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Holiday Party Dec 3

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The Bucket List: Porsche Supercup at Spa, Belgium & Monza, Italy

Photos and Story by Harry Kennison

I guess all of us have a "bucket list" of things we'd like to do before we leave this Earth. For many of us, buying our first Porsche might have been on our bucket lists and, because you're reading this newsletter, you have obviously already crossed this one off your list. In my case, Formula 1 races I haven't attended but have wanted to go to since I started following racing when I was eleven years old have been on my personal bucket list for far too long. And the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa and the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza have been right at the top. I'm pleased to report that I've now crossed them off my list, having attended both races on back-to-back weekends in September.

First up was Spa. Located in the Ardennes Forest near the Belgian border with Germany, it is considered by many, including yours truly, to be the most challenging circuit on the grand prix calendar. The 4.3 mile circuit is also home to one of the most famous turns in racing, Eau Rouge, which is a left kink at the bottom of a steep hill taken flat out at 19,000 rpm by today's F-1 cars. Television coverage just doesn't convey the steepness of the turn's entrance or uphill exit—you simply have to see it to believe it. Spa is a circuit that is also notorious for rain, and this year was no exception. Although the rain held off until the final two laps of the F-1 race, when it came, it resulted in one of the closest and most controversial finishes of the year. British phenom Lewis Hamilton won on the track in his silver McLaren but was later given a 25-second penalty for his coming together with Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, dropping Hamilton to 3rd place and a scant one point lead in the championship over Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari who inherited the victory. But lest I digress into the political world of Formula 1, let's get down to the preliminary event that's near and dear to our hearts, the Porsche Supercup.

What could be better? A pro racing series of 30–35 nearly identical Porsche GT3's cranking out 420 horsepower and running on the same tracks that host the Formula 1 races on the same weekend. The racing is intense to say the least, as success can mean a factory ride at Le Mans, ALMS, or the Rolex series. The Porsche Supercup winner at Spa was 21-year-old Sean Edwards, who proved to be a wet-weather expert in the slick conditions at Spa.

My longtime racing buddy, Rich Mitter, took a few days off enjoying Lucerne, Switzerland before we made our way down to Lake Como, Italy for the Italian Grand Prix (it was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it). Although we'd hoped for sunny skies, it turned out to be the wettest weekend in 27 years at the fabled Monza track. The rain also produced the youngest first-time winner in history, 21-year-old Sebastian Vettel, driving for the upstart Toro Rosso team.

The Porsche Supercup race looked more like a Friday night short-track shoot-out than a sports-car race, with cars bumping and grinding and sliding through the Variante Chicane. Eventually, Nicolas Armindo emerged triumphant in his GT3.

So what's left on my "bucket list?" I've never been to Monaco!

For more information about the Porsche Supercup series, go to:
http://www.porsche.com/international/motorsportandevents/motorsport/racing/pmsc
.

 


  Click on any photo to enlarge it

Porsche GT3's sweep through Pouhon corner at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium during the Porsche Supercup race.

Alessandro Zampedri hurries toward Les Combes corner at Spa in his Matador Automotive GT.

Jaap van Lagen powers out of Pouhon during the Porsche Supercup race at Spa, Belgium.

Championship contender Jeroen Bleekemolen heads down the hill toward Pouhon corner at Spa.

Stephan Rosina leads Marco Holzer through Pouhon during the Porsche Supercup race at Spa, Belgium.

A bevy of GT3's mix it up exiting the Variante Chicane at the historic Monza Autodrome in Italy during the Porsche Supercup race.

Three GT3's trade paint in the Variante Chicane during the Porsche Supercup race at Monza, Italy.

Three GT3's negotiate the Variante Chicane during the Porsche Supercup race at Monza, Italy during the Italian Grand Prix weekend.