Ardennen Rennen 2023: Gentlemen Racers Reunite

Last October, the very first Ardennen Rennen played out in the Ardennes region of south-east of Belgium.

The winding forest roads provided a spectacular backdrop to this driving event for Porsches and Volkswagens of a vintage variety, with dark skies and rain only adding to the spectacle. You can check out my coverage of the 2022 Ardennen Rennen here. Based on what I experienced just from a spectator standpoint last year, I knew I had to return to the Ardennens for the event’s 2023 running, and I’m very glad I did.


Ardrenne Rennen: The Gentlemen Racer Reunion invites owners of select pre-1970 Porsches and Volkswagens – including 356s, 912s, 914s and 911s, and Beetles, Buses,
Karmann Ghias and Type 3s – to take part in the 500km weekend drive. And that call for entries was well and truly answered, with almost double the number of competitors as last year and a nice 50/50 mix between the brands.

The 2023 programme began at R-Hotel in Aywaille on Saturday afternoon for technical inspection, followed by a prologue stage to determine the vehicle starting order for Sunday’s main event – a day-long drive from Liège to Bastogne and back again, with a picnic lunch break in between.


There’s a lot of history in this area, and the route chosen by the organizers – a completely different one to 2022 – took in a number of roads that saw rally action many decades ago when these cars were new.


Despite being limited to two makes and a handful of models, there was plenty of diversity in the field. The standout for me was a super-rare Porsche 356 Speedster, but unfortunately that car broke down during Saturday afternoon’s prologue. Luckily for the owner, his other 356 – a  Pre A Cabriolet – could be swapped in, and ran like a charm on Sunday.


If opportunity and ownership allows, having two vehicles on hand is not a silly idea. Cars #49 and #50 are both owned by the same gentlemen, and were driven over from the UK especially for this weekend of fun.

Closing out the first day was a four-course dinner paired with a great selection of local beers and wines.


As mentioned earlier, last year’s Ardennen Rennen was extremely wet, so having the sun out and a new route which took in small towns this time around, made it feel like a completely different event.

Photography-wise, these little towns did pose a bit of a challenge. The narrow, cobbled lanes were great, but the modern cars around and abundance of street signs stripped away a lot of the event’s vintage feel. Out in the rural areas, it wasn’t an issue at all though.


Early Sunday morning, the driving aspect of the event began proper.


Unlike a typical rally, where combined special stage times are added together for an overall time, the Ardennen Rennen is more about consistency. It’s not the team that gets from point A to point B the quickest that wins; average speeds are calculated on non-disclosed sections of the entire route and revealed afterwards.


The fact that the competing cars aren’t going flat-out honestly doesn’t matter. Just seeing these cool classics on stunning roads is enough.


There’s a bunch of truly passionate people behind this event, and it really shows. The 2023 Ardennen Rennen was everything I hoped it would be and more; the only downside is, it’s now becoming a biennial event, which means I’ll have to wait until 2025 to do it all over again.

Collin Tiemens
Instagram: fuegocarculture


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Very cool tour. Thank God for VW because without VW there'd be no Porsche!

Frederic Peeters

Happy to see such fantastic pictures representing the event ! Collin really knows how to capture the cars and along with it the atmosphere during the event !


Awesome pictures at my favourite event