The 55th Porsche Parade is closing up shop in St. Charles, IL. Even as attendees, organizers and sponsors pack up and head home, planning is already underway for next year's Parade in Savannah. (In fact, if you were lucky to attend, you may have noticed that the goodie shop was already selling Savannah tees).
Over the last half-decade, the Parade has grown from a simple gathering of Porsche owners to a complex, week-long event with activities to satisfy all Porsche lovers, from 2-92. The amount of work put in by the corps of volunteers is impressive. From the Concours showcasing a Porsche to suit every taste (be it pristine show cars to well-loved driven cars) to the PCA Art Show, to the kids' activities and the grownup entertainment, the goodie store, road trips, and rallies, there truly is something for everyone at the Parade. The variety of Porsche-activities alone is reason enough to check out a Porsche Parade at least once in your lifetime.
Although for the most part most Parade events reoccur every year. there are always surprises each year. At last year's Colorado event, for example, the Panamera unveiling drew oohs and aahhs from many. Generally, host regions contribute to the planning of activities and give them a local flavor. But, as is often the case, it is the unplanned that makes the weekend most memorable.
So, what set the St Charles Parade apart in 2010?
The GT3R Hybrid, with its beautiful and aggressive orange and grey livery and "PORSCHE INTELLIGENT PERFORMANCE" decals, was equally impressive visually and technologically. The Hybrid race car boasts two additional 80 horsepower electric motors that feed the the front wheels. Attendees were enthralled with the large inertia flywheel where the front passenger seat would normally be in their own street cars. This system--part of Porsche's "Intelligent Performance"--is a KERS system (or Kinetic Energy Recovery System), reportedly licensed from Williams F1. This eco-friendly Porsche is also 100% race car, and it's a wonder to see.
Nearby, and under cover, the aqua blue metallic Boxster Spyder, sans fabric top, drew quite a crowd, curious to examine the newest 987 "cousin". Porsche has hit a serious home run with the Boxster Spyder. With 320 hp and weighing in at only 2800 lbs (10 more hp than Boxster S and 200 lbs less weight), it made itself impossible to ignore. Not only did the car show beautifully on its tidy platform under the Porsche Owner Relations tent, but it performed impressively, too. The day after the Concours, Christian Maloof got behind the wheel of two Boxster Spyders at the Michelin 'Drive and Compare' event. He found the Boxster Spyder very eager, accelerating with linear ease and aggression. He loved the initial turn in, describing it as "crisp and immediate," and the overall road hold and excellent bite and modulation of the brakes. The balance was very nice and light. He needed no time in the seat to feel at home (perhaps because the reclining sport seats were particularly good?). But we digress...how easy it is to get lost in the love of Porsche at the Parade! (Results of our "Drive and Compare" experience coming soon along with our review after spending a week with the new Boxster Spyder!)
A particularly challenging Mobil 1 TSD Rally
While time-speed-distance rallies are supposed to include complex directions, traps and a good dose of challenge, we heard from many participants (both novice and experienced) that this year's rally was particularly difficult. The PorschePurist team, cameras in hand, waited at Checkpoint 5 well over 40 minutes beyond what we had calculated it would take participants to arrive. Apparently the traps devised by the rallymasters this year were particularly effective and many drivers took long--albeit scenic--detours through the Illinois countryside. We can't wait to see what the rally at Savannah will hold in store for those brave enough to participate again!
With temperatures hovering near 90 degrees for the better part of the Parade, attendees were heard to remark that this year's event was "good practice" for Savannah in 2011. Indeed, while the heat did not deter the crowds from attending events both inside and outside, Porschephiles did seem to move far more slowly than at last year's Colorado event. In addition, there was a higher concentration of Porsche lovers by each of the three pools at Pheasant Run resort (not surprisingly, with highest crowd density at the poolside bar).
The Midwestern location of this year's Parade meant we enjoyed the week with several members from our local region, Rally Sport. If you are active in your local Porsche Club, (whether in social events or at the track) you know the people are a big part of having fun with you Porsche. While it is enjoyable to see a field filled with Porsches, what makes a Parade truly memorable is the new (and old) Porsche friends one gets to visit with. The camaraderie is, by far, the best reason to attend a Parade. We hope to see you in Savannah next year!