another two-time Le Mans winner and Formula 1 team owner Gerrard Larrousse.

At dinner one night in the hotel restaurant, two guys joined us at the table next to ours: Derek Bell and Jackie Ickx. Chip Robinson sat behind me in yet another shuttle van, pleased to be recognized, still married, for 31 years, to the lovely emergency room doctor whom he had met in the hospital after a racing accident (that’s the story I recall, anyway, true or not). Elliott Forbes-Robinson, who has raced and won in just about anything with wheels, chatted away with me in the TAG Heuer tent for a half hour just like a regular person.

There were too many drivers, too many cars and too many inspiring moments to do justice to here, but it was all very cool. Just like the cars, which are still ringing in my ears. It sounds great.

Share all your favorite Porsche memories in the comments below.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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