THE EURO928-2001 (Pictures by LIONEL Dupré )

(Picture by Eric Petre)
It took place in Luxembourg from the 6th-9th September. It was the third time this event took place the previous years were held in Holland 2000 and France 1999. As usual enthusiastic 928 owners from many countries attended in all a total of 13 nationalities were represented with cars from 9 countries. People came from as far afield as Latvia and the USA to attend the event, true 928 enthusiasts. The first on the scene was a father and son from the UK who had had a rough channel crossing and a rainy journey from Calais. From then on a steady flow of arrivals commenced.

A large banner, which draped the entrance of the 4 star hotel, welcomed the participants, in the lobby there were display cases of 928 models as well as some technical and literature displays. Once they had checked in they were welcomed by the organisers and were given a detailed participation file to help them through the packed weekend. Then after freshening up they were treated to a welcome aperitif. There and a meal in the hotel restaurant. Participants continued to arrive in dribs and drabs and the burble of powerful V8 engines could be heard arriving outside the relative quiet of the hotel reception rooms late into the night.

An early rise and a buffet breakfast in one of the large reception rooms (dubbed the 928 room for the weekend) signalled the first organised get together for all participants. Welcome speeches from the organisers and some useful information on local highway code and locations of petrol stations and the all important car washing facilities. This done it was time to set off on a tour of the countryside of the Grand Duchy which incorporated visits to some fine castles and local beauty spots.

Luxembourg for those who are not familiar is one of the smallest countries in the world, it is also one of the richest per capita. The country is steeped in European history and large areas of unspoiled woodland and rolling hills. It has a very high density of castles of all periods and styles and it was this fact that prompted the organisers to call the Friday tour of the Euro-928 “the castle tour”.

The first stop was at the Grand Chateau d’Ansembourg, this is a recent castle which was built by an industrialist in the 1800s, it is now a religious and meditation centre and is currently undergoing comprehensive renovation (as can be seen from the scaffolding in the accompanying pictures). The convoy was allowed to stop there and were given a very short informative talk about the castle as well as the opportunity to wander briefly around the magnificent gardens.

On drove the convoy through small villages whose inhabitants were stopped in their tracks by the unusual sight of three score of rumbling V8 monsters invading their normally quiet streets, old and young alike waving and clapping. Lunch was at the town of Larochette, which is overlooked by an impressive castle perched high on an escarpment to the north of the town. The local schoolyard was used as a convenient parking place for the beasts while their masters/mistresses were treated to a light lunch and a little time to chat and relax.
From there the group split into two, those with the need for speed headed for the nearby Nurburg-ring for some warp speed thrills while the others, content with the easy pace of the sightseeing tour continued to the chateau de Beaufort for a tour around this now partially ruined castle. On wound the convoy through the countryside down to the beautiful Mosel valley, which forms the border between Germany and Luxembourg and is the site of many vineyards on both sides of the river.

Back at the hotel a quick rest and freshen up before a talk on the technical and practical aspects of 928 ownership by the Daniel Martin, chief technician of the Luxembourgish Porsche dealers of 51 years “Losch Porsche”. This was an interesting discussion dealing with things as “normal” as what to look for when buying a second-hand 928 to things as “obscure” as why it was Porsche policy to cut a piece out of the engine under-tray of 5-speed 928s!

The cars returning from the nurburg ring later that evening came with reports of one GT who had dislocated his gear lever and another who had a stone chip stuck in his brake caliper. Both of these problems were quickly resolved early next morning by the Porsche dealer who were kind enough to have a technician on call for the duration of the event as well as allowing the use of their facilities during normally closed period.

Speeches over it was dinner time and this was a joy as the hotels restaurant was excellent and the participants were wined and dined in grand fashion. After dinner those who had any energy left had a swap meet in one of the function rooms where models etc were bought sold and exchanged. Lots of price calculations being made, this at least will be easier at next year’s event when the Euro will be the unit of currency for everyone, well almost everyone.

Saturday morning came and it was time for some driving fun, a one-day course on driving skills had been organised. This type of event when organised for Porsche meetings is normally geared towards the more numerous rear engined cars but this time not only was it geared towards the transaxle cars but was 100% relevant to the 928 with its near perfect weight distribution.

The course was organised at the ultra modern drivers training center in Colmar-Berg which is conveniently located next to Goodyear’s European headquarters and proving grounds including a fine test track. The organisers had arranged for the track to be available for the EURO928 that day and the drivers training centre’s multi-lingual team of instructors made sure that the 928 owners didn't get a minute’s rest the whole day!

The entertainment started with a lecture on tyre, suspension, brake and steering designs and development with particular emphasis on the 928 and it’s weissach system at the rear. Answers were given to even the most technically demanding questioning by the more inquisitive participants.

Now to test our skills on the tracks both wet and dry…. Participants were split up into Language (German, French, Dutch and English) groups for ease of instruction, issued with radios etc. and led away by their instructors.

At the EURO928 there has traditionally been a competition to nominate Mr. 928 and this years competition would have the benefit of the drivers training centre’s timing equipment to have a practical element taken into account as well as the usual quizzes etc.

A lot could be said about the various car control exercises etc that filled the day but a look at some of the pictures will give readers a fair idea of the fun that was had. The instructors themselves who as usual had limited exposure to the 928 before this found themselves revising their expectations of the cars and setting higher target speeds as the day progressed and were heard to comment of their surprise at the capabilities of the car.

Lunchtime quickly came and this was taken care of by the centre’s restaurant during which some extra guests turned up in the form of the Jaquomond brothers in two of their tuned 928s sporting their wide body kits. A photo shoot on the banked curve of the Goodyear test track followed and then back to the exercises including a timed combination of a slalom and high speed overtaking maneuver for the Mr. 928 competition.

Having finished the exercises there was the opportunity of a few reasonably fast laps of the circuit. It was initially planned to use the driving centre’s BMW as a pace car but on reflection it was decided to give that idea a miss in favour of the newly introduced 911 Carrera 4 which it was thought might be slightly more up to the challenge. The Porsche importers kindly supplied this. At last the chance to let the V8 sing, there’s nothing to match the big Porsche’s roar when all its up to 350 horses are let loose.

A 928 is a joy on the track especially the GT and CS with their rigid suspension, you always feel, even in the hairiest of moments that you are safe within a car whose capabilities are not nearly taxed by your efforts. You can feel it slide and grip gloriously when on the limit always staying in a degree of control that can be fine-tuned by your right foot. After some laps you find that the tyres get hotter and hotter due to the weight of the car, just then you ask yourself, do I really need all these comforts like airco and electric this ‘n that. Still there are very few Porsches that will pull away from the 928 on the straight even 6 years after the end of production and that’s not bad.

The end of the free laps marked the end of a most enjoyable and informative day and everyone left feeling that they had learned more in one day (in safety) than they would have learned in years of normal driving.

There was still one thing to do that day before the enthusiasts would be allowed to retire to the hotel and that was to visit the only 928 theme pub in Europe the “Brasserie 928” located in the south of the country and conveniently en-route to the hotel.

Back at the hotel it was time for a gourmet dinner and most importantly the announcement of this years Mr. 928 and the winners of the “concours d’elegance” and all the other prizes. The EURO928 concourse is divided into 3 categories 928/928S, 928 S4/GT/CS/SE and 928 GTS and it is judged by the participants of the event themselves. There are prizes for the oldest participating car and the longest distance traveled (by car) to the event which was this year won by a couple from Latvia.

After the prize giving etc. there was a video show of rarely seen 928 videos which were made for information and marketing purposes.

Sunday morning arrived and the participants set off for Luxembourg City where one of the main squares had been specially opened to traffic for 928s only. The Grand Dukes Palace overlooks the square. Members of the press were out to record the event for the newspapers the following day. In the square participants were met by multilingual tour guides who took them on a walking tour from there to the Casemates. The Casemates are an impressive series of ancient tunnels in the rock on which Luxembourg City is perched, there are 22 km of tunnels quarried out of the rock and they are fascinating to explore. If you look out one side you see the city, walk 10 m further and look out the other side and you see countryside. Centuries old cannon are still in their positions in the defence of fortress Luxembourg the Gibraltar of the north.

The participants emerged to the sunshine and a walk back to the square for one final look around at the cars to chat and take a few photos and finally to say goodbye to old and new friends. Just before leaving it was announced that the EURO928-2002 would be held in Stuttgart and organised by the Porsche club 928 Germany.

Kevin Jackson

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