April 26 is Girls’ Day in Germany: a joint initiative set up in 2001 by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, the Federal Education Ministry, the European Social Fund and the European Union. As the father of three girls, I love the idea.
Porsche is continuing its long-standing support of the occasion with a series of workshops, allowing seventy schoolgirls to experience traditionally male roles in vehicle development and production at Porsche’s training centres in Zuffenhausen, Weissach, Leipzig and at Porsche Engineering Services.
“The focus is on absolutely down-to-earth car-related work. We want to alert the girls to a wide range of occupations, arouse their interest in technical trades and fire their enthusiasm for the Porsche brand,” says Thomas Edig, a Porsche HR commander. “While the proportion of female Porsche employees in industrial and technical occupations has increased slightly in recent years, we have to make an even greater effort for equality of opportunity between women and men.”
The schoolgirls will be working in small groups in the vehicle painting, electronics and mechatronics areas, disassembling engines and finding out about CAD designs or developing car seats. At the Leipzig site, a guided tour through the production hall and customer centre has been laid on. Inevitably the day will end with questions on how the kids can land a job doing this full-time.
“To work for Porsche is what many youngsters dream about. Anyone who can offer commitment, shows interest and has good grades at school has every chance – be they a boy or a girl. Because occupations are gender neutral,” explains Thomas Edig. I guess it might also help to live less than 700 miles from Stuttgart – sorry, fellow UK kids.
As per my Porsche Supercup in Bahrain post, I attended last year’s Nürburgring 24-hour with Falken Tyres and their Porsche 911 GT3 R. It was a great event from start to finish, so I’m delighted that Falken Tyres Europe is supporting new Ferdinand magazine by taking us out there again.
Last year was fun, resulting in a decent Total 911 article and much blog coverage. This year we’re hoping to go more in depth, and blog some unique live coverage while on site. Favourite the Ferdinand RSS feed here, on Cult of Porsche Twitter and Ferdinand Facebook to keep track of the action.
The 2012 Falken drivers are as last year: Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler, Le Mans hero Peter Dumbreck and Porsche Junior, Martin Ragginger. All are quick and all want to win. The car has also been developed since last year and is even more competitive. It led the field at the opening VLN round before breaking a driveshaft: that part has been uprated as the team chase after reliability.
This year, I have the additional incentive of Manthey Racing connections via Mighty Motor Media clients, JZM Porsche. Jonas and Steve at JZM are the UK Manthey agents, and we’ve been working on promoting the JZM Porsche tuning shop and online accessories store. Hopefully, we can hook up with Manthey and bring home some unique content for all of our MMM clients.
As for how we’re getting there, Flybe properly messed me around last year so I ended up taking the orange 911 Carrera (below, on site). I’m hoping to have that in with Racing Restorations for its strip down and refresh by the N24, so it’s time to service the Subaru and get it stickered up with the new Ferdinand artwork.
Here’s some video from the Falken Tyres Youtube Channel to show the action we’re expecting. This is top man Peter Dumbreck starting VLN from the lead: love the view of the rest of the field in the rear view GoPro.
At the heart of the N24 weekend is Porsche’s passion to race. Though it trails in the American Le Mans series, Porsche always goes well in the N24, so it’s a thrill to know we’ll be back there again.
I was not entirely mesmerised by Porsche’s stand at this year’s Essen Techno Classica. Previous stands felt better as the heart of the action in Hall 3 with the rest of the Porsche World, rather than in amongst the VW-Audi Group offerings.
There were some nice Porsche cars on the stand, but all felt lonely surrounded by unrelated product. Maybe that’s just me. One thing I did like was this 991 Coupe with the duck tail spoiler: seemed to work well on the new shape 911.
The Porsche sales guys present couldn’t tell me much about the ducktail, apart from it would form part of an options pack. There was no information on said options pack, though they thought it might cost around €4,000 for the front and rear bumpers and this ducktail.
Fit and finish was perfect so I presume this was not a prototype – the plastic looked very productionised. The Porsche folks couldn’t tell me if it was factory fit, so maybe your dealer will have to paint it for a cost on top of that. You can see from the pics that it is static: the flap above opens up to check oil and – yes – water. Not much else to see, really.
The front end looks good and I like those wheels, but wonder how it would look with 19″ or 20″ Fuchs instead. Those wheels are coming: keep in touch with UK Fuchs dealer JZM Porsche for more info on the bigger Fuchs.
This coming Sunday (6 May), Mercedes-Benz is hosting an opportunity for anyone 17 years old and under, but over 1.5 metres tall to test their vehicles on the famous Northamptonshire track. Most of the 100 participants will be winners of a national competition – but Mercedes-Benz is reserving half a dozen places especially for Guild Of Motoring Writers members and their families.
The event will involve using a specially-designed road layout that includes Bridge Corner – part of the pre-2011 Grand Prix Circuit – on which young drivers will have the chance to learn important car control skills, such as pulling away at junctions, steering through corners and roundabouts, braking, reversing and other valuable driving skills all in a safe and controlled environment.
The driving experiences are designed for beginners to learn at their own pace with the professional and friendly instructors from Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy – the brand’s very own driving school, providing on-the-road driving lessons to over 17’s throughout the surrounding counties.
Andrew Mallery, Commercial Operations Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars, commented: “The Test Drivers day will allow us to showcase a number of the experiences that will be on offer at the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience centre when it opens in May at Silverstone Circuit. It doesn’t matter if you’re 12, 14 or 16, as long as entrants and participants are over 1.5 metres tall, they can begin learning to be a responsible driver with Mercedes-Benz.”
“Once opened there will also be adventurous 4×4 experiences available for both under 17s and adults to develop a whole new set of driving skills.”
The new Porsche 911 has been named World Performance Car 2012, with Volkswagen’s Up winning the overall World Car of the Year award.
An international jury panel of 64 automotive journalists from 25 countries votes on the awards: seven of whom are in the USA, where the Volkswagen Up is not sold.
Chosen from an entry list of nineteen vehicles, the 911 made it through a number of knock out rounds before being crowned the winner, beatoing the Aventador and McLaren MP4-12C to the crown.
There’s a particular serendipity to the 911′s win, given the loss of its devoted father yesterday. Butzi would be very proud of the team now maintaining his vision: well done to all.
The interview I recorded in London with BBC Radio 4 airs today at 16:00 hrs UK time.
The piece will appear on Last Word: Radio 4′s obituary show. I think the session went well, but you never know how these things will turn out in the edit. I’m hoping it will come across as interesting, and in honour of the third generation of Porsche car designers: we’ll have to see.
The whole thing was recorded in The Orange: my Carrera 3.0 Coupe. I shot down to London, picked up producer Jane Little and we took a drive around the West End. Tootling around a city centre is not where Orange is happiest, but there were a coupe of spots where it could stretch its legs a bit in second gear. Made both of us laugh.
Jane was quite surprised by the 911′s turn of speed in stripped out guise, with the reduced final drive ratio that Orange runs. The view through the big windscreen from the low seating position on my car, built to sprint up Swiss Alpine passes, emphasised the amount of glass Ferdinand set into the slim pillars: 60% more glass than the 356. As I say, there were some thrilling turns of speed and Jane asked some interesting questions, so I think it was a fun few hours. Hopefully that will come across on air.
However it turns out, I’m glad to have been asked to contribute by the BBC. I’m sure it will make a reasonable podcast, too. You can hear it at 4pm today and repeated at 8.30 PM on Sunday night. It’ll be on iPlayer once the Friday show has run. Here’s the link to the show again.
Chris Harris’ latest video on the Drive Channel is now online. It’s a beautifully filmed piece from a morning spent with Tuthill Porsche, testing their latest 911 rally car at the Prodrive Test Centre in Warwickshire, UK.
The aim of the test was to run Tuthill’s new coilover dampers from EXE-TC – same as previous models but with no external canister, thus better fitting some regulations on historic events. The test went well, so there was time to do some skids, which you can see in the video. I’ll put another video after this one.
The next day, the car crossed the Channel to Belgium, where owner Glenn Janssens was competing in the Haspengouw Historic Rally.Glenn brought the car home in second place, behind the full-on Escort of local hero, Dirk Devereux.
This video from last year shows the sort of terrain Glenn’s championship covers. Watch what’s on the left as he leaps over the first crest. Glenn’s car has evolved over a series of years to match his emerging talent and is now the quickest it’s ever been, and most probably the quickest 911 Tuthills have ever built. I had a ride in it just after the four-tooth dog box which is in it now had just been fitted, so can testify to its missile-like capabilities.