Rennsport Reunion Road Rally: The Akrapovič Booth Cars Cruise Up The West Coast
When I first got my driver’s license and thrust myself into the culture of automobiles, one of my favorite parts of the newly discovered lifestyle was just driving my modified car with other modified cars. Cruising, as it’s referred to, is an automotive exploit that’s probably as old as the production of the world’s second car. There’s just something personally enriching about surrounding yourself with other enthusiasts experiencing the most fundamental purpose for owning an automobile – driving. These cruises are usually without destination, and used as a break from the stresses of the world around us. However, on occasion, we enthusiasts use them as an excuse to band together on our way to a specific event. This was the case for the Akrapovič booth cars in the buildup to the legendary Rennsport Reunion VI event held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Salinas, CA.
Akrapovič, a world leader in premium titanium exhaust technology from Slovenia, teamed up with Turn 14 Distribution, the brand’s sole U.S. distributor, to assemble a group of Akrapovič-equipped Porsches able to attract the masses on one of the world’s biggest stages. The plan was to take this group of cars from the surrounding area of Los Angeles, up through the mountains just north of LA, and then cross over to the famous Pacific Coast Highway for the remainder of the excursion. A route surrounded in breathtaking scenery, and riddled with swooping dangerous-yet-exhilarating roads in the closing stages. This is a task not only perfectly sculpted for the performance oriented Porsche lineup, but also for a photographic (and cinematic) review of the trip.
And So It Begins…
First things first, we needed to round up all of the cars with their associated drivers. Our initial stop was to Go Tuning Unlimited in Orange, CA, to pick up cars from the two co-founders Tommy Ha and Aaron Wang.
Wang relinquished the keys to his wife’s Volk Racing-equipped Macan Turbo, and instead drove Ha’s Cayman GT4 complete with Titan 7 T-S7 wheels. The vehicles were given time to warm up before the next phase of the roundup continued. From there we’d be heading to Sante Fe Springs, CA to gather the rest of the fleet.
Sorry, I couldn’t help but include this spotless, virgin Roma Red CX I spotted on the highway.
We arrived at Evasive Motorsports, where co-founder Mike Chang was waiting with his 997 GT3 in tow. Along with the final Porsche on this trip, which was Greg Park’s 991 GT3, complete with BBS Motorsport E88 wheels.
In addition to the cars, we collected Mike Maravilla of Unscene Media, who documented the entire trip for a feature film. While Maravilla recorded a few clips of the cars outside Evasive, the final touches were placed on each of the cars before the journey began.
This gave me some time to look at some highlights on each of the cars, like these incredibly limited ASM Recaro RS-W seats in Tommy Ha’s 981 GT4. Two of only twenty seats produced look right at home in the Porsche. Also, thanks to the Akrapovič Slip-On titanium exhaust system poking out from underneath the rear diffuser, it sounds healthy, too.
Moving to Mike Chang’s 997 GT3, the most obvious addition is the carbon fiber Voltex Type 4 GT wing situated above the rear deck lid, followed by the 19-inch Titan 7 T-S5 wheels. But the focus of the trip surrounded the refined tone made by the Akrapovič Slip-On titanium exhaust.
Greg Park’s 991 GT3 utilized an Akrapovič Evolution Line titanium exhaust system and carbon fiber rear diffuser to heighten the excitement created from the engine, and a spotless set of BBS Motorsport E88 wheels to enhance the otherwise stock exterior.
The final entry, the Macan Turbo, was fitted with a factory Porsche cargo box on the roof, forged Volk Racing G27 wheels attached to the hubs, and a distinguished growl from the Akrapovič Evolution Line titanium exhaust system. It’s basically the ultimate family hauler.
We got on the road with an influx of cars, and not enough drivers, so I piloted Maravilla’s rental Toyota Sienna minivan on our way to pick up our final driver, Eddie Lee, co-founder of Titan 7 Wheels.
Starting The Journey
Well, partly starting the journey. As with any gathering of people, all are on different routines and schedules, and we needed to stop within a half hour for some food. We settled on this area, got a bite to eat, and continued on our way.
For the remainder of the trip, Maravilla and I switched off driving the Sienna so the other could record portions of the driving scenery.
After about another half hour of driving, we stopped to top-off the lineup of white Porsches with some fuel before heading into the mountains where stations would be scarce.
Following this group of sports cars (and SUV) through these mountains was surreal. The sounds they made, and the sight of them traveling in unison through the majestic landscape was really something to behold.
The route became extremely tight and winding, as the road careened up through the mountains, so we couldn’t take another break until we happened onto a clearing again at the bottom. But once we eventually pulled over, we were greeted with quite the view!
After a brief stretching of the legs, it was time to get moving again. At this point, we weren’t making bad time, but if we were going to squeeze in the scenic stops we had planned on, we needed to pick up the pace.
On The Road Again (And Again)
Maravilla and I played a fun game in the Sienna of speeding ahead of the group and pulling over to get some motion shots as they drove by us, then hopping back in the van, and doing it all over again.
As we finalized the inland highway portion of the trip, I was able to get some cool shots of the cars in traffic. It’s enjoyable to see how the Porsches stick out amongst the average cars. There’s no mistaking them making their way through the rest of the vehicles on the road.
With the straight highway portion over, we made our way into Pismo Beach. The remainder of the trip would be up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), for some incredible sights, steep cliffs, and a setting sun. Sounds perfect, right?
Keen on taking one more break before the intense winding roads along the coastline, we settled into this kayak rental to give the cars a rest, and stretch our legs.
While we were there, numerous bystanders stopped in their cars to take photos of the cars parked, or ask us what we were doing, and where we were going. I guess a pack of stunning Porsches have that effect. One visitor in particular we weren’t expecting was this random cat.
It walked right up to us, and actually basked in the attention, posing for all of the Instagram stories. Not pictured, it actually jumped into the van while we weren’t looking, and refused to get out. So I spent a few minutes trying to lure it back outside—without touching a stray cat with unknown diseases or bugs—which ended in success, and we finally got back on the road…again.
Now, for anyone who has taken the PCH before, you already know, but for those of you who don’t know: once you’re on it, you’re on it. The exits are few and far between, and there just isn’t much civilization surrounding it, so we needed to fuel up one more time before attempting to spend hours on it.
I never really grew tired of seeing the cars at the pump.
The Pacific Coast Highway
Once we left the gas station, it was go time. The sun was setting quicker than we had anticipated, and the longest stretch of the trip was still upon us.
One of the planned stops—we were actually supposed to hit a bit earlier in the day—was this ocean view in San Simeon. It was surrounded in completely breathtaking views without the Porsches, but with them was a sight I’ll never forget.
When you’re at a scenic California seaside photo opportunity with the sun setting, and you’re staring at a pack of gleaming white Porsches, you do what anyone else would do and take hundreds of photos, Instagram stories, and film some beautiful video footage!
By the time we all had our fix, the sun was almost completely set. With a ton of ground to cover, the team pressed on to get through as much as they could with the remaining available daylight.
If you’re reading this, sorry I made you guys stop in the remaining ounces of daylight, but how could I not stop in this valley to get a couple shots? Look at that view!
The Last Leg
With the sun now completely set, we pushed through the evening, winding our way over crests, down steep descents, up even steeper inclines, with only our headlights shining a few feet in front of us (and in my case, no knowledge of whether or not the van’s shuttering brakes were going to last). There was danger only several feet away from my lane, but I couldn’t see the drop in the darkness, which was great—ignorance is bliss.
This portion of the trip really gave me an incredible appreciation for the Porsche moniker, as I could only attempt to keep up with the foursome (although, the Sienna didn’t do half bad). It was pitch black outside now, yet picturesque watching the four sets of bright headlights guide through the twisting road several corners ahead of me. They eventually faded into the distance, as their pace was just too much to handle, and we reconvened a few hours later at the first gas station we saw.
While I’m sure they all had a blast ripping these cars along the PCH, it was nearing the end of an extremely long day of driving, and I think we had all had enough. Thankfully, we were only a half hour from our respective lodgings, so we grabbed a quick bite to eat, and turned in for the night.
The Morning Of
Only a few hours later, we awoke, got ready, and met at the end destination of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the final stage of the trip.
The crew got the game plan for some last clips from Maravilla, while Greg released his drone overtop of the entrance of the fabled Laguna Seca, to record some remarkable overhead footage.
Then, it was out into the streets of Salinas for some additional footage of the drive into the event. At which time, the group of Porsches did several different passes along a single stretch of road.
When the filming was wrapped, Greg had to land his drone (short on battery) to the side of a bustling road. It was nerve-racking for me to watch, but he didn’t seem to be phased by it. I was half waiting for the crunch of a tractor-trailer annihilating the drone on its way down, but it never happened.
That was it. The Akrapovič booth team had made it to Rennsport Reunion VI. It was certainly a long journey, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’d be excited to stop at the same places we stopped this time, but hopefully incorporate more of the coastline, which was shrouded in darkness on this trip.
After posing for a quick picture in front of the massive Porsche sign at the entrance to the racetrack, the cars were washed and placed into their resting place inside the booth for the remainder of the week.
When is the next Rennsport Reunion? Ah, it doesn’t matter. We need to do another rally up there, because this one was amazing.