Porsche Carrera 906

RennGruppe Motorsports – Profile and Photos

Renngruppe Rendezvous

By Louis Scalzo | Photos by Tom Morgan

Renngruppe Motorsports is located in Lexington, North Carolina in a industrial park area looking like a very ordinary brick fronted metal building, blending in with all the others in the area. When you enter the spacious facility, formerly home of a NASCAR team, you quickly realize that this place is anything but ordinary! It can only be described as a Porsche Mecca, or Holy Land of sorts. As you enter the large shop area, instantly you see magnificent, historic Porsche race cars of all eras that you would only see normally in a book or on a computer screen. It’s visually stunning for sure. The bright white walls are adorned with pictures of racing Porsches and posters from events from all over the world and the floors are painted a sterile gray. There are two engine rooms off to the right of the main gallery, and I can only describe this place as hospital clean and very professional.

RennGruppe Motorsports owner Dave Brown insists on keeping this shop this way and instructs his crew to do so as well, “I look at it as a honor to have these cars here to work on, and I insist on cleanliness here.”

Currently parked in the building where two Coca-Cola Porsche 962s, one of which was an overall Sebring winner in 1985, a Porsche 908, Porsche Carrera 906, an original 1973 Porsche 911 RSR IROC driven by Emerson Fittipaldi, and three Porsche 935s – JLP 2, Desperado, and Bob Akin’s Coca-Cola-sponsored 935. There are also three early 911s, one being Al Holbert’s personal car.

Also present were two of the McLaren-powered Greenwood Corvettes from the mid-70s. One of these is undergoing a full restoration to be completed and delivered for the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed. One of the engine rooms had a nearly finished original 1974 RSR 3.0 motor, and there were various race engines in different states of overhaul.

“High performance engine building is really my specialty and what I enjoy doing more than anything. My first engine build was a Bug Eye Sprite when I was 14 1/2 years old, and I’ve been doing this ever since,” said Dave Brown. He realized early on that he had a natural mechanical ability, much of which was self-taught, and the skill to get the best performance with limited resources. Dave then went on to elaborate a little further, “Since the early eighties I have worked on many different race teams, many on very tight privateer budgets, but competing with large budget factory teams.”

“To me, it was a real challenge being the ‘underdog,’ so I would try to be very resourceful when finding horsepower, and enjoyed the challenge. The ’90s where a fun time, the rules formula was way more flexible back then. We would compete against the factory teams using the 3.8 liter motors (such as Alex Job) and they were more restricted. We would use 3.6 rules that had more flexibility, such as a lighter minimum car weight of 2252 lbs and more tube framing for the chassis, 16” tires, but the fun part was engine mods- we could do pretty much anything with the 3.6 block.”

Dave did just that – he showed me an engine that had been radically modified using spacers under the cylinder barrels and cam housings so that they could go to a shorter stroke and Chevy NASCAR rods. This created higher rpms and gained horsepower, with a 103.6mm bore and a 70.00mm stroke. “The other teams really looked at that engine, but couldn’t put a finger on what was different. It was actually wider by an inch or so. There was a lot of satisfaction being able to sometime beat the big guys – and we did.” Over the years Dave has built over 770 full race engines. “In 2000 the factory went to the factory sealed ‘water’ cars and the rules changed with Grand-Am. We couldn’t build and modify engines anymore, so the game was over.”

1973 Porsche 911 RSR IROC, Fittiapaldi
This 1973 Porsche 911 RSR IROC was one of the original 15 built by Penske racing for competition in the first IROC series. This car was qualified on the pole by Emerson Fittipaldi at Riverside Raceway in October of that year.
El Salvador Porsche 935 K3
This Porsche 935 K3, also known as the El Salvador car, was campaigned for many years by a team of racers from El Salvador.
Dave Brown, owner of RennGruppe Motorsports
Dave Brown, owner of RennGruppe Motorsports
RennGruppe Motorsports
Porsche eye candy at RennGruppe Motorsports
1989 Porsche 962C, Le Mans 24 Hours
1989 Porsche 962C raced at Le Mans with the Almeras Brothers
1973 Porsche 911 RSR IROC, Emerson Fittipaldi
1973 Porsche 911 RSR IROC, ex-Emerson Fittipaldi

The thing I noticed about Dave he is really an enthusiast about what he does for a living, and has a total passion for it. It really shows. I was at his shop for 5 1/2 hours, and he spent the entire time with me talking about Porsche and all the cars he has worked on. I’m sure we could have talked for another five hours. Time just flew by. “I love getting up and going to work every day, and can’t wait to work on a car or engine project.” But Dave is also very humble about his accomplishments, he didn’t want me to write this article about him, but about the cars and the shop. But I told him I had to share a little bit on his background with the club, and how he got to where he is today – I apologize Dave.

It all started down in Sarasota, Florida. “I lived there for 6 1/2 years as a kid. My Dad had a metal fabrication shop and worked on privateer’s race cars, sometimes building roll cages and exhaust systems, mostly on English cars. “My Dad took me to the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1971 as spectators in our 1963 Country Squire station wagon. I was really impressed the way Mario Andretti, who was down by many laps, caught up with Steve McQueen at the final lap to win. I was hooked right then and there.”

Dave’s family then moved to North Carolina in 1972, “Dad wanted to get away from the Florida heat and worked at Florida Steel on Highway 21 near Huntersville. As a teenager, he worked at Stowe’s Exxon in Davidson and attended North Mecklenberg High School. “The Exxon had some drag cars, but I really wanted to wrench on Porsches.” Dave attended Florida State and graduated in 1980.

“I would try and attend as many races as possible back then, Daytona 24 Hour, the Paul Revere, Sebring 12 Hours, to name a few. I would always end up in the garage area observing the crews and see what was going on. I knew what I wanted to do, I just had to figure out how to get a steady paycheck out of it.” That turned out to be somewhat difficult at times. “In the early days sometimes I had to call Dad to help pay the electric bills.” Dave started by working for several privateers who did just a few races a year. Most didn’t run the full season, so Dave’s work would last sometimes only several weeks at a time. In the mid-80s Dave found steady work for a couple years full time with the Firehawk Series – “Jim Hicks (retired NFL) was the team owner, and we ran a couple Porsche 944 S2 cars. It was worth moving to Atlanta for that, a good experience and a steady paycheck.”

Porsche 906, Porsche 908
Porsche 906 and Porsche 908
RennGruppe Motorsports
RennGruppe Motorsports
RennGruppe Motorsports
RennGruppe Motorsports
Coke Porsche 962 Bob Akin
Porsche 962 of Bob Akin, Hans Stuck and Jo Gartner, winner of the 1986 Sebring 12 Hours

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  1. Dave Brown at no time ever was an owner (in whole or part) of RennGruppe Motorsports. The company has always been and is currently owned entirely by a small group of investors that also own many of the cars mentioned in this article. Dave while acting as shop manager misled all customers as well as the owners about the goings on at the shop. Dave acting completely on his own and out of place not only alienated a core group of customers, the shop owners and other RennGruppe employes through a series of lies and mis-representations that ultimately led to his termination from RennGruppe. The trail of damage that he has caused through his malicious lies and incompetence has caused great hardship for all those involved. Any questions about the content of this post will be gladly answered.

    1. As the Historian of the Carolinas Region of the PCA, I try to put out a article for the membership once a month for the members. While attending a Tech Session held at RennGruppe, which was held twice a year, and very good I might add, which all enjoyed, I asked Dave if I could do a couple articles on him and the great historic cars that he serviced. After obtaining permission from the owners, he gave me the go ahead. I did a total of three, one on Dave, the shop, and his background, the other 2 on two of the race Porsche’s a IROC 911 and the ’85 winning Sebring 962.
      The chance you take when interviewing someone is the you as the interviewer have to trust that the interviewed is be honest and forthright, which Dave seemed to be -he was very professional, knowledgeable, experienced a well organized, as a race car technician. What Dave Brown did do for the PCA membership in the Carolinas thru tech seminars is give us access to see the mechanicals of some wonderful race cars that normally the average Porsche owner would never get to see -for that we are grateful. If he mis-represented, or was dis-honest to the owners of these cars, on the work being done on them – I had absolutely no knowledge of it at the time, and I apologize for any hard feelings that may come about because of it.

  2. I live in Sarasota and was given Dave Brown’s name by an AT&T cell phone salesman who claimed to be step grandchild of Dave Brown. I own a 1987 Porsche 930, with a highly modified 500 hp motor built by Dumont Porsche in Oklahoma. I mentioned to this young salesman that I was having trouble keeping fuel pumps alive, and he told me to call his step grand dad, Dave Brown who has built all these Sebring and LeMans winning Porsches. I then saw your comment and don’t know where to turn for advice except perhaps back to DuMont. Any thoughts?

  3. Is this the Dave that shop in Mooresville about 15 or 16 years ago? He built a 356 for me to race in the La Carrera Panamericana. I would like to get in touch with him if this is the same Dave Brown.