Chances are, you are aware of the 24 Hours of LeMons. No, not the 24 Hours of LeMans. LeMons. Car and Driver Magazine, from which this event/spectacle/debacle sprang, tells that “It’s not just for rich idiots, it’s for all idiots.” and describes it as “Endurance racing for $500 cars. It’s not just an oxymoron; it’s a breeding ground for morons. It’s where Pintos and Maseratis battle to lap a Le Car. It’s where first-timers dice with Nomex-soiling pros …”. Entertain yourself a bit by visiting http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/.
If you are a 944 aficianado, you may also be aware of 944-centered competition like 944 Cup racing. (Once, many a year ago, I enrolled in formula competition driver training, burning out shortly when my driving talents were revealed to be mediocre, at best, not to mention that my 6-2 frame wouldn’t properly fit in the car without twisting and roasting my feet. My future visits to Willow Springs Raceway were only as a spectator.) So when I came to understand that many 944s might be too cost-ineffective to restore, but could still be good (at least on paper) track day cars, I briefly harbored a fantasy that I might pick up something for at least some autocrossing.
So I found it interesting when Car and Driver commented on how LeMons racing might be a perfect marriage for those junkyard 944s that abound in eBay and Craigslist postings, but found that they may instead be fatally flawed for the purpose. Read more here: http://blog.caranddriver.com/lemons-goodbad-idea-of-the-week-character-building-porsches/
Ironically, the 944 was on Car and Driver’s Ten Best for several years (e.g., 1985 and 1986), and was widely acclaimed in the automotive press, and is still regarded by many, as one of the finest handling production cars ever. Just this weekend, during a visit from relatives, the husband of my wife’s niece confided that the 944 was the dream car of his 1980s youth (and a local body shop owner and two service station attendants also made similar independent admissions to me recently).
And the 944 still occupies a spot on the Car and Driver Periodic Table of Sports Cars (for the scientifically-inclined).