For Maxime Lecluse, Porsche is family – both in a literal and community sense. He owns five Porsche cars with his father, Eric, who bought his first Porsche before Maxime – who’s also known as LEM, the name he uses on his successful social media channels – was even born. They include three 911 sportscars, including a striking type 997 GT2. The year 2023 will be a big one for 997 owners around the world, as it becomes an official Porsche classic. It’s been on quite a journey already. As has Maxime.
A love of Porsche that’s a family affair
Inevitably his earliest Porsche memories are strong ones. “I was five or six when I sat in my first Porsche,” says Maxime. “It was my dad’s first Porsche too – a 964 cabriolet. We went to Spa, and I was in the rear. In fact, most of the time back then he would only have cabriolets, so he could bring my mother and me with him in the car. He told me once that he had been to see a 911 RS and that it was a good price, but I wouldn’t be able to get in it. I tell him that he should go back and buy that one now!”
When Maxime was a little older, his father started racing cars as a hobby – which is when he bought a 1970 Porsche 911 T, since rebuilt as a 911 ST in original colours and using factory lights and more, that both still drive today. Since retiring, his father now has more time to race in classic competitions more regularly. It feels like Maxime’s love of Porsche is down to genetics… although he says that despite his dad’s passion for the cars, it took Maxime into his late teens before he was hooked.
“Despite being in the back of those cars with my dad, I wasn’t crazy about cars when I was a teenager,” he admits. “But then my dad started driving in historic car championships. That 911 (type 964) was in our garage but was rarely driven. So, when I was 18, I asked him to teach me how to drive it. And that’s when it really started.”
Today, Maxime has over 30,000 followers on Instagram and even more on TikTok but back then, he first began growing his social network by taking pictures at the weekend car meets that he would demand that his dad take him on. It introduced Maxime to a huge new community – Porsche fans. It’s a community that continues to be a source of inspiration and friendships that he taps into through his social media accounts.
Driving a Porsche 911 is about emotion and feeling
This passion he shares with like-minded souls is all about the special emotions that come from driving a Porsche – emotions that for Maxime are as strong today as they were when he first drove one. “I feel the same today when I drive a Porsche as I did when I first got behind the wheel of one,” Maxime explains. “You feel everything.”
“The thing about the 911 is that they’re easy to drive, but hard to master. You can cruise in it, but when you get to know it better, and you get better at driving, you enjoy it in a different way. Drive a 911 and you are always on an upward curve of enjoyment.”
Just over a year ago, Maxime and his father decided that it was time to expand a Porsche garage that also contained an air-cooled 1989 911 (type 964), a Macan daily driver and a 2004 classic Cayenne S – more of which later – with a water-cooled 911. They trawled online auctions and websites and watched old episodes of Top Gear for inspiration. And then, one day, Maxime came across a 2008 911 (type 997) GT2 that ticked all the right boxes. It was rarer than the GT3 RS, had desirable bucket seats and wasn’t the stripped-back Club sport version. “We didn’t need it to drive on the track because we already had track cars,” says Maxime. “We really wanted it as a German Autobahn vibe car.”
After tracking one down to a vendor in the south of France, it took Maxime and his dad just 15 minutes on the phone to confirm that it was the one for them. They managed to make a roadtrip of the collection experience, driving their camper van down with an empty trailer. “That first night I drove the car for the first time, and it was a bit scary because it is so powerful,” Maxime says. “It was my first time driving what I consider a supercar. I mean, when that turbo kicks in? Wow.”
The 997: becoming a Porsche Classic
In 2023, Porsche Classic assumes responsibility for the 997, which means a growing availability of official parts and accessories for Maxime’s car over the coming years – something that he is very excited about. “It’s a really good thing,” says Maxime. “When we were buying this car, we were like, OK – the 997 will be a big future classic.”
There are no big plans to do much to the 997 GT2 immediately, adds Maxime, apart from one thing. He’s very excited about the prospect of being able to fit one of the Porsche Classic Communication Management (PCCM) systems – meaning access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other benefits. “The PCCM will definitely be a big upgrade for the 997. It’s the one thing about the car that has perhaps not aged so well. To be honest, nobody believes me when I say my GT2 is from 2008. It looks so fresh and new even now, which is true especially of the front of the 997. It’s a car that will continue to age really well.”
The convenience of Porsche Classic parts
Installing the PCCM in the 997 will make roadtrips even more fun and will add high levels of convenience too. For Maxime – who is always accompanied by his friend, photographer Armand Maertens – a 997 is the perfect car for Porsche European roadtrips. It’s comfortable and there’s more than enough space to store everything. Great on winding roads, great on Autobahns, he adds. And despite the power lurking behind the rear seats, fuel consumption isn’t particularly high, either.
And, with the addition of a rooftop tent – like the one soon available from Porsche Tequipment, – the 997 has also become something of a mobile home from home. Maxime’s first trip was along the west coast of the Netherlands, parking up beside sand dune-filled beaches – not that it was the summertime. The morning after his first night under the stars he woke up to find a dusting of snow on the rooftent, but despite the conditions, it was more than offset by Maxime’s newfound sense of freedom. Since then, there’s been plenty more 997 roadtrips – to France, Monaco, Germany and beyond – and in far more inviting weather conditions.
For Porsche roadtrips, it pays to get organised
For Maxime, these roadtrips are often not about driving great roads or visiting the best events. It all comes back to the thing that first got him excited about Porsche when introduced by his dad – interacting with the Porsche community.
The way I organise my roadtrips is based on the people I’m going to meet. That’s the trick. For me it’s about engaging with the Porsche communities
“The way I organise my roadtrips is based on the people I’m going to meet. That’s the trick,” explains Maxime. “For me it’s about engaging with the Porsche communities on Instagram and Facebook, etc. I’ll meet up with people in the area, ask them for restaurant recommendations or the best roads, and we just talk. Most of the time, it starts as a four-day roadtrip… and ends up as eight or nine days once we get there.”
“The first big roadtrip I did was to the south of France,” says Maxime. “It was a 13-hour drive, and I ended up sleeping at somebody’s who I knew on Instagram but hadn’t yet met in real life who owned a 911 ST. You really don’t get stuff like this in other car brands’ communities. The Porsche one is so strong.”
Miami nice: building a transatlantic Porsche garage
Maxime and Eric have no limitations when it comes to Porsche roadtrips – and there are few better places to get in a car and drive to explore than the USA. It’s why this intrepid father and son team decided one day to find the perfect car to tour North America in. And that meant a detour from their 911 collection and instead heading to a Porsche Classic of the SUV kind – a 2004 Cayenne S. To do so entailed something of a leap of faith. They would have to buy it remotely, sight unseen, from a vendor in Florida. But once again Maxime tapped into the knowledge of the local Porsche community in Miami and Orlando for help, who vouched for the voracity of the seller. Another Porsche-owning acquaintance in Florida looks after it until Maxime and his dad fly over to drive it.
So far Maxime has toured Florida in it, all the way up to Jacksonville in the north of the state – where he called in at the famous Brumos Collection, one of the finest gatherings of cars on earth – but the Cayenne has already lit more fires within. He’ll be driving further afield in the US in the months to come and it’s convinced him about what his next potential Porsche purchase will be.
“I really want to find a Cayenne Transsyberia,” Maxime says of the legendary, special edition, V8-powered Porsche SUV. “Like the 997 GT2, it’s a future classic and has a racing heritage. I’ve only ever seen two in real life, both of which took part in the Transsyberia rally itself. And, of course, I want to put a tent on it and sleep in it!”