Porsche Rennsport Reunion: Ready To Roll Into Lime RockBy David Treffer
Contributing Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
July 13, 2001
The greatest reunion of Porsche drivers and Porsche machinery is about to take place in Lime Rock Park, CT from July 26th-29th. The "Porsche Rennsport Reunion" is the name of the gathering. The person who has helped to put this festival in motion is one- Brian Redman with a very important assist from Porsche.
For those that are new to the arena of sports car racing, Brian Redman is arguably one of the greatest pilots to ever take the reigns of a Porsche or any racecar for that matter. The motorsport resume of the man from Burnley, Lancashire, Great Britian is so lengthy that it truly takes about five minutes to read.
A quick synopsis reveals the following:
- · Three time Formula 5000 Champion (1974, 1975, 1976) - LolaT330/332
- · 1981 IMSA GT Camel GT Champion - Lola T600 GTP
- · 1970 South African Springbok Champion- Chevron B16 Spyder
- · Member World Manufacturers Championship Winning Teams
- · 1968 John Weyer Gulf Ford
- · 1969 Dr.Ing h.c.F.Porsche AG
- · 1970 Chevron (2 liter Championship)
- · 1970 John Weyer Gulf Porsche
- · 1972 SEFAC Ferrari
Not too bad for a man who started his racing career in 1959 driving a Morris 1000. Growing up in a family that owned and managed grocery stores, it was assumed by Brian's father that he would follow in his footsteps and would take over managing the family business. Thankfully for the racing world, Brian followed, much to his father's consternation, his own drumbeat.
In a recent conversation with Brian Redman I asked about the fact that the recognition of his racing career and other drivers in the same era were finally getting their due. "Back then the sport [auto racing] did not have a lot of world-wide coverage..which was the same problem for a lot of athletes in other sports. Nowadays you have media that cover every aspect of the sport."
Three years ago I interviewed Mr.Redman for The Autochannel during the Brian Redman Jefferson 500. In the interview I asked him to contrast the single biggest difference in the sport from then to today. His reply was very direct. "More corporate advertisers with a lot more money and willingness to spend it. The other important aspect that has changed, thankfully, is recognizing the need to make the sport safer. Back then safety was not a priority."
Redman, who is well known for his keen sense of humor and seemingly endless supply of sidesplitting stories spoke about a funny but potentially tragic situation with a formula 1 team. "The car was handling very poorly. I pulled into the pits to discuss the situation thinking that the team would come up with some kind of engineering solution. Finally, the team manager had the mechanics lower the tire pressure by five pounds on the right rear tire. It was not, to say the least, the answer I was expecting. One lap later and no improvement...Finally, I realized that the car, no matter the tire pressure, was just a poorly designed car." Thankfully, Redman's talents were recognized by the likes of John Weyer, Jim Hall and Carl Haas among others. He rewarded their faith with a lot of memorable victories and championships.
One of the unique items about "The Rennsport Reunion" is the high number of quality cars and the number of Porsche pilots that will be on hand. The list of driver's, which is not complete as this story goes to press, is a Who's Who of Porsche drivers. Jacky Ickx, Roger Penske, George Follmer, Hurley Haywood, Rob Dyson, Vic Elford, Derek Bell, Paul Newman, Chip Robinson, Joe Buzetta, Tony Adamowicz, Davy Jones and of course Brian Redman. The listing of cars is also a "virtual visual tour" of Porsche race cars since the 1950' s to present day.
The birth of "The Rennsport" started three years ago. Redman organized the Porsche 50th Anniversary Reunion at Watkins Glen. The event was, by anyone's standard, a tremendous success. Porsche recognizing the potential marketing value helped to get the proverbial "ball rolling" for the Rennsport Reunion. Now with less than two weeks to go before the event, the anticipation is mounting to a crescendo. In some Porsche clubs around the country the description of the event is being described as "Christmas Comes Early For the Porsche fan." Regardless of how one wants to describe the event, just don't miss it!