Splish, Splash, I was takin`a bath... Sheets of rainwater stream across the road and the jungle is steaming. A green wall of undergrowth, thickets and palm fronds engulfs the narrow strip of asphalt on which a woodruff green Porsche 912 leaves behind two tracks of spray as it courageously pushes its way along the twisting road, with a playful shimmy of its rear end as it accelerates out of each twist and turn – reelin`with the feelin`, movin and a-groovin`– that’s something the 911 from the 1960s does to perfection.
And the mob is right up there behind him – seven more 911s from various generations to the present day panting, barking and roaring as they race with unabashed pleasure through the rain. This is something that tends to last for no more than a few minutes here in Thailand, after which the sun licks the world dry again. But water still hangs in the air. Temperatures of up to 38°C turn the world into a damp sponge and sweat stains disappear from T-shirts like magic. This is a full-body Kneipp cure for the more advanced, while the high humidity level doesn’t seem to bother the cars at all. The white 911 Carrera CS is now speeding past on the overtaking lane, snarling as it goes, transforming one last puddle of rainwater into a sputtering rainbow and then it’s all over. We leave Surat Thani, the city located on the Gulf of Thailand, and are now on our way into the mountains. The 911s have some 280 kilometres of winding roads through the jungle ahead of them before they arrive on the other side of the land bridge between Thailand and Malaysia. On the Andaman Sea, in Phuket. “Tenn“, the man who has organised “the meeting“ simply won‘t take no for an answer – this is now the second Southeast Asian drive the enterprising Porsche fan and journalist has arranged. We took part in the trip to northern Thailand last time – it was a point of honour, of course, for us to take a look at the South. Pack in extra T-shirts and off we go. This will be all splish, splash.
Ahead of us, long, laid-back curves stretch out through the rainforest. Palm trees reach out with long fingers for the cars, the air is heavy with the scent of spices and pervaded with the unfamiliar. The country is sweet and wild, you look here and there and half asleep, as if in slow motion, you take in the scenery that appears so strange, so mysterious and adventurous. You simply can’t stop grinning, but this unbelievable trip with a Porsche through a country that couldn‘t be further removed from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. From the Hockenheimring. From the Nürburgring North Loop. From everything that makes Porsche what it is down to the faintest DNA nuance. And despite all that, it is just perfect, simply perfect. In a magical moment like this, the honey sweet absurdity of which disappears all at once. Hypnotic trance over. Back to reality. Hit the brakes, change down, let the boxer give off a loud ”vroarr“. Sudden goose pimples. Concentrate on the curve, feel the road through the steering wheel. The gentle protest and centrifugal forces pulling you away are all there in your hands in real time. From philosophy to immediacy in an instant. Showtime.
The grey 911 GT3 RS now appears in your rear-view mirror. Coming up from behind like a big predatory cat at breath-taking speed, headlights flash, and then it too screams past. Side window down, the driver of the GT3 looks across for a moment with a big grin on his face and then hurls himself into the approaching curves.
At some point during this journey, a magical rhythm develop, a hypnotic pull that is almost impossible to stop. And when the lead car up front suddenly begins to slow down, pulls off the road and stops in front of a small restaurant between the jungle and the road, you’re almost disappointed. But only until the short flight of stairs leading up to the first floor is behind you. A viewing platform takes your gaze far away into the distance, the sun’s rays caress swaying, steaming, lush green treetops. And the food that is served here is hot and spicy, aromatic and is enchanting. Vibrant colours that take your breath away and as delicious as it looks. Much later you have the feeling you should press life‘s replay button that unfortunately isn’t available. Roll off the road again onto the small parking area to take one last step into the golden light of the afternoon across the jungle with the taste of Asia on your tongue.
But it simply continues. A feeling of sheer bliss that remains powerful and lively within you for the next few kilometres. In tune with the rhythm of the boxer engines down to the sea, stretching out dark blue along the green of the rainforest. Rain clouds are forming in the distance; there will be rain again tonight. Splish, splash.
(c) Stefan Bogner • Text: Ben Winter