Porsche 911 GT1 at the Monterey Historics - Click above for high-res image gallery

As the featured marque at the 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Porsche decided to open up their vault and bring out some of their most iconic race cars to entertain the crowd. About 150 Porsches were entered in the various classes of racing action over the weekend, but a special group of unique racers was on display in the paddock as well. All of the cars made it out to the track for some parade laps, but even standing still they had no trouble conveying that Porsche is a company committed to racing.

There were about a dozen great racers on hand, but four extra special cars stood out. On loan from the new Porsche Museum in Germany was a 1960 Type 718 Formula 2 car, a 1962 Type 804 Formula 1 racer, the "Grandma" 1962 Type 718 W-RS eight-cylinder Spyder, and the GT1 98LM that helped Porsche score a 1-2 at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans. Outside that group, you could find a 917/30, a 906 Longtail, a very special cadmium-hooded RSK, a 550 Spyder, an RS60, a 917K, plus a 956C and a newer RS Spyder. In separate display areas, you could also find the Bruce Leven Havoline 962, a 908 Longtail, and the Jules 936.

It was a pretty spectacular showing of significant race cars from Porsche, and that doesn''t even include the other 130 or so privateer Porsches that competed over the weekend in several different classes. They remain truly remarkable cars and their owners did them proud. Check out our high-res gallery below and the full press release after the jump.

Photos copyright ©2009 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

Press Release:


The North American debut of the 2010 Porsche Panamera – and 145 historic Porsches – headline the 2009 edition of the world's most prestigious vintage motorsports event

At the upcoming 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 14-16, the sound of the initial stirrings of over 450 race cars will be complimented by the exquisite growl of the newest, most daring and most advanced vehicle Porsche has produced to date, the 2010 Porsche Panamera gran turismo.

"This year's Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presents the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that Porsche's DNA, its competitive spirit and drive for perfection, runs from the very first 356, Porsche No. 1 up through today's all-new Panamera," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America.

"We at Porsche are deeply honored to have been named the 'featured marque' on this, the 61st anniversary of the very first Porsche and the North American debut of the Panamera, the very latest Porsche," added von Platen.

In addition to the 145 Porsche racers already entered by their owners, or one-third of the 450-plus field, Porsche will showcase the Panamera on the world-famous race track and will also provide display vehicles on site.

Along with the North American debut of the 2010 Panamera, four special cars with significant American connections will also be on site -- all on loan from the new Porsche Museum in Germany:

- The 1960 Porsche Type 718 Formula 2 racing car, which gave Porsche its first Formula 2 world title and was driven in 1961 by Californian Dan Gurney, is making its North American debut.

- The 1962 Porsche Type 804 Formula 1 racer, which was the car that brought Gurney to his French Grand Prix win that year. This car has not been in North America since the 1960s.

- The 1962 Porsche Type 718 W-RS 8-cylinder Spyder, in which Gurney and Joakim Bonnier finished second at the Targa Florio in 1961, has also not been in North America for more than 40 years. In the 1960s, it was raced in the U.S. by Gurney, Bonnier and Phil Hill.

- The Porsche GT1 98LM, which helped Porsche finish 1-2 at the 1998 24-hours of Le Mans event.

Porsche-sponsored activities for the fans at Laguna will include a heritage display including former and current race cars, Porsche's current showroom product line, and experts to answer Porsche questions. Porsche Motorsport North America, the racing arm of Porsche in the U.S., will also showcase its engine and chassis services for both professional and club/vintage racing, while the Porsche Club of America expects to have more than 400 Porsches in its club corral and will parade all its cars on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

About Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., is the exclusive importer of Porsche sports cars and sport utility vehicles for the United States. It is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing.h.c. F. Porsche AG. Approximately 200 PCNA employees provide Porsche vehicles, parts, service, marketing and training for its 202 dealers. The dealers, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service. Throughout its 61-year history, Porsche has developed numerous technologies that have advanced vehicle performance, improved safety and spurred environmental innovations within the automotive industry. The company continues to celebrate its heritage by adding to its long list of motorsports victories dating back to its first 24 Hours of Le Mans class win in 1951. Today, with more than 28,000 victories, Porsche is recognized as the world's most successful marque in sports car racing. PCNA, which imports the iconic 911 series, the Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars, the high performance Cayenne sport utility vehicles and soon the Panamera gran turismo for the U.S., strives to maintain a standard of excellence, commitment and distinction synonymous with its brand.

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