Award-winning editor of Total 911 magazine Lee Sibley, A.K.A ‘That Nine Eleven Guy’, discusses his favourite twists and turns in Style’s ‘Drive Five’
If you’re after inspirational driving routes, it’s best to ask an expert. And who better than a chap who’s been at the forefront of Porsche journalism in both print and online for the last 10 years.
As editor of Total 911, the only magazine dedicated to Porsche’s iconic model, Lee Sibley has gone further than most in the pursuit of driving nirvana. And as ‘That Nine Eleven Guy’ via his YouTube Channel and co-presenter of the ‘Road to Redline’ pod-cast, Lee’s unique insight into the world of Porsche and its passionate, global community means he’s a fountain of knowledge when it comes to your favourite marque.
SFM: What's your most memorable road trip?
LS: In 2018 I drove from London to the Arctic Circle (and back!) in a 991.2 GTS Targa. We did it in just two weeks, incorporating France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the latter of which has to be the most beautiful country in the world.
Sprawling roads were punctuated by the unknown depths of huge, picturesque fjords, contrasting with the craggy rock faces of towering, mountainous terrain above. Quite literally every new corner brought another stunning vista to admire through the Targa’s glass.
The days were long (quite literally, with 24-hour sunlight) with many miles to cover each day, but pure adrenaline got us through. My only wish was that I did it with friends rather than a photographer!
SFM: What's your favourite stretch of road?
LS: I’m a big fan of Angeles Crest Highway. It’s hard to believe it’s less than an hour from the hustle and bustle of downtown LA: it’s utterly sparse by comparison, offering stunning, uninterrupted views across the San Gabriel mountains.
The road itself rarely consists of any straights, darting this way and that, and allows you to carry plenty of momentum, though there’s a murky end guaranteed if you get it wrong and go over the road’s edge.
A highlight for me was a dawn run up ACH with Magnus Walker in two of his 3.0-litre Turbos, with me trying to keep up in a four-speed and lag-heavy 930 with a guy who knows the road like the back of his hand. I’ve also done the route in a hired F150 truck, and that was good fun too by the way!
If I had to pick somewhere in the UK, it’d be the B4391 from Ffestiniog, going past Bala. The first section from Ffestiniog is tight and technical, before opening up into a fast, smooth and well-sighted stretch of asphalt, with plenty of curves and interesting cambers to keep you busy at the wheel. It’s a great road in which to really test the merits of a Porsche and has played host to a variety of my 911 model reviews over the years as a result.
SFM: What's your ultimate road trip (anywhere in the world)?
LS: It’s clichéd but it’d have to be a coast-to-coast Stateside epic. For me, a road trip isn't just about the road: it’s an adventure, exploring new scenery and absorbing new cultures, the open road being the string which sews it all together. I’m properly enamoured of the USA and love spending time there. For me, a six-week tour, taking in the best roads and allowing time to properly digest all this wonderfully diverse country has to offer, would do just the trick.
It wouldn’t incorporate Route 66, mind. I’d prefer to go off the beaten track – the States really has so much to see, there will always be sights and destinations of interest, some lesser known than others. The great thing about this is there are so many ways you can go, but in any event, I’d make sure I finished in beautiful Monterey – ideally in time for another Rennsport Reunion.
SFM: What would be your Porsche of choice?
LS: For that Stateside sojourn I’d love to take my own, Irish Green 996.1 Carrera, affectionately named Little Irish (see top image). We ran a feature in Total 911 once of a guy who took his UK 911 to the States for his own trip of a lifetime, and there’s great appeal in emulating that.
Generally though, I don’t think you can look past a GT3 Touring – it’s got that brilliant 4.0-litre, naturally-aspirated flat six, to my mind the very best engine ever fitted to a road car.
Its guttural howl at the redline can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, and its chassis is super focused yet slightly softer than a Clubsport GT3, so would be more palatable for longer journeys on public roads. Have I thought into this too much?!
SFM: Who would be your ultimate driving partner (dead or alive)?
LS: Steve McQueen, purely for the stories. A man who drove everything, went everywhere and met everyone, and whose innate love of cars resonates with my own.