Ferdinand Piech had no doubts about his intentions when it came to the Porsche 917: he wanted it “being the best Everywhere “(Reference: Porsche) Although the car was debuted in 1969, it would take some time before it would become truly amazing.
In the early races, the car’s handling was so bad that several drivers shunned it. Two BMW drivers were asked to compete in a 1969 race at the Nurburgring by Porsche, but they declined, citing the car’s high level of hazard. Later, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a driver by the name of John Woolfe was killed while racing a 917. Only one race was won by the vehicle in 1969 [source: Lieberman].
Once the Wyer crew worked out the quirks in the 917’s handling, the 1970 racing season turned out to be a better one. The vehicle went on to win races at Daytona, Brands Hatch, Monza, Spa, the Nurburgring, the Targa Florio, Watkins Glen, and the Austrian Osterreichring. The highlight of the season occurred in June when the 917 took home the much-anticipated overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The vehicle captured the World Championship of Makes trophy that year by winning nine out of ten races [source: Porsche].
The Steve McQueen movie “Le Mans,” which featured the 917 prominently in the plot, was made using footage from the 1970 Le Mans race. Michael Delaney, played by Steve McQueen, competed against Ferrari’s 512 race cars while operating the Gulf Oil 917K.
The succeeding year was also prosperous. In 1971, the vehicle successfully defended its world championship by winning eight out of ten races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On the Mulsanne straight of the course, it did so this time, setting a record that has not been surpassed as of the present.
The 917 grew to be so dominant that the FIA again revised the rules, excluding the vehicle from competition. Porsche transported it to North America and entered it in the Canadian American Challenge Cup, also known as CanAm, organized by the Sports Car Club of America. The automobile was able to compete with significantly more than 1,000 horsepower because this type of racing had significantly fewer rules than FIA competitions. It also won there, as was to be expected [source: Porsche].
There were just 65 Porsche 917 models produced in total. While many more are in the possession of collectors around the world, seven are on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Due to their illustrious pasts, they frequently command large premiums at auctions, and even now, people are still in awe of their might.
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The German automaker Porsche created the sports prototype race vehicle known as the 917. Porsche’s first overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971 came courtesy of the 917. The Type 912 flat-12 engine, which has a displacement of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 liters, is what gives the 917/30 Can-Am variant its acceleration times of 2.3 seconds for 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) and 5.3 seconds for 0 to 124 mph (200 km/h). The top measured speed for the long tail Langheck version was 386 km/h.
The vehicle made an appearance in the 1971 Steve McQueen film Le Mans. The vehicle McQueen drove in the movie was auctioned off in 2017 for a record-breaking $14 million dollars for a Porsche. Porsche planned a special celebration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the 917’s 40th birthday in 2009.
Model Guides for the Porsche 917
The sequence 9-1-7, at least in terms of racing, is the most well-known of all the prominent number combinations at Porsche. It represents not only the most potent and quick Porsche race car to date, but also an entire generation of race cars that only rule changes, not other drivers on the track, could put an end to. There were 13 different “versions” of the Porsche 917 produced between 1969 and 1973. Below, we go over each in detail using our unique model instructions.
After the 917 was cleared for use in competition, Porsche left on May 11 for the Spa 1000km race in Belgium.
The Porsche 908s had been defeated at Daytona and Sebring, first by Roger Penske’s Sunoco-backed Lola T70 Mk3B GT and subsequently by John Wyer’s team’s Gulf-backed Ford GT40. The 908s had triumphed at Brands Hatch, Monza, and the Targa Florio since returning to Europe, though.
Porsche sent two 917s and four 908s to Spa with enough drivers for four vehicles.
Both of the simple white 917s, which were utilized at the Le Mans Test six weeks earlier, were dressed with short tail bodywork on this occasion.
Despite recording a practice time fast enough to win the pole, Jo Siffert and Brian Redman decided to run one of the more predictable 908s instead than their entered chassis 003.
Gerhard Mitter and Udo Schutz qualified ninth in the 917 chassis 002 car.
Unfortunately, 002 suffered engine issues right away, and Mitter had to make his way back to the pits after just one lap.
Despite the 917’s less than stellar debut, Pedro Rodriguez and David Piper’s 908 Langheck won the race ahead of the Ferrari 312 P. This spared Porsche’s blushes.
Third and fourth place both went to long-tailed 908s. Porsche departed Spa having widened their championship lead.
Chassis 002 and 003 were subsequently wrecked, the former during a factory long distance life test and the latter during a private testing crash.
On the first lap, Woolfe’s collision with the barriers led to the tragedy. The 917 then overturned and started to burn. Woolfe passed away immediately. He wasn’t buckled into his seatbelt. As a result, starting in 1970, the “Le Mans Start”—the dash from the opposing side of the road to the car—was no longer used. In an effort to avoid losing too much time at the start of the race, too many drivers started the race without attaching their seatbelts. This demonstrated both the sporting officials’ total disregard for safety and their own carelessness. It is understandable why motor racing in the 1960s–1980s was a game of life and death. across all motorsport divisions.
What was going on with Porsche at the end of the 1960s? Ferdinand Piech, who was in charge of a deadly Porsche armada in Stuttgart at the time, had devoted all of his attention to making the company go from being a class winner to an all-around winner. vs General Motors, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and others. Win the Brand World Championship was the plainly stated goal. The 24 Hours of Le Mans was the ultimate classic, and winning it was the main objective. Success finally arrived in 1970, when Herrmann/Attwood and Kauhsen/Larrousse finished first and second, respectively. But the two works 917s left while in charge in 1969, the year of the Woolfe incident.
One of the finest automobiles of the 20th century must be the Porsche 917, which Ferdinand Piech called “the greatest risk of my life.” In order to win the world championship championships in 1970 and 1971, racing coupes with 4.5-litre twelve-cylinder engines and more than 600 hp defeated all opposition. The FIA then modified the regulations. The 917 lost the ability to keep up. Porsche, though, kept working on the 917. They created the Spyder, which has turbocharged engines with up to 1,100 horsepower. Even the competitors couldn’t compete with these automobiles. neither in the North American CanAm series nor the European Interserie.
The “917s” of today (whether as coupes or Spyders) are extremely rare, and collectors are willing to pay millions of dollars for them. The former-Jo Siffert 917 Spyder was kept by Willi Kauhsen, who himself raced in these 917 thunderbolts from 1970 to 1974. In 2000, he refurbished the best racing vehicle and sold it at auction in Pebble Beach. He has just completed his second 917 of his life.
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There are many things that the UK is renowned for, but they are not all fish and chips and shady Russian oligarch money. When it comes to registering automobiles for use on public roads, it is also remarkably lenient. It is feasible to road-register vehicles that would probably be treated with exasperated spluttering if you tried the same thing in Germany, Japan, or most states in the US, thanks to a procedure called “Individual Vehicle Approval.”
Consider the Icon 917K, a street-legal ripoff of one of Porsche’s most well-known racing vehicles. The car that ruled Le Mans (and the rest of sports car racing) from 1970 to the start of the oil crisis is a replica that may be registered in the UK. Jonny Smith, a friend of Ars and a British journalist, has driven it for the Late Brake Show:
One of the most well-known instances of inventive rule interpretation in racing is the original Porsche 917. The Le Mans organizers altered the rules such that prototypes—cars made specifically for racing—were only allowed to use 3 L engines starting in 1969. The company could still use bigger, more potent engines as long as they produced at least 25 vehicles.
When Porsche’s Ferdinand Piech, who was in charge of the motorsport division at the time, saw this gap, he persuaded his superiors to sanction such a scheme. The 917 had a lightweight space frame and fiberglass body panels, and its 4.5 L flat-12 engine produced 520 hp.
The automobile wasn’t immediately a hit. With the exception of some research being done by Jim Hall of Chaparral, engineers and designers were mostly concerned with reducing drag, especially at Le Mans because of its 3-mile (4.8-km) Mulsanne straight. The original 917’s body performed the opposite of producing downforce; as speed increased, it produced lift.
Given the brittleness of the space frame and the fact that the driver’s feet were in front of the front axle, it makes sense that more than one driver may have intentionally damaged the vehicle.
The absence of dead gnats and flies above the rear bodywork in 1970 was noticed by John Horsman, head engineer of John Wyer’s team, and served as visible proof that the airflow was separating from the vehicle. The team created the 917K—the “K” standing for kurzheck, or “short tail”—by cutting up some aluminum sheeting in order to create new bodywork to address the issue.
Wyer’s Gulf Oil-liveried 917Ks are the most well-known because they won races and had a prominent part in Steve McQueen’s Le Mans, although they did not triumph in the 24-hour French race. That distinction was won by a Porsche Salzburg 917K. Despite Porsche changing the 917K into the 917/20, also known as “the pink pig,” a 917K won the following year.
How numerous are Porsche 917s?
Porsche’s initial production run of 25 917s was unable to meet demand. In total, more than 50 chassis were manufactured. Porsche had transformed themselves into the new sports car racing leader with the 917 after being an underdog for 20 years.
Porsche 917’s age is how old?
The Porsche 917’s past This is a replica of the Porsche 917’s original design, which was built in March 1969 and raced all through the following racing year. The genuine Porsche 917 was developed with the idea of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall.
The Porsche 919 is what?
The Porsche 919 Hybrid is a Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) racing vehicle that Porsche built and utilized in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons. It has two separate energy-recovery hybrid systems to recover thermal energy from exhaust gases and convert kinetic energy into electrical energy under braking for storage in lithium-ion battery packs. It also has a two-liter (120 cu in) 90-degree V4 mid-mounted mono-turbocharged petrol engine that produces 500 hp (370 kW) and serves as a chassis load-bearing member. The automobile was classified as belonging to the 6 MJ (1.7 kWh) category in compliance with the 2014 rules.
During the Geneva Motor Show on March 4, 2014, the 919 Hybrid was unveiled to the press for the first time. Six drivers used two Porsches that were provided for the season. Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber all contributed to the team’s third-place result in the World Manufacturers’ Championship while Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb won three pole positions and the season-ending 6 Hours of Sao Paulo.
The vehicle underwent additional development in 2015 and was assigned to the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) category. The World Manufacturers’ Championship and the World Endurance Drivers’ Championship for 2015 were won by Bernhard, Hartley, and Webber after winning four of the eight races. Driving a third 919 Hybrid, Earl Bamber, Nico Hulkenberg, and Nick Tandy triumphed in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After further development, Dumas, Jani, and Lieb’s car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Silverstone in 2016. The three earned the team’s second World Endurance Drivers’ Championship in 2016 because to their consistent efforts. Despite having reliability concerns in the first three races of the season, Bernhard, Hartley, and Webber were able to help Porsche win the World Manufacturers’ Championship for the second time in a row by winning four of the final six races.
The next year, in 2017, Jani was joined by Tandy and ex-Audi LMP1 driver Andre Lotterer in place of Dumas and Lieb, and Bamber collaborated with Bernhard and Hartley to take the place of the late Webber. In the first two races, Porsche came in third place. At the last race of the season, the 2017 6 Hours of Shanghai, Bamber, Bernhard, and Hartley overcame a 13-lap deficit to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and three additional races for Porsche’s third consecutive World Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships.
The 919 Hybrid project was put on hold after 2017 as Porsche entered Formula E. In 2018, an automobile evolution known as the 919 Evo was displayed.