My arms should have been black and blue for a few years now. The reason? I've been pinching myself ever since Porsche announced its return to front-line sportscar racing back in June 2011.
It has been my dream for more than a decade to see the great marque back where it belongs at the top of the sportscar tree. So when it was finally confirmed that Porsche would again be competing for outright honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours from 2014, I couldn't quite convince myself that I wasn't still somehow dreaming.
Photographs of the German manufacturer's World Endurance Championship challenger released last June didn't remove my doubts. Nor did a first glimpse of what has become the 919 Hybrid at Porsche's Night of Champions last December, but then I did only catch sight of the thing through a cloud of dry ice and subsequently a sheet of perspex. (I'm not sure why Porsche felt compelled to build a little box for it.)
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.