“I’m getting an engine on this arm. A Type 547: 1,500cc, four-cam, roller bearing crank. The missing engine for that,” she says while pointing at a barn find Porsche Formula 1 car, the Bill Jennings Porsche ‘Jennings Special.’ It’s her latest vice, a car with provenance and thoroughbred South African racing history—something that won’t do numbers on Instagram and isn’t easily flippable for a profit like a Carrera GT. It’s a project that’ll take time, dedication, and passion to get back up and running. Perfect for Michelle, then.
But where will the tattoos take her next? Sleeves chronicling the evolution of 911s? A Mezger on her calf? ‘Taycan’ written across her back when Porsche starts throwing some influencer Rand her way?
“Ha! I’ll tell you where that car can go. My arse.”
Michelle on: Racing
The Porsche parasite that Michelle was infected by was all-consuming, also getting her into racing. “The only reticence to my gender has been on track,” she shares. “It’s very, very difficult to be taken seriously, especially here in South Africa.” She’s not mucking around, either, entering local hill climbs in a 944 Turbo, competing in the Bernina Gran Turismo, and doing endurance races at Killarney. One of which ended in disaster back in 2015. While practicing in her 1974 short-wheelbase RSR replica, Michelle crashed at 100kph. She broke her collarbone, ribs, and vertebrae one, four, and seven in her neck; she was put in an induced coma for two weeks. The shunt was so violent, it cracked her HANS device. It didn’t put her off, though. She went and got an FIA license afterwards.