• Porsche converted the pit garages at Laguna Seca into a showcase of its Le Mans winners, from the 1958 718 RSK behind us to the 2015 919 Hybrid at the far end. The four first cars in this photo, 1967 910, 1969 917K, 1969 908 'Flunder Spyder,' and 917 LH were all in the movie Le Mans.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This, however, was the very first car to win an international race for Porsche. At Le Mans in 1951 this 1949 Gmund 356 SL won the 110-cc class. By the very next year privateers were racing 356s all over Europe and Porsche realized it had something special, so the year after that the company would have the race-specific 500 Spyder on tracks. This Gmund is being restored by Rod Emory at Emory Motorsports in Los Angeles.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • After it won Le Mans the Gmund coupe came to the US to race, but was turned into a roadster to make it more competitive. Emory refabricated a hand-beaten roof to restore it to original spec. The restoration is about 70-percent complete.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1958 Porsche 718 RSK, class winner in 1958 and third overall. It's powered by a 1.6-liter flat-four with 142 hp. It weighs 1,270 pounds and has a top speed of 155 mph.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The second air intake under the driver's door was added later. It is used to cool oil. Originally, the oil lines were run under the cadmium hood.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • It's hood is made of cadmium because of that metal's heat dissipation properties, and it was used as an oil cooler - the oil lines were riveted to the underside.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Here you can see the rivets. Since that's the kind of dangerous innovation we don't go for today, a second air intake was added under the driver's side door for additional oil cooliing.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • A 1962 Porsche 718 W-RS that secured a top 10 finish in 1963. Powered by a 2.0-liter flat-eight with 210 horsepower, it weighs 1,508 pounds and has a top speed of 161 mph. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The car is nearly a foot longer than the 1958 718, all behind the cockpit, to make room for the 2.0-liter flat-eight.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • It's nickname is "Grandmother," because it raced for three years - a long time in racing - and its race history is two pages long. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • A 1969 Porsche 910, powered by a 2.0-liter flat-six. Weighing just 1,265 pounds, it got 225 horsepower and had a top speed of 170 mph. It won its class at Le Mans in 1969.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This car was Porsche's first step into prototype racers - the 906 was the last race car built off a street-legal chassis. This was also the first Porsche to have center-locking hubs.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This is the 1969 917K movie car from Le Mans. The studio bought it from Porsche, installed camera mounts under the hood in front, then sold it once the production finished. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Now owned by Jerry Seinfeld, it's got a 4.9-liter flat-12 with 620 hp. It weighs 1,818 pounds and can reach 224 mph.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1970 908 LH 'Flunder' Spyder, a class winner and third overall in 1970. It was powered by a 3.0-liter flat-eight with 350 horsepower. Weighing only 1,201 pounds, its top speed was 198 mph. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • From the side the reason for the 'Flunder' nickname is clear - this car is flat like that fish. Also, the liver was half Martini and half Shell, so notice the Martini logo on the insides of the rear fins and the Shell logo on the outside.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Martini got billing at the front, though...
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • And at the rear...
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1971 917 LH, or long-tail. This is the car you see at the beginning of Le Mans flying down the Mulsanne Straight. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Like the 917K, or short-tail, it also used the 4.9-liter flat-12 with 600 horsepower. But thanks to its aerodynamics, its top speed was higher: it set the speed record at Le Mans, going 240 mph thanks to its aero.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • One of the Le Mans drivers reported that the steering wheel wobbled a lot when at top speed down Mulsanne. A lap later he decided to relax his grip and let the steering wheel wander, which is when he realized he'd been holding on so tight at 240 mph that he was the reason the wheel was wobbling.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1979 935 K3, the overall winner at Le Mans in 1979 when all of the prototypes retired or fell out of contention. The 'K' is for "Kremer," this car built by the Kremer brothers of Germany.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • It's powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo flat-six with 800 hp. Weighing 2,139 pounds, it has a top speed of 220 mph.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The Kremers took advantage of every gray area in the rule book. The FIA said GT racers had to use the same window lines and roofline as their production-car counterparts. When the Kremers brought their car to scrutineering, the FIA said 'That's not the production roofline.' But the rear area and tail are built over the regular 911 roofline here, so the Kremers told the FIA, 'The rule book doesn't say the production roofline has to be visible.'
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The Kremers even filled in the rain gutter ahead of the A-pillar, for better aerodynamics.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1978 Porsche 936 Spyder, powered by a 2.1-liter single-turbo flat-six with 540 hp. It has a top speed of 201 mph and was the overall Le Mans winner in 1981.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • What is Jules? It's a French perfume company.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • That massive intake above the cockpit is only for the intercooler. Engine cooling came from intakes on the front and sides.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • That third, round light on the left toward the center is a fog light.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This car provided Derek Bell's first win for Porsche. Jacky Ickx was going for his fourth win.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Only three cars have won Le Mans twice in a row - that is, using the same chassis both years. Two of those three cars are Porsches, and this is one of them, the 1984 Porsche 956 B. The car two garages over, that we didn't get to shoot, is the second, a 1995 WSC-95 Spyder also run by Joest Racing. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This car won Le Mans in 1984 and 1985, powered by a 2.7-liter, twin-turbo flat-six with 660 hp and a top speed of 218 mph. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The 1993 Dauer 962 that won Le Mans in 1994 with a three-liter, twin-turbo flat-six good for 730 h.. German company Dauer Racing built road cars out of the 962 race car and sold them for $1.2 million, and was able to race at Le Mans once in 1994. 
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The car had to run in the restricted GT1 class, which meant narrower tires and restricted horsepower - a loophole in the rules meant Dauer only needed one road-going model in order to be eligible. But it had a bigger gas tank than the prototypes and excellent reliability, so it worked its way to the front of the overall field through the race.
  • Image Credit: Porsche
  • Dauer converted more than 13 racing 962 to street-legal specification, and they all come with enough trunk space to hold an average-sized suitcase, which was also part of the FIA GT1 regulations.
  • Image Credit: Porsche
  • Before the 919 came along, this was the last Porsche to take the overall at Le Mans, in 1998. It's a 1998 GT1 911, powered by a 3.2-liter, twin-turbo flat-six with 550 horsepower. It weighs 2,094 pounds and has a top speed of 195 mph.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • This car replaced the WSC-95 Spyder that Porsche worked on for only two years. Porsche made two chassis of the WSC-95 then sold them Joest racing, which won Le Mans two years in a row with it in 1996 and 1997. The first iteration of the 911 GT1 was the 1996 993 GT1 that finished second and third behind the WSC-95 Spyder in 1996.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • The first gen 993-based GT1 was a 993 race-developed cabin with the back end from the Porsche 962. The 1998 version of the GT1 was a full carbon fiber monococque, a development that would lead to the Carrera GT. Porsche also first developed its carbon fiber brakes, called PCCB, for this car; they then went to the Carrera GT, then to the production models. And you'll notice those 996 production car lights...
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Porsche finished first and second during the 50th anniversary of the brand.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
  • Remember Allan McNish? Yeah, when Porsche was finished, he kept up his Le-Mans-winning ways with Audi.
  • Image Credit: AOL - Jonathon Ramsey
Having spent three days with an intense Monterey sun above, a fleet of raucous, roaring racecars below, and a genuine library of hundreds of cars parked everywhere, Porsche Rennsport Reunion V can be summed up in one word: amazing. It's one thing to know today that Porsche is special because rich people buy them and collectors obsess over them. It's another thing to see and hear and feel and smell why Porsches are special, to experience what really makes a brand. Whenever auto writers use the word "pedigree" – usually in reference to brands that don't have it – this is what we mean. And we bathed in it for a weekend. Now we need to wash all of our clothes, because pedigree smells like race fuel.

Porsche used all of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca pit garages to set up an excellent display of important Le Mans cars, from the 1958 718 RSK to the current 919 Hybrid. All but one were overall or class winners, and four consecutive pit boxes held cars that were all in the movie Le Mans: a 1969 910, a 1969 917K, a 1970 908 LH "Flunder" Spyder, and a 1971 917 LH. Outside the garage on its own plinth was a 1949 Gmund 356 SL, the first Porsche to win an international motorsports race when it took its 110cc class at Le Mans in 1951. Walking from 1958 to 1998 and having all that history in the metal behind you, you could see why Porsche wanted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to return to Le Mans with the 919 Hybrid to protect its legacy.

Even with three full days we didn't get to see everything we wanted to see or talk to everyone we wanted to talk to. We could have spent days interviewing the Who's Who of racing drivers alone. But we did get to answer the questions you left for us in Comments after our 2017 911 Carrera ride-along:

  • RoninEdge: The engineers had left by the time we got your Boxster/Cayman engine question, and the only answer we could get after that was the official Porsche line: "We haven't released any information on any 2017 models other than the four already mentioned," the 911 Carrera and Carrera S in coupe and cabriolet trims.
  • Ferps: Posche North America decided to take the Targa off the website, but you can still buy 2016 models and there are still Targas on dealer lots. The 991.2 Targa hasn't been revealed yet.
  • JohnnyHedwardsJr: We couldn't review the 911 GTS Rennsport Reunion Edition, but there is a gallery of live images below. Porsche is only making 25, and every one of them is spoken for.
  • Ade: There are three exhaust pipe configurations on the 2017 911: the base model has the trapezoidal-like finishers at the corners, the standard Carrera S gets quad pipes (two-up at the corners), and the optional sport exhaust has two pipes pushed toward center.

When Rennsport Reunion VI comes around, there's a good chance you'll find us there. Until then, enjoy the videos below that explain the event and show off some cars, and the galleries of racing, the captioned gallery of Le Mans cars, and the 911 GTS Rennsport Reunion Edition.







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