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Road & Track

Road & Track December 2015 - January 2016

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

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in this issue

2 min.
capturing the life at speed

PORSCHE RENNSPORT REUNION V It should be no surprise that the world’s largest gathering of Porsches takes place at a track: Lime Rock in 2001, Daytona in ’04 and ’07, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2011. Each Rennsport Reunion is somehow grander and more impressive than the last, and the 2015 running, at Laguna in September, was no exception. More rare race cars, more legends walking the paddock, more eyeballs in the stands. This year’s event pulled 57,000 spectators, including us. As always at Laguna, the real splendor was on the track. THE IMMORTAL 1959 RSK 718 CENTER STEER Center-seat RSKs, developed from the famed 550 Spyder, had the unique ability to switch from left-hand to center drive with just a few hours’ work. They were the result of Porsche’s attempt to tackle…

4 min.
dear r&t,

I’m too young to get so caught up in nostalgia, but the Shelby Daytona article [“Coupe de Grâce,” September]? Phenomenal. Stories like Ken Miles checking gear ratios immediately after driving the car? I don’t know where to find gold like that, but you do, and you delivered it straight to my door. And the photos. My goodness, that car is gorgeous. Get that man [Robert Kerian] a beer. TY FARKAS, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA The fact that the greatest nonfactory American road-race automobile ever was conceived and built in SoCal by nonfactory engineers with no factory support, tested at that iconic racetrack, and won the ’65 FIA championship makes me proud to be an American. Great article, Mr. Smith. LES LORD LOVELAND, COLORADO I was living in England in 1964 and 1965 and I remember…

3 min.
editor’s letter

AFTER 500 MILES on our country’s most breathtaking roads, and some 250 racetrack laps, the four-day fantasy fest better known as our Performance Car of the Year competition got real. The time had come to pick the winner. This was tricky, as our nominating process meant that all but the top dogs were left home. We invite cars based on a fairly simple set of guidelines: The PCOTY contenders all produce chart-topping numbers—which by itself is thrilling—but that’s simply the price of entry. What’s more important to us are the intangibles, the emotional man-machine connection, the visceral character of a superbly crafted automobile, and how a car rises above its spec sheet to offer an unforgettable experience. These days, speed is almost a commodity, so we highlight the cars we lust…

5 min.
urge overkill

WE TALK A LOT ABOUT PORSCHES around here, but there’s a reason. Many, actually. Feeling. Also redemption, speed, underdogs, arrogance, comeuppance. And that most human of traits, fallibility. There are excellent Porsches and stinging disappointments, bits of genius and machines that sully dealer lots like flaming sacks of dog doo. Not all of the former are old, and not all of the latter are new. Then, every few years, we get a Rennsport Reunion. And everything bubbles to the surface. There have been five Rennsports. Each has been billed as the world’s largest gathering of Porsches. I’ve been to three, including the most recent, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last September. Like its predecessors, Rennsport ’15 was equal parts vintage race and cult church. Also a remarkably efficient way to make your…

3 min.
the last safety frontier

DEATH HAS ALWAYS BEEN—and will always be—a part of motor racing. Its first personal visit came at age 19 on my first day as a professional race-car mechanic; former America’s Cup skipper Tom Blackaller pulled away from the pits, made it halfway through the lap, and died of a massive coronary after exiting Sears Point’s carousel. My ignominious debut was followed by more surreal chapters—scrubbing pools of dried blood left behind by shattered bones in an Indy-car chassis and hearing engines fall silent while injured drivers are enveloped by safety workers. When Justin Wilson died after being struck by debris at Pocono Raceway in August, the predictable hail of anguish and sorrow followed: Another friend buried, more questions of whether it could have been prevented. And there’s something new to ponder. Our…

22 min.
kentucky derby

THE OLD BLACK FIREBIRD was blocking our exit from the gas station. As the passenger door opened, I saw the look on the face of the immense, camouflage-clad good ol’ boy who sprang out like he’d just spotted a new form of game on his personal hunting grounds. Throwing the Cadillac ATS-V coupe into neutral, I jumped out to greet the man before he reached our group. I spotted a sun-worn but freshly polished badge on the Pontiac’s front fender. No way. Could it be? “Eighty-eight GTA, am I right?” The driver, also wearing full hunting camo but half the size of his friend, laughed behind his wraparound sunglasses. “Yeah! Been working on her for a while. Lot of specific parts to this model, you know? Everything from steering wheel to spoiler. Hard…