Visiting Porsche social media icon and Los Angeles cult figure, Magnus Walker, nailed it, when between endless autographs he exclaimed: “You guys love your Porsche racing and road cars and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of what I’ve seen here.”
He was right on the money. The second Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival in late April/early May at Sydney Motorsport Park eclipsed the first at the same venue in 2013.
The 200-odd Porsches that took to the circuit for a weekend-long programme of average speed events, parades and full-on races for older Porsches in between point-counting Pro-Am endurance rounds of the Carrera Cup Australia and GT3 Cup Challenge was similar, but the paddock vibe was far stronger.
The decision to group the Show ’n’ Shine for nearly 200 by multiple Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird was similar to the car that won the Great Race in 1978, while the open LMP1-98 demonstrated by Alex Davison was a fascinating amalgam of TWR Jaguar and Porsche parts that was a double Le Mans winner in 1976 and 1977. to arrive in Australia – a Burgundy 356 Coupe and a Fish Silver Cabriolet – parked side by side in the impressive Porschestrasse marquee for the first time in NSW since they landed in October 1951.
The cars were also the first two production right-hand drive Porsches built, the coupe going on to be the first privately-owned Porsches alongside the Porschestrasse display for 26 historically significant Australian road and racing Porsches was a winner compared with the scattered display of its Rennsport progenitor, while the adjacent paddock and Porsche Kids Driving school were both packed all weekend with Porsche enthusiasts of all ages.
Walker himself was a star act, proving that his online fame extended to the Antipodes. He took to the track in a Group 4 replica 911 on the Saturday morning, but flesh-pressing and celebrity photos kept him at the head of a 40-metre long fan queue for most of 5,000 Rennsport attendees over the weekend.
As in 2013 the Porsche Museum supported the event with two special cars, this time with Le Mans connections in the wake of Porsche’s 17th outright victory in 2015. Although a factory ‘spare’, the Type 935-77 coupe demonstrated were Australia’s customerdelivered 911, the first 924 (that went on to finished ninth in the 1979 Repco Reliability trial), the first 911 Cabriolet, the world’s only right-hand drive 964-series 911 RSR and one of three 911 Sport Classic cars to be sold in 2010.
V Rennsport Australia Motor Racing May at Sydney Motorsport Park venue in 2013.
The 200-odd Porsches that weekend-long programme of parades and full-on races for point-counting Pro-Am endurance Cup Australia and GT3 Cup Challenge paddock vibe was far stronger.
The decision to group the by multiple Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird was similar to the car that won the Great Race in 1978, while the open LMP1-98 demonstrated by Alex Davison was a fascinating amalgam of TWR Jaguar and Porsche parts that was a double Le Mans winner in 1976 and 1977.
Perhaps of more interest to traditional Porsche enthusiasts was the sight of the first two Porsches Racing Festival in late April/early Park eclipsed the first at the same that took to the circuit for a of average speed events, older Porsches in between endurance rounds of the Carrera Challenge was similar, but the stronger.
Show ’n’ Shine for nearly 200 to arrive in Australia – a Burgundy 356 Coupe and a Fish Silver Cabriolet – parked side by side in the impressive Porschestrasse marquee for the first time in NSW since they landed in October 1951.
The cars were also the first two production right-hand drive Porsches built, the coupe going on to be the first Porsche to race in Australia in January 1952.
Other notable vehicles in the Porschestrasse all weekend with Porsche enthusiasts Walker himself was a star act, extended to the Antipodes. He took 4 replica 911 on the Saturday morning, and celebrity photos kept him at fan queue for most of 5,000 Rennsport weekend.
As in 2013 the Porsche Museum two special cars, this time with Le wake of Porsche’s 17th outright a factory ‘spare’, the Type 935-77 were Australia’s customerdelivered 911, the first 924 (that went on to finished ninth in the 1979 Repco Reliability trial), the first 911 Cabriolet, the world’s only right-hand drive 964-series 911 RSR and one of three 911 Sport Classic cars to be sold in 2010.
Back in September last year, Sydney celebrity repairer/ restorer Ron Goodman had a shop-full of enthusiasm, but two badly buggered racing 356 models.
He had destroyed both to bitter tears in separate racing
PERHAPS THE most significant single Porsche at Rennsport for its local racing history was the 911 ‘RSR’ that, driven by Jim McKeown, finished second in the 1970 Australian Touring Car Championship before winning back-to-back Australian Sports Car titles driven by former Ansett pilot Ross Mathiesen in 1978 and 1979.
It has been in the hands of Melbourne architect and Porsche enthusiast Max May since 1982.
“The car was originally a 1969 Irish Green 911S 2.2 litre road car, but by the time Jim McKeown and his sponsor Shell decided they wanted a car to contest outright victory in the 1970 Australian Touring Car Championship they didn’t have time to wait for a factory-built car to come from Germany.
So Porsche Cars Australia modified it to the then new 2.3-litre 911 ST racing specs. McKeown drove it really well and won two of the seven ATCC rounds that year to finish just four points behind his Shell team-mate Norm Beechey’s Monaro GTS350.
With it re-engined as a 3.0-litre RSR Ross Mathiesen drove it aggressively to win both the 1978 and 1979 Australian sports Car Championships.
I had always been a Porsche enthusiast and when I couldn’t afford a 911 Turbo for Porsche Club competition in the early 1980s I negotiated with Ross in 1981 to buy the car. By that stage it was ‘yesterday’s race car’ and the time of the Pilots’ Strike so it wasn’t very expensive by today’s standards.
Now it’s probably the single most important Australian racing Porsche for what it achieved.
accidents in the USA last year, first at Indianapolis (his 356 Cabriolet), then at Laguna Seca (his Pre-A 1954 ‘Bent Screen’ coupe) – the latter around the time Porsche announced timing for the second Rennsport Australia just seven months hence. He was determined to get them both there, and on the track.
Despite comprehensive damage to both that would have seen a road car called a ‘write off’ and would normally have consigned an early Porsche to years in a restoration workshop, ‘Team 23’ made it to Sydney Motorsport Park after the final ‘rare as. . . ‘ engine parts only arrived a week beforehand.
The Rennsport weekend was a bittersweet bag for Goodman, as the front sway bar on the coupe disengaged in practice, creating horrendous oversteer, while the Cabriolet lunched its transmission on the Saturday.
“The boys wanted to take it back to the shop and put another box in, but I said enough is enough,” Goodman said.
“Just getting here was a reward!”
Goodman fell in love with Porsche 356s aged 10, but it took the Western Sydney suburbs panel beater, whose Exclusive Body Werks in Granville is now an official repairer for Porsche, Aston Martin, McLaren and Rolls-Royce, more than four decades to realise his dream of racing one.
The sign on the dashboard of one of his beloved Porsches says it all: ‘Bite off more than you can chew’.
“When I’m focused on doing something, nothing stands in my way to make it happen,” he said. “And if you’ve got a Porsche, you race it fast”.
So he starts work at 1.30am each day to fit the 30 hours he needs to cram into each day. It used to be 2.00am after first taking his beloved Rottweiler ‘Boss’ for his morning walk. Since Boss died he
THE FIRST front-engined Porsche 924 arrived in Australia 40 years ago this year. It was prepared by Porsche Cars Australia for factory engineers Jurgen Barth and Roland Kussmaul to drive in the 18,885km 1979 Repco Trial. It won its class to claim the first International rally success for the 924 and finished a very creditable 9th outright.
A Brisbane enthusiast has owned the car for the past 18 years, taking it in Targa Tasmania 2000 where it won its class again. It was acquired just before Rennsport by Adelaide Porsche enthusiast, Stewart Kay. At Rennsport the 924 was united with its original front number plate that had been souvenired by an enthusiast after it fell off during the 1979 Repco.
Former owner Terry Rowbottom: “It was complete and still a pretty solid car when I got it, with a lot of special strengthening underneath and Perspex windows, but pretty sloppy mechanically. However the sign that was once on the dashboard for the Germans telling them to ‘Keep the ocean on the left’ was missing!”
Stewart Kay: “I had a competition- MO30-spec Porsche 968CS which was probably the best one in Australia, but it was only a two-seater, so when my daughter was born I sold it and looked around for one of the 13 Porsche 968 CS cars that were delivered to Australia with rear seats.
“So in 2010 I put a small ad in the newspaper and Terry answered it and in the conversation I discovered that he had the 924. As I was interested in milestone Australian Porsches and knew of the car I asked him to let me know if he was ever interested in selling it and I got the call earlier this year. With Rennsport coming up I decided to buy it and now I have the first 911 Coupe sold in Australia, the first 911 Cabriolet and the first 924. I’m not planning to change its well-worn patina, just to restore its stickers and to give my son Lachlan a thrill by taking him to school in Adelaide in it!”
now arrives at work half an hour earlier.
At Rennsport, Goodman’s distinctive transporter with his two ‘Goodman Grey’ #23 racing 356s and pretty grid girls and sizzling ‘open house’ BBQ was a signature feature of the paddock.
Also garnering lots of attention was Goodman’s take on a Porsche 356 Police car, parked near the current 991-series Porsche currently doing community relationship duties with the NSW Police.
However Ron’s Rennsport really began on the Friday evening when he hosted a 200-strong ‘who’s who’ of Porsche people including Magnus Walker and the Porsche Cars Australian hierarchy at his Granville body shop and.
Like Walker, Goodman has become an international cult figure thanks in part to the online documentary The Road to Monterey by Sydney cinematographer Rob Scheeren that chronicles his roller-coaster quest to beat the best at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in August last year. It won gold at the Autovision film festival in Frankfurt – the world’s premier competition for car films.
“That’s very Ron,” said Porsche racer/ collector David Withers, who is one of Ron’s serial resto customers. “His work ethic is astounding; he works hard and races hard”.
Now that he’s ticked Rennsport Australia off his 2016 list, he hopes to have the Pore-A coupe back at this year’s Monterey Reunion in August this year for some unfinished business before shipping it to France for the bi-annual Le Mans Classic.
“If I can win at both, I’ll die happy,” whe said.
THIS RARE QUAD camshaft 356 Carrera was originally purchased for racing by Queensland enthusiast Sid Sakzewski. When a local circuit closed Sid built the Lakeside Raceway so he could race this particular car.
It’s got a four-cylinder quad cam motor, 1500cc originally, and it was very fast for its day in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was mostly raced in its era by Sid’s friend and mechanic Tony Basile and achieved great results.
At one stage the motor was sent back to Porsche in Germany because they were interested to see why it was so powerful and it came back as a larger 1750 motor with more power and had even more success!
I bought it about 10 years ago when it was in Western Australia and virtually a wreck. He had loaned it to his son who had taken it to WA and on its way back it had caught fire at Ceduna and burnt out. It sat for years back in Perth One interesting thing I found in its huge history file that I got from Porsche was some notes hand-written by Norman Hamilton on the back of a restaurant bill – obviously after a great lunch – where some figures for the price of the car had been written down and Sid had changed them.
That’s exactly how Sid did business in those days – he and Norman were both horse traders!
I was racing in 1959 when this car first came to Queensland and it was just the greatest thing. To be caretaker of it now is very special to me.
Download the QR Code Reader from the Apple App Store or Google Play