Club life is also suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But Porsche Clubs have not let this stop them – and have started numerous activities which clearly demonstrate that the Porsche community is also incredibly creative online. And that it is also united.
It has almost become a ritual if not a fixture in the calendar of the Porsche Club México: at least twice a month, some of the over two hundred members of the Club, which was established in 1988, meet up for a joint breakfast. There is laughter, everyone has a good time, and the members exchange stories from everyday life. And there is also a lot of shop talk about their shared passion, namely Porsche cars. The morning event is more often than not followed by an excursion. “We have not yet cancelled a single meeting,” says Juan Pablo Guzman Giraud, who has been President of the Porsche Club México for two months.
And then the coronavirus arrived. And with it the requirement for physical distancing, for example, which currently makes Club meetings, member events and joint excursions impossible – naturally in the interest of the health of all. The end of the Mexican breakfast meetings? Far from it. Because Guzman Giraud and Vice-President Luis Gerardo Garcia Santos made a virtue out of necessity. “Since the start of the coronavirus restrictions, our breakfast meetings have now taken place online,” says Garcia Santos. The response surprised even the organisers: around 25 members have taken part in the video meetings so far, and the number is increasing. Juan Pablo Guzman Giraud is certain: “The solidarity among members and the feeling of being part of something bigger have grown even further. And everyone will emerge from the crisis with even more enthusiasm.”
Juan Pablo Guzman Giraud, President of Porsche Club México
Since personal contact is not possible at the moment, activities simply have to take place on the internet. Like many other Clubs, the youngest Porsche Club, the Porsche Club Bosnia and Herzegowina, has also moved communication between members online and increased its social media activities. “We have a chat group which has always been busy, but the amount of communication between members is particularly high at the moment,” says Club President Haris Pinjo. On the one hand, members look back longingly when photos of past events are shared, for example. But on the other, Pinjo and the others are already making plans online for all the Club activities that they want to organise in the future. After the coronavirus. “And we tell a lot of jokes,” says the Club President grinning. “I believe that this keeps the energy and enthusiasm for our joint passion alive. We have even gained a new member recently.”
These examples are just a few of many that show how Porsche Clubs all over the world are responding optimistically and constructively to the coronavirus crisis. And how they are not letting the coronavirus get them down – even if it is currently putting a stop to real Club life. How they are sticking together – in spite of social distancing. How they are helping each other – even without direct contact. Yes, and how they are implementing creative activities and planning future projects – even if this is currently only possible online. And how the anticipation is growing in them all for the time after the coronavirus. When the current Porsche online community can again become the real Porsche Clubs that they are without compare. And when Club life can again take place in the clubhouses, in the cockpit and above all on the road.
Haris Pinjo can also hardly wait to go out on a drive with his Club friends again. He has not had to cancel any of the planned Club events yet. But the opposite is true for Stefan De Clerck, the Event Manager in the Porsche Classic Club Belgium and his colleagues. The Belgian event calendar traditionally starts on Easter Monday, but the planned Porsche Club event fell victim to the coronavirus. However, the Belgians too came up with a creative alternative: an Easter photo contest. “Our members hadn’t expected that. As a result, it came as an even bigger surprise and produced a fantastic response,” says Club President Pascal Pauwels, who was delighted by the many photos submitted showing the members’ Porsche cars or the members themselves with a creative Easter theme. The two Belgian Club representatives report that many of the members expressed their gratitude that the Club was still thinking of them even during this difficult time.
The inspiring results can be seen here.
“We have not yet given up the hope that one or the other event can still take place this year,” says Stefan De Clerck. That is a hope shared by Porsche Clubs all over the world – and also by Curt Dansby. The President of the US-based 356 Registry is afraid that it may be necessary to postpone this year’s “West Coast Holiday”, which is due to take place in Bend in the state of Oregon at the end of August. And yet: the American Porsche fans are also not letting the coronavirus damp their enthusiasm – even if no other country is suffering as much from Covid-19 as the United States. “We already have over 600 registrations,” reports Dansby, who is currently also preparing a virtual surprise for the North American 356 fans. What exactly? Dansby is not giving anything away yet.
Benjamin Lam also sees the situation in the same way as his colleagues. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Porsche Club Hong Kong also emphasises the positive news, of which there is still plenty during these times. And on which we should focus our attention more often. For example, the fact that such a challenging task as a pandemic makes it possible to grow as a (Club) community and society and thus emerge stronger than before. The citizens of Hong Kong know what they are talking about. After all, the Asian city state already had to deal with the previous Sars virus in 2003. With memories still fresh from the “earlier bitter experiences”, the people in Hong Kong quickly protected and supported each other, says Benjamin Lam. According to the Club President in Hong Kong, whose Club is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the most important thing is to show consideration for others and take care of each other – just like in Club life. It is still uncertain whether the anniversary celebrations can take place with illustrious driving events and a gala dinner. Benjamin Lam is hoping for the best and is staying in contact with his Porsche colleagues in chat groups, video meetings and through social media. The same fate also applies to the Porsche Club South Africa and its Vice-President Karl Illenberger. The intention was to celebrate the Club’s proud 50th anniversary in great style in June as part of the Porsche Parade South Africa. At the moment, it is planned to move the anniversary celebrations to the end of the year. Even in difficult times, the Club is still not neglecting its social responsibility, however. “We are currently examining the feasibility of organising a track day for children from children’s homes. They too need a little light during these dark days.”
Andrea Gruppach, President of the Federazione Italiana Porsche Club
Erwin Pfeiffer of the Porsche Club Isartal-München, Event and Touring Director of the Porsche Club Deutschland, and Fritz Letters, President of the Porsche Club Schwaben and Chairman of the German umbrella organisation, are also staying in contact with their colleagues in the German Clubs in chat groups, video meetings and through social media. They do not just discuss organisational matters in the many telephone calls and mails. “Often, it’s just about talking to each other,” says Erwin Pfeiffer. And about mutual solidarity. Those responsible in the German umbrella organisation are using the quiet period to drive forward projects that were “on hold”. “We are planning, planning, planning,” says Pfeiffer. They are sprucing up the home page, for example, organising future events and also have plenty of ideas for the next few weeks, reports Fritz Letters. And from time to time, they are taking their Porsche cars out for a spin. “Those who are now forced to take trips alone can document their experiences on their routes,” says Letters. As soon as the coronavirus has been overcome and Club life starts again, “we can then go on one or the other outing together again”, says the German. “Anyway, everyone is really looking forward with tremendous excitement to going out driving again. And seeing each other again is also just as important.”
The representatives of the Porsche Club Singapore and their President Leon Z. Liu meanwhile have launched a Porsche quiz on Facebook. Here, for example, the members have to find out the name of the fantasy spaceship that the designers at Porsche AG created in Weissach and San Francisco together with Lucasfilm Ltd. for the film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and then presented in Los Angeles in December 2019 (it was naturally the “Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter”).
The coronavirus affected the Italians particularly early on and also very severely. The most important measure to protect oneself and others was to stay at home if at all possible. However, Andrea Gruppach, President of the Federazione Italiana Porsche Club figured that this did not mean that the Porsche cars had to be completely neglected. So he and his colleagues organised the photo contest #AncheLaMiaPorscheRestaACasa. The task for the members was to present their vehicles in the best possible way in the garage. In this way, we are trying to get through this difficult time and at the same time ensure that the spirit of the Club still thrives, says the Italian. “We hope that one or the other event can still take place in the second half of the year.” However, health comes first over all these hopes for the future. After all, everyone has felt the suffering that the virus has caused in Italy, Europe and all over the world. Northern Italy in particular was very badly affected. Great care will therefore be taken when deciding on when it is possible to organise an event again where the members are also involved in the usual way, says Gruppach. “We will keep our passion alive until the moment has come where we can actively pursue it again.”
Edwina Pike, Chair of Porsche Club Great Britain
If you listen to Club representatives all over the world, one thing is particularly striking: they all as one emphasise the social responsibility that such a strong, transnational and worldwide community like the Porsche Clubs wants to fulfil in such difficult times. This is shown particularly impressively in the Porsche Club Great Britain. “The heart of our Club is our sense of community, we stick together like a family,” says Edwina Pike. “We are friends, after all.” And that is why the British Club President and her colleagues have organised countless virtual events, including a “Pub Quiz” moved to the internet, as well as light-hearted online events with creative titles such as “Dream Garage”, “Cayman Clinic”, “Porsche Night not at Ace Café”. There are also online photography courses where the Club members teach their colleagues how to present their Porsche in photos in the best possible way. “We hold such virtual events almost every evening,” reports Ed Pike. Club life: “Stronger than ever before,” she maintains. “There is a tremendous feeling of solidarity. We all help each other”. And this also naturally includes support on a private level.
Carlos Pinelo Sisniega can only confirm this. “It is important for us that the Club members do not feel that they are left on their own in these difficult times,” says the President of the Porsche Club Guatemala. That is why regular communication is enormously important – particularly during the coronavirus crisis. And this is apparently working: he can feel how the current most certainly not very pleasant circumstances are strengthening the bonds within the Club community even further. “The feeling of mutual solidarity unites us all,” says the Club representative from Central America, who recently also welcomed a new Club member. “That is why we collected donations to support the national health system.” And to thus promote social cohesion. This mutual solidarity extends beyond the boundaries of the Club not just during times of crisis.
Carlos Pinelo Sisniega, President of Porsche Club Guatemala
The Porsche Club Andino is not yet two years old. The Chileans have also responded fantastically to the “drought” caused by the coronavirus and have started a great initiative: as Vice-President Willem Schol reports, the Club has been undertaking regular virtual tours with its online followers for a number of weeks already. The South Americans have therefore already virtually viewed the collection of a well-known Club member in Santiago, for example. The programme has also included a visit to a German company. 80 persons recently took part, reports Willem Schol. And not just their own Club members, but also most of the Latin American Club Presidents.
Satoshi Itano from the Porsche Club Japan emphasises how important it is to keep in touch with each other during these times. “It is a difficult situation for us all. Talking to each other is the only way of conveying emotions.” Itano, who had to cancel the Club’s own Porsche Parade normally due to take place in a few days owing to the spread of the coronavirus, would like to recommend to the Clubs in the Japanese umbrella organisation that they should reduce membership fees in the coming year. That is what solidarity looks like.
Talking of emotions, which inevitably arise in us when we think about Club life and Porsche events, the Porsche Club of America was able to impressively capture these in a video aimed at its members in the USA. In “Keep PCA alive” and under the hashtag #PCATogether, the Americans show wonderful clips from previous events. In addition, PCA President Tom Gorsuch and Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, make passionate statements to the Club members.
Watch the video
Nevertheless, it remains the case that no online event or video conference can replace the inspiring conversations, entertaining anecdotes and unforgettable moments that can be experienced during an outing with friends from your Porsche Club or at a Club meeting. There is no doubt about that. Nevertheless, the Porsche Clubs are showing through their many different initiatives that they are also a genuine community in the online world. An international family that provides support and on which you can rely – both in good and in coronavirus times.