Francesco Tiepolo

It all began with the usual chat.

"Porsches are the strongest." 

"No, you don’t know what you’re talking about; Ferraris are the strongest.

Porsches might be strong on the track and in rallies, but Ferrari's 0-100km/h times, Ferrari 's max speed..." On and on it goes.

Then comes the idea; a challenge on track. 
Ten different Porsche models against ten Ferrari models of the same year. What seemed like innocent chat about the vaunted superiority of one over the other, spawned a battle to prove facts, objectively of course, in the field.

A famous journalist/rallydriver sets the Rules:

The showdown takes place at circuit Lombardore in North Italy, not far from Turin. 2 warm-ups of 5 laps, tires are free...only they’re not slick. A few period models — Dino 2400, 911 2.4S, Ferrari 208 Turbo, 911 3,0 Turbo, Ferrari 308 GTB, 911 Carrera, etc. From a Daytona, 3.3 Turbo, and Ferrari 512 up to a Ferrari 348 GTB, 911 Carrera 3,6, Ferrari 348 Challenge, and 944 Turbo Cup.
A few days before the showdown, the circuit's already buzzing with Ferrari tests...and it looks like “the Reds” have brought on some semi-professional Formula 2 pilots. It also looks like they’re using some close relative of the racing slick — is fear setting in? But we’ll set these small details aside for now.

January. A perfect sunny day as if on cue for the event greeted an audience peppered with dealers and car club Illuminati. The combat that would either disappoint or delight supporters of the marques was set to begin.

The premise was announced:

“Today we set to prove which marque would earn the accolade of "World Champion GT. To the gentlemen drivers of the world’s finest cars, today we fight for our honor, losers won't survive.”

That said it all.

"We did a few laps around the track in a formation of alternating Ferraris and Porsches, but then the frolicking was over..."

Drivers  began to trickle in. Ferrari fascinated the crowd in monochrome red. Porsche, on the other hand, preferred a more dynamic presence with nearly every color of the spectrum. Punctual as Swiss clocks, the two divided groups sit tight. Off in the distance, the Ferrari girls tease and distract the eyes as if to suggest that the marque they represent is more than the machines they produce, it’s about glamour, beauty, and exclusivity...the meaning behind their seductive smiles is clear. But we’re here for something totally different.
A bit of showing off was in order. We did a few laps around the track in a formation of alternating Ferraris and Porsches, but then the frolicking was over — get ready, it’s going to get serious.

The race director establishes 45 minutes of free run to to ensure the car’s set-ups are satisfactory. Ferraris attack the track. Their presence hushes the crowd; beautiful, fascinating, the sound of 8 and 12 cylinders enraptured the audience. The Porsche drivers take things easy; a few laps, then they come in to set pressure tires, adjust the anti-roll bar...they certainly don’t feel threatened by the Reds. Out on the tarmac, a Testarossa comes around the turn in spectacular fashion...sideways; the crowd goes wild.

Smiles abounding in the Ferrari enclave. In my head, I’m thinking, "Big show, little yield, while they’re playing “the rallydriver,” the clock is running.” But I keep everything to myself. Like a little bastard, I reply with a smirk suggesting false admiration. Some of the Porsche drivers feel at home here. One of them is also one of the circuit’s owners; they know the lay of land pretty well, so they do a few laps and try instead to give good hints by example to my the less trained companions.
The last 10 minutes, the Porsche pilots spun better track times. A few Ferrari drivers start getting a little anxious which is quickly dispelled at the sight of some Ferrari girl bottoms as they once again come parading out.  We did a bit of pre-tactical maneuvers, not totally discovering our strengths or faults. Our opponents, believing they have this one neatly slipped in their pockets, display magnanimous attitudes. “No, I saw you were slowed down by the car in front, doing a cool down lap.”

Finally the two sessions began.

News of the challenge spread rapidly and so the initial 10 Porsches, 10 Ferraris were increased to another five each, for a total of 15 Ferrari and 15 Porsche. A pair or two were similar models but we agreed that "more opponents equal more battle honor."

While the morning continued, the warm winter sun has raised the temperature of the asphalt by several degrees. We adjust tire pressures, fill up our tanks, perform a few final checks and we’re ready. The fierce battle begins; no one wants to lose. Some have illusions of grandeur that their performance may prompt a phone call from Ferrari or Porsche...maybe they’ll be offered an official factory seat?
The race, however, didn’t suggest any unecessary displays of aggressive “showmanship.” The public began to notice that clean driving paid off. Porsches had better times, lap after lap, and hammered the opponents. Suddenly, the smiles on the faces in suport of the Cavallino Rampante were becoming increasingly rare, instead, the smiles of Stuttgart fans began growing.

The first match came to a close; the results were as follows:
  1. Nanni C. / Porsche 944 Turbo Cup
  2. Peppino G. / Porsche 911 RS - 1.04
  3. Mario S. / Porsche 911 RS - 1.36
  4. Piero M. / Porsche 3.3 Turbo - 2.17
  5. David P. / Ferrari 348 TB - 2.31
  6. Fabio L. / Porsche 911 Carrera 2
  7. Marco R. / Ferrari 512 BB
  8. Piero M. / Porsche 911 Speedster
  9. Alberto B. / Ferrari Testarossa
  10. M.R. / Porsche 911 Carrera 4
  11. Sergio B. / Porsche 3.6
  12. Piero G. / Ferrari 348 TB
  13. Andrea R. Porsche 944 Turbo S
  14. Paul M. / Ferrari 308 VTR
  15. Bruno M. / Porsche 3.3 Turbo
  16. Michela G. / Porsche 911 RS
  17. Amatore B. / Porsche 911 S
  18. Paul S. / ferrari 348 TB
  19. Claudio F. / Ferrrari 208 GTS Turbo
  20. Rino R. / Porsche 911 2.4
  21. Gualtiero G. / Porsche 356 racer
  22. Sandro G. / Ferrari Testarossa
  23. Luca V. / Ferrari 348 TS
  24. Andrea F. / Porsche 911 3.2
  25. M.C. / Ferrari 308 GTB
  26. Walter B. / Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
  27. Enrico T. / Ferrari 512 BB
No more paroxysmal laughter of self-exaltation justified by having at hand, served on a silver plate, the opportunities of which any Ferrari driver would love to have once in a lifetime: to beat hardcore Porsche fans. This changed the attitudes. Some irreducible Ferrari drivers simply can’t accept that. The conviction of "I'm not here to win but... I'm not losing” took on a different flavor. Those never interested began approaching the Porsches asking some questions and making some statements, shyly at first but then with conviction.

"How much does it weigh? But is this standard? This has to be Turbo, no? It’s pretty lively! You never encountered fading brakes? The tires didn’t didn’t want to break lose? Sure, exiting the bends with 50/50 weight distribution of this Turbo is superb, but look at my’s just beautiful!" The chatter was incessant.

Time for the second run. Ready? GO!

History repeats itself...except for some changes in a few positions in the middle group, the end result remains unchanged with 7 Porsches in the top 10.

This was a real event, occurring in 1991, put together by the owner of that 944 Turbo Cup to sway the guys hesitating in joining the “Registro italiano Porsche 924 944 968 928.” He's now the president of the registry, winner of at least 3 Turbo Cup championships, and the first owner of that beautiful Red 944 Turbo Cup.

When you read or hear about something like this, what stops you from buying a 944, or any Porsche transaxle, and/or joining a fan’s group? flüssig, as a fans group, could be a world wide disease, like Mr Leo Dijkstra would like.

Disease or not, I bet nobody will bother looking for meds or remedies to cure it.

Franceso Tiepolo  - flüssig's correspondent in Italy

images: Grazie a Nanni Corongi: Presidente Registro ufficiale Porsche Italia per le foto.


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