How the 917 Won Porsche’s First Ever Le Mans

In 1970, Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood drove the 917 KH (limited-tail) with start out amount 23 and in the environment-well known purple-white Salzburg style to the first of (so much) 19 over-all wins for Porsche at the circuit. The 917 was Porsche’s initially time in the league of immensely potent, large-ability racing vehicles. Its 580bhp 4.5-litre 12-cylinder engine set new specifications, and is still legendary today.

Variations in the regulations intended that prototypes were being authorized a maximum engine dimensions of 3. litres, and for sports activities cars 5. litres were being permitted – but a sequence of at minimum 25 had to be developed. The 1969 race time authorized the 917 to grow to be completely race established, with the end result that the vehicle entered 1970 with its dependability confident and enhanced aerodynamics to rectify its beforehand wayward conduct at high pace.

For the 1970 Le Mans 24 Several hours the manufacturing facility did not enter the autos directly, but by way of its companions, John Wyer Automotive and Porsche Salzburg. In a rain-soaked race, amid intense levels of competition from Ferrari, the 917s fought a close-won victory. Here’s the photo I took of it at the Concours of Class 2020.

This vehicle, a Salzburg entry in the team’s purple and white livery started out with a downside – driver Richard Attwood experienced opted for the smaller of the two engines obtainable by 1970, the 4.5-litre in its place of the 5.-litre, and had preferred the 917 KH ‘short-tail’ variation somewhat than the speedier 917 1H long-tail. This was since the extended-tail he’d pushed at Le Mans in 1969 experienced been really unstable – but by 1970 the extensive-tail structure experienced been produced far extra steady.

So, originally, Attwood and co-driver Hans Herrmann lagged driving the relaxation of the 917s and the Ferrari 512s. Nevertheless, as rain started to slide in the evening, getting torrential via the evening, the car’s milder specification and the two drivers’ experience shone by – and to their good shock they found them selves in the guide.

The heavy rain triggered misfiring as a result of the night, thanks to h2o leaking onto the ignition elements, but the car kept going. Soon after 24 hrs it was however in the lead, inspite of the drivers becoming fatigued – specifically as Artwood afterwards uncovered that he had been struggling from the mumps.

Porsche 917 rear watch at Concours of Elegance 2020

This was Porsche’s 1st-at any time all round earn at Le Mans, and one more 917 finished second. Due to the fact then, Porsche has obtained a record whole of 19 in general La Sarthe victories to date – but the to start with, in automobile 23, was absolutely the greatest of all.


4.5-litre, flat-12, double overhead camshaft, 580bhp, gasoline injection


Rear motor, 4-velocity manual transmission, rear-wheel travel, tubular spaceframe, glassfibre bodywork, unequal higher and reduce arms, coil springs, discs