The 70th Anniversary of the first Porsche production car had the highly beneficial side-effect of reviving the Brands Hatch Festival of Porsche.
Brands is a lovely compact circuit that’s easily and quickly accessible from London and unlike some of the airfield based circuits (e.g. Silverstone and Goodwood) it offers excellent viewing opportunities over large parts of the circuit without having to walk too far.
Having hummed and hawed about whether to go to this event or not I finally conceded the night before the last day and I’m glad I did.
I thankfully selected a less busy day and could circulate freely, snapping piccies of nice motors without having to electric-cattle-prod hordes of selfie-takers out of shot.
I was also able to see motors in motion on the Grand Avenue without having to reserve a fence-side viewing place an hour in advance of the demo runs and without having to resort to rugby scrum tactics to get to the front or a ladder to witness the action.
A two year wait since the last Hedingham Porsche bash and the limited availability of my old 911 this year (due to further improvement work) left me with a major sense of anticipation for this year’s Classics At the Castle event.
An early, sunny Sunday morning start and a thankfully absent intermittent misfire were positive omens for a good day out but this didn’t stop my usual jitters about whether I had the right day, whether any mechanical gremlins would thwart the trip etc. etc.
My fears were calmed when just beyond Stansted airport I swung my ’71 2.2E behind a lovely tangerine 2.7RS for a joyous two-car-convoy blast towards Hedingham! The start of a perfect day.
For the Endurance Racing Experience to really work – fans have to share the endurance challenge in some way in order to legitimately bask in the triumph of their achievement alongside that of their driving heroes.
At Le Mans – the fans challenge is staying awake for as much of the 24 hour race as possible. There’s also the equally difficult challenge of remaining just sober enough to work out which car whanged past at well over 100 decibels. NB: Working out relative positions of cars in a 24 hour race is a pointless task and should not be attempted for fear of confusion.
At Silverstone in April – the challenge is entirely thermal.
I knew it was my lucky day when I received a call from the Porsche Club GB office to offer me a last minute place for the “Evening with Jacky Ickx” event they had organised at Porsche Centre East London.
Upon arrival – I was chatting with Ed Pike (co-organiser with other half Nick of of PCGB London Region) and another club member over a glass of wine when a dapper gentleman wandered over and introduced himself to us with – “Hello – I’m Jacky”, before shaking each of us by the hand.
It was none other than Belgian motor racing legend – Jacky Ickx!
What a difference a day makes. The WEC weekend started off with snow and sleet on Saturday but Sunday brought glorious sunshine even though it was still a bit chilly.
The WEC 6 Hour Race was obviously the main event of the weekend. The 2016 WEC season opener and chance to really see what development has been successfully carried out by the teams over the Winter break.
Whilst qualifying provided an indication of top speed and relative handling capabilities – endurance race cars and drivers can only prove themselves in race conditions i.e. over several hours and with all classes of cars out on track simultaneously.
Arriving at Silverstone in a blizzard on Saturday morning didn’t bode well. After depositing my old 911 in the Porsche Club GB parking zone – a warming coffee in the club tent was essential before wandering into the circuit to find out if and when the racing would start.
As the sleet and snow subsided – the race marshals gradually abandoned the warmth of the Paddock Café to make their way trackside. A sure sign that racing was about to commence.
The signs are unmistakeable – Spring has definitely sprung! :-
Longer hours of daylight and occasional sightings of a yellow disk in the sky have encouraged the daffodils to bloom and trees to bud,
Classic racing cars have been awakened, coughing and spluttering from their winter slumbers and their doting owners have squeezed themselves into their race suits and boots for the 74th Goodwood Members Meeting.