Shanghai Drive 2008
Following the overwhelming success of Shanghai Drive 2005, 2006 and 2007, the Club organised its fourth consecutive, and maybe the last, Shanghai Drive which took place between 29 November (Saturday) and 4 December (Thursday). Similar to previous years, an almost identical route was taken, stopping at Changsha (長沙), Wuhan (武漢) and Nanjing (南京) along the way before arriving in Shanghai and spending one and a half days at the Shanghai Formula One (F1) circuit, one of the famous tracks in the world. 44 Porsches participated in the event, of which a full range of Porsches was represented, ranging from three Carrera GTs, to numerous GT3s, GT2s, Turbos, Carreras, Caymans and a Boxster S.
Things got off to a flying start when all the cars were cleared efficiently at the Chinese Custom in less than an hour!! So although the first day of the drive was the longest of all (about 780 km), drivers could take it easy throughout the day and took plenty of breaks. The only tiring part was driving after sunset which was fairly dark; even that was very brief as everybody managed to arrive at the hotel before eight o’clock.
The drive on the second day was much shorter (about 360 km) as the participants were required to reach Wuhan early that afternoon to attend the Christmas lighting ceremony of the Wuhan Tiandi—a residential and retail development of Shui On Land Limited in the heart of Wuhan. All the Porsches were nicely polished and arranged to park conspicuously at Wuhan Tiandi, making a real statement for the evening. Local media as well as a large number of residents turned up for the fireworks and the lighting of a huge Christmas tree on display. As for dinner, a French bistro had been reserved in advance exclusively for the members where sumptuous eateries were served. The celebration did not end until about 20:30 when members were transferred back to the hotel by coach though some of them decided to venture off on their own to enjoy karaoke singing or relaxing foot massages etc. The hotel in Wuhan this year is very new, very close to Wuhan Tiandi and right in front of the Yangtze River (長江). Members with rooms facing the river could appreciate a spectacular view of the third longest river in the world!!
The third day was also a relatively easy driving to Nanjing (only 580 km); before getting onto the highway, all the Porsches were led through Wuhan city and had the opportunity to seep through its beauty, in particular, the scenic view of the East Lake.
Though Shanghai is only 250 km away from Nanjing, the Zhejiang police is very serious and stringent about tightly enforcing the speed limit. So despite everyone’s anxiousness to arrive at the Shanghai F1 Circuit as quickly as possible, speed limit was strictly adhered. When all the cars finally arrived at the Circuit around noon time, the accompanying mechanic jokingly complained that he had hardly any cars to work on throughout the Drive because for the first time in four years, all the cars arrived in Shanghai without any mechanical breakdown or accident!!
After a quick lunch, a number of members finally had the time to experience for the first time (and for the rest to appreciate, once again), Porsche’s excellent agility and astounding performance on the track. Similar to previous years, experienced Porsche racer, Kevin Wong, was present and was very generous providing guidance and giving pointers to the relatively less experienced drivers. The day rounded off satisfactorily with a unique Shanghainese dinner specialising in cooking with tea leaves kindly organised by one of the members.
The final day at the F1 Circuit was no less exciting and time really flew. While everyone was still immensely enjoying the track time, it was soon time to pack up and leave for the hotel. Nothing had been planned for the rest of that evening and the day that followed; so members were free to enjoy the delights of Shanghai.
If members would like to refresh some of these very memorable and precious moments, you may be delighted to learn that the Club’s official photographer had taken over a thousand pictures during the entire Drive and had saved them in a set of two CDs. If you are interested, please contact Ms. Janice Wong on 2336 1316 for more information.
As previously explained, due to the skyrocketed rental cost of the Shanghai F1 Circuit and the continuous appreciation of the Renminbi, organising a Shanghai Drive in 2009 may be difficult. However, please rest assured that the Club is constantly exploring new and exciting activities for its members. A trip to the Chengdu Goldenpoint Circuit, for example, is now under planning. So, kindly stay tuned for more information!!
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