Despite Laura Kukuk being only 28 years old, she is well on her way to establishing herself as a leading expert in the niche of classic and supercar surveys.
Kukuk travels the world with her father Klaus, as they perform forensic pre-purchase inspections on rare and highly coveted vintage and modern collectible cars. To the finest details of the vehicles, they research their provenance, condition, and originality.
Her favorite way to unwind is to go on a road trip to offset the intensities of work. It is not surprising to find the German engineer with her small group of friends heading to the Southern Alps.
In 2019, Kukuk decided to take road trips to the next level. She shared:
“There are so many great driving events, but most of them are unaffordable for me. I always go out driving with friends in the summertime, so I thought why not arrange something yourself? I’m someone who thinks if you have an idea, just have a go. So, I suggested it on social media, and people were crazy about it.”
A section of the journey Kukuk recommended was the Sella Ronda. It is a high-altitude rollercoaster that wanders through the Dolomites, now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is a must bucket-list winter destination for serious skiers, while in the summer, it attracts committed mountain bikers. However, at the suitable time of year, the surrounding roads can certainly provide some memorable alpine driving.
“My dad used to drive it when I was five- or six-years-old. He had an F-model 911 from 1966 that he drove daily, and we used to go skiing in it. We’d simply put all the skis on it and just go driving; me, my brother and my dad. And we’d always take cool routes like this.
The View at Piz Boè
The Sella Ronda traverses one of the highest peaks in the region, the Piz Boè. It simply means that wherever you are on that road, you will always be witness to stunning and ever-changing views. Kukuk even advises that if you have the time, the route is best taken both clockwise and counterclockwise to maximize not solely the views, but also all the potential ascents.
It takes approximately three hours to go one way, which incorporates a short coffee stop at one of the numerous restaurants and cafes along the way, so traveling both ways is easily achievable within a day.
For Kukuk, she favors an overnight stay at the Chalet Gerrard – a remote mountain lodge on the northern half of the loop in the outskirts of Plan De Gralba.
The road itself comprises the four ‘Sella Towers’ over which run the passes of the Gardena, Pordoi, Campolongo, and Sella itself. These passes have challenging ascents and long sections with twists and turns that saunters around to each 2,000-meter summit.
High stone walls adorn the sides of the narrow roads, and it possesses steep yet stunning drops with unimpaired outlooks over the lush green valleys below.
Sellaronda at High Season
Kukuk’s main advice is to choose the right time. Because of its stunning views, the Southern Tyrol is very congested during the high season.
“You can’t drive that route during the day in summer because it’s one of the most famous parts of the Dolomites and it’s full! So, you need to get up really early or during the week, preferably at the beginning or end of the summer. And even consider picking a day when the weather isn’t that nice,”
A feature working in the Sella Ronda favor is that it’s relatively remote, being three hours northwest of Venice by vehicle. It is a place that one intentionally set out for, instead of just simply passing during a daily commute.
For Kukuk, her tight work schedule means that she cannot always justify the visit as part of her frequent journeys to Italy, but the destination draw is so strong that she accomplished two visits in 2020, and in 2019, she made an impressive six journeys there.
Car of Choice for the Trip
With an enviable breadth of experience of Porsche old and new, Kukuk’s personal favorite choice of vehicle for the journey is a 1977 911 Turbo 3.3.
“I’ve driven a lot of different Porsches on the route but enjoyed it most in a 1977 911 Turbo 3.3. The sound was incredible, and you have proper speed available so quickly! I also really enjoyed driving a 992 Cabriolet because it was open and still so quick, but I would always choose a classic first. Partly because they are so light, but I just really like driving an old 911 in the Alps. There is a lot going on, and I like a good challenge