MOMO’s Road to Rennsport: The Ultimate Spirited Drive to Rennsport

Earlier this month, MOMO hosted one of the more interesting cavalcades riding north to Rennsport Reunion VI. The second year of their Road to Rennsport event saw a group of selected Porschephiles meet, sip coffee, and discuss automobiles, speed, and motorsport before they headed north towards Monterey.

Gathering Around Coffee and Quick Cars

While 2015’s Road to Rennsport was an invite-only event, this year’s seventy attendees were selected from a panel of representatives from Pelican Parts and MOMO. Their general aim in choosing the applicants was to have a diverse showing of Porsches—Cayennes and Boxsters were just as welcome as the GT2s and 2.7-liter specials—so that drivers with different tastes could mingle and learn something new about another model. Of course, the odder, wilder creations were preferred, and quite an odd selection of cars; some track oriented, some even prepped for off-road racing, were in attendance.

The MOMO 356 RSR Outlaw came with one wheel well completely exposed to show off the custom MOMO Heritage wheels. Photo credit: MOMO

Perhaps the biggest head-turner was Rod Emory’s 356 RSR Outlaw, as commissioned by MOMO Chairman Henrique Cisneros. By marrying a barn-find 1960 356B with the chassis of a 1990 964, he assembled a stylish platform able to accept a remarkable motor. A bespoke 2.4-liter 911/4 engine, fitted with two Garrett ball-bearing turbochargers, a Rothsport individual throttle induction system, and a Motec engine management system, the engine pumps out as much as 400 horsepower.

Somehow, Emory shoehorned intercoolers into each of the wheel wells above the center-locking wheels. Note the Garrett turbos hanging off the rear. Photo credit: MOMO

Putting that power to the pavement are 17″ Momo Heritage 5 centerlock wheels fitted in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires measuring 225/45 ZR17 in front and 255/40 ZR17 in the rear. Within the bespoke five-spokes, 964 brakes bring the 2,000-pound Outlaw to a halt. By blending classic styling with a modern engine and trick KW coilovers, Emory put together a creation that can fascinate both old and young.

An impressive lineup gathers at the starting location in Santa Clarita, California. Photo credit: MOMO

Heading North

In order to avoid the downtown Los Angeles traffic that had plagued them the three years prior, the seventy cars left from a semi-remote location in Santa Clarita after meeting and exchanging some Porsche-related enthusiasm fueled by coffee and brisk morning air. The aim was the spend the day driving briskly, soaking in the scenery, and enjoying the warm weather; not cursing and slipping clutches on the 405.

As the fleet left Santa Clarita, the howls of their flat-sixes could be heard echoing off the canyon walls. Photo credit: MOMO

The choice selection of uncluttered rural roads gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs, so to speak. With groups of ten or so cars running together, the drivers were able find others of a similar appetite for speed and enjoy the scenery at a pace they were comfortable with.

Though the first leg was the straighter of the two, the heat and the pace were tiring. Photo credit: MOMO

After 3.5 hours of driving, the caravan arrived at Buttonwillow, where they were treated to a light lunch and lapping sessions. While many of the drivers were tired from the 155-mile first leg, some simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run at such a quick track with some seriously quick machines—a 991 GT2 RS among others—decorating it.

Drivers alternated between a light lunch and hot laps during their first stop at Buttonwillow. Photo credit: MOMO

The following leg from Buttonwillow to Laguna Seca was equally scenic, but even more technical. Drivers who hadn’t been challenged by the twists and turns of Buttonwillow had to deal with tight corners and cambered roads over the next 196 miles. Fortunately, they were greeted with libations and a great spread from California Pizza Kitchen once they arrived at Rennsport.

Though arguably more technical, the second leg seemed calm after the twists and turns of Buttonwillow. Photo credit: MOMO

Arriving at Rennsport

Once at Laguna Seca, the group—which had doubled in size at the track—gathered in massive tent by the Mothers’ Bridge, where they could sit, eat, relax in the lounge/bar area, and sip wine from Trefethen Family Vineyards. The lot was packed to the brim and the maze of Porsches the attendees had to navigate through gave them endless opportunities to meet and mingle.

The group gathering in full force between Laguna’s Turns 4 and 5. Photo credit: MOMO

Once the nibbling and imbibing were over, the VIP reception held an award ceremony. Though the decisions weren’t easily made, the judges handed the The Best Car award Matt Kenyon and his Makellos Classics Porsche 911 Safari, who was also awarded a bespoke MOMO Prototipo steering wheel by Pelican Parts.

Tausch’s “Rennsport Edition” Prototipo wheel mounted inside the Makellos Safari 911. Photo credit: MOMO

The one-off “Rennsport Edition” wheel, designed by MOMO’s Brand Manager Heather Tausch, came covered in cigar brown leather, with the words “Road to Rennsport” etched into the wheel’s center. Kenyon immediately installed the wheel in their car, much to everyone’s delight. It was the perfect complement for a simple, rugged car.

Makellos Classics, who specialize in air-cooled Porsches, set out to build a genuinely robust Safari-style 911. “Some of the Safari-style builds just look the part,” said Kenyon, “but we wanted to build one with the intention of genuinely beating on it.”

The livery and athletic stance helped this no-nonsense Safari stand out in a lot full of glistening gems. Photo credit: MOMO

Underneath their classic 911 SC, they fitted 935-style suspension courtesy of Tarrett Engineering. This included KW Clubsport coilovers with special valving to handle ruts, jumps and irregular surfaces. Because they anticipated the abuse that comes with jumping a car, they replaced the factory the strut mounts with custom chromoly-reinforced pieces that mate to the rollcage. This is a genuine rally machine.

With 1152 Outlaw 003 wheels at each corner, shod in knobby Pirelli Scorpion tires, it had the focused footwork befitting a car designed to drive across the desert at speed. The driveline was modified accordingly; second, third, and fourth gears were replaced with shorter ratios, and a Wavetrac limite-slip differential. A custom exhaust system and 964 cams squeezed a healthy 230 horsepower from the 3.0-liter and produced a suitably raucous soundtrack—that a select few were lucky enough to hear as it slid around in some of the dirt-covered access roads.

Custom LED headlights from 9Eleven give the car a hint of modern styling. Photo credit: MOMO

Next, the Porsche Legacy award was given to to a father and son team by MOMO chairman Henrique Cisneros. “This duo represents what MOMO is all about,” said Cisneros, “instilling passion and honoring heritage.” The pair was awarded a rare Hot Wheels team transport MOMO Porsche 962 fleet flyer.

Cisneros handing out the Hot Wheels models at Rennsport. Photo credit: MOMO

Other prizes included a copy of Singer’s book signed by founder Rob Dickinson, various pieces of Porsche-themed apparel, and a custom MOMO Prototipo 6C wheel, as given to Dave Bouzaglou as a thankful gesture for organizing the rally and mapping an amazing route. “This was by far the best drive of my life,” said Cisneros, “we all owe a huge thank you to Dave for mapping a truly remarkable route.”

Winding through the arid Californian terrain, drivers could explore the sinuous roads and the characters of their cars. Photo credit: MOMO

After thirteen hours of mingling, fascination, and camaraderie, the troop of Porsche aficionados split and went their separate ways. Breathing in the warm Californian air, witnessing some spectacular pieces of machinery, and getting to make some new friends is always a wonderful way to spend a day—shame this only comes around every three years.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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