Porsche 917K

1970

  • This automobile wrote the Zuffenhausen factory into the history books of motor sport, giving it worldwide fame.
  • Its legendary 12 cylinder 4.5 liter engine produced 520 hp and pushed it to speeds above 200 mph.
  • It is inextricably linked with the history of the Le Mans 24 hours: Its titanic battle with Ford in 1969, victories in 1971 and 1972 and numerous speed records.

A decision made by motor racing authorities its birth in 1969, with further decisions needing to be taken in 1972 and 1974 to deal with its total domination of the track. In the meantime, the Porsche 917 became one of the most famous race cars of its time, writing itself into the history of Le Mans and being crowned world champion three times.

For Porsche, the 917's only objective was to finish first overall in the Le Mans 24 hours, the most prestigious sporting title for any constructor to win. Up to that point, the factory had only won victories in certain classifications at the famous French meet, and the limited engine capacity of the 907 and 910 models kept the German constructor from competing with their more powerful rivals.

However, on the 12 June 1967, a decision by the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale of the FIA) modified the regulations pertaining to the Group VI sports prototype and Group IV road-worthy sports classifications, limiting the engine capacities for sports automobiles to 5 liters and that of prototypes to 3 liter. This decision, made without the consultation of the constructors, provoked a strong and unprecedented reaction from the motor racing world, since this entailed the premature removal from competition of the Ford GT40 MKIV, Chaparral-Chevrolet and Ferrari 330 P4, among others.

To be continued...