May '19

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60 THE SHOP MAY 2019 Outlaw Benton also installed 911 SC front brakes with ventilated and cross-drilled rotors. The rear has solid discs and race pads are fitted all around. La Carrera cars have to be registered for the street in the country of origin, therefore requiring fully functional lights, indicators, horn and everything else. And, of course, you have all the usual race car accoutre- ments such as cutoff switch, a fire sup- pression system with inside and outside actuators, racing seats and a Momo model 7 steering wheel. The paint scheme for the car is based on the Guatemalan flag: blue, white and blue on the hood and decklid. Incidentally, the name of the car is Rayo Chapin–rayo, meaning lightning, and chapin being a term for a person who is a proud Guatemalan. So, it's Guatemalan Lightning. THE JOY OF RACING Building a race car is the ultimate test of a shop's ability, and Benton would be the first to admit that things did not go quite as planned. He picks up the story: "Most of the racing in Mexico is at high altitude between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, so we had tested the car up in the local mountains to get our air/fuel ratios. We got it really close—so close that the jets we set up in the box worked perfectly. I didn't have to modify anything. "Unfortunately, however, the metal fuel line that runs through the firewall in the back broke and low fuel pressure leaned the mixture. Javier and Juan were in a speed stage so dynamically that the car kept running even though all the exhaust valves had stretched. But once they stopped at a checkpoint and shut the motor off, there was not enough compression to fire it again. That was unfortunate. It could have been race over. "Not expecting any problems on that stage, we had gone ahead to Mexico City, but as soon as we heard they had problems we had to drive back and get them. Finally, we got back to Mexico City and dropped them off at 9 p.m. It then took us two hours to find a spot to work on the car. "Eventually, I paid a hotel 2,500 pesos just to use a spot and we built a motor on the sidewalk outside the hotel. I had brought a spare engine but it was not a drop-in situa- tion. There was a lot of work to do. "I remember saying to my guys, 'If this gasket breaks it's going to be a problem because it's all we have.' It was a difficult situation. "The repairs were finished at 6:50 a.m., just 10 minutes before their taxi pulled up. They've got their helmets and they're ready to go and Javier says, 'Is it going to be OK?' And I said, 'I hope so.' "They won every section after that. The motor just ran like a champ and we won our class. "My team and I were completely drained, exhausted, we'd been up for 26 hours. I got a room where we washed up and then it was back on the road to the next town. But we won—and that's the joy of racing!" It's back-to-back wins in races such as the La Carrera Panamericana and the Peking to Paris Rally that have given Benton Perfor- mance a solid following in the small-but- elevated world of Porsche tuners. And, as Benton points out, there are no trophies—just a great feeling of accom- plishment and the satisfaction of having done the best you could. B o r n i n E n g l a n d , TO N Y THACKER is an accredited automotive journalist, author and book publisher, and served as marketing director at the famed SO-CAL Speed Shop. It wasn't that long ago when most people wanted to see Porsches kept in stock condition. Now there's a huge and growing demand for "Outlaw Porsches," and they've been retaining their value. Benton caters to all air-cooled Porsche models. Besides service and restoration, Benton also enjoys a growing and enviable repu- tation as a winning rally car builder.

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