Club News

Travels to Laguna Seca, with Ruchlos Rallye and the Rennsport Reunion 7 Experience


Article and photos by GPR Member Mark Eichten

Part I. Ruchlos Rallye to Laguna Seca

I knew I was going to be driving to Rennsport Reunion 7 (RR7) and I wanted to meet up with others on the road. I had decided to drive my 1980 911 from Nebraska where it is stored. The Ruchlos Rallye seemed like a great way to do that. It was an amazing experience, and it was so great to meet the people from the Ächtung Kraft and the rest of the Ruchlos crew in person. They were all amazing people, and I am very thankful for their time pulling the rallye together along with the community they provided.

Side note: Ruchlos Rallye defines itself as a partnership of Porsche enthusiasts working together to bring amazing events to others. They are focused on rallye drives for air-cooled cars. Ächtung Kraft is a group of hard-core Porsche enthusiasts from many backgrounds that live to Drive and Wrench™ on our own cars. They are located in Salem, Wisconsin.

We met up in Reno for the first day of the rallye, starting the day driving up and around Lake Tahoe. I hadn’t been there in years; it was bigger than I remembered and the roads were better in a 911! We stopped in Livermore for the night. The next day, we set off on several winding roads, making our way to the Lick Observatory with amazing vista views. We traversed similar roads on the descent, utilizing the full extent of our brake pads and accelerator pedal, with my final destination of the day, Canepa Motorsports in Santa Cruz. I had no expectations of Canepa Motorsports, I just know the name.

The Canepa Motorsports is set up with multiple parts, starting with the showroom floor. My favorite in the main showroom was a Jaguar XJ220 with only 16 miles on the clock. Then it was upstairs to the main museum, which did not disappoint. I enjoyed reading about the history of several cars, including an IMSA 77 934 1/2 driven by Canepa. Last, but not least was the actual shop floor, where we had arranged the ability to walk the floor. I counted six 959s being worked on among several other desirable import marquees on their way to better-than-showroom quality finishes. On the second side of the showroom was a full-scale Matchbox case of dream cars stacked floor to ceiling.

Part II. Rennsport Reunion 7

Sometimes it’s best not to have expectations, but having been to the previous RR6 in 2018, I had high expectations. This time was different for one specific reason: I would be arriving in my 1980 911 with the intention of being able to drive a parade lap on Friday on the famous Laguna Seca Raceway.

I met up Wednesday evening with my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and two nephews, who are also fans of the Porsche brand. We made it to the track early the next day and into the sea of fans and Porsches starting in the corrals. There were air-cooled Porsches of all kinds across the massive parking lot, no two alike.

We spent the day making our way through the vendor tents, bumping into and chatting with John Benton. He told us to check out his 912 build. We also checked out Bisimoto engineering and Pawel’s Carbone builds in the Toyo booth. Both were better in person than pictures.

Parade Lap

On Friday, I made my father-in-law get up at the crack of dawn to join me for what I thought would be a slow parade lap, based on the previous RR. After the formalities of waivers and PCA checklists, we were ushered out our cars and then onto the track! We started to head up the hill and the backside of the track. I was ecstatic, and to my surprise was able to take the Corkscrew at a pretty good speed. Having done the track many times on a sim, I was pretty confident and didn’t follow the drivers line in front of me, who swung way left. I committed to my line and ended up right where I thought I would be and felt a great deal of drop and excitement, carrying speed down through turns 9 and 10 as we crept to tortoise pace for 11 into the straight! We were able to wind through a few gears and experience a good amount of smiles down the front straight setting up for turn 2, which was a blast and much more elevation than I had ever experienced on a track. What a huge bonus to come down the back straight to turn 5 seeing that we were taking another lap! I’m not sure if my father-in-law was as excited for that lap as I was, but it was a joy and we were both glad for the opportunity!

The late morning on Friday was more exploring in the paddock and tents on the other side of the track, where I was able to grab a shot of Jeff Zwart preparing to go out in his 914-6 number 88 car. It was a blast to be able to see them pushing those cars on the track. I was also able to say hello to Patrick Long and watch him take several vintage cars out to the track.

I spent the afternoon volunteering in the GT corral, where I had the pleasure of meeting and directing both the president of Porsche North America and Alois Ruf and his granddaughter to their parking spots by the PCA tent!

We were able to view Porsches throughout many generations pushing it around the track. That including the new Cayman GT4e, which looked to be as quick as the current LMP2 cars, as it whined around the track.

Friday night, I partook in the CheckItOut Monterey, which was a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts put on by CIO Adam Kern and his team. The cars and people were awesome, kind and welcoming. I met some more wonderful people, one from the Seattle area who had driven down in his GT car, we talked about some tracks I had to visit and of course admired each other’s cars!

Saturday was back at the track and met up with some friends from the Midwest who introduced me to their track driving coach Riley Dickinson. It was a pleasure to meet him, really a nice guy.

Wandering amongst all the race teams, legends and legendary cars is my favorite part of the event. You’re provided with pretty much all access to past and present racing team members and cars. They’re all friendly and will take the time to have a conversation with you about their experiences with the cars and on various tracks. It’s an experience that cannot be replicated.

Expectations blown away, can’t wait for the next RR!