The article below was first published last year in Total 911 Magazine. I had always meant to share it with all of you but for some reason it never got posted. Well, that changes today. Any other “virgins” out there? 🙂
Usually, if it’s fast, then it’s for me. Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated with speed. Fast cars. Fast food. Fast wome…(you get the idea); hence, a good portion of my passion for Porsche explained. Even still, the allure of Motorsport has always eluded me (much to my surprise and chagrin). That is until recently.
Prior to this past January [2009 that is] my exposure to motorsport has always consisted of trying to hide my ignorance with regard to race results and the proper spelling of the term: Is it motorsport or motorsports? Racing was the land of alphabet soup – I’m talking about acronyms like SCCA, ALMS, NASA, IMSA, etc. – and exotic vehicular vocabulary that required a specialized dictionary just to follow along. I would show up to my local PCA event eager for an evening of socializing with a group of like minded people. However, as soon as the talk turned to, “did you see so and so do such and such?” at whatever race was currently being discussed, my eyes would glaze over and I’d look for the closest bar, waiter or exit (in that order). Not only did I not know what was being discussed, I simply wasn’t interested. Hell, at least if you watched NASCAR you might see some awesome crashes (anyone who tells you they don’t watch NASCAR for the crashes is obviously lying).
I don’t know where my indifference came from. All the elements were there, fast cars, fast food, fast women (and I mean this literally as the amount of female drivers has jumped dramatically in recent years). Regardless, Porsche motorsports just couldn’t hold my interest. It was like watching paint dry. Or, even worse, golf.
All that changed this winter in Florida when I made my first trip, some might call it a pilgrimage, to the 24 Hours of Rolex at the Daytona International Speedway. I don’t really know why I went, something simply came over me. I was living in Florida for the winter and Daytona was only a few hours north. It seemed like the thing to do and a great way to kill a weekend. For those of you that have never experienced Daytona, it combines a storied track with the fastest Porsches on the planet, celebrity drivers and a carnival like atmosphere (literally, there’s a carnival there too).
Thanks to some friends at Guardian Angel Motorsports I was able to get my greasy hands on “hot-pit” passes that allowed me not only into the paddocks, but into the actual pits before, during and after the race. This type of access alone would probably convert most non believers. If it doesn’t, then motorsports are probably not for you. Not only are you inches from the action, you are part of it. Wandering around in the garage and paddock area affords you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the cars and crews of your favorite racing team not to mention rubbing elbows with the likes of Wolf Henzler, Patrick Long, Hurley Haywood, Darren Law, David Donohue and Joerg Bergmeister; just to name a few.
Did I mention the sound? If one of the things that put you in a Porsche in the first place was that exceptional exhaust note then get yourself to a race and you’ll quickly understand what I mean. There is nothing like a sport that can be heard long before it can be seen. The screams of joy howling from the power plants of the P1 and GT class cars are an assault to the senses the likes of which I never before experienced. I’ve been to track days with my local club(s) and even had the good fortune to drive some pretty impressive and acoustically active Porsches (1960 RS 60, 1973 Carrera RS, 1997 Turbo S, etc.) all of which did nothing to prepare me for this aural event. The cacophony from this chorus of cars will literally vibrate your body from head to toe. Note to self, buy ear-plugs for next race, you’ll still be able to hear just fine.
Now, here we are a few months later and no longer do I look for the nearest exit or closest adult beverage when a discussion on racing begins. In fact, you are more than likely to find me in the thick of things, holding my own and eager to show off my new found knowledge and fascinating stories from my most recent race experiences (Daytona, Sebring, a Koni Challenge race at Homestead-Miami International, etc.).
Did you know that Joerg Bergmeister and I have the same watch? He told me so himself when we met for the first time – subtly implying that we’ve met more than once (gotta love those hot-pit passes). Unfortunately, it’s not a Rolex Daytona!!
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