The last of the monsters - Porsche 917

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

In April, 1969, twenty-five automobiles of aggressive look were lined up outside Porsche's factory in Stuttgart. In its front and sides, the inscription 917 replaced the race numbers. It was the beginning of that year's automobile season and, also, the beginning of an unexpected adventure of an exceptional prototype that would reign every circuit in the world and that established the German brand in the resistance demonstrations: the Porsche 917, the last of the monsters.

The birth of the 917 was only possible because of the frightening performance of the 7000 cc prototypes in the 1967 season, that gave way to a new regulation that limited cylindrage to 3000 cc. At the same time, so as to not desencourage the participation of Americans, who loved great and powerful engines, a special category, called sport, was created and lasted up until 1971, allowing cars with up to 5000 cc. However, it was necessary to produce 50 copies of the prototype, a number that was later reduced to 25. Porsche went all in. It brilliantly added a half motor to an already existent 8-cylinder, 3000cc motor, gettin a new 12-cylinder, 4500 cc block with amost double the power.

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

The first 917 models have revealed themselves extremely hard to drive and even dangerous, because of its great power and lack od adherence. Only skilful drivers were apt to drive them and take advantage of their big potential. After various tweakings, they were able to get to a stable configuration, the 917 K or short version, responsible for most of the race-car's victories. The long version, the 917 L, was only used in very fast circuits, such as the Le Mans. It reached 380 Km/hour, at one point...

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

A version called 917/20 was also introduced, gathering the best of each of the other versions. It had a brief appearance at the 1971 24 hours of Le Mans and was better known because of its creative decoration - that was responsible for its Pink Pig name - than for its performance in the race track...

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

After the transition period of the the new regulation was over, the monster was taken out of the World Championship, reserved to 3000 cc prototypes. It found refuge in the CanAm thanks to motors overfed by exhaust gases: the first turbo. In its most potent version, which ran in the 1973 season, it reached... 1200 cv! Definitely the last of the monsters...

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

 917 Automobiles Races Porsche Prototypes Sport

You can find more photos of Porsche 917 at the Gallery or at this link that has a great deal of information. You can also (re)watch the legendary film Le Mans de Steve McQueen or choose our test drive...


Test drive: Porsche 917 em Le Mans


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