Scooter Gabel is Rolex 24‑winner with a Porsche racing bus and a canine co‑driver
If you found yourself mooching around the paddocks yesterday and Wednesday during the qualifying and practice preamble before this weekend’s HSR Classic 24 at Daytona, you might have spotted one or two interesting characters. Frankly, if you didn’t, you can’t have had your eyes open.
The tatty old VW bus with “Porsche” emblazoned on the side and a mutt’s mug enjoying the breeze out the passenger window was accompanied by just such a character – 2007 Rolex 24 class winner Scot Gabel. We’d heard tell from the HSR guys that this was no ordinary bus, that Bob the canine co-driver was no ordinary four-legged friend and that Scooter had a tale or two to tell. We caught him as he was giving a 935 the once over for co-winner of the Rolex, Carlos de Quesada.
Rolex 24 2007
“It’s a crazy story. That whole episode was something else. The short version is that the car was an utter disaster to drive in test days and all the other stuff that lead up to the race.
“That was the year Porsche built a specific car for the 24-hour but we’d already bought the Cup car. They brought out the update package but we weren’t allowed to test with it. We put it all on the car and the thing was just undrivable.
“Not long before qualifying, I asked quite strongly to withdraw the car. I said this car’s not gonna make 24 hours without somebody crashing it.
“On the last practice session before the start of the race, I asked if they’d checked the rear bump steer and they’d not. They corrected that, we qualified the car a second off pole in stone stock configuration and we went on to win the race! So it’s a good thing we didn’t withdraw it!”
You couldn't make it up...
“This was a Porsche Bus in Germany. Germans had a very stringent vehicle inspection process to keep a car road registered. Old German Volkswagens that were worthless in Germany without passing inspection were used to move Porsche race parts to the States. They were getting to the States for free because the shipping was paid on the race parts”.
So it’s a refugee from Germany saved from scrap by a clever parts-moving scheme during the 910-935 era. As busses go, they don’t get much cooler than this. Especially with that wizened original Porsche patina. Not bad for a Craigslist find… See the full story on it in our film soon to come.
Bob the dog
“He just hangs out, his name’s on the BMW race car. He’s been on a lot of podiums. Bob’s out and about and people know him. A lot of people know that dog and not a lot of people know me. He likes to be wherever I am and there’s always food there.”
How is he as a co-driver?
“Well, he’s kinda lazy. He always takes the next stint and the next stint. Always do it later. He’s always in the food tent."
Scooter’s stay for the HSR Classic 24 at Daytona was cut short by an early testing shunt in the Beemer, so Bob won’t get that stint after all…
“We’re gonna go say goodbye to some of other guys and I can go home and put my feet up for the first time in a while”