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304065 304065 is offline
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Technology for technology's sake alone is useless without practical application. And the ultimate application of that technology is winning races. Preferably 24-hour endurance races, that brutally test the limits of designs, materials and people.

That is what makes Porsche special, or did anyway. They didn't just talk the talk, they went out to the track and walked the walk. Targa Florio, Carrera Panamericana, Le Mans, Nurburgring, Paris-Dakar, Watkins Glen, etc. For a few years there, they went anywhere in the world and took on all comers and won. And what really made it cool was that your average guy could save his money to buy a daily driver whose near cousins were dominating world sports car competitions. To say nothing of the fact that the car was a masterpiece of engineering (and some would say, development!) Who else but Porsche would put a dry-sump system in an engine designed in 1963? Single overhead cams and fuel injection? Light-alloy disc brake calipers? These things were innovations in the day.

Along the way they decided the race was too expensive or too complicated, or not worth it if the goal was to sell street cars. And at least they had a program of developing street-based cars alongside their prototypes and a customer competition department to encourage privateers. Not so with Il Commendantore.

This is why we get so bent out of shape. It is because there is a recent historical memory of Porsche's dominance of sports car racing. If they continue to trade off their reputation they will go the way of Bentley. Except that Bentley ran a prototype at Le Mans recently!

But there is hope. The GT3R and RSR and the support for the Cup cars are breathing life back into the program. What we need now is a real series with real competition, and Porsche didn't help any by getting BMW to drop out.

I have been lapped (repeatedly) by 996-based cup cars on the track and I can tell you they are a fearsome sight, coming up in the rear view mirror with blazing yellow eyes, looking like some jaundiced stingray. They are not particularly loud, either, but just go like stink until the brake lights come on, then they stop like somebody threw out an anchor. Whether they are within the reach of the average Privateer is another matter entirely.
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Old 01-06-2004, 11:44 AM
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