2 years ago

Slipstream - July 2008

The monthly newsletter of the Maverick Region of the Porsche Club of America


Catch My Draft by James Shoffit, Region President As some of you know, I am an owner of a small software company that develops software for large companies. Well as it happens there was a trade show that was going on in Berlin, and we had been considering how to move into the European marketplace for quite some time. We investigated, and I volunteered to go. Let’s see, I like German cars, work on German software, have a German dog (Schnauzer), love German food, and have a German last name. So what if I can’t speak Deutsche? I went to the store and bought a couple books “Just enough German” and “Germany for Dummies” – yes there really is one! And I proceeded to read through them both. I was getting really excited, and then thought I should try to see what I could find in the way of Porsche stuff. I looked on a map and found where the major Porsche landmarks are. We have all heard of Stuttgart, Zuffenhausen, Weissach, and Leipzig, but I, for one, had no idea where they were in relation to each other, nor where they were in relation to Berlin. It turns out Germany is about half the size of Texas in square miles (ok, meters), but it about the same “height” as Texas, so I can relate it like this : Berlin is about where Dallas would be (probably farther East), and Leipzig is just South East, about where Waco would be. Stuttgart, (and its small suburb Zuffenhausen) are about the equivalent of San Antonio – very far South, and slightly more West. Weissach is only about 12 miles West of Zuffenhausen, also quite close to Stuttgart. Since I would be based out of Berlin, and I only had an extra day to do Porsche adventuring, I decided my best bet would be Leipzig, home of the Cayenne, and also home to the Porsche Test Track. The test track was designed by Porsche to include corners from many of the famous racetracks around the world, including the Corkscrew from Laguna Seca, the Sunset Bend from Sebring, Curva Loews from Monaco, the Bus Stop from Spa-Francorchamps (not the one from Hallett) and many others. I have dreamed of visiting it since I heard it was being built. And the customer center, called The Diamond, is the spectacular inverted cone that has been featured in numerous pictures and calendars for years. I looked on the website to book a tour, and since I only had about 45 days notice for the ONLY day I could go, all tours were in German, and they were all sold out! There was no room in any of them. Luckily I had a friend on the inside, which often helps. He was able to talk to the customer relations people at the Leipzig factory and get me a one on one, English tour! Fast-forward to the day of the event – I was all done with the trade show, learned all I could about selling my software in Germany, and was ready to relax. I got to the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) in Berlin a couple of hours early to make sure I wasn’t late for my 11am tour. I got on the ICE train (Inter City Express) headed directly to Leipzig and prepared for the journey. This particular train sped along at about 142 miles per hour, which was pretty amazing to see. As I looked out the windows, the close scenery flew by so fast it almost made you dizzy to watch it. The German conductor slowly sauntered down the aisle, nearly shouting in a big deep booming voice, “MORGEN!..... MORGEN!...” - his way of saying good morning to all the people whose tickets he was about to validate. Side note, for all people who at least know Porsche is a two-syllable word: The correct pronunciation is LIPE-tsik (or even LIBE-tsik). It took me a lot of practice to stop calling it LEEP-zig! Arriving in Leipzig station quite early, I had time to stroll around the mall there. It was one of the neatest malls I had been to – possibly just because everything was so new, so foreign, and so fascinating to me. I then went to the taxi area to hail a cab. I asked the cabbies “English? English?” and they all shook their heads Nein. So I then reverted to Cont’d pg 5 My Thoughts by Jan Mayo, Managing Editor Today being my birthday I look around at my friends kids and wonder how come they are getting older while my friends and I are not. Another sign of the movement of time is the passing of 89 year old Faye Whittenberg. Fran Usserey’s mother and my “Texas mom.” Faye was a beautiful silver haired, blue eyed dynamo that had the sharpest wit. She was fun to be with and will be missed very much. Since James bombed out on me last month and he did double duty this month, I had one of those thoughts. You know, the reason for the title of my little corner of the book. So my thought is.... Let Him Have It. No not the proverbial punch. Just the space. I’m busy with stuff, Parade stuff, friend stuff, life stuff. Continue to read on friends, James has a lot to say this time. 3

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