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From cold waves to slammed cars: Rennmeister crashed two of the hottest European car events

Pick one: 1000 tuner cars under the Polish sun or a cool breeze from the North Sea and a colourful bunch of air-cooled Porsches? As it turns out, our friends from Rennmeister didn’t have to choose, attending both Petro Surf and Ultrace in a weekend to remember!

Car Culture. In a world of self-driving, noiseless, safe, comfortable, and maybe even slightly boring modern cars, this term has gained a different meaning than 20 or even as recently as 10 years ago. It refers mostly to celebrating creativity and individuality, expressing oneself and making a vehicle an integral part of one’s general lifestyle choices. It’s within that emotional space that the most interesting things on the modern car scene happen, and it also is exactly the reason why last weekend the Rennmeister Project decided to take part in two of the hottest car events of the summer: Ultrace and Petro Surf.

On paper, the two are as different as can be. One is a massive festival of all things slammed, modified and tuned, with original period racing cars taking centre stage (McLaren F1 GTR, anyone?) right next to the year’s craziest builds from as far away as Japan, Australia and South Korea. The other is an intimate gathering of passionate Porsche owners, who flock to the wonderfully picturesque and slightly moon-like Island of Sylt in the north of Germany for both a celebration of the air-cooled flat six engine and to take part in a surfing competition. In reality, both events have a lot in common when it comes to the passion that drives them.

Both events will be familiar to Classic Driver readers, as each year we attend them with great pleasure. Taking in the sights and sounds, admiring the massive numbers of inventive, beautiful and downright crazy modifications on the cars displayed there. Machines range from a Lamborghini Countach with an insane Liberty Walk body kit to a reimagined Group-5 Ford Capri (congratulations to Holyhall), a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” replica with massive wheels and air suspension, and a Citroen 2CV hot rod, all shown at Wrocław Stadium in Poland during Ultrace.

Meanwhile, during Petro Surf at the iconic Samoa Bar on Sylt, there’s the option of the equally enjoyable experience of a sundowner on the dunes while looking over various outlaw 911s, 944s and 928s, modified by their owners to either resemble iconic racing or rally cars (a special shout out to the 928 Surfari) or simply highly original examples sporting surfboards or the odd inflatable flamingo floaty on their roof racks.  

So this year, even though both events were taking place on the same weekend by sheer coincidence, we simply couldn’t skip either of them. This was especially true as the Rennmeister project, which shines a new light on the iconic Jägermeister racing cars, in which our creative consultancy CD Works has been involved from its conception, was a strategic partner to both. In the spirit of creating a “double trouble” style disruption, we therefore split into two teams bringing the iconic Porsche 911 RSR (a car which in the hands of Eckhard Schimpf alone competed in over 84 races) to Petro Surf and a display of wide, low and menacing DTM cars (plus the obligatory Porsche 962, which is always the biggest crowd pleaser) to Ultrace.

Last weekend, 50 000 Ultrace attendees and around a hundred times fewer Petro Surf visitors were not only able to take a closer look at cars like the Alfa Romeo 155 Ti DTM monster of Michael Bartels, the V8 DTM ‘working class hero’ Opel Astra or the e30 BMW M3 DTM (and immediately compare it to the one displayed on the HFMSTRS stand, which was brought in from the BMW Museum), but also take part in competitions that allowed them to win project artworks in the form of posters, stickers and pins. That’s not all, though, because for the first time ever limited-edition merch was available to buy in the form of t-shirts and sweatshirts with artworks by Stevie Gee and Jagoda Blank, which were inspired by the same Jägermeister Racing cars they could see on site.

As the sun dipped below the horizon at the two locations, a party atmosphere emerged as ice-cold drinks were served at both the Rennmeister Petro Surf tent and during Ultrace’s Night Experience, of which Jägermeister was a sponsor, where amongst others headliner Luciano, Germany’s most famous rapper, played to around 4000 people. Both events successfully married daytime thrills of appreciating craftsmanship and details, driving on track (for Petro Surf), drifting (for Ultrace) with a fantastic, familial party atmosphere. Albeit on slightly different scales, these two automotive extravaganzas demonstrated that “car culture” is about much, much more than just the sum of the parts of a car. It’s the human connections, the stories, the moments we share with the machines only acting as a conduit.

It's a recipe that works regardless of if they are vintage Jägermeister racing cars, rusty four-cylinder Porsches or fantastically inventive slammed German Limos with the entire engine bay engraved by hand (shout out to Mica). This sentiment was widely acknowledged by friends old and new and, during Ultrace, even discussed on stage in a series of panel talks. There, the same observations were repeated by people like FAT International founder Ferdi Porsche and racing driver and influencer Misha Charoudin, who brought the BMW M4 Competition he recently crashed with bits of the Eifel Mountains scenery still sticking out of the mangled bodywork.

All in all, even if it was baking hot in Wrocław with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees and quite windy on Sylt, we ended both events overwhelmed with automotive love and stunned by the creativity on display. To all those who make gatherings like this possible, no matter the size or venue, we are eternally grateful for making us part of their extended family. In the end, it really didn’t matter who won best of show at Ultrace (it was the absolutely fantastic Hyundai Pony drift car by The Kyza, built by Korean outfit Peaches, in an intense showdown with the Liberty Walk Lambo) or if there was enough swell to ride those sweet North Sea waves and win the surfing competition at Petro Surf (congrats to Australia’s Thomas Bexon).

All we can say is because of all of that, we already have the post-Ultrace and Petro Surf blues. See you in 2025!

Photos by Filip Blank, Vince Perraud and Maciej Skrzyński