It’s not every day you get to see a $15 million race-winning car, but crowds who went to Porsche Santa Clarita’s Cars and Coffee event on Saturday got to do it free of charge.
Aside from its price tag, the 1997 Porsche GT1 also has an impressive performance resume: 21 podium finishes, including eight wins in 36 races. The car’s resume included an appearance in the world-famous 24 hours of Le Mans in France.
Although the GT1 is now retired, it’s still fully capable of achieving results and is more than just a showpiece. It’s been fully renovated on the outside but under the hood its 3.2 liter 600-horsepower engine can reach a top speed of almost 193 mph.
“This is a pretty special car,” said Steve McCord, general manager of Porsche Santa Clarita. “I was just talking to the owner of cars just a minute ago, super nice guy. He’s been super helpful with us, helping us with all the events that we’ve done throughout the year and lucky for us, we’ve got some good relationships with people that allow us to display these vehicles.”
McCord said these types of relationships are what allows Porsche Santa Clarita to operate as a museum of sorts — with a restoration garage underneath that allows anyone to go and watch mechanics bring old cars back to life, and on the show floor, among Porsche’s newest models, are classics dating back decades including one of Paul Newman’s race cars, old Porsche 356’s, a rare 918, and a 1965 901.
“When you see it in person, it’s just different. Now all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Wow, this is right in front of me.’ You know, and it’s the same thing with downstairs when you go and wander around. You see some real history.”
McCord said in addition to being both a dealership and museum, the Porsche Santa Clarita is also a community hub for car enthusiasts. At the event, there were dozens of people who brought their own Porsches, Fords and Lamborghinis to display in the parking lot.
“We’re a community-driven company and we love to put on events like this that drives a lot of people out to have some fun,” said McCord. “There’s a lot of car culture people in our neighborhood and we wanted to be a big part of the car culture in this neighborhood. So far, we’ve only been here two years, but the company has done some events that have drawn an amazing amount of people.”
One of those people was Danny James, who brought out his Cayman S 718 in Miami Blue.
“I think it’s fun because you get to meet new people, people who like cars, you get to see all kinds of cars. You get to see other Porsches, you get to see BMWs, any kind of car really, you know, and it’s cool,” said James.
James said the streets of Santa Clarita are great for driving cars like his, but wanted to remind drivers to be safe and always follow traffic laws.
“It’s definitely really fun. I would just say, be careful out there,” said James. “Make sure that you follow the traffic laws, don’t engage in street racing. You know, that’s why we have a track and then we also have a drag strip, which is 70 miles away from here. I know that’s kind of far but I mean, it’s better to be safe [rather] than put other people’s lives in danger.”
McCord said more than 1,000 people attended the event on Saturday and that around 300 cars were on display.
Cars and Coffee is held at Porsche Santa Clarita on the first Saturday of every month.