A Glimpse at Rennsport VI on Film
Photography and words by Courtney Cutchen Photography
I pulled through the main entrance to Laguna Seca and up to the less-than-ideal dirt parking lot atop the hill. It was just about 8:30AM and Porsches from all across the historical timeline could already be heard roaring down below. Some were on track already, while others warmed their metaphorical bones in the paddocks. It was cold and overcast, and condensation blanketed many of the race cars that had been left to sit overnight beneath their tents. As old timer machines coughed into consciousness, some sputtering at first crank, I noticed the sheer volume of Porsches surrounding me. They were quite literally everywhere.
The announcers were already well into discussing the race classes of the day, talking about specific drivers and cars and events. On the special stage erected for concerts and driver interviews, there were a few men answering questions from an eager crowd. Spectators were small in numbers at first, but grew rapidly by the half hour. Racers meandered around the paddocks, many next to their cars as technicians knelt or laid on their backs to tinker with the cars. Others were grouped into teams, pushing and guiding vintage machines in the right direction. There was no shortage of 911s, 356s, and rarities like 910s down every aisle.
This was my first Rennsport Reunion.
Laguna Seca is my favorite track for shooting. Every year I look forward to Monterey Car Week and the Rolex Reunion. Getting to see classic and vastly significant race cars battle it out on track is exhilarating, and something I consider to be a privilege. Rennsport surely was no different in the fact that it was exciting, but there was a sort of prestige around it, as it happens only once every three years. It is considered by many to be the largest gathering and celebration of Porsches in the world. The Reunion was conceived in 2001 and has only grown exponentially through the years. Race groups range from the PSC Sholar-Friedman Cup to the Group 6 Stuttgart Cup, where spectators can cheer on 956s, 962s, GT1 and RS Spyder cars go wheel to wheel. To help show that Porsche has a sense of humor, there’s even a vintage tractor race on the course, complete withe Le Mans style start.
I felt the slightest bit of pressure to capture the images I wanted at this year’s Reunion, even though I didn’t really have anything specific in mind. Since the significance of this event was very history-dense, I decided to dedicate one of the mornings of the festivities strictly to shooting film on my Nikon F100. I opted for Kodak Portra 400, which is usually my go-to stock. Capturing these cars on film seemed appropriate, as that’s how many of us are used to seeing them before the digital innovations of the late eighties and nineties.
If I’m behind honest, a few of these frames are favorites out of anything I’ve shot before. I believe a lot of what goes into that judgement comes from the energy that came from this event. Some of the rarest, most historically valuable cars were in attendance here, as well as their caretakers and owners and coveters. So much passion goes into racing and chasing this affliction of vintage cars that it’s difficult to miss the emotion here. My goal with these photos was to tell a story not only through accompanying written word, but through the atmosphere that the images create.
While all the action was in the paddocks and out on track, the History of Porsche display was nothing short of stunning. Spectators were met with 908s, 934s, 917s, 910s, and others—all of which held significant standings in Porsche’s industry timeline. Banners hung gracefully from the tent ceiling, bearing merits and summaries of each car on display. Some were more popular than others, but each seemed to be just as incredible as the next.
Clearly there aren’t enough photos here to tell the entire story of the whole Reunion. That wasn’t my intention. Fuel Supply Co is dedicated to the idea of transporting viewers into the arena of the images they’re consuming. You should push yourself to imagine the temperature, the smells, and the sounds that existed at the time these frames were captured. This snapshot of a morning at Rennsport is just that—a brief encounter for those who weren’t present. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journal entry. If you attended Rennsport, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or even in an email. What did you love about it? Did you have a favorite car? Explain, and I’ll catch you next time.