I spent years agonising over when the right time was to go racing, and realised that there was never a good time. So in 2005 I started what turned out to be a long, long search for the right car. Gosh I looked at some rubbish. And some expensive rubbish at that. In the end my search ended with one of the grand old master of US 356 racing, Vic Skirmants. The race cars he had were too highly developed for FIA regulated racing, but he did have a customer car that he had built and maintained that was for sale. Happily it fitted the bill perfectly so it meant we got to go racing straight away, but learned the hard way as we had to develop it at the same time as race it. It meant we learnt double quick what worked and what didn’t.
So why a 356? Well as some crusty old boy shouted out as we went up to receive the first prize for the Pre-‘63 GT RAC Tourist Trophy drum-brake class, “real men race drum-braked cars”! There’s a real satisfaction in making a 356 go fast and we’ve also learnt that a Carrera GT-specification 356 will outperform a 911 on certain circuits….
And why an old Porsche? Well as Huschke von Hanstein, racing Director for Porsche said to Vic Elford on the 1966 Tour of Corsica, when asked ‘Where are the spare parts? He replied: ‘We don’t have spare parts…Porsches don’t break.” Quite.
The best race series in the UK for old Porsches are the HSCC, FISCAR, and Pre-‘63 GT historic race series. Stuart Atlee does a great job of crewing for us, providing much needed support and calm direction over race weekends. Occasionally though we get prettier crew helping out…
Results over the past 3 years have included:
– 4th in the under 2 litre class, HSCC Guards Trophy championship 2012
– 3rd in class & 15th overall in the Autosport 3 Hour race (Snetterton 2012 & 2013)
– 2nd in the drum brake class, Donington Festival Pre-‘63 GT race 2014
– 8th overall in the Fifties Sports Car Race (FISCAR) series, Silverstone 2014
– 1st in the drum brake class at the Silverstone Classic Pre-‘63 GT RAC Tourist Trophy race 2014
Very few people build and race cars alone, and Ian Clark at WPS (ph 07880 311850) and I have forged a tremendous partnership and friendship over the years. I reckon what Ian doesn’t know about making 356’s and air-cooled VW’s go faster can be written on the back of a postage stamp and still have plenty of space to stick it down. You do have to be slightly unhinged to drag race though…!