They were all there, from a Pre-A 356 to the latest 991.2 GT3 Clubsport, by way of the most mouth-watering collection of 911s, 956 and 962s, including the indomitable 917. The occasion was the first Rennsport Collective display, open to the public, with quite simply the most sensational and compelling presentation of Porsches you could hope to see. The setting was the 230-year old Donington Hall, nestled in the north-west Leicestershire countryside which comprises 26 acres of grounds with rolling lawns and mature woodlands. Today, the estate is owned by Stuart Garner, the owner of Norton Motorcycles and is home to the famous British motorcycle brand.
The Rennsport Collective is an interesting concept. Their website will tell you that it is not a club, but a coalition of Porsche enthusiasts who all share a passion for the Stuttgart brand. To belong, you need to submit your application along with a description of the Porsche(s) you own and the reasons why your Porsche is special or unique. It is this simple requirement that sets this Collective apart from the other Porsche clubs, because the cars are the stars as was patently obvious from the event this last Saturday. And because it is not a club, there was none of that unwanted hierarchy or politics visible on the day, everybody just seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Founder, Paul Geudon, told me that they were starting small with their first event, learning from that, and then building on that for the next one. As far as I could tell, there will be very few changes necessary, as it all went swimmingly well. So, a huge ‘well done’ to Paul and his team and yes please, bring it on in 2020!
Arriving at Donington Hall, the first lawned garden was filled with a mix of two dozen road and race cars, from early 911 race cars to the mighty 962, a 924 Carrera GTS and a pair of brilliant Carrera GTs. Each car had its own descriptive plaque giving visitors an insight into the details relating to each vehicle. Of particular interest was the 901 SWB Monte Carlo car, this being the actual first-ever 911 race car which won its class in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964. The 2001 British GT Championship winning 996 GT3 RS was driven to victory by Kelvin Burt and Marino Franchitti. The RUF 3.8 BTR boasted a power output of 530 hp and counted Prince Aga Khan Rahim amongst its previous owners, while the mighty PlayStation 911 GT1 was just one of nine 993 GT1s produced and campaigned by Konrad Motorsport. This car was uprated to 996 GT1 Evo spec by the factory in ‘97 and sold to Larbre Competition in 1998.
Moving around the Hall to the next two lawned gardens, the vehicles just got better and better. Taking centre stage in front of the Hall was the 917 chassis #008. While this car did not compete in Gulf colours in period, chassis #008 was driven by Vic Elford and Richard Attwood in the ‘69 Le Mans 24 Hours wearing a livery of white with a blue nose and front dive planes. Elford/Attwood led the race for 18 hours before the #12 Porsche retired with a split bellhousing. The car was then used at the Nürburgring for practice for Hans Herrmann/Paul Frére and thereafter it lived a hard life as a test and development vehicle at Weissach throughout the rest of the 1970 and 1971 seasons.
Out on the lawns and arranged in a semi-circle, a 1953 Pre-A 356 sat alongside the likes of 996 and 997 GT3 RSR race cars, a works Porsche 962, and the last Carrera RS 2.7 to be produced by the factory. The 2008 Sepang 12-Hour outright winner, a 997 RSR, could also be seen.
In another group of cars, an iconic 910 led the way to yet more special Porsches. On display too, was the lightest 911 ever made, the 911 S/T which was prepared for Gérard Larrousse to compete in the 1970 Tour de France where it finished third overall. There were also numerous 2.8 RSR racers, more modern 991 GT2 and GT3 road cars, and the Porsche 993 RS ‘Black Snake’, a Carrera RS that was fitted with a GT2 EVO engine and given RSR panels. This car set the Nordschleife lap record in 1998 with a time of 7m 46s!
The last group of Porsches was no less ‘diamond studded’ than the previous groups. A superb Porsche 911 S/T was raced in the 1972 Keimola 500 by factory driver, Leo Kinnunen. The ‘Flying Finn’ then bought this car and competed with it for a further 10 years! The Porsche 996 GT3 Cup was used by Anthony Beltoise, son of F1 racer Jean Pierre, to win the 2004 Carrera Cup France Championship. The Skoal Bandit Porsche 956, part of the John Fitzpatrick Racing stable, was raced extensively in period in the Silverstone 1000 km, Le Mans 24 Hours, Nürburgring 1000 km and Spa Francorchamps 1000 km. The Porsche 911 SC Group 4 ‘Heigo’ was built for 1980 German Championship and campaigned by none other than Walter Röhrl. The list goes on, in fact there were 85 iconic, special, important and significant road and race cars on which to feast your eyes.
All around the well-manicured lawns, groups of enthusiasts gathered, discussing the finer points of various race cars and the achievements of those cars in period. There was no crowding, and yet there was a good turnout. Scattered around, between the groups of cars, were refreshment and food stalls and despite the few showers that appeared, this did not dampen the spirits of the die-hard enthusiasts.
While this wasn’t the largest display of Porsche cars, what it lacked in numbers it more than made up for in quality. But that is what the Collective is all about, quality, not quantity. And that is a good thing for the visitors, because there is nothing more disappointing than to arrive at a car show only to find that the cars are all the same as you had seen previously at some other event. The organisers really pushed the boat out with this one, which can only bode well for the future!
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale