When the original Ferdinand iPad Magazine came looking for a Porsche writer back in September 2011, I was on Rally GB with Specialist Vehicle Preparations and preparing for a US trip to Rennsport Reunion IV at Laguna Seca. But the biggest part of my work at the time was an end-of-year experience running Safari Rally media coverage for my friends at Tuthill Porsche and the charitable Race4Change programme.
Race4Change was a team of three Porsche 911s running in Safari to bring attention to Steven Funk’s Race4Change microfinance foundation. The idea behind microfinance is to support people in the poorest areas out of poverty with small, ultra-affordable loans and community banking services. One of the biggest problems of living in a slum is keeping what little money you manage to accumulate: so many people are trapped in poverty by theft, domestic violence, loan sharking and the like, rather than an inability to earn.
So, Race4Change partnered with Nobel Prize nominees and charitable foundations all over the world including Women’s World Banking and Kiva to help set up microfinance projects across East Africa. They then commissioned three 911s from Tuthill Porsche, and hired some all-star drivers to promote the mission across Kenya and Tanzania.
The drivers included former World Champion, Björn Waldegård (below, left), 11-time X-Games gold medallist Travis Pastrana (top) and Kenyan champ, Ian Duncan. We also had Fabrizia Pons, famous co-driver to Michele Mouton and Ari Vatanen: Michele couldn’t drive with us due to previous FIA commitments.
To say the event was hard work is an understatement! It was the most challenging three months of my career to date. But of course we won the event and Travis had a ball – he later called it the best time of his life. The winner was Björn in the orange 911: the first time a Porsche had won on Safari.
On a personal level, my involvement was hugely satisfying, not to mention super educational to work alongside the team of X-Games star management at Wasserman Media for a few months. I learned a lot and was incredibly moved by some of our experiences on the rally. I hope that one day we can do it again, even bigger!
Explore the Travis Pastrana Safari Rally 2011 photo album on Ferdinand’s Facebook Pages. Here’s some video of Travis talking about his Race4Change in a Tuthill Porsche.