We went to Le Mans for the first time just about at the very start of C! Magazine. We went on our own, made our own arrangements and got our own accreditation. It was glorious, an amazing event that we truly wish every gearhead could go to. It is part race, part spectacle, part party, part meet-up on a massive scale. It is also tiring, exhilarating, painful, cathartic, basically all the highs and lows. This year’s trip was very different.
This year, we went to Le Mans with Porsche. This gave us amazing access and insight into how things worked and felt and more importantly the passion behind the whole thing. We saw screams of joy and anguished tears, we were there when the decision was made to go for broke, almost quite literally as they were willing to sacrifice a finish for a chance at the actual win. Porsche was favored to win the LMP 1 Class and overall, but they were largely seen as playing against a stacked deck in the GTE Pro class. The determination and the dedication were there for both, and it showed. They were gracious in both victory and defeat.
Another thing that happened way back in the early years was that I called the Porsche Cayenne a truck. Not that that first model didn’t handle extremely well for something so tall. It did. And in many ways it propelled Porsche forward in ways that now allow the world’s most important racecar maker to reach ever new heights. But now look at the automotive landscape. Trucks all over the place. And the handle! It is the honest truth that we laughed and clapped when we put the new Bentley Bentayga through what should have been a heart-stopping series of sudden swerves and very very hard stops. The first time I ever drove a modern Porsche was at the very first Philippine Porsche World Roadshow. I paid my way in it and was just happy to be invited along by a friend. Some of the best money I ever handed over. Anyway at that event, the driving instructor told me, during the braking and slalom test, to just stand on the brakes and trust them. To this day, depending on which car and brand I trust and which I do NOT, I do the same thing. We were giddy giggling schoolgirls after doing what we did with what is essentially the world’s most expensive SUV. Bentley offers a dash clock with the Bentayga that costs more than other SUVs.
Other blasts from the past this issue include running the new Honda Civic around the provinces. What’s really nice is that all the Honda racer boy fans (and yes that includes us) are pretty happy to have the fun back in the equation. We also mess around with Honda’s new Pilot. We dearly loved the old one, it was a ride that made made many brands that pushed luxury more than drivability look pale in comparison. It had none of the built-in bulkiest that so many designers seem to think you need to get the right look. The new one is a big step up, go find out why.
Look at the significant vehicles in this issue. With the exception of the Civic, the key ones aren’t cars. The New Toyota Innova is here, and it is an awesome jump up that really does deserve the price jump that went with it. To misquote an American car company “This ain’t your father’s Innova”. Except here, thanks to Toyota, it is as reliable as it should be. Then you have a Porsche Macan. Which is, quite simply, so good that I get nasty comments for saying it is such a no-brainier purchase. And the cars we do have are built very specifically to hit particular buyers. The non-cars are actually far more versatile and that’s not just because they are taller and can carry more stuff. They just have way more attention paid to them.