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    Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    1970 – New rules ended the famous Le Mans start and required Seat belts.

    The first car in line was the white 917LH Langheck of Porsche Salzburg for Vic Elford and Kurt Ahrens. Porsche had opened the year with a crushing victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Mario Andretti had won an electrifying Sebring for Ferrari in the new 512S, but only after the 917s had failed.
    The new 512S was a fast and amazing car. There were 11 of the big red "sports cars" at Le Mans to face a squad of seven 917 Porsches. Ferrari made his lot worse by joking openly about initial reports that Porsche was building a 12-cylinder sports car. Now he had to face that monster where it mattered most.
    Alfa Romeo returned to Le Mans, financially committed to the T33 prototype now wearing 3.0-liter V8 engines. They were two years late, prepared to fight a war that had already been lost: a battle with the obsolescent 3.0-liter Porsche 908 for prototype honors.
    Matra had a pair of 3.0-liter V12 MS650s and a too-new MS660 for an almost unanimous French driving squad; only Jack Brabham broke the Gallic pedigree.
    There was no formal Porsche factory team. After a year with new manager Rico Steinemann, Porsche stunned the racing world by hiring John Wyer Automobiles to race and develop the 917. It was a profound decision and bore fruit at once. Wyer tamed the 917’s wonky aerodynamics with the K-version (kurzheck) short-tail bodywork. An abbreviated tail and a small center spoiler lacking any hint of cockpit adjustable aerodynamics tamed the 917’s bad aero-manners. Wyer’s fix slowed the 917 fractionally but made it a much more stable and cooperative racing platform. The English team in Gulf Oil’s blue and orange livery was complemented by the quasi-works Porsche Salzburg team. Stuttgart had all the bases covered. They considered themselves robbed in '69 and stood determined to have their rightful due in '70.
    Two of the reliable 908 roadsters were entered for the '70 edition. One was a "non-racing" camera platform driven by Jonathan Williams and Herbert Linge; the Revson/McQueen Sebring roadster was equipped with bulky 35 mm movie cameras to record the whole thing for McQueen, s feature movie "Le Mans". The other 908 was a serious and well turned out private entry for Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko. They were parked 22nd in the line against the pit counter.
    Porsche had practically won the world sports car title before they got to Le Mans. Wyer had won Daytona, Monza, Brands Hatch and Spa with 917’s and the Targa with the blunt 908/3. But it was Porsche Salzburg (Piech’s intramural team) that administered Porsche’s coup de grace in the 1000 Km of the Nurburgring. The rivalry between John Wyer Automotive and Porsche Salzburg had been stronger stuff than the Porsche vs. Ferrari battle. But Maranello knew it could all be redeemed at Le Mans.
    The new 512S long-tails were marginally faster on Mulsanne than the 917K. But Porsche had introduced a new 4.9-liter engine at Monza. Even Vic Elford was impressed and put the 4.9 917L Salzburg 917 on the pole with at an eye-watering 150.8mph lap. Nino Vaccarella put his coda lunge (long-tail) 512S next, just two-tenths behind.

    In honor of Porsche’s 20th participation at Le Mans, Dr. Porsche himself dropped the symbolic tricolor at 4:00 p.m. In fact there were four starting flags shown. The drivers were belted in their cars, tails to the wall and none, save Elford, could see Dr. Porsche clearly. It was a fine omen. Henry Ford II had dropped the gilded flag in ‘66 when his cars won. Giovani Agnelli did the honors in ‘68; a year later Fiat owned half of Ferrari. Now it was Porsche’s turn to start the race he ached to win more than any other.











    1971 will follow.

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Results 1970

    Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
    1 S
    23 Austria Porsche KG Salzburg Germany Hans Herrmann
    United Kingdom Richard Attwood
    Porsche 917K Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 343
    2 S
    3 Germany Martini Racing Team France Gérard Larrousse
    Germany Willi Kauhsen
    Porsche 917L Porsche 4.5L Flat-12 338
    3 P
    27 Germany Martini Racing Team Austria Rudi Lins
    Austria Dr. Helmut Marko
    Porsche 908/2L Porsche 3.0L Flat-8 335
    4 S
    11 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Ronnie Bucknum
    United States Sam Posey
    Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 313
    5 S
    12 Belgium Ecurie Francorchamps Belgium Hughes de Fierlandt
    United Kingdom Alistair Walker
    Ferrari 512S Ferrari 5.0L V12 305
    6 GT
    40 France Établissement Sonauto France Claude Ballot-Léna
    France Guy Chasseuil
    Porsche 914/6 GT Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 285
    7 GT
    47 Luxembourg Écurie Luxembourg Germany Erwin Kremer
    Luxembourg Nicolas Koob
    Porsche 911S Porsche 2.3L Flat-6 282

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    1971- Speedway-style rolling start – pace car and all.

    The Index of Performance was banished. French cars were again serious, substantial and fast enough to run with the Germans and Italians. Le pur sang bleu no longer required a special have-not under-class.

    Matra was back after some early humiliation during the previous summer solstice. So was victorious Porsche with its factory anointed quasi-works entries from John Wyer Automotive and Martini Racing which included the preposterous-in-pink No. 23 (tellingly, the number from Porsche’s glorious '70 victory). Entered under the Martini Racing banner, the piggy-pink Sau wore tongue-in-cheek (very cheek) graphics from Porsche’s in-house design department. These were the same chaps who had offended the pedants and other self-anointed traditionalists in '70 with the purple and green Martini "hippie" 917LH. The pink graphics, labeling the car as if it were a butcher’s model of a market-ready swine, graced the unorthodox contours of SERA aerodynamicist Charles Deutsch. The Sau was sui generis in extremis. But it made the show and even out-qualified three of the seven 917,s plus seven of the new and improved Ferrari 512Ms. The Pig gridded an impressive seventh in the hands of Willi Kauhsen and Reinhold Joest.

    The Gulf Porsches from John Wyer Automotive were the stars. New long tail bodies and concave noses gave the second-generation 917 langheck extraordinary poise and much needed stability. Jo Siffert shared with Derek Bell and Pedro Rodriguez teamed with '69-winner Jack Oliver, who was ecstatic about the high-speed behavior of the new long tail. New 4999cc engines made more power and pushed the new 917s near 240mph.

    Roger Penske had created what was arguably the best Ferrari 512M. Rich Sunoco blue with yellow wheels and von Dutch pinstriping the Penske/Kirk White entry was the ultimate Le Mans Ferrari. It was also a stone on the Mulsanne straight: about five-years slow as Le Mans top speeds had breached the 200mph barrier during the previous decade. Even the '71 512S coda lunga works cars could match the Porsches on top speed. But the short-tail Sunoco Ferrari didn’t have the shape for that kind of motoring. At least it had the motor: Penske sent the 5.0-liter V12 to the Can-Am V8 engine maestros at Travers & Coons – Traco – for some serious training.

    Somehow Mark Donohue found places to make up the 25mph Mulsanne disadvantage, and qualified a remarkable fourth – four seconds behind the pole Gulf 917, but, at least best of breed.



    The Pig  - Le Mans 1971.jpg

    The Pig (2) Le Mans 1971.jpg


    #21 at Le Mans 1971.jpg


    #21 at Lemans 1971(2).jpg

    Another 908 at Le Mans 1971.jpg



    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Results 1971

    Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Engine Laps
    1 S
    22 Germany Martini Racing Team Austria Dr. Helmut Marko
    Netherlands Gijs van Lennep
    Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L Flat-12 397
    2 S
    19 United Kingdom John Wyer Automotive Engineering Ltd. United Kingdom Richard Attwood
    Switzerland Herbert Müller
    Porsche 917K Porsche 4.9L Flat-12 395
    3 S
    12 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Sam Posey
    United States Tony Adamowicz
    Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12 366
    4 S
    16 United Kingdom David Piper Autorace United Kingdom Chris Craft
    United States David Weir
    Ferrari 512M Ferrari 5.0L V12 355
    5 S
    58 United States North American Racing Team (NART) United States Bob Grossman
    United States Luigi Chinetti Jr.
    Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Ferrari 4.4L V12 314
    6 GT
    63 France ASA Cachia Bundi France Raymond Touroul
    France André Anselme
    Porsche 911S Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 306
    7 P
    49 Switzerland André Wicky Racing Team Switzerland Walter Brun
    Switzerland Peter Mattli
    Porsche 907 Porsche 2.0L Flat-6 306
    8 GT
    38 France René Mazzia France René Mazzia
    Germany Jürgen Barth
    Porsche 911EC Porsche 2.4L Flat-6 303
    9 GT
    42 France Jean Mésange France Jean Mésange
    France "Gédéhem"
    Porsche 911S Porsche 2.2L Flat-6 298

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Thanks Spyderidol ... those were the days ...

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    I find the  years between 1968 and 1971 really fascinating. (in Porsche racing history)

    I have more photos from that era which I will be happy to post if people are interested.


    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Yes please!!!!!

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Great pictures! So cool to see the  race cars out of the time where I was born!

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    im interested for sure!! Especially just after your favorite period 1972+ You must have pics of the Carrera RS in action, that would be great if you do! 


    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 
    1984 BMW 323i 5spd 2.3L 141 hp (105 kW) More door. Black on black (parting out) 
    1986 BMW 325e 5spd 2.7L 121 hp (172 lb·ft) Le Mans Blau on Tan leather.
    1986 BMW 325is 5spd 2.5L 168 hp (164 lb-ft) White on Tan leather (parted out) 
    2005 Ford Focus S, 5spd 2.0L 136 hp (120lb-ft) CD silver on grey (sold)
    1986 Porsche 944, 5spd 2.5L 150 hp (168lb-ft) champagne gold on grown leather. (sold)

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Here's some vintage Sebring and Daytona pictures...




    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Great photos....keep them coming.

    Here's one I took at the 1998 Monterey Historics - Porsche 50th. Anniversary...note the "words" above the car


    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Those are fantastic!

    Here are some more from Le Mans 1971:




    908 at Le Mans 1971.jpg


    The Pig (3) Le Mans 1971.jpg1267163011493ZLemans7116Siffert1107878799.jpg



    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Another Great race was the Targa Florio:




    1267163291023porsche-908.3-n Rodriguez-Kinnunen 1967 Targa Florio.jpg


    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Some from 1968 Targa Florio:


    1968 Targa Florio, Sicily -.jpg

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    A 917 related picture


    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971


    Here is the Piper Porsche crash used for the Le Mans film. You can see "The Man" standing behind it.

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Thank you for those incredible fotos

    My first Porsche was a white 917 with red interior. A small one, scale 1/87. Still alive and park and normally parked in my car. Now placed on my desk in the office and reminding me that I still have to wait 3-4 more weeks until delivery of my new Porsche. And the pink pig started my love affair. No, not gay, but my father was connected to the food/meat industry. I was very happy when I saw the "Sau" at the Porsche museum. And visiting some racing exhibition (The Willi Kauhsen Show in Aachen) with my parents and and the moment I saw the 917-10 Interserie Racer (Yellow like my first Porsche) converted my blood into petrol

    So here are two "must have" for all 917 fans

    1) Porsche 917: Die Helden, die Siege, der Mythos
    Great book in German and English

    2)Porsche 917: Archiv 1968 - 1974
    Even better, but only in German.

    If you have read those books you know everything about this beautiful racing machine

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

     Bloody awesome!
    The golden days of racing IMO. Great pics and thanks a lot for sharing! Smiley

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Not historic, but pictures I toook of a 917 in the protoype musuem in Hamburg, Germany (click links for fullsize):





    Rest of the pics I took in that museum are here: Prototyp Museum pics

    If you want to use those for your artwork, let me know, and I'll send you the raw-files...
    But only if I can have a high-res version of the result ;-) Smiley

    Porsche, seperates LeMans from LeBoys

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    I love the pictures of the 908/3. I was in awe the first time I actually saw one in person. What an amazing little go-cart.







    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971


    I have compiled some interesting and little known facts and pre- history of the 917. I hope you enjoy them.

    1.     The Early 917 (1969 4.5 Lt Engine car (540 hp) 10-100 Km/h = 3”9 (amazing to think that today’s road Porsche's are faster that the early 917! (0-200 Km/h = 13”4)

    2.      The 4.5 Lt engines weighed 260 Kg. The total dry weight of the car was 800 Kg.

    3.   Top speed (early car) was 380 Km/h.

    4.      After the CSI Bombshell of June 12, 1967, where the over 3-liter prototypes are banned from the circuits, Porsche at once smells it chance to win the race it never won: the Le Mans 24 hours.

    5.      Production 5 liter cars are allowed (intended as field fillers) provided that 25 cars are manufactured.

    6.      Originally the rules for homologating a 5-liter car required that 50 cars were to be built. However because of pressure applied by smaller British companies (like Chevron) the rule was changed to 25 cars. The young Piesch came up with a storming idea: since Porsche AG sold yearly some 30 of its used race cars to privateers, why not building 25 5-liter Porsches and have them homologated?

    7.      The 3-liter 908-01 had gained grid position 1-2 and 3 in the 1968 Le Mans qualifying but losses to the John Wyer 5-liter GT40 in the race. (best 908 finishes 3rd  -6 laps down)

    8.      In 1969 the 908-01 - now existing also in Spyder version - won all rounds of the Manufacturer's Worlds except Daytona, Sebring and ... Le Mans. At Zuffenhausen they understand that after the defeats from the 5.0 Lola T70 Mk3B at the Daytona 24 hours and from the 4.9 Ford GT40 at the Sebring 12 hours that a 5-litre machine is necessary if one wishes one day to win at Le Mans.

    9.      The construction of the “new” 917 starts in 1968.


    10.   On March 30, 1969, the new 917 (chassis 002) shows at the Le Mans tests. In hands of Rolf Stommelen the car realizes the fastest time with 3'30"7, which was nearly 5 seconds faster than the 3'35"4 pole of the 908-01 the previous year. Another 917 (chassis 003) is tested by Hans Hermann. The same week-end the new 917 (chassis 001) is presented at the Salon Automobile de Genève.

    11.   In April Dean Delamont of the FIA inspects the 25 copies so that the car is homologated. The new race director Rico Steinemann, successor of Huschke von Hanstein, decides to send 2 cars - chassis 003 and 005 - to the Spa 1,000-kms on May 11, 1969. Although Jo Siffert sets the fastest time (chassis 003), that car is not raced due to a dubious road holding. The much slower 005 of Gerhard Mitter and Udo Schütz is retired with a deficient engine.

    12.   During the following 2 weeks the complete geometry of the front suspension and the direction are reviewed. Three weeks later the 917 (chassis 004) is tested at the difficult Nürburgring, not very appropriated for heavy cars. It finishes 8th.

    13.   The 005 is sold for DM 140,000 to a privateer, John Woolfe.

    14.   4 cars are sent to the Le Mans 24 hours, all in LH version. The 006-007-008 chassis are entered by Porsche System Engineering, the 005 by John Wolfe.  The 006 serves as spare car ("mule"), whilst the 2 other cars set a 1-2 on the grid in qualifying.

    15.   The pole time set (by car #14 – Chassis #007) was 3’22”9 more that 12” faster than the 1968 pole time. (Out of interest: the 2008 Le Mans pole time set by Peugeot was 3’22”2 – slightly different track)

    16.   This same car leads during the first 4 hours but is retired due to an oil leak. Again Le Mans is lost from a John Wyer 4.9 Ford GT40, now by only ...120 meters, with a 908-01LH finishing as runner-up.

    17.    The #005 is destroyed just after the start in a fatal accident by the late John Woolfe (RIP).

    18.   No factory cars were sent to the 2 last rounds of the FIA Manufacturer's World Championship and to Watkins Glen 6 hours, but at Österreichring 1,000-kms the 009, sold to Freiherr von Wendt, and driven by the work's racers Jo Siffert and Kurt Ahrens wins the race.  Another 917 - chassis 010 - sold to David Piper finishes 3rd. This car will also win the”off-championship” 1969 Kyalami 9 hours.

    19.   Starting the 1970 season race director Rico Steinemann opts for a complete new racing strategy. Remembering what Ford did in 1965 - after its serious defeat from Ferrari - he decides for an intramural competition. The 917s are no longer raced by Porsche System Engeneering, but by so-called independent teams. Since Porsche couldn't defeat John Wyer, Ferry Porsche & Co decided that 6 work's cars should be confined to ...JWA Gulf Racing with Wyer as race director. Porsche will pay the wages of the racers: Jo Siffert and Brian Redman. Pedro Rodriguez, until then a hyper fast work's racer for Ferrari, joins the JWA Gulf team. Moreover, Wyer attracts a new, unknown racer, at his own cost: Finland's Leo Kinnunen. Three other cars go to KG Salzburg(run by Louise Piech-Porsche), being a direct competitor for JWA Gulf.

    20.   Louise and Ferry founded Porsche AG witch each 50 per cent of the shares. It was an uneasy association, especially when in 1964 Ferdinand Piech, son of Louise, entered on the scene. He was a young and ambitious engineer, placed within Porsche AG by his mother as head of the Research and Development section. Piech followed a policy that each Porsche race car should be made obsolete by its successor. So he replaced the 904 GTS by the 906 (1966), the 906 by the 910 and by the 907 (1967) and the 907 by the 908 (1968).

    21.   When the Porsche clan, within Porsche AG, made the famous deal with John Wyer Automotive, Ferdinand Piech and mother Louise decided to use their own racing division (Porsche Austria) and to let race full factory cars under the new banner of KG Salzburg. For the American rounds of the Manufacturer's World Championships Louise co-operated with the American importer. (Louise – who had lived in constant conflict with Ferry- could not accept that her brother confided the new 917 to a "stranger'(John Wyer) especially since it was her son Ferdinand Piech who was the man behind the whole 917 project. So Louise and Ferdinand decided to race their own cars for the Austrian branch of Porsche, KG Salzburg).

    22.   Ferdinand Piech didn't respect the "stranger" John Wyer and his JWA Gulf team very much. He described Wyer as "too opinionated". Whilst Piech defended the 917LH, Wyer refused to race it. When Piech claimed that a 16 cylinder engine should be built (in order to keep concurrent Ferrari busy!), Wyer - not interested in CANAM racing - was strongly against it. Piech considered his uncle Ferry in racing affairs as too conservative, fully dominated by Wyer, as "a spineless chap".

    23.   In the course of the 1970 season the 4,494 cc motor, developing 560HP at 8,300 revs/min with a maximum couple of 50kg at 6,800 revs, was replaced by a 4,907cc motor with 600HP at 8,500 revs/min and a maximum couple of 54kg at 6,800 revs. Compression ratio was maintained at 10.5:1. The 4.9-litre motor was used for the first time in competition by the JWA Gulf cars at the 1970 Francorchamps 1,000-kms on May 10.

    24.   At 1970 Le Mans John Wyer used the new motor on his #20 and #21 (not on his #22). KG Salzburg used it at its #25 917LH but not on its #23 917K and not on its T-car.


    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Thanks, Spyderidol ... please post MORE, I want more of these pics ...

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Great read, please continue!

    Re: Porsche at Lemans 1970 &1971

    Porsche Le Mans racers at 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed...


    Smiley SmileySmiley SmileySmiley



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