Most performance sports cars shy away from the elements and stay in the garage when harsh weather hits. But when you’re the ultimate competitor, and points are on the line, the only option is go out and win.
The Riesentöter region of the Porsche Club of America took to Monticello Motor Club for a weekend of competitive racing on the four-mile road course nestled in the woods of New York. The weather forecast for the Stuttgart Challenge was ominous, with rain showers, thunderstorms, wind and even hail slated to interrupt the club races. But all of the cars were prepared, with crews swapping rain slicks onto their cars and drivers buckling down for the added challenge of precipitation and limited visibility.
During the opening day of racing, little got in the way of the practice sessions where teams lapped the circuit all-the-while datalogging the vehicles to properly dial them in for the following day when it counts. But Saturday was the worst day in the forecast, with severe thunderstorms all but assured for the duration of the racing schedule.
Once the morning kicked off for the first class sprint race, fog was smothering the grounds but the expectation was for it to clear. Both morning sprint races were clouded by the fog, especially troubling for cars without functioning headlights or windshield wipers, and thus the next races were delayed. Ultimately, the classes were combined for the ending points race as time was running out, the fog wasn’t lifting, and the forecast was still calling for rain. Crews were unsure of what to expect, but the expectation of them was to get the cars out on the grid regardless.
A small handful of cars didn’t make it through the weekend due to the conditions proving tough, but most battled through the races and put up impressive times that even rivaled their dry laps. And once the racing wrapped up and class awards were handed out, the prevailing thought was: well, it could have been a lot worse.
As Sunday morning broke, it was a welcoming site to actually see the sun again. The 1.5-hour endurance race that awaited couldn’t really be put off.
The race was not only nearly twice as long as the normal sprint races, it added new variables like mandatory pit stops and possible driver changes to the mix, as well as simply the increased focus required over the expanded time frame. Pitting was so important in fact that it almost single-handedly decided the outcome of the race.
A white 911 GT3 Cup set the circuit ablaze throughout the weekend, setting lap times unrivaled by any other competitor. It was piloted by Spencer Cox, the owner of Speedsport Tuning from Connecticut, which handled a selection of Porsches involved competitively in the race. However, two of Speedsport’s Cayman racers took their mandatory pit stop during a caution lap, whereas Cox pitted during green, allowing the Caymans to overtake the GT3 and ultimate finish at the head of the field. Cox easily finished at the top of his class, however, and took home several trophies from the evening before anyway.
The winning Cayman had carbon fiber headlight casings and no actual light, proving that the weather conditions were no match for simply the competitive spirit of the Porsche Club drivers.