Friday, 3 November 2006 - Wednesday, 8 November 2006
Shanghai Drive 2006
Following the overwhelming success of the Shanghai Charity Tour 2005, the Club and WiseLink Global Communications, organised yet another exciting drive from Hong Kong to the world class Formula One Circuit in Shanghai from 3rd to 8th November. 45 Porsches participated, including a new 997 Turbo, a Carrera GT and a number of 996 Turbos, GT3s, GT3 RS and Caymans.
Day 1 – Starting the Engines
The official starting ceremony was held at the Harbour City car park on the morning of 3rd November. The guests of honour, included, Mrs. Selina Chow, a member of the Legislative Council and the Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Mr. Clarence Chang, a board member of the Make a Wish Foundation Hong Kong—the beneficiary charitable organisation for this year’s Drive. After the ceremony, 45 Porsches were divided into four groups and drove off to the Lok Ma Chau border. With so many cars that had to be processed, immigration and customs took considerable time to clear the cars; however, the process was much more efficient than last year. In any event, our members were very patient and understanding and not before long all the cars were already on their way to Shantou.
Day 2 – Relaxing Drive
It was a relaxing day of driving; the highway between Shantou and Fuzhou was very smooth and scenic and the total distance was only about 500 km. Unlike last year, without the convoy of the “Gong An” or police guarding and guiding the fleet, drivers reached Fuzhou early in the afternoon; extremely timely for getting time out for foot massages before dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 – No Pain No Gain
It was probably the most tiring day of the entire road trip because everyone had to get up awfully early in order to cover the whole long distance —750 km— between Fuzhou and Hangzhou. The drive was smooth though a number of members made a wrong turn after lunch. Some of them took a different and longer route than the one originally planned. All roads lead to Rome, or in this case, Hangzhou. With the assistance from the satellite navigation and guidance from a few shrewd navigators, those who took the wrong turn eventually arrived at the Sofitel Xanadu Resort without too much difficulty, albeit only slightly later than the rest of the group.
The Sofitel Resort has only been opened recently and is right next to a beautiful lake. It may not be the famous “West Lake” but the picturesque landscape near the Resort entices visitors who yearn all the more to see the real “West Lake”. Hangzhou Porsche Centre was very generous and hospitable in hosting a dinner which was highlighted with the performance of a uniquely traditional ‘Change of Facial Makeup’ commonly found in Chinese traditional operas, and the performance of 4 musicians who resembled the famous Chinese 12 girls band (Beautiful Energy).
Day 4 – The Challenge
It is only about 200 km between Hangzhou and Shanghai and the Porsches arrived at the F1 Circuit around noon time. It was finally the moment that everyone had been desperately waiting for after three days on the road—track time!!
Ever since the opening of the track, the Shanghai F1 Circuit was known to be exciting and highly challenging. Even for those who had participated in our Shanghai Drive last year still had to re-familiarise themselves with the corners and the racing lines before the track made sense again. Fortunately, renowned Porsche racers Darryl O’Young (2006 Carrera Cup Asia Champion), Mathew Marsh and Kevin Wong were generous and experienced in giving pointers to the drivers. In fact, members were so eager to have the three drive them around the circuit or have them ride with them in their Porsches that the three racers practically hopped from one car to another; they barely had time to rest, leave alone sipping a glass of water!!
Day 5 – Excitement Continued
Everyone was having more fun as they had gotten more used to the Shanghai Circuit. Many friends and families of the members joined the crowd at the Circuit to see the Porsches in action; some of them were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ride in them, too. The President of Porsche Club Shanghai, which was recently established, also visited and exchanged pleasantries with the members. With a common passion for Porsches, both Clubs agreed that there would be ample opportunities to organise joint events in the future.
Time went by like a flash when everyone was enjoying himself or herself so immensely. Though reluctantly, members had to pack up and head back to the hotel to get ready for the Gala Dinner (sponsored by Continental Tires) at South Beauty, a beautiful restaurant converted from a historic building.
Day 6 – Time To Say “Goodbye”
Members returned to the Shanghai F1 Circuit in the morning to drive their Porsches to the container loading area in Pudong in order to have their cars loaded into the containers for shipment back to Hong Kong. The rest of the afternoon was free for members to enjoy different kinds of Shanghai delights before flying back to Hong Kong that evening.
2007 – Until next time?
Gladly put, Shanghai Drive 2006 was another truly successful and memorable event of the Club! There were already numerous feedbacks asking for a similar event to be organised again in 2007!! The Club has indeed started to plan well ahead for next year’s Drive and hopefully with the experience gained from these past two years and the amount of expertise involved, the next Shanghai Drive will be able to reach new heights. So keep your fingers crossed and watch out closely for news on the next exciting Shanghai Drive!!