Rennsport Reunion isn’t really confined to Laguna Seca Raceway. Yes, that’s where the event officially takes place, but as soon as you’re anywhere near the city of Monterey, you’ll start seeing Porsches. Lots of Porsches.
Perhaps it’ll be a mint 928 S4 rolling down Monterey Salinas Highway, or maybe something newer like a 991.2 911 GT3 RS bringing its bewinged presence to Del Monte Avenue. Walk around Monterey, and you’ll be constantly spotting Pork - from more ‘ordinary’ offerings like 996 Carreras to the incredibly valuable 993 Carrera RS our group spied casually parked up. With the driver’s side window open.
Hotels are draped in huge advertisements for events, and official Rennsport shuttles laid on by Porsche or constantly to-ing and fro-ing. But, as good as Monterey’s Mexican restaurants are, at some point you really ought to leave and make your way down to ‘Seca.
What is Rennsport Reunion?
Although it’s a properly sanctioned Porsche event, Rennsport Reunion has unofficial roots. In 1999, British racing driver Brian Redman - whose long history with Porsche includes two Le Mans class victories aboard 935s - organised the ‘Porsche 50th Anniversary Reunion’ at Watkins Glen.
Impressed with the bash’s reception, Porsche Cars North America's then-PR boss put the wheels in motion for the first Rennsport Reunion, held in 2001 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Rennsport Reunion II and III took place at Daytona International Speedway, but from RR 4 onwards, the show’s home has been Laguna Seca.
Rennsport Reunion is to Porsche-philes what Glastonbury is to music lovers. On the track, there’s a focus on historic racing, with series like the Stuttgart Cup, Eifel Trophy and Werks Trophy, but there’s modern stuff to see belting around the circuit, too.
The event now holds a round of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, and there are exhibition runs featuring new metal, You can also head out on track as a passenger in something new and spangly like the 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Wander the infield and the perimeter of the track, and you’ll see stalls threatening to make your weekend quite expensive, a big stage hosting interviews with big names from Porsche racing history, and various special exhibitions. And yes, stacks and stacks of Porsche models of every conceivable variety.
It’s not an annual event. Initially, Rennsport took place every three years, but there have been five between the last one and the latest - Rennsport Reunion 7. So, that makes this less frequent than a FIFA World Cup.
Is it worth going to Rennsport Reunion?
If you like Porsches, hell yes. It’s that good, we’d recommend finding a way to get over there even if you don’t live anywhere near. Consider it a pilgrimage. And if you’re not that fussed about Porsches, you might just change your mind by the time you leave.
Laguna Seca is a superb track for spectators, with its dramatic elevation changes meaning there are points from which you can see most of the track. It’s a course that allows for plenty of overtaking, and a lot of the viewing areas - particularly around the famous Corkscrew - always seem tantalisingly close to the action.
Factor that in with the cars you’re watching, and you have a recipe for a fabulous day out. It’s hard to pick a particular highlight - the sound of a full grid of modern Carrera Cup cars screaming by is a memorable one, and it’s not every day you see the likes of 917s, 956s and 962s driven hard in competition.
There are, of course, 911s of all vintages noisily taking to the track, plus plenty of 356s. And Porsche tractors. Yes, tractors of various shapes and sizes take to Laguna Seca (and some of the access roads) in a surprisingly gripping race featuring several big names including long-time Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister.
But you don’t have to go anywhere near the track itself to understand how special Rennsport is. Simply wandering around the paddock is enough. Everything’s just there - not hidden away or roped off.
The presence of the newer metal shown off by Porsche shows just how seriously the manufacturer takes Rennsport Reunion. It effectively revolved the development of a whole damn car around the thing, with the 911 GT3 R rennsport’s team given 10 months to get it ready in time to show off.
And this wasn’t just a static display - the rennsport spent the entire weekend getting spanked on track over and over again with a 919 Tribute, the new 963 LMDh car and the Mission R concept. Porsche doesn’t just get cars like these out for shits and giggles.
There are plenty of ways for Porsche lovers to be liberated from their cash, including numerous merch stands and tents from which parts and accessories are sold. Perhaps you’d like to walk a full Akrapovic exhaust system back to your car, or a shiny new intercooler for the 911 Turbo project car you have in the garage at home. Rennsport isn’t a hugely cheap event to get into, with a day ticket costing $145 (around £120), but it can easily get more expensive still. You have been warned…
While walking around, you’ll likely see some extremely famous names, because the VIP guest list is immense. Attending was Derek Bell, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans using Porsche racing cars no less than five times, and from a more modern motorsport perspective, Timo Bernhard, the Porsche factory driver whose exploits include a Nordschleife lap record in a Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo.
Then there's Hurley Haywood, winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona five times, Le Mans three and the 12 Hours of Sebring twice, and of course, Biran Redman. The ‘Legend Driver’ roster Porsche mustered for the event was nearly 50-strong.
The best part of all, though, has to be the car parks. Yes, really. The rule of “always check the car park” applies here probably more than any automotive event you’ve ever been to. In one parking area in the paddock, there were five Carrera GTs parked up, and nearby, a smattering of 918 Spyders. In the same section were nearly 10 959s, and multiple Ruf models. I’m not sure I’ve even seen one in the wild.
Everything’s grouped together. 914s. 928s. 356s. The 911s meanwhile get two gigantic car parks - one for water-cooled stuff, and the other for air. As you’d expect, Carreras make up the numbers, but there’s an astonishing number of GT 911s in the mix. I’ve never seen so many in one place, and the blend between bone stock, tastefully tweaked and extensively modified is a joy to see.
Then, you turn to contemplate the people who’ve brought those cars here from all over. Start to eye up the number plates to see where they’re registered, and you get a sense of how determined people are to get to Rennsport Reunion in their Porsches.
That takes us back to that word we used earlier - ‘pilgrimage’. Yes, you could blandly describe Rennsport Reunion as a ‘car event’, but for many, it’s so much more than that. And all of us car people can understand that kind of passion, Porsche fan or not.
Photos: Jordan Butters