Sports Car Advice

5 Great American Porsche Race Drivers

Monday, April 25th, 2011

When we think of all-time great Porsche race drivers legendary European names like Herrmann, Behra and Ickx come to mind. And in discussions of Elford and Bell much is said of European drivers’ contributions to the world of Porsche motorsports. For sure, these legends of motorsport did much to raise the Porsche brand. But what about great Porsche hot shoes from the US? Have they been all but forgotten? We think not!

We believe some of the greatest Porsche race drivers are Americans. If you dig deep to understand the success of Porsche Motorsports around the world, it is evident that American drivers have played a huge role in bringing notoriety to the brand both in the US and abroad.

From Le Mans to Daytona, American drivers have recorded some of the greatest wins in Porsche motorsports history. These drivers are noted as Porsche masters and categorically driven to succeed in Porsche cars and Porsche cars only. They may have had forays into other teams and stints with other manufacturers, but when you think about the great achievements, it’s with Porsche where these drivers made their mark and a large part of how Porsche made their large footprint in global motorsports competition.

To honor great American Porsche race drivers, we put together a brief list of five professional drivers from the good ‘ol USA who piloted Porsches to success in competition all over the world. Here are a our favorites – in no specific order of accomplishment, quickness or greatness.

Mark Donohue – Born Haddon Township, NJ in 1937 – Famous for Driving: 917/10 and the 1,000+ horsepower 917/30 Can-Am car and IROC Carreras. Mark was educated as an engineer, but became a serious driver. He worked with Penske Racing and Helmut Flegl at Porsche to develop some of the most powerful Porsche’s ever including 917/30. He won the inaugural season of the IROC series in a Carrera RSR and set the Closed Course Speed Record at Talladega in the Porsche 917/30 running the car up to 221mph. During the development of the motor for the 917, German Porsche engineers often asked Donohue if the motor finally had enough power. His smug reply was, “it will never have enough power until I can spin the wheels at the end of the straightaway in high gear.” Sadly Donohue died in F1 practice for the Austrian Grand Prix in 1975 shortly after setting the record at Talladega.

Mark Donohue
Courtesey Nigel Smuckatelli

George Follmer Born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1934 – George Follmer was the 1972 Can-Am Champion standing in for Mark Donohue in the Penske 917/10. Follmer raced extensively in SCCA, NASCAR, dabbled in F1 and other major motosports series. Follmer took the 1976 Trans-Am Championship in the Vasek Polak#16 Porsche 934.  Folmer continues to be active in vintage motorsports events keeping his driving skills very sharp.  Check him out in this video as he flogs the Bob Akin 935/84 machine around Laguna Seca at the HMSA Charity Invitational.

Courtesy Mike Bryner

Peter Gregg– Born in New York City in 1940 – Peter Gregg was a 4 time winner of the 24 Hours at Daytona. In each of these races he piloted a Porsche. He purchased the Jacksonville, FL Brumos Porsche dealership in the mid 1960s from its original owner and won the 1973 and ’74 Trans-AM Series in his Brumos Porsches. Peter carried the Brumos Porsche racing programs through the 1970s with Hurley Haywood winning the 1975 Camel GT Series in new Carrera RSR. Sadly in 1980 Gregg committed suicide in Florida. It’s rumored that Gregg suffered from Bi-Polar disorder and that injuries which kept him from driving in some races deepened his personal sadness and struggles. His lasting legacy though is the winning years of Brumos Porsche in the world of professional and GT racing. Peter Gregg is forever a hero in the eyes of Porsche Motorsports enthusiasts and a legendary American driver.

Courtesey Nigel Smuckatelli


Canepa Design: A Sports Car Enthusiast’s Experience

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

gulf-porsche-917Sports Car Advisors visited the Monterey Peninsula this past fall to cover the ALMS Monterey Sportscar Championship. While the ALMS is always an amazing show, the real star of our west coast journey was the Canepa Design/Museum experience. We only knew of Bruce Canepa’s Pebble Beach Concours winning cars from other major auto blogs, but it was our turn to lay eyes on some of the hottest and most coveted sports, collector and rare race cars in the world. In advance of our visit to Monterey we had arranged a viewing with the Canepa museum curator. We left Carmel-by-the-Sea in the late morning  for the scenic drive to see the Canepa museum, but much to our chagrin on the day of our visit, the curator was out sick and unavailable to walk us through the museum. (more…)

Owner Review: Audi S4 (2004)

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Sports Car Advisors took a quick walk through with the owner of this gorgeous 2004 Audi S4.  The car features the following:

  • 4.2 Liter V-8 / 339 BHP and 300 ft-lbf
  • Recaro Leather seats
  • Sunroof
  • Audi-Quattro all-wheel drive system
  • Rear Sunshades
  • Navigation
  • 6-speed Manual Transmission
  • Corsa exhaust system (aftermarket)

Thanks to this Audi S4 owner for walking us through this great car.

Put on Your Rain Tires – and Drive!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

By Luis Martinez
from Watkins Glen International Raceway

The world of sports car racers is divided into two camps – those who drive in the rain, and those who won’t. Those who won’t drive in the rain will say that it’s dangerous, it’s crazy, or that they’ve already had an accident in the rain so they won’t try it again.

I’m writing this section as a metaphor for realities in life – because the sun is not always shining; the track is not always dry; the temperature is not always 75 F. As a driver, you can’t always count on using your racing slicks (sticky racing tires without tread) to race in dry, sunny weather. In life we have cloudy days, windy days, fog, sleet, hail, snow, hurricanes, etc. So my approach to sports car racing – and to life – is to try something different, learn new skills, stretch my boundaries, and make informed decisions in areas outside my comfort zone.

Among sports car racers I’m in the minority because I’ve never missed a run group or driving session just because it’s raining. In fact, as a result of my experience in the rain, many of my racing students have come back to me over the years to ask me to jump in their cars, ride with them and give them driving tips. They call me Mr. Smooth Martínez, a reference to my driving style that is silky smooth, not hurried – going stinkin’ fast while making it look easy and comfortable. It’s a driving style that I’ve honed and finessed over 16 years of track time. Where did I develop that driving style? Driving in the rain.


BMW Forums Online: A Master List

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

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BMW Forums Online: the Master List

There are hundreds of online car forums, specifically in BMW Forums, so we wanted to compile and share a list of all BMW forums we could find online.

Online car forums are an amazing resource for car enthusiasts  There are forums for pretty much every make and model of car. From tech information on engines, wheels, tires, interiors and electronics, to social events, car shows and motor sports events, these online communities are one of the best places to go to connect with fellow enthusiasts.

BMW forum communities in particular are vibrant, busy online meeting places and most communities have fresh conversations and information posted by members, editors and moderators on a daily basis. Posting information is usually quite simple; just sign up with a user-name, password and email address and you’ll be able to access a wealth of information to keep your car in top running condition and get a long, well-lived life out of your favorite BMW. (more…)

Owner Review: BMW 745Li Sport – Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

SCA visited recently with a buyer of a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) 2005 BMW 745Li Sport . This CPO car has the more rare option of the “sport package” which the new owner was looking for. The new owner went with a CPO car as it comes with a great warranty. He also sought out the following features:

  • long wheel base (LWB) E66 Body Li
  • smaller steering wheel
  • sport seats (with larger side bolsters)
  • “shadowline” trim – chrome delete
  • stiffer suspension package
  • larger, 19inch wheels
  • full-size spare
  • 367 Horsepower 4.8 Liter V8 motor (n62b40)

This BMW owner was ultimately happy with the purchase from a dealership in Pittsburgh, PA, but noted that he was not impressed with the overall presentation of the car when he went to pick it up at the dealership. He noted: “I don’t think that dealership really has their ‘stuff together’; they have some improvement to do”…

E30 M3 Conversion from S14 to S52 6-Cylinder

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

An interesting performance and power modification one can make to an E30 M3 is to replace the original 16 valve 4-cylinder S14 motor with the S50 or and S52 24 valve 6-cylinder motor found in newer model M3’s. Here is an example of this motor installed.

Some tips are that you’ll need to switch oil pans, transmission and some drive train features will need upgrading.  As well, an upgrade to the steering on the car can be conducted.  A lot of parts from the Z3 are interchangeable for this.

Following is a brief video of the M Power motor, and some still pictures of this E30.

6 Cylinder E30 M3:

6 Cylinder E30 M3 BMW


M Power BMW, Headers