Porsche’s sixth edition of the by now much-anticipated Rennsport Reunion kicked off on Wednesday 26 September 2018. You could have expected that this would be a really big one for Porsche, with it being their 70th anniversary year, but the Stuttgart manufacturer really pushed the boat out with this one. Already the news wires are ringing hot with the announcement of the new Porsche 935 Clubsport (Type 991 Gen.2). With all the action scheduled for the forthcoming weekend, it is certainly all happening at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI at the Laguna Seca Raceway.
From Wednesday through Sunday, dozens of legendary Porsche drivers and hundreds of iconic Porsche race cars from the earliest right through to the very latest, will take to the circuit. Although the event itself starts on Thursday, there would have been much to see on Wednesday what with the teams setting up and familiar, as well as some famous faces, milling about. With the pressure of the event not yet fully on, this is usually a good time to chat to friends and drivers.
The brainchild of driving legend Brian Redman and Porsche Cars North America’s longstanding press spokesperson Bob Carlson, Rennsport started in 2001 as a way to honour the Porsche motorsports legacy. Held every three to four years, Rennsport Reunion has become the largest gathering of Porsche cars and fans in the world. The 2018 ‘Marque of Champions’ theme highlights the legends of the brand: championship-winning Porsche race cars, the engineers who designed them, and the men who drove them to victories around the world. This year has a special meaning for the company and the fans, because it is the 70th anniversary of the first Porsche sports car, the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, which was registered on 8 June 1948, and will be in display at the event.
The sixth instalment of Rennsport comes after more than 60,000 Porsche fans assembled for Rennsport Reunion V at Laguna Seca in 2015, making it the biggest three-day gathering in the event’s history.
This year, approximately 50 legendary drivers, 500 historic and customer cars, including 350 cars in competition, and the full Porsche factory team will be in attendance. The guest list includes names inscribed in Porsche motorsport history: Hurley Haywood, the most successful American endurance driver ever; Brian Redman, co-creator of Porsche Rennsport Reunion and racing driver extraordinaire, Vic Elford, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his legendary 1968 season, Norbert Singer, lead engineer known as the father of the Porsche 962 as well as the man behind the Carrera GT V10 engine; and Jacky Ickx, six-time Le Mans winner, will all be in attendance along with many others. These and many other legendary drivers will be on hand, signing autographs and making appearances on and off the track over the weekend.
These names include:
Dennis Aase, Richard Attwood, Jürgen Barth, Derek Bell, Jon Bennett, Kevin Buckler, Jim Busby, Joe Buzzetta, Andrew Davis, David Donohue, Rob Dyson, Chris Dyson, Vic Elford, John Fitzpatrick, George Follmer, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Hurley Haywood, David Hobbs, John Horsman, Jacky Ickx, Kevin Jeannette, Alex Job, Stefan Johansson, Willi Kauhsen, Michael Keyser, Hartmut Kristen, Gérard Larrousse, Gijs van Lennep, Rudi Lins, Arie Luyendyk, Jochen Mass, Hans Mezger, David Murry, Kees Nierop, Jackie Oliver, John O’Steen, David Piper, Bobby Rahal, Brian Redman, Chip Robinson, Valentin Schaffer, Vern Schuppan, Manfred Schurti, Norbert Singer, Alwin Springer, Mark Webber, Jeff Zwart, Earl Bamber, Gianmaria Bruni, Jörg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard, Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Richard Lietz, Patrick Long, Sven Müller, Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Laurens Vanthoor.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Porsche chose this event at which to unveil its latest race car creation. Called the new Porsche 935 Clubsport (Type 991 Gen.2), the 700 bhp racer is styled in the familiar colours and look of the famous 935/78 Moby Dick. The new race car will be produced with the number limited to just 77 units.
In the same way that Ferrari created the FXX for its racing customers to drive on Ferrari track days and the like, so Porsche has now built this Porsche 935. Ferrari did the FXX not only to generate revenue for the company and to provide its customers with a track-ready race car, but also to learn how various aerodynamic and mechanical components that they could not fit to a homologated racer, faired in a racing environment. So too has Porsche now done this with the new 935, and because it does not have to follow any regulations for class racing, they can try different variations of components on the cars without falling foul of the race organisers, and learn in the process. You have to wonder why Porsche didn’t do this years ago!
“This spectacular car is a birthday present from Porsche Motorsport to fans all over the world,” said Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars. “Because the car isn’t homologated, engineers and designers didn’t have to follow the usual rules and thus had freedom in the development.”
The race car’s technology, which is aimed at club sport events and private training on racetracks, is based on the 911 GT2 RS high-performance sports car. Like its historic predecessor, most of the body has been replaced or supplemented by carbon-fibre composite parts (CFRP). The spectacular aerodynamics is a completely new development and pays tribute to the Porsche 935/78 Le Mans race car. The distinctive wheel arch air vents on the front fairings, which also feature on the GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 R customer vehicle, increase downforce at the front axle. Measuring 1909 millimetres in width by 400 millimetres in depth, the rear wing lends aerodynamic balance.
Many details of the exterior are a salute to winning vehicles from the company’s motor racing history: the aerodynamically capped rims echo those of the 935/78, with the LED rear lights on the rear wing endplates adopted from the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car. The side mirrors hail from the current Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, with the exposed titanium tailpipes modelled on the Porsche 908 from 1968.
The new 935 is powered by a state-of-the-art 3.8-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo engine, which is largely identical to the high-performance standard unit mounted in the road-legal 911 GT2 RS. Power is transferred to the rear engine via a seven-speed PDK with rigid gearbox. Like the road-legal 911 GT2 RS, the 1380 kg 935 is equipped with PSM (Porsche Stability Management) including traction control as well as an anti-lock braking system (ABS). By activating a map switch, these assistance systems can be adjusted separately or switched off completely, depending on the driving requirements.
The new Porsche 935 can be ordered now from €701,948 plus country-specific VAT, and customers will receive their vehicles as from June 2019 at exclusive delivery events.
Brief technical details of the Porsche 935 (Type 991, Gen. 2):
|Concept||Single-seater near-standard non-homologated race car|
|Base car||Porsche 911 GT2 RS (991.2)|
|Engine||Water-cooled 6-cylinder aluminium twin-turbo rear-mounted boxer engine|
|Bore x stroke||102 mm x 77.5 mm|
|Power output||700 bhp (515 kW)|
|Valves||4-valve per cylinder|
|Engine management||Continental SDI 9|
|Transmission||7-speed PDK gearbox with rigid suspension|
|Clutch||Dual mass flywheel|
|Differential||Limited slip differential optimised for racing|
|Suspension front||MacPherson suspension strut; forged suspension links, optimised stiffness with high-performance spherical bearings, centre-locking wheel nuts; 3-way racing dampers, reinforced tie-rod; Electro-mechanical power steering with variable steering ratio; anti-roll bar|
|Suspension rear||Lightweight multi-link suspension, strut ball jointed (Unibal); centre-locking wheel nuts; 3-way racing dampers; anti-roll bar|
|Brake system||Two separate brake circuits for front and rear axles; adjustable via brake balance bar system|
|Brakes front||Six-piston aluminium monobloc racing brake callipers with anti-knock-back piston springs; steel brake discs, internally ventilated with 380 mm diameter, racing brake pads, optimised brake cooling ducts|
|Brakes rear||Four-piston aluminium monobloc racing brake callipers with anti-knock-back piston springs; steel brake discs, internally ventilated with 355 mm diameter, racing brake pads, optimised brake cooling ducts|
|Wheels||One-piece light-alloy forged wheels|
|Wheels/tyres||Front – 11.5J x 18 offset 15.3 with centre-locking nut; Michelin transport tyres 29/65-R18|
|Rear – 13J x 18 offset -10 with centre-locking nut; Michelin transport tyres 31/71-R18|
|Weight||ca. 1380 kg|
|Width||2034 mm (incl. side mirrors)|
If you’re a Porsche motorsport enthusiast, then Laguna Seca Raceway is the place to be this weekend. But if you cannot make it to the venue, then stay tuned to Porsche Road & Race as we will be bringing you an update as information allows.
Written & edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Werkfoto