Whenever my colleagues and I are fortunate enough to travel to a foreign continent or country, we often question what the car culture is like at the destination. Having visited Abu Dhabi for day trips or quick meetings with friends and acquaintances, I have always questioned what owning a fast car in the UAE must be like aside from the catwalks for cars at the massive malls.
I had never had the opportunity to meet owners and explore how, or if, they ever interacted with one another to share their zealousness for automobiles.
It is autumn in London, my home town and stereotypes of heavy lingering clouds ready to burst at the seams are a harsh wet reality. With vacation from work to spare and an itch I was reaching to scratch, flight tickets on Etihad were booked in a moment of madness.
With accommodation arranged it was time to reach out to some supercar owners to try and gain an insight into ownership in the UAE. It is not unusual to see cars from the UAE in the stunning British summer, all two to three weeks of it, and instagram seemed to be the way to interact with them. As the post below shows, that’s exactly what I did.
Believe me, I am just as surprised as you are, the power of social media showed itself once again. Many collectors and clubs slid into the GTspirit DMs and I was spoiled for choice. Upon further inspection one proposition stood head and shoulders above the rest – Porsche GT Club. With a modest number of followers but a far from modest group of Porsche’s it was too good an opportunity to decline. A venue and time were agreed. Oh how social media has changed the world. Waking up in the Yas Viceroy Hotel is always a treat, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport lapped beneath my balcony – as far as wake up calls go this was not one to complain about. In all honesty, I was slightly skeptical that the plans discussed would materialize – it is fair to say I am known to be something of a pessimist.
I jumped into a humble yellow Abu Dhabi Taxi and requested to be dropped at the Yas Links Golf Course, more specifically, the car park much to the confusion of the driver. His confusion was transformed into astonishment as we honed in on the destination. My inner pessimism was shattered, the club did not disappoint. I could not count the number of GT3, GT3 RS and GT2s that were lined up in a corner of the car park. Paint To Sample custom cars stood out as did The23Collection infamous 918 with its towering carbon wing, a wolf in sheep’s clothing attempting to blend in finished in a silver grey not dissimilar to the clouds on England.
Greetings exchanged, I swapped my yellow taxi for a very rare and gorgeous yellow GT2 owned by the youngest pilot in the UAE as the convoy left to the location of the group shoot, the Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit, a stone throw away from my hotel bed which I had awoken from – a little surreal.
A meeting the day before with the director of the circuit secured a cherry picker complete with an operator. I hooked myself into the harness and went all the way up, the view was something to behold. The money shot featured all 16 cars, many of which had driven in convoy from Dubai, in front of the Abu Dhabi hill in the middle of the race track. Seeing as I was commanding the movement of the cherry picker I orchestrated something I had wanted to do for months and months in my mind. One-by-one I arranged the cars in formation, it just so happened that there were a number of white and red cars that added to the visual drama when alternately arranged.
After almost two hours being seven stories up in a cherry picker with the sun roasting my black GTspirit polo, I headed back down to the warm tarmac where three owners declared their cars had been signed by the head of the Porsche GT program, Andreas Preuninger.
The Ultraviolet and PTS Signal Green GT3 RSs sandwiched the White GT3 and hoods were raised – the owners of the signed cars pay testament to just how fanatical and appreciative the members of the Porsche GT Club are. It is not a case of sauntering into your Porsche dealer, speccing your GT3/GT3 RS and uttering ‘Oh by the way, can you ask Mr. P to scribble something under the hood please?’. You’ve got to show that you care and love the brand to have Andreas jump into the boot of your car and give his seal of approval.
The club is a young one, officially just a few months old. The owner of the beautifully specced Ultraviolet GT3 RS that I quickly branded The Madman from Leeds was on his first outing with the club. You wouldn’t have thought so when he went to do a u-turn and ended up doing donuts KrispyKreme would have been proud of.
The smoke was thick, as were the steaming black circles the car left in its trail. Once the fog subsided the Madman from Leeds emerged with windows down with a grin fit for a 7 year old boy that just fed the class gerbil to the python in the tank next door.
The evidence was clear to see with chunks of Michelin Cup 2 tires strewn across the tarmac. We thought it would be best to leave, conveniently it was dinner time. My chariot was the 918 Spyder and the youthful owner did not hesitate to test the strength of my neck a few times by exploiting the vicious power of the hybrid hypercar.
With the cars dominating the driveway to the Yas Rotana hotel under the dark of night, dinner was a chance to get to learn more about the characters that own such special cars and form the club that, like many great things, was founded using a WhatsApp group chat. One thing immediately became apparent – preconceptions and stereotypes have no place here.
Yes, it goes without saying, there are some exceptionally wealthy individuals here, but unless you saw their cars you would not suspect anything out of the ordinary. Conversation flows and there is no pretentiousness or bravado, this is genuinely just a group of guys that love their cars and love to drive them. There are no garage queens here.
As I sit in the cold damn rain of London and write this, the GT Club are in Oman driving their cars hard on the greatest roads in the region. This is what car culture is about, like minded people that share a passion and adoration for their and others cars.
The Porsche GT Club takes that philosophy and gives members the opportunities to not only meet, but take their cars onto the track or up mountain roads together on organised track days and roadtrips. With such a large number of the most hardcore cars this really is a club of dreams for any Porsche fan. This is probably as good as it gets.
A massive thanks to the Porsche GT Club and everyone that made the day and night possible – your kind hospitality will never be forgotten! The GTspirit teams thoughts and prayers are with club member Suhail Meqbaili that passed away just a few days after I had the pleasure of meeting him.