The 919 Tribute at the “Festival of Porsche” in Brands Hatch
Summer, sunshine, Porsche – on September 2nd, 2018 the legendary Brands Hatch Circuit in the county of Kent in southern England was once again the setting after a gap of four years for a very special kind of Porsche reunion. To mark the great anniversary of “70 years of Porsche sports cars“, the “Festival of Porsche” took place in perfect late summer weather.
The event, which was organized by Porsche Club Great Britain and the race circuit operator MotorSport Vision, featured a varied itinerary of sports car history that you could really feel, and this once again attracted thousands of Porsche enthusiasts from all over the world to the site, which is steeped in history – they included famous personalities such as the Porsche collector, author and cult figure “Urban Outlaw” Magnus Walker from Los Angeles.
The fact that this top-class event justified travelling from far afield was immediately apparent to every single visitor to the festival. After all, cult Porsche cars were lined up one after the other – fast-paced rarities as far as the eye could see. The countless dream cars from seven eventful decades which were polished to a high-gloss finish and really sparkled in the eyes of the passionate fans.
The event shed light on all the chapters in Porsche’s sports car history from the early beginnings in 1948 to the present day. The array of gleaming exhibits ranged from the legendary Number 1, the 356, and the historic 959 of Paris-Dakar Rally winner and racing legend Jacky Ickx, through to the triple Le Mans hero, the 919 Tribute.
New track record for Nick Tandy in the 919 Tribute
The British Porsche factory driver and Le Mans winner of 2015, Nick Tandy, had the honorable task and probably the even greater pleasure of presenting the 919 Tribute to the festival crowd. As part of a demo lap on the short, tight “Brands Hatch Indy Circuit“, Tandy once again extracted everything from the 919 Tribute with some 1,000 horsepower – and even astonished the crowd by posting a new track record. Approaching the Paddock Hill Bend he took his 919 Tribute up to an incredible speed of 308 km/h.
Thanks to the exposed location of the “Indy Circuit“, which stretches for around two kilometers in the middle of a natural amphitheatre, the spectators were able to enjoy an unrestricted view of the best-time spectacle with an excellent all-round perspective, and thus witnessed how the 919 Tribute wrote history one more time before making its final journey to the museum.
Just as a reminder, it was only back at the end of June that Timo Bernhard broke the Nürburgring’s North Loop record in the 919 Tribute. And back at the beginning of April this year, the Swiss driver Neel Jani set a new lap record in Spa-Francorchamps – and thus beat Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 record by 0.783 seconds. This triumph lasted four-and-a-half months. Then the lap record returned to Formula 1 with Sebastian Vettel beating it by another 0.27 seconds.
Racing heroes in action
Another highlight of the festival was the “Porsche Classic Trophy“ in which classic sports cars from 1953 to 1973 were once again able to crank up the revs and demonstrate in impressive style that they are far from done delivering amazing performances. The Brands Hatch Circuit provided the ideal terrain and the perfect atmosphere. Just like the Porsche brand, Brands Hatch also boasts a long motor racing tradition. The first races were staged here back in 1926 – but at the time they were still on a grass track. The now tarmaced and extended course was officially opened on April 16th, 1950 and from 1964 to 1986 it even staged Formula 1 races.
Besides the Le Mans hero Nick Tandy, a whole host of famous motor racing figures were also there to witness the start in Brands Hatch. For example Richard Attwood, who in 1970 claimed Porsche’s first overall victory in Le Mans together with Hans Herrmann in the 917K. Or Derek Bell, five-time Le Mans winner and holder of the British order of merit (MBE), who not only signed plenty of autographs but also sat behind the wheel again and showed off his driving skills. And the top-class Festival of Porsche was also an outstanding platform or, to put it better, the place to be for up-and-coming talent such as the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior Dan Harper.
Lively fringe events
There was plenty going on and no room for boredom not just on the race track but also on the fringes. As well as a range of different exhibitions and presentations surrounding the Porsche brand, a funfair which was specially set up provided plenty of entertainment for young and old alike. Various merchandise and sales stalls invited people to stroll by, explore and shop. And there was also plenty of excitement in the Porsche Club Festival Tent with vibrant live music.
In summary, a fascinating festival for little, big, and very big Porsche fans alike. And, a real highlight in the great Porsche anniversary year which really lit up the eyes of the many visitors to the festival and will live in their memories for quite some time. There could hardly have been a better way to spend this splendid late summer’s day.