If Vince Granieri's name sounds familiar that's because he's a frequent commenter here on PorschePurist and his son Andrew has been contributing articles for the last three years. In fact, after hearing all about Andrew's trip to Parade last year, and reading the coverage we've provided along the way, Vince was inspired to drive his 997 C4S the 645 miles from Cincinnati to Savannah for this year's parade. The following are Vince's thoughts on his experience. For even more pictures from Vince's trip be sure to check out the gallery on our Facebook page. While you're there, please take a moment to "like" the FlatSixes.com page if you haven't already done so.
A trip to the Porsche Parade should be on every Porschephile’s bucket list. And if you are going to go, drive there in your Porsche! Although I didn't have the time to spend the whole week in Savannah, GA, host city for this year’s rendition, my lovely bride and I were able to enjoy some time in the company of other Porsche people and also celebrate our wedding anniversary, Southern Style! We were only in Savannah for a few days, but what a great time it was – despite the triple-digit temperatures and high humidity. Savannah was the first US city to have a master development plan that focused on town squares – twenty-four in all – many within walking distance of down town.
The drive from Cincinnati to Savannah, some 675 miles, is largely uneventful, save for some gorgeous views as one passes through the Cumberland Gap. With the 997’s flat six roaring, there was no need for radio or other musical accompaniment. Although I resisted the temptation to dust off the three drivers brave enough to challenge me to some hi-speed hi-jinks, I will say that it was great fun on the open road in the winding mountain passes. After getting by a few lesser drivers who no doubt burned out their brakes, accelerating on every straight only to freak out in the many kinks, I had open road ahead. I apexed every curve and used both lanes for the track out (giving appropriate turn signals, of course). We made the trip on ten hours, give or take, arriving at the Marriott (one of the host hotels) a little before midnight.
The event headquarters was the Savannah International Convention Center, located on an island right on the Savannah River. The Marriott was across the river, near the historic center of town.
The easiest way to move between the venues was via ferry boat. You’ve all heard of Ferry Porsche – this was a Porsche Ferry! Conveniently, less than a mile from the convention center was a road course. This was the site of the autocross competition and Michelin Drive & Compare.
On Saturday, I began the preparation for the Concours Corral by washing, polishing and waxing the 997. I met a couple other folks who were also spending their vacations washing cars. By this time, the Marriott’s parking facilities were filling up with Porsches of all eras, colors and sizes. Most impressive were a Carrera GT and GT2RS, parked among the lesser vehicles [If any Porsche can be considered such].
In the course of my preparation, I was able to lend some polish to Robert Serra, a judge in Kansas, who was bemoaning the lack of shine on his 904’s gas tank. We got to talking and he shared the story of his car. The 904 GTS, as many of you know, was a lightweight racer, built in the early 60’s, with a four cylinder power plant. It enjoyed much success in many diverse venues, from hill climbs to endurance races. The Judge’s 904 had once been purchased for $6,500 by Robert Redford, who wanted a twin to match his own 904 so that he and his manager could race each other. The last 904 at auction sold for over a million dollars.
Judge Serra’s preparation paid off with a Concours victory in the ‘Thoroughbred Racer” category. Speaking of preparation, I took a trip over to the convention center on Saturday afternoon to check out the Concours preparation occurring there. It was a smorgasbord of everything Porsche. As you can see from the pictures, all models were well-represented. The best line I heard was from the younger of two brothers. As they passed a beautiful red GT3, the eldest exclaimed,
“That’s my next ride!” His brother replied, “That’s no big deal, it’s just a regular GT3.”
Even the owners had to laugh.
Sunday was the official start to the festivities as more folks and their Porsches arrived. The Welcome Banquet featured a German buffet, with bratwurst and potato salad, schnitzels and pretzel bread. We met a great couple from Massachusetts. Their C2 with aerokit was similar to our C4S. We compared notes and it was clear that everyone was looking forward to the week.
Monday’s Concours was held at a beautiful city park. There were two areas – the super serious Concours D’Elegance and the more laid back Concours Corral. With Brumo’s providing historical racers and the PCA unveiling the restored 1973 911T to be raffled later in the week, the backdrop was awesome. As you can see from the pictures, the cars were amazing. We met up with even more folks with aerokit-optioned 997s for additional car talk.
Conveniently located across the street from the park was one of many non-car-related activities: cooking school at the 700 Mansion. It was a hands-on experience for twenty lucky folks. I volunteered to prepare the famous southern dish, fried green tomatoes. The best part was eating the fruits of our labor; even the grits were a delicacy.
Michelin Drive and Compare
Tuesday morning, I headed for the road course and the Michelin Drive and Compare. What a treat! Twin Cayman Rs were outfitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sports and a competitor’s non-N spec replacement tire. We drove a simple autocross course back-to-back, first in the Cayman shod in Michelin and then in the other Cayman. First, let me say that the Cayman R is one impressive vehicle. Its balance and power were perfect for autocross and the roar of the engine was unmistakably Porsche. As for the tires, the difference in grip was easy to feel and the squeal of the non-N spec tires was evident. To be fair, it would have been good to do the test again reversing the order of the cars. Or is it just that I like the idea of spending more time on the track with someone else’s car, gas and tires?
All good things come to an end and it is no different for the Parade. We packed and headed for home on Tuesday afternoon with great memories and new friends.
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