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Porsche Passion Brings Louisiana Enthusiast to VIR Gold Cup Historic Races – It’s Not Too Late To Join The Fun

Alton, Va. (May 31) – The Cars of Germany are being featured in this year’s Gold Cup Historic Races at VIRginia International Raceway over the weekend of June 9–11, and for Phil Daigrepont of Kenner, La., it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Daigrepont is a 58–year–old racer. He owns and operates The Presidential Palace in Kenner, and has been an avid enthusiast of the Porsche marque since 1983. He started out as an active participant in his local Porsche Club, running and organizing autocross events. He discovered vintage racing in 1984 when he attended the Walter Mitty Historic Races at Road Atlanta as a spectator, and vowed never to attend another vintage race without something to drive.

He purchased a Porsche 911 Turbo that put him in the thick of the competition, but a visit to the 1998 Monterey Historic Automobile Races celebrating the 50th anniversary of Porsche changed everything. At Monterey, he saw a 1971 Porsche 908/3 prototype with which he fell in love. After doing some research he discovered that there were only 13 of the short–wheelbase sports racers built, that it is rare to find a 908/3 to purchase and, when one is found, it is expensive.

The Porsche 908/3 is a very significant piece of Porsche history. In 1970, Porsche was making headlines in the world’s most significant endurance races with its iconic 917 model, including winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1970 and 1971. However, the 917 wasn’t particularly well suited for the World Championship of Makes rounds at the legendary 17.6–mile Nurburgring circuit and in the Targa Florio, a 472–mile event over the twisty public roads of Sicily. For those two races only, Porsche developed the 908/3, a short-wheelbase, lightweight aluminum space–frame open–cockpit sports racer powered by a 3.0–liter “boxer”–type eight–cylinder engine with a fully–synchronized five–speed gearbox. The car weighs 1100 lb, has 350 hp and will go 0–to–60 in 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 190 mph. Of the four races in which the car was entered by the works team (two at the Nurburgring and two at the Targa Florio), it won three times.

Further research by Daigrepont uncovered 908/3 chassis no. 002, which was a test and development car for the Porsche factory team, in the process of being shipped to the United States for restoration. Daigrepont made a deal to purchase the car, and had to wait two years for the restoration to be complete. Its first post–restoration public appearance was at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it won a number of awards. Shortly thereafter, Diagrepont took the car off the concours circuit and began hitting the track regularly for vintage racing.

Daigrepont is bringing the car to VIR for the Gold Cup Historic Races, and is looking forward to returning to what he describes as one of his favorite racetracks.

“I love racing at VIR,” he said. “It’s a very fast, very technical and very challenging circuit to which the 908/3 seems to be particularly well–suited. VIR has a great atmosphere for vintage racing, because it’s a beautiful facility with a very friendly staff, and the track itself has a “vintage” feel to it because it’s an old–fashioned, high’speed track of the type nobody is building anymore. I’m really looking forward to racing in the Gold Cup Historics, and to putting on a great show for the fans.”

VIR Assumes Control and Promotion of Gold Cup Historic Races

VIRginia International Raceway and the Historic Motor Sports Association have parted company effective immediately, and VIR has assumed control and promotion of the Gold Cup Historic Races, scheduled for the weekend of June 9–11. The 2006 edition of VIRginia International Raceway’s signature vintage racing event will feature the Cars of Germany.

The race will go on as scheduled, and participants who have already registered for the race are assured that their entries are valid.

“We assumed control over the Gold Cup Historic Races because we felt it was in the best interest of both VIR and our valued Gold Cup competitors and fans,” said VIR managing partner Connie Nyholm. “The Gold Cup is a special event and very dear to our hearts. We very much value our history at VIR, and we have crafted the Gold Cup Historic Races to be an old–fashioned vintage race, celebrating the best of that history.”

“We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience that this move may have caused,” she continued, “but rest assured that the race will proceed as originally planned, and our staff will bend over backwards to ensure that it does so seamlessly and with the same vintage spirit that has characterized past Gold Cup Historic Races.”

Off–track activities will include the fifth annual Gold Cup Car Show presented by Corsa Rossa, which will take place on Saturday, June 10, plus car corrals, an art show and a dance party with live music featuring Big John and the Rhythm Brothers Band on Saturday night.

VIR plans to conduct the event, including car classification and tech inspection, as in years past. Bud Merrill and Neil Harmon, longtime well–known fixtures in east coast vintage racing, will oversee race control and timing and scoring, respectively.

Entries for the event are still being accepted, and VIR will waive the $50 late–entry fee. Entry forms will be available on the track’s website at www.virclub.com, or can be obtained by calling the track at (434) 822–7700 x116. The entry form, updated entry list, tech information and schedule are posted on the VIR website.

Enthusiasts who wish to enter the Gold Cup Car Show can enter their cars at no charge, and each car show entrant will be eligible for a free on–track parade lap during lunchtime on Saturday. Judging will be informal, with spectators voting for their favorite cars.

Advance three–day Super Tickets for the Gold Cup Invitational Historic Races will be priced at $30. At the gate, three–day Super Tickets will be priced at $40. Also, single–day tickets will be available for Friday ($10, gate only), Saturday ($15 advance/$20 gate) and Sunday ($15 advance/$20 gate). VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available. Call 434–822–7700 x300 or x116 for advance ticket sales.

For more information on VIR or the Gold Cup Historic Races, visit the track’s website at www.virclub.com or telephone 434–822–7700

John Gardner
Director, Public Relations
VIRginia International Raceway
1245 Pine Tree Road
Alton, VA 24520
Work: 434.822.7700 x112
Cell: 704.467.1424
Web: www.virclub.com