“Completely insane!” – “Best ever” – “Awesome…” – Enthusiastic faces emerge from the clouds of dust, overjoyed as they climb out of the 911 Dakar of Porsche Experience. It’s the end of November, the heat is sizzling, the sun is still burning full force on the horizon here in the south of Portugal. In the vastness of the landscape, between steppe and hills, dust swirls up and settles against the glistening sun, the sound of the Dakar six-cylinder engines roars through the bushes and you can only guess where the vehicles are. We are in Portimão, Portugal. Five minutes away from the famous race track. In the middle of the Portuguese wasteland, on an off-road track.
The laps with the Porsche Track Experience instructors in the 911 Dakar will be among the many unique experiences that the Club representatives will take home with them from Portimão. Because here at the International Presidents Meeting, too, Porsche must always be experienced. Porsche Passion and Porsche People always include Porsche Performance.
Sylvie Jiang from Porsche China and Porsche Club China members, Manuela Cottiati from Porsche Ladies Club Schweiz and Carlos Flores from Honduras. Porsche Club Honduras ist the youngest Porsche Club attending the IPM. (Above, left, right)
The 223 Club Presidents and Club Managers who meet here come from 65 countries and all five continents. A colourful group from all over the world, but when it comes to their shared passion, they all speak one language: Porsche. “We are one community. We have come together here to exchange ideas and refresh our friendships. It’s good to see the family again!” says Karl, who is attending as the South African Club President.
Sebastian Mertke, Head of Global Community Management
Sebastian Lidström from Porsche Classic Club Finland, João Castro from Porsche 356 Club Portugal and Renaud Lechalier from Porsche Club 914 de France. João and his 356 Club are organizers of the International 356 Meeting 2024 in Portugal. (Above, left, right)
The Club family gathers here for three days, on Saturday Mark Porsche joins the Club friends as a representative of the Porsche family. On the closing evening, he will once again address the Club members and assure them of the Porsche family’s commitment to the Clubs. As the son of F.A. Porsche, he is aware of the family tradition and enjoys living it.
The resort complex outside Portimão is extensive and has spectacular views directly on the Portuguese cliffs. The days begin with a marvellous view of the endless sea. This also broadens the horizon. The Club Presidents have come together here to make their Clubs fit for the future: in addition to the laps with the 911 Dakar, the GT3 RS, the GT4 RS and the tours in the Taycan around the Algarve, the focus is on the position of the Clubs in a changing automotive world and the shared perspectives of Porsche and its Porsche Clubs.
Pedro Solis Klussmann, Porsche Club Guatemala, Uwe Zimmermann from Württembergischer Porsche Club and Thierry van Dalen from Porsche Club of Belgium. Both Porsche Club of Belgium and Württembergischer Porsche Club celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2023. (Above, left, right)
The workshops are all about looking beyond the horizon and into the future of the Clubs. Porsche Passion, Porsche People and Porsche Performance are joined by Porsche Prospects. “How we grow.” deals with young target groups, young talent and more diversity. In short: "How we attract the next generation.“. The Porsche Club of America presents best-practice strategies, while Porsche Deutschland sheds light on the relevance and use of social media. “How we connect.” looks at the opportunities and necessities of digital platforms in the future – including for Clubs. In “How we meet”, the event structures for the next decade are defined together with the Club Presidents and the cornerstones of the new brand identity are presented. The digital offerings and services of Global Community Management for the Clubs will also be reorganised and adapted to requirements.
“What I take away from this is that every Club is fundamentally struggling with the same problems,” says Nick Taylor, Chairman of the Porsche Club Great Britain, summarising the two days. The Clubs are facing difficult tasks. But also, as the reactions to the IPM show, new opportunities and perspectives. The meeting of Club Presidents here in Portimão is also intended to show that the Clubs are not left on their own. On the one hand, because they can discuss their topics here in the community, but also because the meeting shows that Porsche is at their side and that the road to the future will be travelled together. “The future of the Porsche Clubs really depends on what Porsche undertakes with the Clubs…”, states Munas van Boonstra of Porsche Club Malaysia. And that is exactly what the International Porsche Presidents Meeting is for: “Shaping the future together as a global family,” is how Sebastian Mertke, Head of Community Management at Porsche, aptly describes it.
Derrick Lim from Porsche Club Malaysia, Aaron Ambrosino from Porsche Club of America and Melanie Treloar and Russell Sturzaker from Porsche Club of Victoria, Australia. Melanie and Russell had the longest travel to the IPM in Portugal. (Above, left, right)
“It’s incredible what Porsche has organised here,” says Manuela from the fledgling Porsche Ladies Club Switzerland. “The locations, the programme, the whole Porsche world and performance, the Porsche spirit that comes across here. You feel like part of a family, part of Porsche. But also all the Club managers that I was able to get to know here and with whom I was able to exchange ideas. That will resonate for a long time and give me strength for the tasks in the Club.”
The 2023 International Presidents' Meeting in Portimão was the start of a journey to be undertaken together. And that is a good picture: Half a century ago, Portuguese world discoverers set off from here to uncover new sea routes and continents. Today, the Clubs set out from here to shape the future.
Carsten Prochaska and Thomas Ernst, German Porsche Clubs for 911 and 356, Shan Le from Porsche Club Vietnam and Paul and Margret Raben from the 356 Registry in United States. Shan Le is planning a road tripp all the way from Vietnam to Zuffenhausen with his Club members in 2024. (Above, left, right)