Porsche runs in the Almond family blood, just as thick as the Stuttgart brand’s 70-year history in Australia.
As Porsche celebrates its 70th anniversary down under, Michael Almond is well into his eighth season in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia and his 10th in racing altogether.
Courtesy of his father, Ross Almond’s long-held passion for the brand, Michael grew up around the iconic golden logo, and falling in love was easy.
Paging even deeper into the books, it all stems from Ross’ daily trip to school.
“Ever since I was fairly young I’ve loved the brand,” said Almond Snr.
“I used to walk to school in Sydney and go past the Porsche dealership every morning and fell in love with the 911 back then. At that stage in 1974, they were about $8000 new and I just loved them ever since.”
The Porsche journey had started for the Almond family, and there was no turning back.
“It’s a symbol of achievement to me, it’s something I’ve always wanted, always aspired to, and I bought my very first Porsche in 1991 I believe,” added Ross.
“It was a very exciting time. I’ve got pictures at home of my son Michael at about six or seven years of age sitting on my knee driving it around the car park.
“The brand has been a sense of personal enjoyment of my achievements and the cars are just incredible. Porsche is just the vehicle for me.”
While Ross’ first 911 was a Carrera 2, his next car, a 911 Turbo type 964 like the one featured in the film ‘Bad Boys’, made him “the world’s coolest dad” in the eyes of his son.
“Through the early days of my childhood I can remember seeing Porsches in the movies and on the TV and when I was about six or seven my father bought his first Porsche,” Michael reflected.
“I know he had to sell it early on and he got a 964 Turbo out of Bad Boys when I was about 10 in 1994 or 1995.
“The Porsche brand has always been in the family and I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember.”
The passion for Porsche’s road car product naturally translated into an interest for the thoroughbred racing product.
Ross Almond spent years racing in various disciplines, enabling his son to catch the racing bug in the process.
As Michael kick-started his motorsport career in 2012, his dad stepped away from racing, but it was merely the turn of a new chapter.
In his first-ever race, Michael found himself steering a GT3 Cup car and despite starting his racing career later than usual, he was fulfilling a life-long dream.
“You hear all the stories about how great a Porsche is and they’re bulletproof and until you do that yourself you only then realise how true it is,” he commented.
“That’s why they have that one-make category in all the regions around the world; there’s not many manufacturers that have such a successful program.
“The cars are just built to do it, they’ve got strong engines, a strong chassis, they handle well. For me, it doesn’t get much better.”
As a stalwart in Carrera Cup Australia, Almond Jnr has been able to experience the technology and progression of Porsche’s racing product first-hand.
Next season Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia will introduce the first 992 generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, with the latest iteration of machinery for Porsche’s global one-make formula seeing an increase of 25 horsepower from its predecessor.
An example of the Type 992 car was sent straight from Porsche Motorsport in Weissach, Germany to Australia and was on show at Round 2 of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia at The Bend Motorsport Park in May.
Next year’s car will be the fifth different Cup car that Michael has competed in, such is his experience in the series.
“The development and the technology that Porsche are bringing, you see that every three or four seasons when they bring a new car out,” he said.
“Being a part of that is pretty special and being able to experience how much better they make the front end of a car generation-on-generation.
“The aero is another thing and the power delivery and all those little improvements. That’s the icing on the cake, but the formula of a one-make series where you work in a nice team culture within Porsche and that positive sport psychology side of it is what I love.
“Getting the most out of myself and the team; it’s such a great brand to chase sponsorship, Porsche put on such a good show that they really give you everything to lean on and go racing and make a career out of it.
“It’s all a real family culture that Porsche put on.”
In its 70-year history in Australia, and even more incredible 90 years globally, Porsche has come a long way.
The brand’s success in motorsport is only part of the story.
It’s how the Stuttgart manufacturer has developed its road cars over the years with one thing in mind – precision engineering.
Precision is at the core of every car that is born in the factory.
Having owned multiple 911s, as well as the GT2 RS and GT3 RS models and more, Ross Almond gave a testament to the 70-year long success of Porsche in Australia.
“I think Porsche have done a brilliant job with the product,” he said.
“They’ve managed to modernise the product by still keeping the character of when it was first built by the look, style and feel of the vehicle, plus the mechanical side of it.
“They’re the only manufacturer that’s managed to keep true to its original form and that’s what I think the secret is – people feel they’re driving something with heritage
“It’s very rare in this day and age to say that. Whether you’re driving a 1994 3.6L turbo or the latest GT3 RS, they just feel part of the same family.
“That’s probably where the lure for most people comes on the car.”
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