Alwin Springer – Racing With Porsche in North America

Can-Am – ANDIAL & IMSA – Porsche Motorsport NA

by Alwin Springer with Wilfried Müller

“‘I have always been intimidated by Alwin. He was the person that the Porsche teams went to, to solve problems, both mechanical and political. He was someone who knew the system both in the US and Germany. He knew all the important players, and everyone was afraid. If you got on the wrong side of Alwin, you were going to have a black mark after your name. He was so well informed, he almost overwhelmed whatever meeting he was attending. There was only one way with Alwin: win!’”

—Hurley Haywood

Porsche race and sports cars compete in all sorts of venues, which means people working at/for/with Porsche do as well, which means there’s plenty of crossover material in this autobiography of a fellow who started as a journeyman auto electrician in Germany and rose to CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) 1990–2002 to make it relevant to even those readers who have no specific Porsche interests. Springer has worn many hats and thus shaped, for instance, sporting regulations and various aspects of the business side of modern motorsports.

Not a Porsche but a March with a Porsche motor.

Normally, we like to start with a quote by the author, to let his own voice represent the essence of his thinking and tone but the Haywood quote above accomplishes the same: you totally get that Springer (b. 1943) is a no-nonsense kind of guy. By now he may have lived longer in California than his native land but his demeanor has remained archly Teutonic, and his book rarely strays into frivolity either. Just the facts and nothing but the facts, which is not to say that the human factor doesn’t have its place. Quality human relations are tremendously important to Springer and the book gives a good account of that too.

Racing in the rain snow—and it’s only October at Mid-Ohio.

It is telling that Springer is partially color-blind so apprenticing as an electrician must have presented special challenges. Whatever workarounds he developed to not let this obstacle hinder him speak to the problem-solving and tenacity that mark his career.

Before Springer’s business card ever said “Porsche” he had already worked professionally on Porsches for decades, starting out at Vasek Polak’s Porsche dealership and repair service in the 1960s and then co-founding ANDIAL in 1975 which would become one of America’s most respected authorities on Porsche performance tuning for track and street cars; he was VP for over 21 years and the brand name attained such status that PMNA purchased it.

A look at the extraordinarily detailed Table of Contents gives evidence of the book’s scope. As is typical for this publisher there is no Index but a look at the Acknowledgements shows all the right names in the Porsche world had an eye on this book, and one person in particular is hailed for “merciless fact checking.” Another thing that is typical for this publisher is high-level production values; paper, inking, and photo reproduction are indeed a successful combination, and the layout is well-conceived to keep images in proximity to corresponding text. (If you looked at the front cover and thought the photo grainy, that’s only because it is printed on textured linen-like cloth.) A large number of photos are Springer’s own so you would not have seen them before.

Lots of photos you won’t see anywhere else.

It is definitely worth noting that book is positively massive—at 11 x 12″ it will stand out even in the Big & Tall section of your library! The division of labor between the two authors is not explained but let’s assume it’s the “told by Alwin Springer and written by Wilfried Müller” arrangement we also see in this publisher’s Norbert Singer – My Racing Life with Porsche 1970–2004 (we repeat the reminder to look for more detail on Müller in his Peter Falk bio). It is interesting that the Springer and the Singer book strike quite different tones, which must mean that Müller is sensitive to preserving his coauthors’ voices.

This book came out in April 2023 so it was obviously already written by March when Springer was named co-Grand Marshal (alongside his friend, former works driver Patrick Long and of Luftgekühlt renown) of the 7th iteration of Porsche Rennsport Reunion, the world’s largest Porsche gathering to celebrate all things Porsche motorsport past and present. Springer is one of the few to have attended all Reunions since the first one in 2001 when he was still heading PMNA, and then and now he is known to roll up his sleeves and work on people’s cars. Someone else at Porsche is quoted here but it might as well have been Springer himself: “Customer racing is the backbone of Porsche motorsport.” If there is a theme to this book, it is that.

The book is limited to 963 individually numbered copies, a number that Porsche enthusiasts will recognize as the type number of Porsche’s latest prototype racer. Also available in a Collector’s Edition of 99 copies autographed by Springer ($399), as well as a Rennsport Edition of 72 copies autographed by Springer plus several racing drivers and other motorsport personalities ($799).

Alwin Springer – Racing With Porsche in North America
Can-Am – ANDIAL & IMSA – Porsche Motorsport NA
by Alwin Springer with Wilfried Müller
Sportfahrer Verlag, 2023
468 pages, ca. 650 b/w & color images, hardcover slipcase
List Price: $249 / €225
ISBN 13: 978-3945390177
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