Motor sport events in Europe - summer 2009 - by Mike Bradley

October 16th, 2009


Summer in Europe, especially in the UK, is great if you are a motor sports enthusiast. The many motoring events taking place are really a must; top class drivers, from the past and present, compete in historic sports and race cars, and the priceless cars on display are among the best in the world.

My trip around Europe from June to early August 2009 was great. I motored over 2,000 miles in my Porsche 993 over beautiful country roads and motorways in the UK, the autoroutes in France and the autobahns in Germany. I managed to attend the Classics at the Castle (celebrating 40 years of Porsche 912, 914 and 917), the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Silverstone Classic, and two meets and the concourse of my local Porsche region. During my trip to Germany I visited the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, and, when I showed my PCP membership card, got 50 per cent off the entry price!
A brief write-up on the different events is given below, and for pictures go to the photo gallery. As a note to my visit to the “Classics at the Castle”, it poured with rain for the most part of the day, and when the sun finally came out my camera wouldn’t work anymore – as a result just a few pictures.
Classics at the Castle, 7 June 2009, Hedingham Castle, UK
This is the third year that the Porsche Club Great Britain has organized the “CLASSICS at the CASTLE”, an event based on the premise that “not everyone’s idea of a perfect Porsche is a new one”. It covers all Porsche models from 1950 to 1973. This year in particular, the event celebrated 40 years since the start of production of the famous 917, and the guest of honour was none other than Richard Attwood, who was Porsche’s first overall winner of the 24hrs Le Mans. Other anniversaries taking place were the 40 years of both the Porsche 912 and 914.
 
The event took place at Hedingham Castle in south England, where line upon line of 356s, early 911s of all types, 912s, 914s, exotic 550 Spyders, 356 Carreras and Speedsters were on display. In fact, 100s of Porsche classics turned out in spite of the torrential rain in the morning. However, bright sunshine in the afternoon allowed the full colours of the massed cars to be appreciated. It was a fantastic view.
 
Undoubted star of the show, among many very special cars, was the beautiful Porsche 917 owned by David Piper. When the great engine was started the ground shook!
 
Many trade stands were in attendance, where rare spare parts and accessories for the early Porsches were on sale.
 
This extremely popular class event is to be staged again next year and should be a ‘must’ for enthusiasts of the early years Porsches.
 
For more pictures of the event go to the photo gallery. A full pictorial presentation of the cars at the event can be found on www.classicsatthecastle.com , really worth viewing.
 
 

Goodwood Festival of Speed, 3-5 July 2009, Goodwood Chichester, West Sussex,UK
 
This now world famous motor sport event takes place in the grounds of Goodwood House, Goodwood Chichester, West Sussex (in the south of England). It was started in 1993 by Lord March, the motor sport enthusiast owner of the Goodwood Estate, which also includes the original British Grand Prix Circuit of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
 
The three day event is centred around the House, but the main focus is on the 1.16 mile (1.86 km) hill climb. During the event the world’s top class drivers, from past and present, compete for the fastest time in cars that range from 1920’s racers to present F1 cars - and everything in between. 
 
In other areas of the grounds, a proper woodland rally stage and an off road activity section demonstrate other aspects of motor sport.
 
This year’s themes were “true grit-epic feats of endurance”, focussing on the long distance events in motor racing, and 100 years of Auto Union/Audi. A 35 meter sculpture in front of the House commemorating this anniversary.
 
Around 200 cars and motorcycles competed for “honours” on the hill, including a good number of Porsche 917’s. The legendary Dereck Bell drove the awesome 1000Hp 917/30 and commented that this actual car had achieved a speed of 248 Mph (399 Kph) at the Talledega circuit in the USA, and that the power could be increased a further 300 Hp by increasing boost!
 
Many priceless cars were on display and open access to the paddocks allowed close viewing of all the vehicles taking part, each in its own designated spot. Great attention was evident around the duo Bugatti Veyrons and the long line of 917s of all types. It was also the first view for many of the new Porsche Panamera which was displayed.
 
In the static display area, many manufacturers showed off their latest cars and products. One interesting area demonstrated vehicles powered by alternative fuels, among them a RUF 997 ‘Greenster’ – a Speedster/Targa styled roadster – powered by electrical energy.
 
Coupled with the September ‘Goodwood Revival’ the ‘Festival’ shows off some of the best cars in motor racing history, driven by the best of the best drivers. Both these events should be on a ‘must see’ list of events for motoring enthusiasts.
 
A full roundup and report can be viewed at http://www.goodwood.co.uk
 

Silverstone Classic, 24-26 July 2009, Northamptonshire, UK

For the past 17 years, Silverstone, the British F1 venue, has hosted the UK’s biggest classic racing festival on its 3.194 mile (5.14 km) circuit. The meeting ranks with the Nuerburgring ‘oldtimer’, Le Mans classic and Goodwood’s Festival of Speed and Revival. This year saw 700 cars competing in 21 races.
 
As well as action on the track, more than 4,000 classic cars were on display representing 80 car clubs. Porsche Club Great Britain was well represented on the infield and a special ‘Porsche only’ parking area was reserved behind Woodcote corner.
 
Historic sports and race cars from 1920’s through the 1960’s were raced by drivers from as far away as America and New Zealand. Celebrity drivers included Bobby Rahal driving a Chevron B16, Sir Stirling Moss driving his Osca and Nick Faure driving a Porsche 356. Other driving celebrities were Jackie Oliver, Nick mason and Chris Rea. Also present, but not on the track, was motor racing’s best know ‘voice’ Murray Walker. 

Among the highlight races were the trophy race for production Jaguars, with over 40 cars on the grid, and a race to celebrate 50 years of the ‘Mini’ in which there were 27 entrants. Group C cars were well represented with 30 cars, including 3 Porsche 962s 

Porsches were present in the pre-1966 GT category with an A 904/6 and up to six 911s.
 
Many other marques made up the grids throughout the weekend, including Ferrari, Maserati, Aston-Martin, Frazer Nash, Austin Healey, Alfa Romeo, and Morgan, together with cars from many smaller manufacturers.

More pictures and results from this great event can be found on
www.silverstoneclassic.com
 
 
 
Porsche Club Great Britain, Region 23 (Sussex) meeting, summer 2009
 
During my trip to Europe, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a meeting of a local Region of the Porsche Club Great Britain (PCGB), of which I am an overseas member. The PCGB is the largest Porsche club outside the USA and has more than 16,500 members. Each of the 31 Regions has its own organiser who plans local events and liaises with other Regions to co-ordinate joint meetings.
Throughout the year there are hundreds of Regional (as well as national) meets that offer the members a great variety of activities.
 
It was one of these local meetings, the Region 23 (Sussex) ‘Show and Shine, that I was able to attend. In a very relaxed atmosphere the event took place in the grounds of a country house, which houses its own motor museum. It was a ‘family day out’ with no formal concourse, but a vote by all attending as to the best car present in the parking area!
 
The event was supported by the local official and independent Porsche centres. Both brought along interesting motor cars to display. Among which were the latest Porsche 997, Cayman, Boxter and
Vintage race car built on 1920's Rolls Royce chassis,
powered by a 24 litres 12 cylinder Merlin aero engine from
a WWII Hawker Hurricane fighter. Tested at 190 mph.


Cayenne. Also a fully race prepared 962, 997 Carrera Cup and Panamericana 356. Other cars displayed by members ranged through every type of Porsche from 356 to 959 and Carrera GT.
 
Some members’ cars were on sale. Notable among these was a beautiful Swiss restored red LH drive ’73 RS being sold for a ‘modest’ 107,000 Pounds (8.56 million Pesos)!! The price reflecting that at some time in its life it had been re-bodied at Zuffenhausen.
 
The English weather stayed fine all day and the event epitomised all that is best in the Porsche club scene!