Porsche and TAG Heuer Reveal a New Race Automotive to Be Pushed by Patrick Dempsey
This past weekend, some of the most important Porsches in the world were showcased at Northern California’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of Rennsport Reunion 7. One of the highlights of the event was the reveal of the “TAG Heuer x Porsche—Legends of Panamericana” Sonderwunsch project comprising a pair of race cars based on the fearsome Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS.
The Sonderwunsch (German for “special request”) cars pay homage to the 550 Coupes that took on the renowned La Carrera Panamericana race through Mexico, a contest that was held from 1952 through 1954. A few years later, watchmaker and racing enthusiast Jack Heuer introduced his first Carrera watch in honor of the notoriously grueling road race.
At Rennsport, the No. 154 car was revealed on stage with its equally chiseled pilot: Patrick Dempsey, the accomplished racer and team owner who does a little acting in his spare time. Dempsey will now head to Mexico in mid-October to run the opening two stages of the resurrected contest.
Dempsey recently portrayed silver-maned Ferrari driver and engineer Piero Taruffi in Michael Mann’s eagerly awaited biopic Ferrari with Adam Driver. Just before this Porsche project’s unveiling, he told Robb Report how Taruffi moved to Mexico and won the 1951 Panamericana, driving a Ferrari 212 Inter. The race had kicked off a year earlier as a 2,100-mile, six-day run organized by Mexico’s government to publicize the completion of its portion of the Panamerican Highway. Now, Dempsey will segue into his own real-life leading role in the Panamericana.
“I’m excited to drive the Porsche and bring more exposure to the race,” Dempsey says, raising his voice to be heard above the ear-shredding din of cars practicing for Rennsport Reunion’s weekend races.
On paper, these killer Caymans appear hard to beat. The high-downforce duo is a stylish gloss on the GT4 RS, whose 493 hp, naturally aspirated flat-six—a 9,000 rpm calling card from the 911 GT3—powers the fastest mid-engine car to ever spring from Stuttgart. Built in a special Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen workshop, the Caymans revive a ‘70s-era Sonderwunsch program that built one-off cars for special customers.
This tribute Cayman features a Guard’s Red interior that looks far too fancy for rally abuse. An oversized analog double-stopwatch module dominates the center console, inspired by old Heuer Rally Master units. Hand-painted race numbers, and a retro Mobil Oil winged Pegasus on a rear wheel arch, nod to the vintage 550 racing coupes.
It’s the kind of performance heritage and authenticity that can’t be faked, according to Dempsey, and is integral to the brand’s enduring appeal. The same can be said for the wrist candy he’s sporting, a new Chronosprint in rose gold—TAG Heuer’s latest Porsche-tribute timepiece.
Dempsey said the first thing he did after cashing his first big movie check, for 1987’s Can’t Buy Me Love, was plunk down $10,000 for a Porsche 356 that he still owns today. “The car’s become a member of the family,” he says. “If you’re a young person, Porsche is a sports car you can aspire to and achieve. It’s a car you can drive daily; leave it in the garage for three months, and it’ll still turn over. It’s a status symbol, but never alienating to other people. A Porsche just puts a smile on everyone’s face.”
One fortunate Porschephile is guaranteed to be smiling very soon, as one of the two “TAG Heuer x Porsche Legends of Panamericana” Sonderwunsch cars will be auctioned shortly after the race, with proceeds benefiting charity.
Click here for more photos of the “TAG Heuer x Porsche—Legends of Panamericana” Sonderwunsch race car.
Source: Robb Report