“Looking aft from the Cayenne pacecar I noticed that a squadron of four RS Americas were providing us with a high speed escort!!”
I met Tom C and Don T of San Diego (both Grand Prix white RS America owners) at the San Diego Qualcomm stadium at around 7:15 AM as arranged and the three of us headed North on I-15 to Fontana. The weather for the first week of June - while not cold, was cloudy and overcast with a little drizzle. We chatted on the Talkabout FRS radios each driver had as we convoyed North at remarkably restrained speeds (just in case “Officer Friendly” had finished his donut and was watching for any unusual freeway activity).
The journey up was remarkably uneventful and we entered the Fontana speedway at almost exactly 9:00AM. On arrival at the corral, we saw a pair of Guards Red RS Americas belonging to Kevin F and Thomas E - both of CA. We all introduced ourselves and started the obligatory checking out of each others RSAs. The weather was still looking pretty grim for CA, with low cloud and no sign of the sun, but it did lighten up and the clouds slowly burned off later in the the day.
Within about half an hour we were joined by Domi Y of San Diego in his newly acquired Black RSA sporting 993 cup wheels. This swelled our ranks to six RS Americas and at this point we really had no idea how many other owners would show up.
We then learned that one of the vendor tents at the edge of the corral was about to become vacant and, as it was on the end of vendor village, that meant that it came with some prime real estate enabling us to line our cars up along the fence trackside instead of being littered in with all the other Porsches in the corral. We immediately staked our claim lining up all six cars in a row and despite the poor light we snapped off a few pictures.
Cast in order of appearance: Tom E, Keith V, Don T, Kevin F, Tom C and Domi Y.
Not long after we set up in echelon formation, we were joined by Joe Y Jr. in his Guards red RSA looking great in its 993 RS 3 piece rims. After brief introductions, we took a few more photos and decided that it would probably be best to wait until later in the day when the ambient light would surely improve.
Along came Joe Y Jr. .... and then there were seven!
With seven of us together, after we'd checked out each others cars, we decided to head off to vendor village and get something to eat.
While we were eating and exchanging tall tales about our adventures with our cars (it's interesting how virtually no one seems to have simply found an RSA for sale, gone to see it and then just bought it - everyone has some little twist that makes the purchase of their RSA a little unusual) we discussed going on the track tour at lunch time and it was generally agreed it was a good idea - especially if we could all stick together and run as a group. After all ..... when exactly was the last time you got to run a track like California Speedway with a pack of RS Americas?
We were told that we would need to start marshaling for the 12 o'clock track tour around 11:30, so ..... being smart, Kevin F and I who seemed most enthused about getting some track time (even though we knew it would be behind a pace car) headed over there ahead of time around 11:15 with the intent of being sure to get near the front and ergo the pacecar .....
........ only to find we were about 90th in line!!
My immediate thought was that the farther back you are during parade laps the slower you go because your speed always governed by the slowest guy in the line ahead of you. After waiting some time, Tom E joined us in his glossy red car, now making a three man crew of RSAs - by no means a stunning turnout - but definitely not to be sniffed at.
Tom E showed up for the track tour at the very last minute in his glossy red car.
The cars proceeded out onto the track single file at what seemed a snail's pace, and then, just as we got to the track entrance - they stopped us!! The marshals said that the group had become too spaced out and that they were going to have to divide the track tour into two run groups.
BUMMER!!! That meant we had to sit it out and watch the first group of cars doing 5 or 6 laps (admittedly at pretty moderate speeds).
Things were not looking too good at this point.
Lap 1 - A shot looking aft from RS America #2 showing #3 and #4 at roughly 70 mph warming things up slowly.
Notice the silver 356 Carrera 2 on our tail in the early laps of the track tour.
Then it dawned on us that there was a definite advantage to being the last guys NOT to make it into the first run group - and that was it meant that we were front and center, right behind the pace car for the second track tour group. At this point, we saw RS America registry member Steve G of San Diego in his Guards red Club Race RSA and beckoned him to join our three man “Tribute to the RS America” which he did willingly. With Steve G in his track car right behind the Cayenne pace car, then the Fly Yellow car and then Kevin F and Tom E in their brace of Guards Red cars, team RS America was a four man squadron ............ and looking good.
Lap 2 - a steady pace in the in-field just driving the line.
Additionally, we got a few shots of the track tour looking forward from the gurads red RSA in slot #3 - thanks to Kevin F having his camera with him.
Lap 3 - Picking up the pace showed some differing lines through the in-field.
As our tires and brakes and the engine all started to warm up, the pace car gradually increased his speed. Each time he did so the four RS Americas stuck right with him - keeping a safe distance of course.
Lap 3 - As speeds increased the cars at the front of the pack reached 100mph on the front straight and into the banking.
The silver 356 Carrera 2 is still hanging in there!
At “moderate” speeds the track seemed very wide and exceptionally smooth, on a couple of occasions it was very evident that the pace car was the only thing stopping a driver “kicking it up a notch” and going crazy.
All the time on the track tour, I was slip streaming a Guards Red RS America and being tailed by another two, all I could think of was what it would be like to have 30 or maybe 40 RS Americas lined up in the corral ...... and then on a track tour ..... WOW !! ...... definitely something to work on for next year!
For the last few laps at higher speeds the RS Americas had no problem staying close to the pace car.
After the track tour, we returned to the corral to find another RS America registry member had brought his car over. This was the Grand Prix white car with an RS3.8 rear wing of Zane D of CA. Zane has recently moved from OK to CA and in order to make a gesture of compliance with CA smog laws, he has removed the supercharger from his RSA - see Life with a supercharged RS America on the Members Articles page. Zane arrived on Wednesday to help-out event chair Ron Mistak with the PCA-SDR Drivers Ed on Thursday and then the PCA National staff during the Club Race. As a consequence, he was unable to get away and bring his car over to join us in the corral until after lunch.
The 8th RSA - Zane D of CA brought his beautiful Grand Prix White RSA over to join us after lunch.
Later in the day, RS America registry member Warren G of CA came over and introduced himself. Unfortunately he was unable to bring his one-off, color to sample Maritime blue RS America to the event, but he did spend some time with us and regaled us with several tales of his rare car - including how he picked it up new from the factory in Stuttgart and then drove it straight across the street to the Porsche® “Sonderwishes” workshop where factory customization and upgrades are fitted to customer cars.
I'm hoping to talk Warren into writing an article about his one-of-a-kind RSA for the rsamerica.net website in the near future so we can all hear about such things as special order aluminum hoods, custom color-coded interiors to match custom exterior paintwork, custom “crested” gearshift knobs, custom steering wheels etc., etc. His car was featured on the cover of Excellence magazine at a Porsche anniversary celebration in Germany in 1993.
Warren is a really great guy and has a wealth of knowledge about not just the RSA itself, but also some key people involved in bringing it to life, from the original designers of the American “RS” concept, through to getting to know Porsche factory personnel/celebrities such as Jurgen Barth. How many people do you know that have had a factory racing driver such as Herr Barth give them a demonstration of how their 911 should be driven at the limit?
Check out Warren's Maritime blue RS America on the Photo Gallery page - it really is very striking.
Later in the afternoon a group of us spent some time in the grandstands watching the club racers “going for it” at full speed for qualifying. We then toured the pits and found another two Guards Red RSAs and a black one that we had seen being put through their paces in the PCA club race.
In addition to the 8 street RSAs that were in the corral, the following three drivers were competing in the PCA Club Race in RSAs.
Show me Steve G of CA's web page on www.rsamerica.net.
Show me George G of CA's web page on www.rsamerica.net.
Show me Bob R of CA's web page on www.rsamerica.net.
The California Festival of Speed event in Fontana was great fun and is developing into an annual Southern California Porsche spectacular. Adding it to the calendar for RS America registry members seems a logical next step.
I sincerely hope that this article has peaked your interest enough to make you want to participate with your RS America next year.
Now THAT would make an awesome track tour!
To all RSA owners except Joe Y Jr., Domi Y, Tom C, Kevin F, Don T and Tom E - you really should have been there!