Last weekend, some of the world’s best Porsches were presented at the Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca in Northern California as part of the Rennsport Reunion 7. One of the highlights of the event was the unveiling of the special request project TAG Heuer X Porsche-Legends of Panamericana, consisting of two racing cars based on the fearsome Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS.
The special request cars are a tribute to the 550 coupes that participated in the famous La Carrera Panamericana race through Mexico, a competition that took place between 1952 and 1954. A few years later, watchmaker and racing enthusiast Jack Heuer presented his first Carrera watch in honor of the notoriously exhausting street race.
At Rennsport, the car with the starting number 154 was unveiled on the stage with its equally shaped driver: Patrick Dempsey, the talented driver and team owner, who performs a little in his spare time. Dempsey will now travel to Mexico in mid-October to hold the first two stages of the revived competition.
Dempsey recently portrayed driver and engineer Piero Taruffi in Michael Mann’s highly anticipated biopic Ferrari starring Adam Driver. Shortly before the unveiling of this Porsche project, he told Robb Report how Taruffi moved to Mexico and won the Panamericana in 1951 with a Ferrari 212 Inter. The race began a year earlier with a six-day 2,100-mile race organized by the Mexican government to publicize the completion of their section of the Panamericana. Now Dempsey will take on his own real leadership role at Panamericana.
“I’m looking forward to driving the Porsche and paying more attention to the race,” says Dempsey, raising his voice to be heard over the noise of the cars training for the races on the Rennsport Reunion weekend.
On paper, these killer caimans look hard to beat. The downforce-strong duo is an elegant gloss on the GT4 RS, whose 493 hp, high—suction six-cylinder boxer engine – a 9,000 rpm business card of the 911 GT3 – drives the fastest mid-engined car that jumped out of Stuttgart. Built in a special workshop in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, the Caymans revive a special request program from the 70s, which built unique cars for special customers.
This Cayman tribute features a red interior that looks too chic for rally abuse. An oversized dual analog stopwatch module dominates the center console, inspired by the old Heuer Rally Master units. Hand-painted racing numbers and a retro mobile pegasus with oil wings on a rear wheel arch are reminiscent of the old 550 racing coupes.
It’s the kind of legacy of performance and authenticity that Dempsey says can’t be faked and is an essential part of the brand’s enduring appeal. The same goes for the bracelet candy he is wearing, a new Rose Gold Chronosprint TAG Heuer’s latest Porsche Tribute watch.
Dempsey said the first thing he did after cashing his first big movie check, can’t Buy Me Love from 1987, was to spend $10,000 on a Porsche 356, which he still owns today. The car has become a family member, he says. If you are young, Porsche is a sports car that you can strive for and achieve. It is a car that you can drive daily; leave it in the garage for three months, and it will still turn over. It is a status symbol, but never alienating to other people. A Porsche simply puts a smile on everyone’s face.
A happy Porsche lover is guaranteed to smile very soon, because one of the two TAG Heuer X Porsche Legends of Panamericana special request cars will be auctioned shortly after the race, with the proceeds going to the charity organization.