Twenty Questions

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SUBJECT: Andreas Preuninger
OCCUPATION: Manager high-performance cars, Porsche motorsport

What is your greatest achievement? My son Philip, who has the Porsche virus aged three! And gaffing the GT street cars better and better. I’m proud of their iconic status.

What is your biggest regret? Not doing something in life to be in a position to buy a GT!

Whose work in the industry today do you admire most and why? Ferdinand Piech for his engineering genius, Walter Rahrl for his god-like ability to drive cars safely beyond the limit and Roland Kussmaul for his engineering experience combined with his efficient problem solving.

Who inspired you to join the industry and why? My father took me to Porsche Weissach R&D when I was at university. I’d always had 911 posters in my room (Carrera 2.7 RS). That visit was key: I knew I wanted to work there as an engineer.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Actions speak louder than words.

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in the next 12 months? Keeping up the pace of GT car development.

What car do you drive for fun? I’m lucky to drive only fun cars in my job, the GT3 RS being my favourite. At the weekend I enjoy a 993.

When did you last go for a drive for the sake of it, and where? Some days ago, on an offshore boat on Lake Constance, full throttle!

What’s the best moment you’ve had in a car? Coming home after 300kms of empty autobahn in the middle of the night, sitting in the GT3 in the driveway, ears ringing, engine ticking, feeling exhausted but wide awake.

What was your first car? A VW Scirocco Gil, spoilers all round and big wheels.

Did you pass your test first time? Yes. I started driving long before I turned 18 – my parents didn’t know, but it helped me get by.

How will cars be powered in 30 years time? Hopefully with an environmentally friendly but powerful and emotionally engaging engine.

It’s your last drive. One car, one road. What and where? Great Ocean Road, Australia, in a Ferrari Daytona. No, wait: Stelvio pass, Italy, in a Carrera GT. Or maybe Pikes Peak…

What music do you listen to in the car? From Robbie Williams to AC/DC, mostly rock. Status Quo have always been a favourite.

What’s the best book about cars or car people you’ve ever read? Jeremy Clarkson’s Don’t stop me now. Actually, all his books.

Is there such a thing as a car too fast for the road? No! Speed will always fascinate people.

Will we see a Porsche Motorsport version of the Cayman or Boxster, or will you work only on 911s? I don’t know I’ve got my hands full with 911 work right now, but never say never.

Why don’t you build cars with paddleshiffs? It’s due to weight and lack of driver involvement, but again, never say never.

How long can you use the old race engine for road cars when other 911s use the new flat six? It’s mature and well aged, not old. It’s tried and tested and it has character. We’ll use it as long as it makes sense.

When will a road-legal Porsche do its first sub-seven-minute Niirburgring lap? A car set up for lap times at the ‘Ring can be a dog on the street, so we have to find the best compromise. Maybe we have with the GT2 RS…

*

And that reminds me…

About the secret Grand Prix for two that ended in fits of laughter

Until now the mere existence of the Aldershot Grand Prix has been known only to a select few. It was staged just once and the only participants were myself and Colin Goodwin, a friend and colleague of many years standing.

The venue was a test track outside the aforementioned military town and our carriages were a Fiat Coupe Turbo and a Honda Prelude. It was a long time ago.

We’d gone to take some photos but afterwards one of us suggested the race. I’d never been there before, so was allowed a one-lap recce, but I’ve never learned any track in less than 20 laps.

I led off the line thanks to the Fiat’s torque and held Cohn at bay through the two corners I’d learned. Then came the third. The choice was quick left or slow right. I chose the latter and missed by one.

I positioned the Fiat on the left hand side of the track, slammed on the brakes and turned sharp right towards an apex that wasn’t there. At the same time Colin positioned the Honda on the right, didn’t brake and steered left towards an apex that was there but obscured by a Fiat.

The contact was hard enough to spin the Fiat, the bang loud enough to make me not want to get out and look. When I did the sight that concerned me was not so much the crunched Prelude as the prone figure of Goodwin lying next to it.

I expect we all think we’ve been helpless with laughter as some stage, but for most of us I doubt it’s true. But for Goodwin that day it was. Apparently his limbs had failed as he opened the door and he fell on the asphalt unable to do anything other than shake and make gurgling sounds. It was some minutes before he recovered sufficiently to gasp: “what on earth was that?” except not in those exact words.

How did we keep it secret? All I can say is it involved all of Goodwin’s mechanical know-how, all of my elbow grease and most of the T-Cut in Hampshire.

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