At home and abroad, Porsche enjoys an enviable reputation for building high-tech, high-performance cars that deliver an engaging driving experience. Few people realize, however, that the firm also dabbled in a completely different kind of open-top machine: Tractors. The first-ever Porsche tractor race will take place on the Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey County, California, during the Rennsport Reunion this month. Pace yourself; it’s likely to be the slowest Porsche-only race ever held. It could be one of the most entertaining to watch, too.
Watching a herd of diesel-powered Porsche tractors sprint down Laguna Seca’s straight will etch memories into every viewer’s soul. It’ll be like watching a Panamera plow a field. If that wasn’t amusing enough on its own, the drivers will need to start the race by sprinting across the track Le Mans-style, jumping on the tractor, figuring out how to get it moving, and speeding off. We use the verb “speed” in the most relative way possible.
The organizers of the race promise to place celebrities and well-known professional race car drivers behind the wheel for even more laughs. The race will begin at the starting line, right where you’d expect it to, but the tractors won’t lap the entire track. The winner will be the first one to reach turn number five.
Why, you ask? Because reaching turn five could take a whopping minutes, according to early estimates. These are not performance machines; they boast the glacial acceleration and the top-heavy handling of, well … a tractor. Porsche designed several models whose engine outputs ranged between 11 and 55 horsepower depending on their size and year of manufacture. Eleven horsepower is a mere rounding error on the Cayenne‘s specifications sheet.
It’s too early to tell how many tractors will participate in the race but the turnout could be massive. Though Porsche never actually built a tractor, the companies who bought a license to do so from the German firm collectively made about 125,000 units between 1956 and 1963. Many examples survive — we think that tractors, like cats, have nine lives — and a good chunk ended up in the hands of collectors after decades of farmwork.
Enthusiasts who attend the Rennsport Reunion will have two opportunities to watch the tractor race. The first race will take place at 1:15 p.m. PT on on Saturday, September 29. The second race will be held at 1:40 p.m. PT the following day. It’s not too late to participate. Send information about your Porsche tractor and a fairly steep $550 entry fee to Laguna Seca and show up on race day ready to run across the track.
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