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Mark Webber Lends His Two Cents on What It’s Like To Drive The First Porsche 917

As part of the grand celebration of the 917’s 50th birthday, several major names were given the chance to parade some of the most iconic variants of the car at Goodwood’s 77th Members’ Meeting last month. One of those names was the affable and straight-talking Aussie who’s done quite well at the top of the racing ladder for the last two decades: Mr. Mark Webber.

Barely fitting his lanky frame inside the cramped cabin of chassis #001, Webber explains how ergonomics weren’t the top priority for the 917’s engineers. An awkwardly placed wheel at a canted angle and a roof that forces the 6’2″ Webber into the seat don’t make for a comfortable jaunt around Goodwood, but he’s pleased nonetheless.

Webber livened up Goodwood’s 77th Members’ Meeting with his famously cheeky sense of humor.

Getting to sample a car with so much history is worth a little discomfort—even a few compressed discs. Prior to the event, 917-001 underwent a full restoration to the exact specification in which it left Zuffenhausen in 1969, bound for its international debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Having been thoroughly reworked, we can only imagine what it was like to campaign one of these cars at Le Mans; what it was like to drive one in the lashing rain for hours on end.

917-001 is finished in Porsche’s traditional racing white with the green nose that adorned all 25 of the 1969 homologation cars.

When asked if he’d liked to have raced one in its heyday, we get an answer that seems quite diplomatic from the typically blunt wisecracker. While he admits to wanting to, he implies the danger inherent in driving such a car—a car with the driver’s feet well ahead of the front axle. Webber’s seen some wild accidents in his 30 years of racing, and sensibly, he feels some trepidation at the thought of racing such a wild animal. It’s hard to blame him.

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Workshop du Porsche Museum: Porsche 917, 908/2 et 909 Bergspyder

2019, Porsche fête les 5O ans de la Porsche 917 et prépare actuellement une exposition qui aura lieu au musée du 14 mai au 15 septembre 2019. Nous avons pu, lors de notre dernière visite au musée, assister à l’entretien de plusieurs 917 dans l’atelier. La Porsche 917KH N°21 châssis 015 des 24h du Mans …

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Madman Slides an Iconic 917-30 In Totally Awesome Vintage Footage

For the 1998 Monterey Historics, the iconic Sunoco 917-30 was brought out of retirement and driven in a way that would’ve made Mark Donohue proud. Its 1,000 horsepower were sent through a spool, which made the handling a little less than sophisticated—but, fortunately for our entertainment, great to watch. This vulgar display of power can give those not fortunate enough to have seen the 917-30 in its heyday a sense of how they really performed.

Olaf Lang, a driver for Porsche in the 1980s, was the man behind the wheel of this car. His professional racing career didn’t seem to turn him into an efficient driver always searching for the fastest, least dramatic way through the corner. Instead, he indulges in some lurid slides which nearly end in tears (4:20). Fortunately, he quit while he was ahead.

True, the car has an excess of power and a deploys that thrust through a spool, so the handling is a little rougher, but it’s clear he was out there for fun. It’s written all over his face when he steps out of the cockpit.

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Monstrous 917-30 Spits Flames

 

With that much power, turbo lag, and a manual gearbox, you have to wonder what went through the heads of the men who drove these vicious cars.

Built to dominate Can-Am racing in the early 1970s, the Porsche 917-30s wielded as much as 1,600 horsepower to mortify the men driving them and to leave an indelible mark on motorsport’s history. Few cars have the same aura surrounding them; the monstrous power, combined with the sub-standard safety measures of the day made them a real gladiator’s car that oozed danger. After all, the driver’s feet were positioned in front of the front wheels!

The unique bark of the flat-twelve only adds to the aura surrounding the 917-30; hearing the 5.4-liter engine idle is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand erect. With fireballs regularly licking at the exhaust tips, the ever-present and ominous whistle of the turbochargers, and that frightening bark, we can better understand how these monsters struck such a chord with racing enthusiasts as well as the courageous souls who drove them.

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Porsche 917 : un concept-car pour son anniversaire

Porsche a marqué de son empreinte l’ère moderne des 24 Heures du Mans en remportant trois éditions consécutives en 2015, 2016 et 2017, ceci avant son retrait de la catégorie reine des LMP1-H. En 1970, la Porsche 917 a écrit les premières lignes de la légende Porsche dans la Sarthe. Un concept-car inspiré de la […]

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