Words and photos by Jack Webster
Porsche. The very name is special and invokes strong feelings from anyone who hears it.
Porsche. Racing is not only in their DNA, it IS their DNA.
Porsche. Performance is not only in their DNA, it IS their DNA.
Porsche. Heritage is not only in their DNA, it IS their DNA.
So how appropriate was it then, that Luftgekühlt and Porsche Sportscar Together Fest 2021 were held in the performance and historic racing capital of the world – Indianapolis.
These two events, celebrating Porsche’s heritage, were remarkable and a fitting tribute to Porsche.
First was Luftgekühlt, which was held in the Bottleworks District of Indianapolis, an outstanding venue to display air-cooled Porsche street and race cars amid the historic factory buildings of the old Coca Cola bottling plant. This was Luft7, the seventh time this gathering of air-cooled Porsches was organized (yes, Luftgekühlt literally means “air-cooled”).
The brainchild of two-time Le Mans class winner and sole US Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and noted southern California creative director Howie Idelson, the Indianapolis event marked the first time Luftgekühlt was held outside of California. Luftgekühlt celebrates all air-cooled Porsches and their history, from the Pre-A 356 through the 993, which ceased production in 1998.
The cars on display in the Bottleworks District were outstanding and you were drawn into the scene immediately upon entering the event when you came upon a couple of historic Bob Akin race cars – his 1986 Sebring winning Porsche 962 and the very last Porsche 935, both appropriately in Coca Cola colors.
Around every corner, on every street, tucked into garages and on factory floors the assortment of Porsche eye candy was astounding. The super rare Porsche 718 RSK (part of the Rick Grant Collection and maintained by Dale Oakes and his crew at EuroClassics) was a show stopper and the subject of many photographs. Another car that drew large crowds was Porsche 917/005, one of the original cars from Le Mans in 1969, (sadly, it is the car in which John Woolfe was killed on the first lap of the race). This car sat in pieces until 2012 when it was rebuilt and restored to its current beautiful condition.
Not to be missed was the Porsche 356L Gmünd, as shown at the 1951 Paris Motor Show, currently part of the Miles Collier Collection at the REVS Institute. Then there was the 1967 Porsche 911 Brumos TransAm car (in #36 TransAm colors), which in addition to racing in the SCCA TransAm series, also won its class at Sebring in 1969 with Peter Gregg and Wilbur Pickett sharing driving duties. How about a beautiful Porsche 904GTS, the winning car from the 1964 12 Hours of Reims, or the Porsche 908LH, driven to victory at the 1000KM of Spa in 1969 by Jo Siffert and Brian Redman?
Brumos 911 Trans Am 904 Siffert/Redman 908LH
Wherever you looked, history stared right back at you. It was as if these cars were coming alive to tell their own stories as they were nestled into the historic nooks and crannies of the Coca Cola plant. A remarkable event, held in perfect early fall weather conditions.
But Luftgekühlt wasn’t the only Porsche event in Indianapolis that beautiful September weekend, for just five miles down the road from Luft7, Porsche Sportscar Together Fest was being held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which featured three full days of on track racing activities including Porsche Sprint Cup Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup races, PCA Club Racing, PorschePlatz parade laps, Clubsport events and much, much more.
IMS 911 in historic pits Camo 944 Club racing action Paddock prep Historic pit scene Porsche Cup pit stop Porsche and Indianapolis Indy road course Race prep Classic Carrera view Art car
For in addition to all of the on-track activities, there was a Fan Zone featuring live music, Porsche vehicle displays, a Porsche Art car (a terrific live art demonstration), plus plenty of events to entertain the kids like the game zone and the Lego Race Zone. There was also the Porsche Zentrum, which featured outstanding Porsche displays and an opportunity for Porsche fans to lighten their wallets on some pretty unique Porsche branded items.
There was also a large Porsche Club of America tent and many of the cars that had been on display at Luft7 made the short trip from the Bottleworks District to the Speedway to be displayed for the remainder of the weekend.
The entire Porsche weekend in Indianapolis certainly felt like a family reunion – a reunion of Porsche fans, owners and enthusiasts from around the country and the world. Stories were shared, old friendships renewed, new friendships made and a great time was had by all.
One can only hope that future editions of Luftgekühlt and Porsche Sportscar Together Fest will perhaps be held again in Indianapolis, for it was the perfect venue to showcase the history of one of the most storied names in motorsport.
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