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Porsche celebrates the 40th anniversary of 917

The "ultimate racing car of all automotive history" establishes new records on both sides of the Atlantic

There are forty, 13 March 1969, Porsche unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show a car that, even by today's standards, was the perfect embodiment of the "super sports car". Porsche 917 is the entry in the legend and was one of the fastest cars running and most successful of all time.

Porsche had started working on Project 917 in June 1968, after the announcement by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) of the creation of a category for "APPROVED sports cars" cylinder maximum of five liters and a minimum weight of 800 kilograms. Under the direction of Ferdinand Piech, 25 units of the new racing car were completed in April 1969 and that they make their debut on the racetrack in the same year. After having experienced technical difficulties that prevented it from completing his first three races, the 917 has recorded his first success in August 1969 during a race 1 000 km to the Austrian system Österreichring, thanks to a victory over Jo Siffert and Kurt Ahrens.

Engine configuration of the 917 was just as unusual as its different body styles. Behind the driver's seat was a twelve-cylinder engine houses a 4.5-liter flat opposing cooled air and developping 520 horses. The tubular frame was made of aluminum; Body, synthetic materials reinforced with glass fibers.

The Porsche engineers have designed different body styles based on different requirements of different circuits. Said version "short body" was conceived for the very winding roads or high contact pressure was necessary to negotiate turns at high speed. A long body version was designed for fast tracks and top speeds superior. There was also the 917 Spyder open body, which have been used in the CanAm championship and tests Interserie.

At the end of the racing season in 1970, Porsche has won the world championship racing (Markenweltmeisterschaft), Models 908/03 and 917 with new roundup of ten tests. The victories began in Daytona and continued in Brands Hatch circuit, Monza, Spa and Nurburgring. Porsche also won the Targa Florio race victories and records circuits Watkins Glen and Österreichring.

The highlight of the season was a long-coveted victory of the legendary endurance of 24 hours of Le Mans race, a trophy that Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood reports with them Zuffenhausen June 14, 1970. Their 917 model has short body, wearing the red and white colors of Porsche Salzburg and with the number of departing 23 has crushed its competitors in a punctuated by torrential rain race.

Just like the previous year, the 1971 season was dominated by the 917, Porsche again won the world championship racing, collecting the first places in eight of the ten tests. Again, the Porsche 917 triumphed at Le Mans 24 hours - this time with Gijs van Lennep and Dr. Helmut Marko driving a 917 model has short body adorns a "shark fin" and having a tubular chassis magnesium. Their average speed of 222 km / h over a distance of 5 335 km is a record that has not been beaten to this day.

A cut version has a long body 917 has established a new record in 1971. On the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans 24 Hours, 917 No. 21 has reached a record speed of 387 km / h. Always at Le Mans 24 Hours, another version of the 917 has earned a solid repute: 917/20. Mixture of models has short body and long body, it is distinguished by its large proportions. Although the meteor pink, nicknamed the "Pink Pig" is to abandon the race halfway, its unusual color has been one of the most famous models in the history of Porsche.

This was the expiration of the regulations of the FIA ​​on sports cars five liters of cylinder at the end of 1971, Porsche has decided to participate in the American national championship racing (CanAm). In June 1972, the private Penske stables used for the first time the Porsche 917/10 Spyder turbocharged engine. Developping up to 1000 hp, the 917/10 has dominated the series and has allowed Porsche to win the CanAm championship, thanks to wins at Road Atlanta circuit, Mid Ohio, Elkhart Lake, Laguna Seca and Riverside. The next year, the 917/30 Spyder engine with 1,200 horsepower made his debut on the track. The fireball, driver Mark Donohue dominated the circuit to such an extent that the regulations of the series had to be rewritten to exclude the 917/30 series of 1974.

True to his habit, Porsche has managed to adapt the performance improvement technology developed for racing cars 917 throughout its range destinies sports cars on-road use. It is through these technologies than the 911 Turbo, with a lateral exhaust turbocharger, was born in 1974.

The reputation of the 917 is legendary. Fifty international experts in sports motorized British magazine Motor Sport the call "ultimate racing car in automotive history." All in all, Porsche built 65 units: 44 cuts a short body and long body, two PA CanAm Spyder 19 Spyder and Interserie, including turbocharged engines developed until 1400 c. Seven of the 917 most prestigious models - including the winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971 and 917/30 - are exposed to the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

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