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  •   Richard Meaden reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Outside Line Richard Meaden by #Drive-My

    Money no object. Three words, endless possibilities for the imaginative petrolhead. Meaden gets the ball rolling with his perfect flight of fantasy.

    Thinking. Always a dangerous pastime. Especially when you’re a freelance journalist who has turned procrastination into an art form. Still, what is life without daydreams? That’s what I say. Especially when you can turn a few hours of staring out of the window and drinking copious cups of coffee into a long-overdue evo column. I blame my erstwhile colleagues Nick Trott and Jethro Bovingdon for prompting my latest catastrophic distraction and litany of missed deadlines. The former for asking us to concoct our ultimate McLaren Special Operations (MSO) project a few issues back, the latter for reminding me of his N24 drive in Jim Glickenhaus’s eponymous home-brewed racer.

    Where am I going with all this? Rather pleasingly, the haphazard wiring in my brain has taken these random sources of diversion and arrived at what is surely one the most pressing questions of any petrolhead’s life. Namely, what would you commission as your one-off supercar?

    As is always the case with these flights of fantasy, money has to be no object. Likewise, I rarely allow my tenuous grip on engineering to inhibit my desires. In any case, if anyone dared say something wasn’t possible, I’d refer them back to the ‘money-no-object’ bit, for as Bugatti proved with the Veyron, unlimited budget is the ultimate engineering solution.

    So, the six million dollar (or in all likelihood, rather more) question is: what to build? After considerable deliberation, a number of blind alleys and one or two changes of heart, I’ve settled on… a Porsche. Surprise, surprise, I hear you cry, but incredibly, given you’re reading evo, it has nothing to do with a 911. You see, while I have major lust for Stuttgart’s rear-engined icon, I’ve got a real thing for Porsche’s early sports prototype racers. Naturally this includes the #Porsche-917 , but the true apple of my eye is the unspeakably gorgeous #Porsche-908/01 from 1968.

    Why? Years ago I had the immense privilege of driving one of the original factory 908/01s during a trackday at the Nürburgring. Given the very same car raced in (but sadly retired from) the 1968 Nürburgring 1000km, this was truly a day to remember.

    The beauty, delicacy, speed and exquisite engineering of this fierce and fragile machine stuck with me, only to return to the forefront of my mind during my aforementioned daydream.

    Imagine, I thought, what it would be like to make a modern homage to the 908/01, in much the same manner Jim Glickenhaus did with his spectacular Enzo-based, Pininfarina-designed P4/5. Initially I thought a 918 Spyder would be the ideal basis. But then I had to concede it would be too big and complex. And even if you could junk the batteries and motors, it would have a V8 when the 908 had a jewel-like 3-litre air-cooled flat-eight good for 350bhp. It’s at this juncture I should give special mention to evo’s resident curmudgeon, Stuart Gallagher, for his enduring tirade against the 718 Cayman’s less-than-sonorous flat-four. I’m not a great fan of the engine myself, but if two were joined at the crank I reckon I’d have the perfect modern flat-eight. Strip away the turbos, drop in some high-compression pistons and prickly cams, have a play with the firing order and speak to Mr Akrapovic and my project has a suitably special motor.

    The 908 was built around a spindly alloy tubular spaceframe, which the bodywork wraps like an eggshell, only thinner. My 908 will have a chassis made from tubes, but ones fabricated from carbonfibre, perhaps collaborating with a bicycle manufacturer, as they understand the material. The body would also be carbon, the contours of which would be shaped by Rob Dickinson, obsessive genius behind Singer Vehicle Design. Not only would the panels be flawless, but Dickinson’s eye and lightness of touch would capture the essence of the 908/01’s perfect proportions while adding a contemporary twist to elevate the car from re-creation to 21st century tribute.

    Naturally my 908 would have a manual transmission, complete with birch gearknob, and the finished car would be painted white, like all Porsche’s factory prototypes, perhaps with a flash of red or blue around the nose. It would have 600bhp and weigh less than 1000kg. It would be road-legal but track-capable; trimmed for minimalist comfort, but well suited for long European drives. The trouble with this kind of fantasy is the whole process gets rather addictive. Indeed, as I prepare to conclude this column, I’m thinking the perfect accompaniment to the #Porsche-908 would be a more ambitious, #Porsche-917LH -inspired machine. Perhaps powered by an 8-litre, 1000bhp flat-12 made from a spliced pair of #Porsche-911-GT3-RS motors. It needs more thought, obviously, but I’m sold on the idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’d best make myself another coffee.

    ‘Initially I thought the #Porsche-918-Spyder / #Porsche-918 would be the ideal basis, but it’s too complex’

    Richard is a contributing editor to evo and always the last columnist to deliver his words / @ DickieMeaden / #Porsche / #2017 / #1968 /
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  •   Alain De Cadenet reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    GT Track Evening - Open Evening
    The Drive-My summer track evening at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent proved a great success, drawing in a fine mix of Porsche cars. Story by Simon Jackson Photography: Rachel Johnston, Simon Jackson

    Soon after the pandemonium of #Le-Mans , another thrilling track-based event took place back in June, and it too featured a brace of hard-charging Porsches. Brands Hatch in Kent was the venue for the Drive-My track evening, a gathering of like-minded Porsche enthusiasts (both participating and spectating) on a sunny Monday evening. A favourite amongst professional, club and amateur track drivers, the Brands Hatch Indy circuit was opened up for a field of Porsche cars at our exclusive event. With an open pit lane and a realistic decibel limit, the evening was an affordable one and proved popular with Porsche fans from all walks of life.

    Taking to the track were both older and newer Porsche models, from track-biased #Porsche-944 s to fire-breathing GT3s, Boxsters, Caymans, 968s, air-cooled 911 SCs and water-cooled Carreras, which created a truly colourful and diverse sight on the Kent circuit’s glistening asphalt. After a briefing by the Brands Hatch team and a couple of sighting laps behind a safety car, the throng of Porsche cars present were free to take to the track, coming and going as they pleased throughout the evening.

    At first the circuit was packed with the sound of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines, with every driver getting to grips with the famous venue’s layout. But as time passed the numbers on circuit dwindled, and those experienced hands wishing to push on were able to do so, with some impressive lines and committed treatment of the loud pedal. For the novices, of which there were several, this also provided breathing space with which to learn the circuit and how best to extract their car’s potential, pushing beyond that which would be possible on the road. Steadily growing in confidence, those new to circuit driving put in commendable performances gradually building pace and exploring different lines into the various corners.

    As cars darted in and out of the pit lane, the garage complexes were abuzz with driver swaps and setup tweaks, those who had come merely to spectate were able to grab a cup of coffee from the track’s pit facilities and to sit and watch from wherever they pleased – even the pit wall itself. Cameras and smart phones were wielded by most in attendance, and it was great to see so many people enjoying their evening!

    One thing that is wholly apparent from an evening such as this is the camaraderie and friendly nature of Porsche owners, with many swapping stories about their experiences on track, or simply chatting ‘Porsche’. This atmosphere prevailed on track too, with all drivers displaying admirable patience with one another and allowing room for fellow participants. We were glad to not witness any intimidating driving as can so often be the case, almost definitely the result of our evening being a ‘Porsche only’ event – no sign of pesky Caterhams or rude Radicals here! As the evening drew on, a hardcore mix of participants pounded around the track getting the most from their attendance. We saw everything from #Porsche-991 s to #Porsche-911SC s being driven as they were intended, but there were also some quick Caymans and Boxsters being put through their paces – these cars make such fantastic track day machines and are that bit cheaper to purchase and run than a #Porsche-911 . The sight of a few 968s went down well too, the model is known for its ability on track and the owners of these particular cars showed they knew exactly what they were doing displaying some nicely executed lines.

    From the feedback we received everyone involved seemed to enjoy the experience, which means we hope to bring you similar events in the future, though bigger and better than anything we’ve tackled before. Keep a watchful eye on this space…

    Below: Those in attendance received a free copy of #Drive-My and some just couldn’t wait until they got home to read their copy…

    From 991s to #Porsche-968 s, there was a great variety of metal on track, and a good mix of #Porsche cars off track too…

    We were glad to see a diverse mix of road (above) and track-orientated (below) machinery in attendance.
    ‏ — at Brands Hatch Road, Longfield, Kent DA3, UK
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