Watch a GT3 driver crash at the Nurburgring

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I had a conversation with the organizer of an upcoming motosport series yesterday who commented that they have had one time visits from Porsche drivers who don’t stick around because they don’t like being humiliated by guys in Honda Civics. Today’s first video is kinda like that.

This morning, Bill Caswell from BUILD RACE PARTY posted a video from the infamous Nurburgring, where a Porsche 911 GT3 driver got a taste of why Sir Jackie called the place The Green Hell.

Caswell is in the black forest preparing for his first ever race at the ‘Ring, this weekend. The driver, who you may recognize as the guy who took a Craigslist BMW, converted it to a rally car and competed in the WRC Mexico a few years ago. Caswell has enlisted the help of Robb Holland, an American who races in the BTCC in an Audi S3, to help bring him up to speed. While touring the track in a Ford Focus RS, Holland catches up with a GT3 which is clearly being over driven. It isn’t too long before we see the Porsche driver put two wheels off and then a few corners later he stuffs it into the Armco. What is really cool is that Holland calls the off well before it happens!
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/MOMO SlowMo from Sebring

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Just because race organizers didn’t have their crap together at Sebring doesn’t mean that the event was devoid of great content. Quite the opposite, as my buddies at /DRIVE were on hand shooting their unique style of awesomeness for those of us who weren’t able to attend.

There are fewer things cooler than super high frame rate video of racing cars at full chat, showed right down so the viewer can see the the tires and suspension moving and body panels flexing. This is the second installment of /DRIVE’s newest feature: MOMO SlowMo.

Porsche GTS web spots by Toronto filmmaker

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Warwick Patterson of Formula Photographic isn’t the only Canadian filmmaker making his presence known in the international automotive scene these days. Toronto based Tamir Moscovici of Spy Films is the guy behind Sony’s new web flick about the man behind the ultra popular Grand Tourismo series of games for Playstation.
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Karma takes a bite out of Porsche driving asshat

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First off, I have to say that it is so cool to be able to use words like asshat, words that I actually use when I’m speaking, it a headline. Writing for mainstream publications over the past few years has left my written vocabulary rather tame.

This video of a road raging dickwad in a Porsche Cayenne comes to us from the Republic of Maldova via the boys at Truck Yeah on Jalopnik. This guy got so wound up about getting his anger across and proving his supremacy, that he kinda forgot to watch where he was going. Replacing the front end on that sporty SUV is going to cost a pretty penny, or whatever they call those little coins in the former Soviet Union.

Porsche Reveals 2014 911 Targa

P14_0001_a5_rgbThe 2014 North American International Auto Show is officially underway in Detroit, and with it come plenty of exciting concept cars, and new cars making their official debut to the automotive media. Surely any new Porsche 911 variant will garner plenty of interest, but even more so from this journalist. See, I own a Porsche 911 1976 Targa, and I have been eagerly awaiting the latest iteration.

The first 911 Targa came out in 1967. Featuring a roll bar covered in stainless steel, the Targa had a removable, foldable top that can be easily stored under the hood, with a removable plastic rear window that you simply unzippered. After complaints from buyers, Porsche quickly ditched the removable rear window, replacing it with a distinctive wrap around glass rear window. That was mid-1968, and all Porsche 911 Targas were built that way until the mid 1990′s. In 1996, the Targa now featured fully fixed door pillars-a huge glass roof would slide back. It wasn’t the same.

All that changes with the 2014 Porsche 911 Targa. The stainless steel rollbar  look has made a triumphant return, and the overall silhouette is classic Targa. But this is a far more sophisticated animal than my Targa. Instead of undoing two latches, popping the roof panel off, folding it up, and storing it up front, the modern Targa driver presses a button. The rear roof section raises, the roof panel stores itself behind driver and passenger, rear roof sections returns to the normal, and voila, Targa top off.

Two Targa models will be offered, both with all-wheel drive. The Targa 4 is equipped with a 3.4L boxer six, rated at 350hp. Equipped with PDK and Chrono package, the Targa 4 can do 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 174mph. Too slow? Then move up to the Targa 4S, with a 4.0L six packing 400hp. Porsche claims 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds, topping out at 183mph. As for the price of admission, the Targa 4 starts at $101,600USD, while the Targa 4S starts at $116,200. Porsche expects deliveries this summer.

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Review: 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS

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At the tender age of 15, I got my first ride in a Porsche-a brand new 1988 911 Carrera. The sound of that air cooled flat six ruined me for life. And I swore I would own a Porsche. In college I owned a Porsche 944, which was a great car, handled wonderfully, and holds fond memories as it was the car I took my first drive with the woman I would eventually marry and raise a family. But the burning desire for a 911 never went away. And in June of 2002, my dream came true. To this day, whenever I fire up my 911 I still get a chill down my spine.  But while all this was happening, Porsche, the brand I had coveted for years dropped a bomb on me. They were going to sell, of all things, an SUV.

Yes, I understood the stories from Porsche saying they needed to sell more cars to remain viable. That a car like the Cayenne could help fund development for their sports cars. But since the beginning, Porsche was nothing but sports cars. Driving my 911 was like being in a fraternity. When you saw an oncoming Porsche, you always waved. It was a recognition that we knew we were driving very special cars with a fantastic history and racing pedigree. When the Cayenne debuted, it marked a significant change in Porsche culture. Cayenne drivers do not wave. And I don’t wave either. They don’t care how incredible it was to see Steve McQueen pilot a 911S in the opening of the film ‘LeMans’. They don’t get it, nor do they care.

So, yes, it is safe to say I have been a cynic of the Cayenne from the start. Yet, all the reviews I have read generally praised the Cayenne. Well, the day finally came where I was to meet the Cayenne, and live with it for a full week. Is it a car to be worthy of the Porsche crest? Read on…

It never helped, in my opinion, that the first generation Cayenne was sort of awkward looking. It lacked the class of the Mercedes-Benz ML550. Nor did it look all that sporty either. In other words, I could not convey the design message Porsche was trying to sell. Thankfully, in 2011 the Cayenne was redesigned. The styling was sharper, more focused, tighter. New for 2013, the Cayenne GTS ups the ante with the Turbo front fascia, smoked head and tail lights, LED lighting, matte black quad exhaust tips, and a twin wing roof spoiler. Red brake calipers and a 3/4″ drop in ride height underscore that this is no ordinary Cayenne. Finished in white with gorgeous 21″ black painted alloys, this is the Cayenne designed for the Porsche enthusiast.

IMG_0340Slip onto the leather and Alcantara driver’s seat, look at the gauge cluster, and any Porsche driver will feel instantly at home. Porsches are meant to be driven fast, and as such, I appreciated the easy to read instrument panel. Yes, the center console is inundated with buttons, but I found it far easier and more intuitive that scrambling through menus on BMW’s iDrive. While the Cayenne is a full five seater SUV, from the driver’s seat, it does not feel that way. It is driver focused, cozy as a sports car but not at all confining. The quality of materials and level of fit and finish are beyond reproach. Porsche nailed the interior with painstaking attention to detail, and it shows. Simply outstanding.

Still, this is a Porsche, and what goes on in the engine room is what any Porsche fan wants to know. And there are several choices. You start with a V-6, which is all you will want or need while looking for a parking space at Neiman Marcus. Sadly, this is the only engine Porsche offers with a six-speed manual. Also available are diesel, hybrid, V-8, and V-8 turbo engines, all of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic. All Cayennes come with all-wheel drive. Our GTS was fitted with a 4.8L V-8 pumping out a healthy 420hp. Porsche claims 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds, with a top speed of 162 mph. That is remarkably fast for an SUV of this size and weight. Not to mention, it can tow up to 7,700 lbs.

For a weekend getaway, I drove my family to the gorgeous town of Newport, Rhode Island. I had only driven the Cayenne around town, and found it docile and very easy to drive. On the highway though, you can tell instantly this car was bred for the autobahn. Pedal to the floor on the entrance ramp the V-8 produces an intoxicating roar. Passing power is exceptional, and a thrill to boot, but with the Cayenne’s aggressive face, pounding down I-95 was like parting the Red Sea. At one point my wife asked why I was driving so slow. I looked at the speedometer. I was doing 80 mph. After spending time, and looking perfectly at home at the famous Newport mansions and a sunset cruise down Ocean Drive, it was time to point the GTS back home.

There was no question the Cayenne was incredible as a highway bomber, but on the curvy roads leading me to the historic Ocean House hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island for an exceptional dinner. The Cayenne GTS tackled the sinuous roads with aplomb, defying the size and weight of the car with sports car like reflexes. Truly amazing. As brutal the power of the GTS may be, it speaks volumes of the refinement Porsche built into this car as I raced home while my wife and son dozed off. I have said it before, but it is these moments when it is man and machine in perfect sync that make the mark of a truly remarkable vehicle.

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But, this level of automotive excellence does come at a price. You can have a V-6 Cayenne for under $50,000USD, but to get a GTS, you are starting at $82,050. Typical with Porsche, there are a ton of options available. Counting on the Monroney of our test car, there were 26 options added on. Sure, the Cayenne is no stripper, but options like SiriusXM HD radio, thermal and noise insulated glass, panoramic sunroof, front and rear heated seats, navigation, rearview camera with park assist, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, a Burmester surround sound audio system ($5,690!)¬† and 21″ wheels, along with countless other options wracked up our test car’s as delivered price to a breathtaking $124,875. But that’s how it is with Porsche.

I have spent years loathing the Cayenne, but after a week with the GTS, I give in. It is simply brilliant. I understand Porsche’s business plan. Buyers of their sports cars may need an SUV, so why not build one yourself? Yes, wealthy folks will continue to buy the V-6 Cayenne in drove for bragging rights, but the GTS is the real deal. It is truly the SUV for the Porsche purist.

The Garage at 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona

The Winners crossing the line!

The Winners crossing the line!

The past 12 months have been just a crazy ride for me as I have traveled around the world covering events for Wheels.ca including bucket list events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and just this past weekend I went to Daytona Beach to cover the Rolex 24 for the first time. Just an incredible year!

To get my full report on the 24, click here to read my live blog from the race complete with tons of images. The long and the short of it is that Chip Ganassi Racing won their fifth Rolex 24 in ten years. Toronto’s AIM Autosport pulled off a great third spot on the podium in the GT class and west coast Canucks, Bullet Racing, scored second place in the new GX class.

Head past the jump to see a rather huge gallery of images from the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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Interview with Team Falken Racing

Recently I’ve been helping out my friends at Performance Racing News with some video content. In that role, I sat down with the guys from Team Falken Racing at the recent Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers talked about racing, fitness and Mexican food!

Video after the break.
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Gallery: Thursday in the paddock at Grand Prix of Mosport

Race fans start showing up at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park today for the Grand Prix of Mosport, but for the teams, the action started yesterday. As the LMP 1 & 2 teams set up their paddock and pit spaces, the support series spent the day testing on track. Me, I spent part of the day wandering with the camera and the rest of it in the press room doing stuff for my gig at Wheels.

Check out a gallery from yesterday after the break.
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Professor Ferdinand Porsche passes at age 76

Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche passed away earlier this morning in Salzburg, Austria. The son of Dr. Ferry Porsche and his wife Dorothea, F.A. Porsche was more than the son of a prominent sports car manufacturer. His vision of the ultimate sports car became the standard by which all sports cars would forever be judged. F.A. Porsche created the iconic Porsche 911.

Regardless of what country one grew up in, every motoring enthusiast around the globe has been touched in some way by the 911. Likewise, most of those who are not inclined towards the automotive lifestyle can instantly identify the shape as a Porsche. The 911 is nothing short of a cultural icon.

Every motoring enthusiast can cite the origins of their passion. While the seeds of mine were planted when I was a toddler, they were fertilized from the age of about 8 or 9, when I first visited my friend’s garage and got up close with the 911 that sat within. I learned that it was one of the oldest 911′s in the World. At that young age, that knowledge meant little compared to my reality that I was able to sit in a real Porsche. Even then, I knew the car was special.

In 1962, F.A. Porsche took over the design department at the company bearing his family’s name. The first product to emerge from his studio was to be called the 901 and it took the World by storm. The successor to the 356, the 901 was revealed to the public at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Not long afterwards, at the Paris Auto Salon, Peugeot made claim to the 901 model name and the car was renamed the 911.

As I grew into my Teens, I began to understand that this car was not actually a 911 at all, rather it was a 901 and an early one at that. Number 27 was originally on display at the 1963 London Motor Show, before making its way to Canada. That one car played a pivotal role in forming my automotive addiction.

Likewise, the myriad of 911 models to follow would mold the passion of millions of enthusiasts, each with their own story to tell.

We have a gallery of images from F.A. Porsche’s professional life, along with the official press release from Porsche after the break.
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