I never got around to booking tickets for Silverstone Classic but my mate Kirk kindly offered me a spare entry ticket and a lift into the Porsche Club GB infield parking in his lovely Pastel Blue 2.2L 911S.
The offer of spare tickets from Steve Winter at Jaz Porsche overcame any remaining indecision over whether to get up to Donington this year.
Opting to go on Sunday meant I could watch Steve and his co-driver Rob Williams compete in the GT & Sports Car Cup for Pre-’66 GT & Pre-’63 Sportscars.
It was also a good opportunity to meet up with old friends Ken, James & Kirk.
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!
Darwinian principles can be applied as much to automotive design and manufacturing as they have been to evolutionary biology. “Survival of the fittest” has been the recipe of enduring success for a number of car marques but it has also seen the extinction of many more.
From the very first cars – certain marques have driven down developmental cul-de-sacs whilst others have, through inspired progressive improvement, survived to the present day.
As one of the most successful surviving marques – it’s interesting to analyse some of the factors and earlier designs that assured Porsche’s initial establishment, success and ultimate longevity as a manufacturer of road and race cars.
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.
This year’s London Classic Car Show at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands promised to be bigger and better than last year and thankfully – it was!
Spread over two large halls the show was easier to move around, it offered a more balanced mix of dealers, specialists and car club stands and last but not least it allowed for a much bigger open space in which to parade cars representing the great automotive nations.
Moving on from reflections of 2015 – it’s time to look forward and consider how to indulge my motoring interests in 2016. What events should I attend and what improvements can I make to my ’71 2.2 L 911E? Decisions, decisions!
With a bit of careful planning – it would be easily possible to spend most of my weekends attending one form of motoring activity or another but this would certainly be a fast-track to divorce. Instead I need to carefully select those events that:-
a) Stand-out in terms of their quality, variety and spectacle,
b) Present an opportunity to meet up with old mates,
c) Provide new motoring experiences.
On the car front – my aim is to continue gradual improvement of my 911 with some mechanical and cosmetic upgrades as time, money and availability of parts & services allow.
So here are my thoughts on car events I could attend and car improvements I could make during 2016.
The winter months present something of a challenge to British motoring enthusiasts as it’s a motoring Dead Zone as far as races and classic car jaunts are concerned due to the poor weather and lack of daylight.
With precious motors consigned to winter hibernation – it leaves car enthusiasts dangerously prone to the onset of ICDS – Interesting Car Deficiency Syndrome!
To counter the debilitating effects of this affliction it’s important to reflect on the past year’s motoring highlights and to start planning for petrolicious pleasures in the year to come.
It also allows time to muse over the improvements you’ve managed to make to your classic car over the past year and fantasise over other reassuringly expensive ways of further improving its performance or looks.
NB: The featured image shows my Dad (on the left) and his colleague in the late 1940s just after they’d dug their way through a truck-high snow drift on their daily round to collect milk churns from remote farms around Appleby, Cumbria.
My trip to Hedingham 2015 started well as I drove passed Stansted Airport to find myself accidentally sandwiched between two 2.4 911s. We managed to pick up another 2.2E along the way to match mine and to bring our noisy convoy of early 911s up to 4, much to the delight (or possible consternation) of other road users!
This year’s Hedingham Porsche gathering delivered an enormous and varied turn-out of classic Porsches which confirmed the burgeoning popularity of the event, further enhanced this year by the inclusion of a Classic Porsche Auction run by Coys of Kensington.
The Porsche Museum, Porsche Cars GB and some very trusting private owners enhanced the already great turn-out with some extra-special cars including beautiful and rare 356 Carreras, 550 Spyders, a 904 and an iconic Gulf liveried John Wyer 917 (as used by Steve McQueen in his film Le Mans).