Man, what a trip!
10 revheads, 10 cars (ok, one didn’t make it all the way), more than 3000 BHP and four days of driving an infinite number of curves from the first coffee in Cologne to the final sundowner in Trieste.
We had it all: from rainy days with wet and slippery conditions over snow in the mountains to sunshine and temperatures in the mid-twenties. From turbo-charged two-litre four-cylinders over six-cylinder diesels with too much torque for any tire to handle to naturally aspirated flat-sixes and a supercharged V6 being only topped in overall power by a beautiful American V8. From a heavy hot hatch with mechanical locking diff in the front over rear-wheel driven standard, mid-engine and rear engine layout to all-wheel driven cars that jump out of every hairpin like there's no tomorrow.
But let's start at the beginning:
Day 1, April 30, 2016, Cologne, Germany to Hippach, Austria
Starting like every year on a parking lot in the north of Cologne being visited by Can and Sebastian from #thepluses who caught the excitement before the tour in a nice video that you can watch on their YouTube-channel here. Alex, Alin, Jan, Benny and Kamil got on the trip in the chilly rain picking me up south of Bonn and collecting Chris and Martin close to Frankfurt with the sun finally out. And then somewhere between chasing a pre-production Bugatti Chiron and making a stop near Nürnberg Martin's brand-new water-cooler was assasinated by either a stone or more probably by an evil marten forcing him to leave the car in Ingolstadt after a preliminary fix by the ADAC. Anyway, Martin kept his head up, jumped in as a co-driver and on we went with three hours delay having Felix and Marco with us and being finally complete for the first joint dinner south of Munich. After some good food and non-alcoholic drinks (except for Martin of course) we took on the first really challenging roads in the dark alps to Austrian Hippach finishing the day off with well-earnded midnight beers at our hotel.
Day 2, May 1, 2016, Hippach, Austria to Gmünd, Austria
Fog. Rain. Our first day in the alps gave us some deja-vu on last years weather conditions in France. Anyway, right after breakfast everybody was in the driver seat and ready to go. Kamil had all the routes pre-programmed in his top-spec BMW navigational system and out we went into the wet roads of the Austrian alps. But as we know from Ayrton Senna who 'whenever it rained went to the go-kart track' this is how we could get to know our cars and how to control them. In fact, we had a lot of fun approaching the limit at much lower speeds than in the dry, really learning what our cars were doing and being literally completely alone in the majestic surroundings of deep green forests and dark grey rocks echoing the high revving sounds of 44 cylinders with wide open throttle. Arriving at our hotel in Gmünd we found a place with a lot of car history, dining in the same restaurant that some of the car world's most famous families chose years before. The hotel manager supplied us not only with good food and drinks but also with useful information on our next day's routes and historical facts on Porsche's very own roots. Needless to say that we finished the day off with well-earned midnight beers.
Day 3, May 2, 2016, Gmünd, Austria to Bovec, Slovenia
Don't expect any change in weather - we even considered renaming the company to RainVys with another grey start to day three. Still full of adrenalin from the day before we couldn't wait to hit the asphalt again going for an old test road of Porsche south of Gmünd. And, oh yes, there is some reason why the guys back then chose that road for developing a sports car, tight bends, long curves, straights, up and downhill, we had it all there before finally seeing a weather change. Unfortunately the brightness came from below as we found ourselves in the snow all of a sudden. Quick stop for some snowball fights and back in the cars en-route to Slovenia not forgetting to stop for some cake, coffee, car wash and motor oil before the last challenge of the day on the slippery mountain roads near Bovec's Mangart Hotel. And guess what? Now finally the brightness came from the right direction with the sun cracking through the dark clouds leaving the parking lot in a small circle of warm light before the clouds were chased away by some heavy winds during the evening. A three-course menu, some well-earned beers and tons of car videos later we were getting in a satisfied mood of tiredness looking forward to GranTriesmo's last day of driving pleasure.
Day 4, May 3, 2016, Bovec, Slovenia to Trieste, Italy
So far we had some highspeed Autobahn driving, wet mountain roads with long fast bends, tight hairpins, uphill, downhill and even snow. So what could be missing on this last and finally sunny day of driving? Right, it must be gravel! Luckily nobody was too worried about the paintjob of his car so we could enjoy the lovely scenery around the declining roads from Slovenia direction south. After the gravel part and a short break for some photos and movies before noon, we decided to head further towards Trieste, stopping at the next restaurant that would lie on our way. Well, a 50 km section with increasing outside temperatures and a lot of braking into corners downhill found us being forced to stop because of a 280 HP turbo monster with boiling brake-fluid. The small village of Prepotto had a surprisingly big parking area or at least that was what we made of the dusty place at the entrance. A quick check on TripAdvisor found exactly one restaurant there and Trattoria da Mario was the best place we could have imagined for any lunch break ever. One plate of Antipasti, three first courses, one more delicious than the other, and the best coffee so far gave the brake fluid enough time to cool and us time for chatting with the owner who was happily re-routing the traffic in the village afterwards to allow for a photo-shoot with all the cars, drivers, his wife and himself in front of his restaurant. The last part down to Trieste led along the picturesque coastline of the Adriatic sea right into the centre where we headed to our bed & breakfast in the fourth floor of a typical building with a nice view of the city and in close walking distance to the restaurants and bars for Pizze and the well-earned Aperol Spritz pitcher as sundowner. Alex, Alin, Benny, Chris, Felix, Jan, Kamil, Marco and Martin - thanks for the great trip and looking forward to seeing you guys in 2017!