The imminent threat of torrential rain hung overs us as we headed northward. Facing the prospect of yet another early Saturday, we ventured to Fontana. The promise of everything from air-cooled 911’s to 911 Cup Cars hitting the track in anger was enough to blink away any lingering sleep. The California Festival of Speed is a yearly event, think of it as Rennsport Reunion light, that we’re incredibly fortunate to have within about an hours drive. Heck, along with luftgekalt, it makes up what is arguably the best Porsche weekend of the year in southern California. Even better if you take Canepa Cars & Coffee into account… but that’s a bit of a drive :D.
Making our way around the long access road that circles the grandstands of California Speedway we stopped at registration and found one of the most unexpected cars of the weekend, a 2013 Caterham / Renault Formula 1 car. Insane! The canards, the curvaceousness of the intakes, the way everything terminated abruptly at the rear like flower petals coming to rest in a stem, totally jawdroppingly amazing. We followed the flatbed it was hitching a ride on into the paddock and the depth and variety of Porsche cars was already apparent hours before the event officially kicked off.
Everything from 928, 968 and 944, to the most insane 987 and 996 you could imagine. The occasional mint 356 and Volkswagen bus/vanagon flitted in and out of view scurrying between the garages. Inside those garages? EVERYTHING. Brand new 991 GT3RS and GT3 Cup Cars interspersed with incredibly light and powerful mechanically fuel injected aircooled 911’s from Black Forest, a Cayman R here, a 993 turbo there. You name the Porsche and someone was racing it. Well aside from the 918, and Carrera GT, those being more collector car territory sadly.
As the event officially kicked off more and more variations of Porsche filled the paddock parking lot and all those race cars prepping in the garage sputtered to life. The variety in speed and engine note from something like a 911T to a thousand horsepower 996T couldn’t be any more drastic. Breaking up the flat six clatter was the occasional Ferrari F458, Datsun Z, and even an incredibly quick Mitsubishi EVO V. It was about this time, when enjoying the cacophony of sounds that we marveled at how incredibly perfect the weather remained. Huge puffy clouds framing the foothills beyond Ontario and temperatures in the high sixties and low seventies, perfection!
We ran into staples of the Porsche scene like Magnus Walker and Bisimoto, the latter is currently working on a particularly vicious 987 and brought an equally gnarly 996T sporting his trademark turbos jutting out of the lower valance look. Not to drift too far from his past working on more accessible motors, Bisi also brought along a Subaru wagon project he’ll be upgrading the cooling on shortly and reinforcing a bit for off road jaunts.
While it’s less than a week passed, we cannot wait for next year and might even make a three day event out of it. If you’re a fan of Porsches, all kinds of Porsches, racing and displaying surrounded by fantastic company you’ll definitely need to make sure you go to the California Festival of Speed next year. You won’t be disappointed!