Road trip of a lifetime
We all love a road trip. But there’s one man who took it to extremes. Twice. Frenchman Philippe Delaporte, who works in shipping, has always had a passion for travel – he’s visited more than 95 countries across the world, after all.
The difference is, he’s done a lot of them by car. Specifically, in a Porsche 928, running on Pirelli tyres.
The first big trip he undertook was back in 2011, when he drove from Paris to central Asia and back: a journey that took in 27 countries and 23 capital cities, in a 5.0-litre, 330 horsepower 928 that only had limited modifications (including a full size spare wheel on the roof). In total, the trip took in 24,000 kilometres, starting from the Eiffel Tower and crossing the deserts of Iran before heading home. When he was younger, Philippe had travelled through Africa in a Renault 4, but this was altogether a different proposition.
“It was actually my son’s idea to take this trip, because he wanted us to have an experience together that we would both remember for all of our lives,” said Philippe. He and his son Baudouin both got what they wanted, with the Porsche chosen for its speed and reliability. For exactly the same reason, Pirelli tyres were selected as well. “Throughout the trip, the tyres were absolutely perfect, even though we encountered some very extreme conditions,” said Philippe. “I was really impressed with their performance: Pirelli makes a fantastic tyre.”
Back in the harness
After five years – actually, sooner than that – Philippe began to get itchy feet. So, in 2016 drove from Paris to New York in his faithful Pirelli-equipped Porsche: a round-the- world trip that was even longer than the first one, covering 30,000 kilometres.
Just as he had done before, Philippe headed east again, this time swinging north to cross the entirety of Russia, then through Mongolia and finally by boat to Japan. Next, the Porsche went to Tokyo where a much longer boat trip to Anchorage in Alaska awaited.
For this first 18,000-kilometre leg of the trip, Philippe’s co-driver was his other son Thibault, eager to experience for himself the emotions of the first road trip that had taken place five years previously.
In Anchorage, Baudouin was waiting to take over as co-driver for the second leg: 12,000 kilometres to New York, via the Arctic Circle and Canada. To complete the three-month odyssey, the Porsche was then shipped by boat to Le Havre, before the final short journey back to Paris: perfectly recapturing the spirit of the 1907 Peking to Paris road race, which was Pirelli’s first major international victory.
From Le Mans to the Nurburgring
Needless to say, this Pirelli-equipped Porsche has become something of a celebrity. It’s been seen at Le Mans, where it was exhibited at the Porsche Experience centre for a while, and recently it took part in the 40th birthday celebrations for the 928 at the Porsche Classic event during the Oldtimer Grand Prix in Germany, where it even had its own stand. Still sitting on the Pirelli tyres that took it across the world, it forms the perfect tribute to the enduring resilience of the 928, which was still produced up until 1995.
More than 70% of all Porsches ever made are still on the road, and Philippe’s amazing story shows you exactly why. “Neither the car nor the tyres let us down,” he concluded. “For a father who is passionate about cars, to do this sort of trip with your sons is the ultimate experience.”
As for the next trip? Who knows…