A week in the life of Magnus Walker: part 2
Entering Florida in the new 991 was a little like entering a different world – it moves at its own slower pace. The air smells different, and the scenery and the vibe was tropical. Amelia Island definitely has a chilled atmosphere about it.
We checked into our resort hotel and I donned the only suit I own (because Karen made me!). It’s a neat little pinstripe number and we looked pretty dapper as we headed over to the Ritz Carlton hotel to attend the Porsche 911 50 anniversary dinner. That night we met many new faces, the highlights being Patrick Long, Brian Redman and his lovely wife, plus Hurley Haywood who just happened to give me a Brumos lapel pin!
A few of the honored invited guests included racing legends Vic Elford, Brian Redman, David Hobbs, Hurley Haywood, Sam Posey, Dan Gurney, Patrick long and Jeff Zwart. Not bad company eh? Much to my astonishment, during the opening speech they called my name out along with all those heroes and thanked me for my passion and support – they even claimed I was bringing a few new faces to the Porsche family. It was truly an honor I will never forget.
The next morning was another early affair as we attended a Porsche rally then drove my 991 C4S I had for the week down to a Jacksonville naval base to attend the Porsche driving experience, which consisted of a Cup car thrill ride with either Hurley Haywood or Patrick Long. Karen got Hurley and I got Patrick.
The cup car accelerated very quickly up to about 175mph down the long runway strip to the braking zone, then perhaps the most impressive bit happened: the deceleration and sequential down shifts. After the turn, we were then back on full throttle, up-shifting as we approached the sweeping slalom at approximately 140mph. It’s amazing how stable and controllable the Cup car is the hands of a pro driver.
Before you knew it the ride was over, but my first question was “can we go around again”? Thankfully the guys at Porsche had already thought of this and had the lead PDS guy Cass Whithead on hand to demonstrate the same course with a street 991. The amazing thing is with launch control the street 991 did not feel that much slower and did the hot lap at approximately 15mph less than the Cup car! It was so intense to be in the passenger seat of a street 991 going through the sweeping slalom at approx 125mph.
Next up on my journey was a trip to the iconic and legendary Brumos Porsche in nearby Jacksonville. I have always had a fondness for Brumos with their red, white and blue color scheme along with the fact that my favorite 65-911 car #300310 was delivered to Brumos in early 1965.
We were met by a cool guy named John Schaffer who gave us the showroom tour, introduced us to the team and then took us over to the Museum were their history of remarkable cars are housed. If you are in Florida, a trip to Brumos is a must.
After that I attended the Porsche seminar, a 90 minute discussion panel consisting of Hurley Haywood, Bobby Rahal, Patrick Long, Jeff Zwart, Alwin Springer, Peter Schutz, Jack Atkinson and Harm Lagaaij. Keeping everybody in line and hosting the event was Bob Varsha.
Later that night we hung out with our new found Porsche friends as we sampled Chalmers’ ‘low country boil’ cooking at its finest. It’s the southern version of fish and chips including the newspaper: you cook shrimp, potatoes, corn and, well, anything else lying around. Throw it down on newspaper and eat till your pants pop. It was an action packed day to remember.
The next day we attended the Amelia Island concurs, which is not usually the type of event I choose to attend – yet the people could not have been more welcoming and friendly. Porsche had a great stand featuring a truly impressive original 1965 -911 owned by the Ingram collection, and a new red 991. Centered just across the lawn was a Porsche lover’s dream including the ultra rare prototype 64-911 and everything in-between from a 67R To an ST and numerous 934 and 935s. The amount of Porsche eye candy was overwhelming!
Time moves quick in Porsche heaven and before we knew it was time to head back to Atlanta airport for our flight back to LA. Now a lot has been written recently about the new 991 so I will keep it brief, but from a guy who drives nothing younger than a ’76 Porsche 930 variety no less, I can say that new car was a sheer blast to drive.
Karen and I had spent five days with the beautiful car. When we left it in the car park at Atlanta airport covered in bugs, we had covered 1097 miles and spent 25.3 hours behind the wheel, and the car never missed a beat. Many thanks to Chalmers Niemeyer and all at PCNA for making this happen.
*Part one of a week in the life of Magnus Walker is available from Total911.com here. To purchase a copy of the special 100th edition of total 911, guest edited by Magnus himself, hit this link to purchase a copy or click here to download a digital edition.