Renngruppe Tech Session
July 1, 2012
Jerry Forthofer
The Carolina Region of the Porsche Club of America held a tech session at Renngruppe Motorsports in Lexington, NC on June 9th. Forty-six of the faithful gathered to drool over the special cars. Most special to my eyes was the Porsche 910, the first car one sees upon entering the shop. While I was in the Army in Germany in 1967, I attended the Nurburgring 1000KM race that was won by a Porsche 910. This was the first race I had ever attended and I really did not understand all that was happening around me. However, I never forgot the car that won that race and even have a 1/12th scale model 910 in my small collection. Next to the 910 was an equally special 906 Carrera, the car that preceded the 910. What a treat to see them together.

Next to them were various Porsche 911 race cars in various stages of repair/build. Around the corner sat everything from 914s and 944s to, believe it or not, 935s. The two 935s caught my eye as I had attended IMSA races at Road America back in the late 70′s and early 80′s when these cars were in their heyday. Somewhere I have a photo of John Paul Jr.’s 935 braking for turn 6 with huge flames exiting the exhaust. It was an interesting time as drug money funded a number of the cars with the Whittington brothers and the Pauls – Sr. and Jr – receiving jail time. But what great racing!!! The ultimate example of how to make a car excel that, by many estimates, should not have been that good of a racing car.

However, the most interesting car may have been the oldest. For a customer, Renngruppe is building a 1953 Porsche 356 Outlaw car. The stock VW based front suspension has been replaced with double wishbones with coilovers while the rear suspension is all 993 based, as will be the 993 engine. A 1600 lb car with a 300+ hp motor will be lots of fun for its new owner.

Renngruppe’s David Brown welcomed us and related some information about what they do. For more information on one of their projects, he had Cameron Conover tell us all about their involvement with the VW Jetta Pirelli World Challenge cars. Renngruppe was given two stock Jetta’s and then prepared them to the series rules. Jeff Altenburg and Tristan Herbert are driving the cars sponsored by GermanAutoParts.com. Already this season, they have two poles and one win. One of the unique things about these cars is the twin clutch automatic gearbox. This is the first time VW has used this transmission and it has been modified to shift even faster than the stock version.


Following Cameron’s excellent update on the VW progress, David took us to a display of 911 engines in the main room. He then proceeded to talk about the evolution of these motors from the 935 version to today’s water cooled GT3 motors. It soon became very obvious that David is extremely knowledgeable about their history. It was very informative and led us to lunchtime with some special Lexington barbecue.

During lunch, I sat next to Oliver Julien. Oliver received his mechanical engineering degree from Wisconsin in 1962 and was recruited by all of the “Big Three” manufacturers. He chose Ford with his very first project being the Mustang. He had some very interesting company cars over the 20 years with Ford. Upon leaving Ford, he had his own design and consulting business. After selling that business to his employees, he began another career as a professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. In 1986, he purchased a new Porsche 944 Turbo that he still drives today. It was a very interesting lunch.

After we were all fed, David took us through the steps for timing the cams in an air cooled 911 motor. Besides being so knowledgeable, David also has a way of making everything interesting. This was the best tech session I have ever attended and there have been a number of them in my 34 years as a PCA member. Great day!!