Gui Bernardes is a member of Porsche Club Portugal and Porsche Club 924-944-968 France
My name is Gui Bernardes, and I am 68 years old. When I was 12, a Porsche made me turn my head, and since then I have not been able to stop doing it! It was really a turning point, and my car passion became Porsche-focused, not only in the series models but also in the racing sports cars.
I said to myself that someday in the future I would own and drive a Porsche. Curiously, that day arrived only when I was 55 years old. And Porsche car ownership really changed my life, as I could finally live out my passion with other enthusiasts at many Porsche events in Portugal, France, and Germany.
After buying my 944 S2 Convertible in 2009 and being a member of Porsche Club Portugal, I had the opportunity to visit the Porsche Museum and the Porsche Factory in Zuffenhausen in 2010. This was a long-standing wish of mine, and it was really interesting to discover the Porsche world in its home country. It was really an enriching and enjoyable experience to get in touch with the Porsche history so well displayed at the museum.
In 2011, I noticed that Porsche was marking 30 years of the Porsche 944 in an event that would take place at Le Mans, also celebrating 50 years of Porsche Club France. I immediately decided to enrol for the event and on 13th July I departed from Portugal in my beloved 944. And what an event it was! Porsche had reserved the Bugatti circuit for 3 days and spared no effort to reward an unforgettable journey for the festival visitors. Among all the programme activities, I would highlight the unique welcome dinner on the first day of the event that surprised everyone, as it took place on the main straight of Le Mans circuit with the tables set on the tarmac where so many glorious moments for Porsche had taken place since 1951! A magical experience for a Porsche and Le Mans fan like me! Another unforgettable moment was the Parade along the circuit on Sunday to close the event, with hundreds of Porsches running together and completely occupying the total length of the Bugatti circuit. For me, it was really about discovering the special way Porsche relates to and takes care of its customers and fans! I realised exactly what it means to belong to the Porsche family. I was so well received and welcomed by the members of Porsche Club 924-944-968 France that I have been a member of the club since then.
In May 2012 I participated in another fantastic event, the celebration of 60 Years of Porsche Clubs worldwide that took place in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Porsche Community Management did an remarkable organisation of the event, gathering Porsche Club members from all over the world. I will never forget moments like driving through WERK 2 in our cars prior to arriving directly at Porscheplatz; the friendly attendance of Hans-Peter Porsche and the presentation of the unique 991 Club Coupe, a special and fantastic edition of 12 cars exclusively available for Porsche Club Members.
After only 3 years of belonging to the Porsche community, I was so impressed by what I had the chance to experience that I began to think about writing a book on Porsche. Not only about its cars, its racing history, but also about the people and the big family we all are part of. So, in 2015 I decided to go for it and picked up the courage to begin writing. It was not easy, but I can say it was the most enjoyable task I have ever had. I remember my delight when I got permission to visit the Porsche Archives in 2016 to do some research needed for some chapters of the book and also to obtain the photos to illustrate it. I will never forget those 4 days I spent inside the Archives library literally surrounded by Porsche history! Finally, on 27th June 2017 “Porsche – Cars with Soul” was published, and it was undoubtedly one of happiest days of my life!
The latest major Porsche Club event I participated was the celebration of 70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars in June 2018. This was in fact the big one, with so many Club members gathering at Stuttgart–Zuffenhausen and so many activities scheduled for the 5 days of the event. As it was possible to choose to start the event in several different cities in Europe, my choice could not have been other than Zell am See, and I was delighted and honoured to be part of the group visiting the Schüttgut, where we were kindly welcomed by Dr Wolfgang Porsche. It was indeed a very special trip where we had the opportunity to visit this important mark in Porsche history. We were all fascinated by Dr Porsche’s garage, which he patiently showed us answering willingly our questions regarding the fantastic display of Porsche cars. But for me, the most important and significant moment was yet to come when I could offer and dedicate a copy of my book to Dr Wolfgang Porsche. We talked about the book for a few minutes and those were indeed very special moments I’ll keep for ever in my mind. The celebrations went on in the next days with very nice activities, like the gathering of all the participants at Burg Stettenfels, the Gala Dinner at UrbanHarbor in Ludwigsburg and finally on Sunday the spectacular Sports Car Together Day at Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart with more than 1,000 Porsches cars and fans together celebrating this important milestone of the Porsche brand.
In May 2022 I had the great joy of commemorating 30 Years of Porsche Club Portugal and to meet again many friends in a very nice event, especially after the long absence due to covid restrictions.
Through all these years, Porsche has undoubtedly made my life happier and put a smile on my face so many times, just like for so many other fans. This is the reason why Porsche is unique – a really big family with more than 235,000 members all over the world.
I don’t know for how much longer I can drive my Porsche, as I will be fighting a recently diagnosed disabling degenerative disease, but all I have done until now has been immensely rewarding, and I just can be thankful for everything and every moment I have lived with the Porsche Community. I’ll do my best to be (driving or not) at next year’s celebration of 75 Years of Porsche!