If the paint scheme on the car in this Le Mans pits photo looks familiar, it should be. Porsche used it once before on a legendary Typ 917 racer during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971. The car had controversial – but more aerodynamic – bodywork. Inside Porsche, it had the nickname “Big Bertha.” Styling chief Tony Lapine hated its bloated looks and asked competition director Ferdinand Piëch if they really had to race it. Lapine reported years later this Piëch replied, “Yes, but you can paint it!” When the transporter doors opened at Le Mans, Big Bertha immediately became the “pink pig.” Porsche, reveling in its 70-year history during 2018, resurrected this “decoration” along with a couple others to finish their Typ 911 RSRs for the Le Mans race on 16-17 June. It seemed to work magic, as this car, #92, finished first in its class (GTE-Pro) after 24 hours and 344 laps, covering 4,687.3 kilometers or 2,912.6 miles around the clock. Sister car #91 followed them in second position.
Impressively, RSR #77, and entry from Dempsey-Proton racing, finished first in GTE-Am class, accomplishing 335 laps, giving Porsche two class wins in the 24 hour event, and bringing the company’s total to 107 class wins.
On June 21, inhabitants – and particularly sportscar drivers – on planet Earth celebrate the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year – in terms of daylight hours – in the Northern Hemisphere, and typically many local communities plan parades and parties approaching Bacchanalia. (That’s a good word to Google-search if it does not already come to mind….)(It may alter your plans for your own activities that day.)
Bizarrely, early June summer meant something entire different to residents of Big Sky Resort and visitors to Glacier National Park as…umm…err…enough snow fell to close roads and resurrect snowplows from summer hibernation.
Those of you who regularly read Road Scholars Magazine know this is a climate-change-free and a politics-free environment. My point in bringing this up is that the few Porsche owners I know who live – year round – in Montana own C4s. One drove to meet his buddies for regular coffee in his 964 coupe. And how prudent are they all!
At the top of this space you will spot Randy Wells’ inviting, tantalizing image – especially if you live in Montana near Big Sky – of the sandy beaches of Baja California, that stretch of far western Mexico that has hosted (and challenged) racers for more than half a century. In this issue, Wells tells us of a pair of Typ 964s that would have been perfect for frolicking around Glacier Park with four-wheel drive and high clearance. Instead, one of these cars won its class in the 2018 running of the Mexican 1000. I’ll leave the tales and legends to our regular contributor to fill you in.
Gee, beaches and mountains. Really truly ideal summer vacation spots. Baja. And Pikes Peak, Colorado. Here’s where Sean Cridland excels. He’s covered racing on The Mountain for, well, a year or decade or two. In this issue you’ll find his observations on the Porsche entries for the year, including an amazing Porsche Motorsports North America commitment to support a separate class (!) of Cayman GT4 Clubsports. Read about the new class and its prime competitors in the following pages.
Last, but never least, we continue our self-appointed obligation to monitor auction sales involving Porsches. The dream-principality of Monaco hosted a pair of sales in May, one that Bonhams conducted, and the other an RM Sotheby’s event. It’s fair to summarize that there were no surprises; cars that had excellent history sold for prices as expected. The others…. Well, there’s always gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino. Or the Irish Sweepstakes.
One last thought about summer solstice: In the northern hemisphere (and in the Pacific Daylight Time zone where I write) summer begins at 3:07 AM, on Thursday, 21 June. Were I fortunate enough to own, oh gee, the black Typ 993 Cabrio of my dreams, I’d be in that car heading north. That time, 03:07, is two-hours 39 minutes before sunrise where I live. (Check Google and all those other resources for times in your local area.) This pre-dawn time is 17 hours and seven minutes before sunset. In California, we know this “sunset” time gives us nearly 40 minutes of summer dusk to find our way home. That’s enough time for a serious drive.
I already have my route in mind.
Plan yours! And go drive the Solstice.
And then…let me know if you really actually did this? And if you made some photos… would you let me see? I know some of you will be practicing on a certain Colorado mountain…?
Send them to me at email@example.com. Maybe include a route map?
I am always interested in what YOU do in your cars.
Meanwhile, thanks, as always, for reading us.
Editor, Road Scholars Magazine