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Tibor Simai – From BMX to Porsche 911 GT3

17.04.2023 By Richard Lindhorst
Tibor Simai – From BMX to Porsche 911 GT3

One of the best parts of our job at Elferspot is always getting to talk to other enthusiasts and hear their stories. Especially the part where we talk about the origins of our passion for Porsche sports cars regularly gives me goosebumps. I felt the same way about Tibor Simai’s story. Recently, I arranged a meet with the two-time German BMX-champion for a chat about his Porsche story.

I can tell you: In the end, we talked for much longer than originally planned. Tibor Simai is a perfectionist and has been infected with the Porsche virus since childhood. In our latest user story with Tibor Simai, you can find out why the bike-freak prefers driving today, is a great advocate for playgrounds, and why he once turned down Red Bull as a personal sponsor.

© Nathan Hughes

Welcome Tibor Simai! Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. Where did it all start?

Greetings, Richard! I was born on 23.02.1972 in Munich, am the father of two children and live with them and my wife in the countryside of Lower Bavaria. For my first Porsche experience, I have to elaborate a bit. I have Hungarian roots – my father fled from there in 1956 after the popular uprising. He studied sports in Cologne and then moved to Munich. Here he first earned his money as a tennis and ski instructor. At that time, he bought a Porsche 911 G-Model from one of his students, a lawyer called Burkhard. The first car I can remember.

Later he opened a sports store with my mother and we lived in the apartment above. Unfortunately, my mother passed away very early, so my father was left on his own with me. Of course, a lot of debts remained, since the two of them had to take out loans for the sports store. Therefore, money was always scarce. But in the early to mid 70s there were many ways to earn something on the side. The Porsche 911 was therefore unceremoniously converted into a smuggler’s car.

A Porsche 911 G-Model as a smuggler’s vehicle? How do I have to imagine that?

I must have been four to six years old. My father regularly took me to Hungary. I can still vividly remember the surreal images. We drove in the metallic blue Porsche 911 to a region where some of the houses still had bullet holes in them! It was all dusty and two-strokes were driving around everywhere. I felt like I was in another world.

The reason we went over there was for the flea markets. In order to earn some money on the side, my father tried his hand as an art and antique dealer. There were some bargains to be had in Hungary at that time. However, there were still huge border controls. It was not uncommon to have to dismantle half the car there before the officials would let you drive.

After our shopping, I would lie on the back seat as a little boy with a few thousand forints in cash and rolled-up paintings. I always had to pretend to be asleep so that the officials wouldn’t check us more closely. Those were my first experiences with a Porsche. And my God, was I proud of my father.

How did these impressions influence you? A Porsche 911 G-Model as a packhorse for works of art is anything but commonplace…

As a kid, there was no better car in the world for me! You know, the shape impressed me from the beginning. The commercials of the time were great, too. It got me right away and has never let go since. When I was a kid, I didn’t dream about a Mitsubishi. It was always clear to me that it had to be a Porsche at some point! Every Porsche exerts a special fascination. In every generation, there is at least one model that completely hooks me.

When I was a kid, I didn’t dream about a Mitsubishi. It was always clear to me that it had to be a Porsche at some point!

Tibor Simai

Then came the bicycles. I rode BMXs as a teenager and was actually always out and about in the city. Munich’s Olympic Park was my stomping ground. In 1987, I took second place in my first German championship. Later, this really became a career and I was even allowed to participate in European championships. I never had much money, but I always had sponsors who supplied me with clothes, bikes and parts. However, I did make one mistake back then. I turned down an offer from Red Bull, partly because I thought the logo would look like sh… on the helmet. (laughs)

What was your heart set on? As in the end, you decided on a path in cycling.

The bikes were always business for me, but everything with internal combustion engine my passion. My neighbor from childhood days certainly also had his influence. He was a DTM-driver in the early ’90s, and later Carrera Cup in the Porsche 996 GT3 Cup. I was generally fascinated by technology and spent a lot of time in the workshop. I wanted to know how an engine worked. Also, the design and the smell of these “old boxes” simply have charm. That’s why, with the advent of the Internet from the early 2000s, I was always looking for a Porsche.

Porsche 964 Jubiläumsmodell Werbung
Tibor Simai’s dream car is the Porsche 964 anniversary model “30 years 911”. This advertising poster still hangs in his office today. © Porsche Museum

I really wanted to own my own Porsche 911 at some point. The first one I really fell in love with was the Porsche 964 “30 Years of 911” anniversary model. That was absolutely my car. When I had saved up enough funds at some point, I was also looking for one. But despite a really intensive search, there was simply nothing to be found that I really liked. Even a recommendation via the Jubiforum was sobering in the end and didn’t lead to a purchase.

Instead, you ended up with a Porsche 911.2 GT3 – a completely different car. Where did the change of heart come from?

On the one hand, that was due to my perfectionism. If I spend so much money on a car, then it has to fit from front to back. But that wasn’t the case with any of the models. On the other hand, I know my way around classic motorcycles very well. And that’s why I knew that if you buy a classic but don’t drive it enough, something will always break. You have to really take care of old things. Then you have to put work into it again and have even less time to drive it – a vicious circle. But first and foremost, I want to enjoy the car and have fun. That’s why I said goodbye to the dream of a Jubi for the time being.

So my next idea was a Porsche 997 Carrera GTS. During this search I met my now good friend Michael Seller. As it turned out, he knew virtually all of my companions from the cycling world. He suggested a GTS, but that wasn’t right for me either. After that, it was quiet for a while. Having lived through a short episode with a Mini Cooper Cabrio, which even my dog didn’t like, it became acute again.

What was the initial spark to look for a Porsche 991.2 GT3?

At the end of 2017, I personally was not well. I was empty and I wanted to say goodbye to the bike business. At times I did not even want to talk about bikes anymore! To 31.12.2017 I canceled all my existing contracts and was then from the beginning of 2018 an “unemployed self-employed”. This was probably not the smartest decision…. But my partners didn’t want to let me go and I then became a brand ambassador in the motorcycle sector. This passion helped me out of the difficult time.

Through a friend I then had the opportunity to join a very special two-day trip. His father-in-law has a car collection and I was allowed to drive one of his cars during the tour. We drove through the Dolomites in a narrow 2.7 liter G-Model, an orange 997 GT3 RS, a GT2 RS in white with Martini stickers and a silver 993 Turbo. After that it was completely up to me. I had to have a 911 GT3! Here again my friend Michael came into play and I sent him my wishes: Porsche 991.2 GT3 with manual transmission, Spyder seats and Clubsport package.

Not an easy task!

True. The first three or four cars he was able to offer me were not a 100 percent fit and I declined. Then, at some point, a very expensive phone call came. From the other end of the line I heard: “Tibor, I have THE car for you now. But you have to buy it!” – I agreed directly on the phone. He asked me again if I really wanted to afford this car. After all, you pay for it even in the many months when you can’t or don’t want to drive it. But he could not change my mind. After 27 years of iron savings and the necessary portion of luck, I was now in the word for my first own Porsche 911.

Buying a 911 GT3 as your first Porsche 911 – that’s amazing! How did you feel when you picked it up and drove it for the first time?

I was crying! I was so emotional you wouldn’t believe it. Finally, I had a chance to see the M-GO 911 license plate on my own 911. A friend had it on his Turbo for years. When he sold that one, he asked me if I wanted it. I registered it for years on an old Yamaha that wasn’t even ready to ride anymore. And then the guys at the pickup put it on crooked too! It completely messed me up. I almost broke down!

At first, I wasn’t emotionally capable of really enjoying the car. I got in and out of the car with a racing heart. The first trip to a video shoot in Switzerland I drove so carefully that I managed 863 kilometers on one tank of gas! For the first three years, I handled the car with kid gloves. In the meantime, however, I’m a bit more relaxed and really use my GT3.

So how exactly does Tibor Simai get his kicks in a Porsche 991 GT3? What’s your dream scenario?

My favorite thing is to drive the car at the limit. Throwing this car around corners in a drift is the absolute pinnacle of emotion. Of course, you can’t do that in traffic, but only on closed-off tracks, on playgrounds for adults. And I think we need a lot more of that in general. For children, as well as for adults. Because the more I have the opportunity to live out my passion, the more relaxed I am.

On playgrounds we can unfold and try out new things. We can break out of the serious everyday life and laugh heartily. People need to be able to live out their passions! If I could wish for one thing for future generations, it would be more playgrounds. By that I mean everything from adventure playgrounds for the little ones to BMX tracks, car courses and race tracks.

Tibor Simai

These experiences seem to have made you even more enthusiastic about the brand. What’s next?

You’re right… You know, driving a Porsche is like being addicted to drugs. You’re always looking for the next “fix.” Even my wife Dana was in love with shock the first time she fully savored the acceleration. The 991 GT3 is an absolute dream car. But then I was once allowed to drive the current Porsche 992 GT3 of a good friend. The double-wishbone front axle alone got me so hooked that I’ve now bought a mint-green 992 GT3 because the feeling of “wanting to have it” just wouldn’t go away.

You know, driving a Porsche is like being addicted to drugs.

Tibor Simai

Another dream for me would be the first Porsche 911 GT3. Back then, I was a big fan of the Porsche 911 GT1 race cars that competed at Le Mans. The fact that it had the same headlights as the 996 absolutely flashed me. They’re just awesome, and it’s the most independent 911 ever. That’s another car I’d like to have someday.

Tibor, it was a pleasure. Thank you for your time and all the best with the new one!

You can find Tibor on Instagram: @gtibor3 or @tiborsimai!

Tibor Simai Porsche 911 GT3
© Nathan Hughes

Meet our contributor

Richard Lindhorst is our chief-editor and lives in Northern Germany. He thinks about cars and bikes almost 24/7. If you’ve got a story for him, or just want to get in touch, feel free to contact him on his Instagram (@rchrdlndhrst).

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