Sportscar racing – The 5 litre era (1969 – 1971)

The story of the golden age of Sportscar racing is a very human one that relied on the ambitions of two very different men. Both of these men were born in different  countries, took different paths and had different dreams that wouldn’t be realised until after one had passed but it remains that they made the sport what it is today. Enzo Ferrari was the Italian race car driver turned team manager who indulged in a machiavellian style of management that made Maranello not just the team everyone wanted to drive for but also a hot bed of gossip, intrigue and a place that often seemed to seek failure rather than success. Ferdinand Porsche was the opposite, a very Germanic automotive engineer who always sought to both revolutionise an object as well as evolve it to its ultimate form and it was from his foresight that the Auto-Union and Volkswagen Beetle can be credited.

World War II can be blamed for many things but the seismic shift it had also provided the conditions that were needed to allow both of these men to have the platform needed for them to be able to seek sporting glory. Prior to World War II most races were either run for Grand Prix or Sporting machinery and for whatever that entailed, the biggest difference was generally what coachwork needed to be fitted, many events such as Le Mans and the Tourist Trophy requiring four seat coachwork rather than the single seat or two seats in Grand Prix. Otherwise Sportscar racing was also a formula libre sport where cars of any size, forced induction or not ran and such was the state of many tracks, many of which were not sealed until well into the 1930s making speed and agility half the equation, strength being the half.

Ferdinand Porsche began his career back in 1898 with Lohner where he designed and developed. the petrol electric Loehner-Porsche, the first hybrid and one of the first four wheel drive automobiles. A later position with Austro-Daimler lead to some extremely sporty cars and he was head hunted to become Technical Director at Daimler mere months before they merged with Benz where he developed the S-Type into the SSK. Porsche soon became enamoured with the Mercedes-Benz work based on the Rumpler principles of small, lightweight rear engine cars and his passion for this type of vehicle saw him clash with the Mercedes board and depart for Steyr although the role ended due to the depression. With assistance from Anton Piëch and Adolf Rosenberger, Porsche decided to set up his own independent design consultancy in Stuttgart in 1931 and with work scarce due to the depression he developed his own ideas for a small car and a racing car.

Hitlers decision to fund a Grand Prix effort saw the racing car project taken up by the new Auto-Union concern and it foreshadowed future Porsche practice with a mid rear mounted engine and swing rear axle. Hitler also had the idea of launching a range of government sponsored products intended to keep the populace happy and the peoples car, the Volkswagen project was born, with Porsche hired to develop the cars he had already designed for Zundapp and NSU into an even cheaper and more reliable peoples car. To mitigate against the unavailability of anti-freeze, Porsche designed the Beetle with an air cooled 25hp 995cc flat 4 engine, designed to be cheaply and easily built and mended and in the process launched two further Porsche stalwarts, the flat engine and air cooling. Production of the Beetle was just getting underway when WWII halted it and the capacity was given over to the Typ 82 Kubelwagen which was based on the same chassis although Porsche had already begun developing the Tiger and Maus tanks.

Little needs to be said about Volkswagen which is today the worlds second largest automobile producer. It is worth noting that upon the Allies finding themselves in possession of the factory and remains of Volkswagen inc. and offered it to the members of the British Auto Industry who collectively decided to pass on the offer declaring the Beetle “the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motor-car” and “is quite unattractive to the average buyer”. Enzo Ferrari worked his way up from test driver to racing driver with C.M.N. before joining Alfa Romeo where he was a fairly decent race driver but a better team manager and it was Ferrari that managed to lure Vittorio Jano who would go on to design the dominant Alfa Romeo P2, Tipo B and 8C. Ferrari rarely raced beyond the mid 1920s and in 1929 established the Scuderia Ferrari to enter wealthy amateurs in events using primarily Alfa Romeo but also Miller (*) and motorcycles. Ferrari proved his credentials by enticing Giuseppe Campari and later Tazio Nuvolari to join his team and by 1933 he was the official racing team for Alfa Romeo.

The Scuderia Ferrari team was later devolved into Alfa Romeo and the hiring of Wilfredo Ricart saw Enzo Ferrari frustrated enough that he chose to leave. Alfa Romeo forced a constraint of trade agreement that prevented Ferrari from producing a race car or any use of the Ferrari name for four years. A work around was a commission by a contact for two cars lead to Ferrari building two Fiat based specials named the Auto-Avio Costruzioni S.p.A. for Alberto Ascari and Lothario Rangoni to drive in the 1940 Mille Miglia. These cars were very successful although like Porsche, Ferrari agreed to work on wartime production for the Mussolini govt. and to so he used his new workshop in Maranello. Whatever the horrors of World War II and they were many and truly horrific, the disruption afforded some the scope and options to take new directions and the funds to follow that path.

Porsche had been forced by allied bombing in Stuttgart to move his design office elsewhere and chose a sawmill near his home in Gmund, Austria. Ferrari meanwhile had totally transferred production from Modena to Maranello where he produced machine tools through 1946 although the Maranello plant was partially destroyed in a bombing raid. Enzo had been smart enough to support both the partisans and fascists ensuring his firm escaped the worst of the post war hostilities as Italy dealt with their past. Ferdinand Porsche couldn’t escape his past however and when the French govt. decided to explore moving Volkswagen production to France, he was initially hired as a consultant although the placement soured and he was imprisoned along with Volkswagen CEO and Porsche confidant Anton Piech and his son Ferry Porsche. While Ferry was released within 6 months, Ferdinand and Piech remained in a French jail for 22 months.

Both Ferrari and Porsche had limited opportunities to return to previous positions, the Third Reich now disbanded prevented that option while Alfa Romeo were rebuilding and unlikely to field any sort of automobile racing team. Thus both came to the conclusion that setting up their own companies would be the best option although they took diametrically opposed paths to that end. Ferrari decided that he wanted to go auto racing and could use the cottage industry in and around Modena to his advantage and to complete the first vehicle he hired Gioacchino Colombo to design a V12 engine having been enamoured with the Packard V12s of the 1930s. The early V12s soon grew from 1.5 litres to 2 litres and were built with chassis and bodywork that were designed for cycle wing fenders allowing entry in either Grand Prix, Formula 2 or Sportscar races. Even post 1948 when Ferrari became specialised the engines and chassis, engines and chassis were always multi purpose. 

Porsche were struck by the captivity of Ferdinand and Piech and took any work they could get and a fortuitous moment lead to Piero Dusio deciding to commission Porsche Gmund to design and build a prototype Grand Prix car and a sportscar that would be based upon it. The Cisitalia 360 was developed with a supercharged 300bhp 1.5 litre flat 12 and optional four wheel drive. While the cost of developing this fabulous new car was beyond Dusio’s reach and he ran out of money and fled to Argentina before the car could truly be used in anger, other than a test by Tazio Nuvolari, Porsche had been paid up front for their services and the money was used to bail out the incarcerated pair. In the meantime Ferry and his sister Louise Piech had started Porsche Gmund and begun design and development of the 356 road car, based upon the pre-war Typ. 64 which was itself based upon Volkswagen parts and principles although the chassis was a Porsche design.

Porsche returned to Stuttgart, Germany and established a plant at Zuffenhausen in 1950 although they had only just sold their first 50 cars at that point and racing was not even contemplated. Ferrari had also completed approximately 50 cars in 1950 although all of theirs were racing cars and had won the Mille Miglia in 1948, 1949 and 1950 along with Le Mans in 1950, these success enough to begin car sales in the USA, UK and Belgium although production cars were barely disguised racing cars. Ferrari employed a new technical director, Aurelio Lampredi, in 1950 and realised that beating Alfa Romeo at their own game wouldn’t work so taking a leaf out of Talbot-Lago’s book so Lampredi was put to work developing ever larger normally aspirated V12s that while down on power would not need lengthy fuel stops. The ultimate engine was developed to meet the CSI maximum for F1, 4.5 litres and like all Ferrari engines, named after the size of a single cylinder and saw its debut in late 1950 at the Italian GP although with the 340 engine more power than the Ferrari transmission could handle it wasn’t until 1953 that it saw its debut in a sportscar.

Ferry Porsche knew the old Ford adage of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and met with Le Mans organiser Charles Faroux at the 1950 Salon de Geneve where he agreed to enter two special 356s at the 1951 Le Mans. While these 356SL still had just 46bhp in competition tune the one that finished Le Mans, won its class and set Porsche on a path to racing glory. The CSI had been buoyed by the success of the Formula 1 World Championship that had been first seen in 1950 and decided that 1953 would see a new World Sporstcar Championship for endurance races. Where 1950 and 1951 had seen Ferrari and Jaguar winning events at will, 1952 had seen Mercedes debut the W194, the forerunner to the 300SL, and this car while not the quickest was certainly the most reliable and they won both Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana.

Alfa Romeo and Lancia were also launching sportscar campaigns while Aston Martin, Cunningham, Maserati and Talbot-Lago were continuing so the sport seemed to be in good standing and despite Mercedes-Benz withdrawing it still left eight manufacturers entering cars. The first championship had eight rounds, the American Sebring 12 Hours and Carrera Panamericana, the European rounds were the Mille Miglia, Nurburgring 1000km, Spa 24 Hours and RAC Tourist Trophy. None of the manufacturers were sure how the first championship would go and none entered all of the rounds, most competing where they sold cars and each had different perspectives on competing. Jaguar concentrated on Le Mans and won with their C-Type, Ferrari consistently entered the European rounds and won the championship with their 340MM and 375MM while Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati entered selected European rounds with only middling success. Aston Martin and Cunningham only entered their DB3S and C4-R at selected rounds and had some success while Porsche introduced the new 550, their first racing car.

The Porsche 550 was very much a Porsche with its rear engine, swing axles and ladder chassis although Prof. Ernst Fuhrmann had developed the Typ 547 engine to power it, featuring quad cams, 1498cc and 110bhp. Ideal for the 1500cc class then popular, the new 550RS was sold in relatively large numbers, nearly 100 between 1953 and 1955 and quick enough to take 6th at the 1954 Mille Miglia and 4th at the 1955 Le Mans. Ferrari had launched the ultimate Lampredi car in 1954 with the 330bhp 4.9 litre 375 Plus and won Le Mans and the World Sportscar Championship although they were already following a different direction since Formula 1 had taken to running 2 litre cars in 1952 which lead Lampredi to develop a 2 litre 4 cylinder engine. Ferrari eventually built four different 4 cylinder engines of 2 litre (500), 2.5 litre (625), 3 litre (750) and 3.5 litre (860) formats as well as two 6 cylinder engines in 3.8 litre (118) and 4.4 litre (121) forms. Mercedes-Benz returned to Formula 1 dominance in 1954 and extended their campaigns to the Sportscar arena in 1955 and while their cars weren’t absolutely quicker, they were much more reliable.

Alfa Romeo had already given up competing and Lancia were concentrating on Formula 1 leaving the battle between the new D-Type Jaguars, the various works Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz 300SLR and the little Porsche’s ready to take points should the bigger cars fail. Jaguar and Ferrari took a win a piece before Mercedes-Benz debuted at the Mille Miglia where Moss/Jenkinson won and set a new record and the teams headed to Le Mans. Castellotti managed to take pole in his Ferrari although various dramas meant they were soon out of the running leaving the race to the three Mercedes 300SLRs which were much the quickest and regular cars in the race with only Hawthorn/Bueb D-Type. Hawthorn was running 1st and had just lapped Leveghs Mercedes-Benz when entering the finish straight and he decided to pass Macklins Austin-Healey before diving into the unprotected pits. This action caused Macklin to brake heavily, partially lose traction and dive to the left to avoid the Jag and it was the Austin-Healey that suddenly was in the path of the Levegh driven Mercedes-Benz which basically used the tail of the Austin-Healey as a ski ramp.

Over a tonne of Mercedes was launched into the crowd opposite the pits at approx. 200km/h and as the car broke apart it caught fire and the wreckage killed 84 people. Levegh’s co driver witnessed the tragedy and aware of the repercussions encouraged Mercedes-Benz to withdraw their remaining cars and debate raged due to them being highly competitive but any win being tinged. Mercedes-Benz HQ finally decided that despite the Moss/Fangio 300SLR leading comfortably they decided that with sentiment only just recovering postwar they would withdraw their remaining cars. With Ferrari already out and now Mercedes-Benz withdrawing the race was left to Jaguar and the last remaining D-Type, ironically the Hawthorn/Bueb entry, ran home the winner. Mercedes-Benz did continue, to dominate the final two rounds at the Dunrod TT and the Targa Florio taking both the F1 and Sportscar championships but they had already decided that they had shown their supremacy and they felt any further success would be tinged by the Le Mans disaster whether it was Hawthorns or Leveghs fault.

Outside of the championship, the Le Mans disaster had changed the sport and shaped CSI and Le Mans policy for decades to come while some late 1955 events were cancelled and Switzerland banned all forms of motorracing over the following year, Le Mans widened their pit straight and limited prototypes to 2.5 litres, although the Aston Martins and Jaguars were grandfathered as production based engine. Lancia was the only team truly competitive with Mercedes-Benz in 1955 and yet the cost of building both Sportscars and Formula 1 saw the company go bankrupt and as part of the sale process, Fiat brokered a sale of all of the cars, technology and the services of Vittorio Jano to Ferrari. This was fortuitous because Ferrari had finally given up on the Lampredi era and needed a new path which was instantly solved with simply racing the advanced D50 in Formula 1 with Ferrari badges.

Ferrari launched a new sportscar development based upon the 1955 750 Monza chassis used either the 3.5 litre 4 cylinder engine or the new Jano designed 3.5 litre (290MM) V12. Elsewhere Aston Martin and Maserati had both launched highly competitive Sportscars with the 300S and DBR1 while Jaguar sold their works spec. D-Types to Ecurie Ecosse, the first of the major works surrogate teams. Le Mans wasn’t a round of the Sportscar championship due to safety concerns although it was still the pinnacle event and Ecurie Ecosse took the second consecutive D-Type win, while Maserati took two wins at Buenos Aires and the Nurburgring and Ferrari won Sebring, Mille Miglia and the Swedish GP taking the championship. Porsche had launched a new car, the 550A which merged the Typ. 547 engine and Porsche’ first tubular spaceframe and promptly won the non championship Targa Florio, Porsches first major international win coming on Ferrari’s home territory.

After the Le Mans ’55 disaster the sport likely couldn’t handle another mass tragedy but the Mille Miglia provided the other big story of 1957, Ferrari’s dominance not withstanding, de Portago’s 335S was running at top speed when a tire exploded and he slewed into the crowd where nine spectators were killed. Maserati and Aston Martin continued their growth in 1957 with the CSI announcing they would move to their first controlled formula for 1958, at the stroke of the pen launching the 3 litre era and limiting most of the competitive cars to just one final year. Ferrari converted their 290MM to run new 4 cam engines of 3.5 (290S), 3.8 (315S) and 4 litre (335S) forms while Maserati had ditched the 300S to launch the 350S with both straight 6 and V12 engines derived from those seen in the 250F. Maserati didn’t stopped there, Alfieri developed a new V8 that would be seen in the 450s while Aston Martin had learnt their lessons when they went down the expensive dead end that was the Lagonda V12 and they chose to continue to develop their 3 litre DBR1 with John Wyer as team manager.

Ecurie Ecosse won Le Mans once more and Aston Martin won at the Nurburgring leaving Ferrari and Maserati on two wins each and the championship up for grabs at the final round, the Venezuela 1000km. Ferrari had only to finish in the top 5 to win the championship and had invested nowhere near what Maserati had while the Modenese firm had to not only win but also stop Ferrari. Further the very survival of the firm depending on not only winning but also selling the 450s afterwards although every member of the team was destroyed in freak accidents and they returned to Modena dejected and promptly withdrew from motorracing.  Ferrari had already been hard at work on the 250 Testa Rossa and along with Aston Martin were set for the first season of 3 litre racing while Porsche finished developing the 550A and launched the new short wheelbase 718RSK in late 1957. The 1958 season was a Ferrari whitewash with the Testa Rossa winning easily including Le Mans and the championship although the DBR1 did manage to win at the Nurburgring and the Tourist Trophy while the little Porsche took a 3rd at Le Mans.

1959 continued much as 1958 with the updated Ferrari 250TR59 winning at Sebring, the next round was the Targa Florio which saw the Barth/Seidel Porsche take out the Targa Florio, their first World Sportscar win. From there on it was an Aston Martin benefit with wins at the Nurburgring, Le Mans and RAC Tourist Trophy and an easy World Championship title. Aston Martin then forget the lessons previously learnt and decided that Formula 1 wasn’t beyond them so withdrew from the series although the DBR1s were run by the Border Reivers and Essex Stable teams with some success. Astons place in the championship was taken by Maserati who had sold enough 3500GTs to fund the development of an all new car, the Birdcage with its lightweight tubular chassis and powerful 4 cylinder engine. Porsche had also begun to look at Formula 2 as an avenue for their 718 which featured central mounted steering which meant they could be raced as is although they developed the 718RSK into the RS60 which featured a new 160bhp 1.6 litre flat four. Maserati never raced the Birdcage themselves, instead leaving it to the Cunningham and Scuderia Serenessima to race them although like the Ecurie Ecosse they were good enough to be competitive on the international stage.

1960 dawned as Ferrari’s to lose and they nearly did, Porsche taking wins at Sebring and the Targa Florio while Maserati took the Nurburgring 1000km. Only the wins at Buenos Aires and the season ending Le Mans saw Ferrari manage to equal Porsche’ on points and they won it in a tie breaker thanks to having more third place finishes. Grand Touring had become a major category and once again Ferrari had fulfilled the capacity, producing the 250GT Tour de France and their Short Wheelbase, launched in 1960 was highly competitive against the Aston Martin DB4GT and Jaguar E-Type. Ferrari began to develop their own rear engined Formula 1 car in a quest to be competitive with the Cooper and Lotus and when the CSI announced the 1961 F1 series was for 1.5 litre cars, Ferrari already had a successful V6 and were ready to go and succeed. The 156F1 was the foundation for a new series of Sportscars and with sponsons fitted it was fitted with the original 2.4 litre V6 engines as the 246SP Sportscar.

Combined with the 250TR61 this was really Ferraris year and other than the Maserati Birdcage winning the Nurburgring they won every round of the 1961 championship. For what that was worth, the series had shrunk to five events with many choosing to host non championship GT races instead. The CSI realised this and decided that the 1962 Sportscar Championship would be for GT although the bigger events lobbied and received exemptions to allow Prototypes to be entered. Ferrari ran three different cars in 1962, the 250GTO in GT and the ultimate Testa Rossa, the 330LM in Prototypes although the latter was supported by the SP with no less than five 6 and 8 cylinder engines. Easily the biggest talking point was the Palace Revolt which kicked off when Count Volpi heard that several senior personnel such as Phil Hill, Carlo Chitti, Romolo Tavoni and Giotto Bizzarini were sick of the internecine fighting and Laura Ferrari’s meddling. Volpi lured them away with promises of funding for their intended Formula 1 race team, ATS although that proved to be a dead duck with very few actual races and little success other than a small run of gorgeous sportscars.

Ferrari soon replaced the entire team with design maestro Mauro Foghieri coming on board as chief engineer and John Surtees leading a host of new driving talent. Porsche had also been sidetracked into Formula 1 and they developed a new 1.5 litre Flat 8 engine to power the 804 Formula 1 car although the Sportscar remained unchanged other than an extension of the venerable flat 4 to 2 litres. 1962 saw the Flat 8 engine extended to 2 litres and fitted to the experimental W-RS Spider and GTR Coupe which would go on to great success although 1962 wasn’t the year and neither was it Maserati. Rather than develop the front engine Birdcage as they should have, Maserati chose to develop two all new cars, a new large Coupe, the Tipo 151 based on the old 450S and a rear engine Birdcage with three new V12 engines to power it although fortunately they had Cunningham, Maserati France and Count Volpi to pay the bills.

Ferrari won every event in both forms of the championship while Porsche dominated in the under 2 litre GT category. 1963 saw a record 22 events (including Hillclimbs) held as part of the world championship although many were just rounds for the sub 1 litre tiddlers. Ferrari had converted the old SP chassis into the 3 litre V12 powered 250P while the 250GTO was developed into the 4 litre 330LMB and Ferrari were developing the proposed 1964 variant of the 250, the 250LM. Elsewhere perhaps the biggest move in motorsports was playing out with Enzo rather hurt by the palace coup and overtures from both parties with Henry Ford and Lee Iacocca seriously considering purchasing a stake in Ferrari. Ford wanted the easiest path to sportscar success (with the Ford badge attached) while Ferrari wanted to rid himself of the roadcar production arm without losing the income. Negotiations got far enough to find that Ferrari and Ford were poles apart on Shelby’s role in any future collaboration and Fords lack of love for the 1.5 litre era of Formula 1.

The negotiations collapse saw Ford executives visit the UK where they decided promptly to pick the Lola Mark VI as a basis for a Sports Prototype and commission Shelby to build and race the Daytona Coupe. Ferrari meanwhile returned to their lack of funding and began making overtures toward Gianni Agnelli’s Fiat. The CSI homologated the Daytona Coupe as a mere Cobra derivative in early 1963 and this rankled with Ferrari and combined with the Aston Martin DPs and Ferrari GTOs lead to the CSI choosing to toughen their rules around what they would allow in the GT category. Ferrari was dominant in 1963 with both their 250 GTO and 275P winning their categories although they could see the Ford writing on the wall so began the homologation process for the 250LM, this required either production of 100 examples or claiming the car as a mere variant of the 250GTO which was itself a 250 GT Short Wheelbase variant. Even the CSI could see that Enzo was taking the mickey considering the 250LM was little more than a 250P with a roof and the engine had moved from the front middle to the rear middle and they refused the homologation request.

Ferrari tried all manner of options via the Italian CSI but the fact remained that when it truly debuted in 1964, the 250LM had to run as a Prototype leaving Ferrari in a pickle and they developed a new Pininfarina design for the 250GTO to create the 250GTO/64 which was still outgunned by the Daytona Coupe. Ford had established the British FAV company with John Wyer and John Willment at the helm to develop the Lola Mark VI into the GT40 and it made its debut in 1964 and while quick it was horribly unsorted and was clearly a work in progress while Shelby was racing the Daytona Coupe. Porsche had released their first entirely new car since the 550 back in 1953, the 904 with its boxed frame chassis and stressed fibreglass bodywork fitted with either the 2 litre Flat 4 356 based engine from the 911 for GT or even the Grand Prix derived 2 litre Flat 8 and 2 litre flat 6 from the 911 for Prototype racing. Prototype racing was again a Ferrari cakewark although they were disqualified for not entering every event and Porsche who had only won the Targa Florio in ’64 took out the title, although all eyes were on the Ferrari vs Shelby Ford battles in GT.

1964s GT championship included four hillclimbs which were not Shelbys forte and always going to be a Porsche vs Ferrari benefit although they gamely tried and just missed on the title. Porsche continued to deploy their 904 into 1965 while developing the proper prototype 906 for 1966 while Ford had major changes, frustrated by FAVs lack of ability to develop and race proof the GT40 and switched the race departments. Shelby took over as the race department for the GT40 and the Daytona Coupes were farmed out to Alan Mann and others for the European season. Shelby managed to win at Sebring with the 289 powered GT40 but made the early season decision to fit the powerful, heavy but properly tested 7 litre V8 into the GT40 creating the Mark II putting development back several months. They also made the choice to involve development experts Bruce McLaren and Ken Miles who managed to slowly sort the cars and while the rest of the 1965 season was a washout, they were made ready for 1966.

Ferrari were at a crossroads in 1965 and while they had the P2 derivative of the (3.3 litre) 275P and (4 litre) 330P as well as the 250LM to run in prototypes they had nothing for GT racing, the GTO now long in the tooth and the 275GTB suffering a long and tortuous homologation process. With no true GT challenger the GT championship was handed on a plate to the Shelby Daytona’s, only a few privately entered GTOs offering any sort of competition. Ferrari themselves were entering negotiations to sell a stake to Fiat and had already agreed to design and produce a new series of 2 litre V6s, the Dino engine, which they themselves were going to produce a new mid engined sports car around. For Sportscar racing, Foghieri designed a car that was essentially the contemporary P2 in miniature with a smaller tubuar semi-monocoque and stressed alloy panels to a Piero Drogo design. Ferrari took out the Prototype category rather easily although they had to rely on the NART team 250LM to get them across the line at Le Mans and despite the best effort of the 206SP, Porsche dominated the 2 litre category, finishing second overall.

Ferrari debuted their new 330P3 in 1966 and this new car had fuel injection fitted along with all new Drogo coachwork that was far more aerodynamically efficient as well as beautiful and five would be built and raced during the year. Several P2s were also updated to P3 spec and Ferrari began to rely heavily on surrogate teams such as Scuderia Filipinetti, Ecurie Francorchamps, Luigi Chinettis NART and Maranello Concessionaires. The controversial 250LM was finally homologated by the FIA although everyone knew that the three years hence had seen developments that made it uncompetitive and in doing so they breached their own rules because it still hadn’t been produced in enough numbers. Ford had already developed their Mark II, of which they would produce some 11 examples although they mainly concentrated on the American rounds at Daytona and Sebring as well as their prize, Le Mans and they also used works surrogates, Shelby joined by Alan Mann and Holmann and Moody. Porsche debuted their new lightweight tubular spaceframe 906 which was run as a Group 4 sports car with the 911 derived flat 6 or a Prototype when fitted with the flat 8. Perhaps the most interesting cars of the era were Jim Halls Chaparral which was quick and advanced but often undercooked 2D and the new Matra with its BRM supplied 2 litre V8 although they were just beginning on their trajectory.

Porsche won the Targa Florio with their 906 and Chaparral took out the Nurburgring continuing the bizarre tradition set by Maserati of the most unreliable car winning arguably the toughest race. Otherwise the season became one of whether Ford would enter a race, or not. Ford won Daytona and Sebring at a trot with only one Ferrari works entry at Sebring, Ferrari took out Monza and Spa although without competition from Ford who stayed home so battle royale commenced at Le Mans. Ferrari mustered five P3 cars for Le Mans and may have felt confident although there were no less than eight Mark IIs lining up, Ford leaving nothing to chance from their enormous investment to win the race and qualifying seeing the mighty Mark IIs start 1-2-3-4. Porsche also entered five 906s, three of them with long tail bodywork. The race was a total washout for Ferrari with gearbox failures and crashes putting them out and despite incidents putting out five Mark IIs, the remaining three were able to cruise home line abreast although Bruce McLaren managed to take a cheeky win with a quick spurt ahead at the line. Porsche were also happy with their three 906LEs running home 4-5-6 although Ferrari must have pondered their first defeat at Le Mans since 1959.

Ford also managed to win the ’66 Prototypes championship while Porsche took out the 2 litre category once more and the Sportscar title was a bit of a non event although even there Porsche were showing the signs of future dominance with the sportier 911 variants. Ford decided to continue to race in 1967 and had already spent much of 1966 developing the J-Car/Mark IV GT40 which was built around a aluminum honeycomb chassis construction with all new “breadvan” bodywork. Ferrari had developed the 330P3 into the P4 with even more voluptuous bodywork although this time its engine had the three valve heads as seen in the Grand Prix cars raising power to 450bhp. Porsche launched two new cars in 1967, the 910 which was an improved lighter, shorter 906 derivative with either open Bergspider or closed Coupe coachwork and powered by either the standard 200bhp 2 litre flat 6 or the 270bhp 2.2 litre flat 8.

Not content to stop there, Porsche also decided to build a car on the same platform and engine as the 910 but radically revised bodywork developed over hours in the wind tunnel and had the lowest drag of any Porsche racing car, ever built. Porsche had also worked hard to lighten and update cars from race to race, the apogee of this process was seen with the new 907 with each individual chassis only ever raced once and those that weren’t crashed were sold off to privateers. Other exciting developments for 1967 was the return of JWA with the Len Bailey designed Mirage M1 which was based on the GT40 and run in the iconic Gulf sponsorship and Blue and Orange livery. Chaparral launched the 2F with its fantastic enormous wing on struts, Lola produced the ultimate T70, the Mark 3 Coupe, Matra produced a lightly modified MS630 which was run with both the BRM engine and a Ford 289cui V8 while Alfa Romeo launched into the category with the Carlo Chiti designed 2 litre V8 Tipo 33. Daytona saw Fords mighty effort destroyed by gearbox failures, four of them retiring and Ferrari taking an easy 1-2 with their new 330P4 while Porsche took a fine 4th in the new 910.

Sebring saw the introduction of the new Mark IV which won from the Mark II with two Porsche 910s in 3-4 although there were no Ferrari works entries present. Ford had no interest in Monza although the full Ferrari team of three P3/4s were present and they finished 1-2-4 with the Porsche 910 in 3rd and the Mirage 8th on debut. Three works and privateer Ferrari P3/4’s, two Mirage M1s, two Porsche 910s and a 906LE were the major entries although it was Phil Hill in the Chaparral he shared with Spence on pole. Ickx in the Mirage, Mairesse in the Francorchamps P3 and the Chaparral battled over the lead although the Chaparral and P3s retirements allowed the Ickx/Thompson Mirage to run home the winner with the Siffert/Herrmann 910 in 2nd and the Attwood/Bianchi 330P3/412P in 3rd. Several Ferrari 206SPs, a works P4 and the Filipinetti 330P3/412P lead the Ferrari challenge, the Chaparral 2F was there, likely for a laugh while six Porsche 910s were present. Vaccarella managed to crash the works P4 although Mitters 910 also went out leaving the Mueller/Guichet P3 in the lead.

Tire failure put paid to the big Ferrari’s charge and the 910s came home 1-2-3. In the absence of any true works competition, Chaparral entered a 2F, Mirage one M1 and Porsche no less than six 910s. While the Chaparral was much the fastest in qualifying and fast until the inevitable gearbox failure on lap 10 leaving Ickx/Attwood in the lead in their Mirage although a late race tire explosion saw the Mirage crashed badly. The four 910s ran home 1-2-3-4 with the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 having its best run so far to finish 5th. Ford returned to Le Mans with four Mark IVs and three Mark IIbs against seven P3 and P4 Ferrari’s, two Chaparral 2Fs, two Mirage M1s, while Porsche hedged their bets augmenting two 907s with two 910s and a 906. Other than the Spence/Hill Chaparral in 2nd, the rest of the top six were all Ford machines and they dominated the race once more although the Chaparral gave them a scare, even leading briefly. While most of the Fords were delayed or retired the very carefully driven Mark IV of Gurney and Foyt inherited such a large lead they could slow and allow the works and Francorchamps P4s into 2nd and 3rd. Further back the Porsche 907 of Siffert/Herrmann lead home the Porsche parade in 5th, other Porsche finishing 6-7-8 while the Matra and Mirage failed to finish.

A new round, the Brands Hatch 1000km saw four works and semi works P3/4s, the Chaparral 2F, one Mirage M1 and just three works Porsches went into battle. The Surtees/Hobbs works Lola-Chevrolet managed to take pole and Hulme in the sister car lead the early running with the Ferraris and Chaparral falling into a watching brief. Rodriguez managed to get the Mirage up into the top 5 while Hill had a tire blow dropping him back allowing the Amon/Stewart P4 to take the lead. Spence managed to retake the lead in the Chaparral and the Porsche 910/8 of Siffert/McLaren pitted as regular knowing they had to beat the P4 to take the championship although they knew the P4 would have to pit one last time. Amon came in for a splash and dash and managed to complete the stop in just 26 seconds returning to their safe second, the Porsche came 3rd although noone could beat the Chaparral 2F of Spence/Hill.

The Group 4 era 

Although it was 11 years hence the FIA was still conscious of the Le Mans ’55 tragedy and going through one of their periodic pushes to regulate what had formerly been a laissez-faire set of formulas. Conscious of the GT homologation fiasco they had already acted to ensure that only cars that truly were Grand Tourers rather than race cars in disguise. Another dynamics was the successful switch to the 3 litre formula made by Formula 1 with plenty of manufacturer interest and full grids of competitive cars which was launched in 1966. Intrigue was caused by French firms Alpine-Renault and Matra considering 3 litre entries in the Sportscar championship and the CSI was a Paris based  organisation which wont have gone unnoticed by their leadership. Using the excuse of limiting speeds, considering the Fords were capable of 350km/h on the Mulsanne, the announcement in mid 1967 that from 1968 onwards, Group 6 prototypes would be the ultimate Sportscar series was not a huge surprise.

To ensure a successful formula, the CSI announced that there would be little in the way of rules other than various dimensional  limits in line with Formula 1 rules, the intention was that the various F1 entrants would simply fit full width bodywork to their F1 cars and enter. As all of the existing entrants qualified were running to 2 litre rules the CSI decided to the Group 4 formula for sportscars up to 5 litres to continue although this still wouldn’t fill grids and they quickly agreed to drop the minimum production for a sportscar to 50 examples. This allowed the Lola T70 to continue to be raced although Lola never had the funds to undertake any form of works team and it remained clear that other than Porsche with their growingb entries  the FIA announced in early 1968 that they were going to drop the minimum production to 25 examples to entice more entries from small sportscar manufacturers.

Although Le Mans 1955 was now 12 years past, the CSI made the decision were concerned with the 200+mph speeds then seen on the Mulsanne and with Formula 1 successful shift to the 3 litre format they chose to take Endurance racers down the same path. As so often since 1955, the argument was that the 3 litre limit would lower speeds to safer levels Legally they drafted new rules for the 6 prototypes that were intended as the premiere sportscars classification. As the premiere category this class had few rules other than the engine limits and at least Alpine and Matra were keen to construct and enter cars for the category while Porsche involvement was a given. With only Porsche ready to enter the CSI decided it needed to fill grids so they decided to continue to allow Group 4 sportscars to continue competing and renamed the class as Group 5. This category had certain limits, notably the minimum production of 50 examples although they still intended to allow only the slower, older cars such as the Ferrari 250LM and Ford GT40.

Even the low limit of 50 wasn’t enough to allow the right mix of eligibility, scope and pace to make the Group 4 category competitive for 1968 with only the two aforementioned homologated and the CSI announced in late April 1968 that they would lower the production limit to 25 for 1969. The only new homologation for 1968 was the Lola T70 which was actually an old car but it took until 1967 for the necessary production quantity to be completed and still the category remained intended for limited production sportscars and very much the second string to the Group 6 cars.The Porsche board had decided as late as early 1968 that the 3 litre Group 6 formula was the one to win but the new lower production limit was going to allow the 5 litre sportscars enough extra speed that they would be eventually unbeatable. Porsche’ response was to begin considering if they should build a Group 4 car themselves, the team of Ferdinand Piech and Hans Mezger began quietly designing a 5 litre flat 12 for their potential racecar. Piech and Mezger were highly experienced and knew that much of the projects success depending on them having all of the initiative so ensured that only the barest minimum of Porsche staff knew about their plans.


Daytona saw several teams out in force, five Porsche 907s, three Alfa Romeo T33/3s and a Howmet Turbine the highlights of Group 6 while both JWA/Gulf GT40s were the fast Sports entries, the two GT40s sitting on the front row with the Porsches next up. The two GT40s lead easily from the start with Hawkins leading Ickx while the Porsche’s played the long game and when the Ickx/Redman GT40s ZF gearbox started to fail, the Porsche’s all moved up a place. A backmarker dropped gallons of oil on the track in the 5th hour and Mitter who was close behind had an almighty crash which left his 907 on its roof, the Gregory 250LM and Spoerrys semi works 907 were also out after taking a skate on the oil. Siffert/Herrmann were in a safe second and leading a train of 907s, holding station behind the Hawkins/Hobbs GT40 and when the GT40 pitted for a lengthy stop, Porsche management got the three 907s to put on a charge which ended with the GT40 in 3rd. The situation remained steady until the 16th hour when the Ford pitted for a stop to repair a leaky fuel cell that lasted three hours and they were eventually disqualified for taking too long. The three remaining Porsche were left to run home with Elford/Neerpasch/Siffert leading home a 1-2-3, the three new Alfa Romeo 33/2s would have been happy to finish 5-6-7. Alfa were so pleased with the result that they named the specific bodystyle the Daytona although it must be noted that the Titus/Bucknum Ford Mustang took 4th so the Alfa result was perhaps a mirage.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
DNF 9 2 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 430 DSQ
DNF 8 1 Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 58 Gearbox

Porsche and JWA/Gulf resumed battle at Sebring for the 12 Hours with Porsche entering four 907s and Gulf their two GT40s, although a bit of colour was provided by the Howmet and a couple of competitive Lola T70s. Practice showed the GT40 and 907 evenly paced with Siffert/Herrmann on pole, the Howmet in 3rd and even Scooter Patrick in the James Garner entered Lola in 4th. The Porsche’s quickly settled into their race rhythm allowing the Patrick and de’Udy Lolas to go into the lead and indeed the first major retirement was Scarfiotti’s 907 and indeed the second major car out was the Mitter/Stommelen 907. All three Lolas went out with suspension and engine failures while the Ickx/Redman Ford GT40 went out with clutch failure and only the Hawkins/Hobbs GT40 offered any real competition in 3rd place and they even took the lead although Hawkins collided with a backmarker and was forced to pit for lengthy repairs. While the GT40 returned to the fray the repairs didn’t hold and the two Porsche’s were now left to run out the winners, Siffert/Herrmann winning from Eflord/Neerpasch and the Donohue/Fischer Penske Camaro managed a fine but distant 3rd.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
NC 29 7 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive Engineering / Gulf 157
DNF 28 2 Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive Engineering / Gulf 36 Clutch

Brands Hatch was up next and this time there was extra colour to the proceedings with the Gulf GT40, three Porsche 907s and the Howmet Turbine joined by two of the new Ford F3L P68s and Paul Hawkins very quick lightweight ex Alan Mann GT40. Elsewhere Jo Bonnier entered his very quick Lola T70 and the three Alfa Romeo T33/2s returned having missed Sebring, although the practice showed them to be well off the pace set by the 907s and new Ford P68, the Siffert/Herrmann 907 sitting on pole with the McLaren/Spence P68 starting 2nd. Siffert lead from the start while McLaren missed a shift and fell well back leaving the Porsche team in a 1-2-3 while Ickx and the Howmet of Thompson held a watching brief although McLaren soon went on a charge to make up for his earlier mistake and was soon back up to 3rd and challenging Elford for 2nd. Such was McLarens pace that he eventually managed to pass Siffert and take the lead although the Alan Mann pitcrew were outclassed and spent four minutes servicing and changing drivers which allowed Porsche to return to 1-2-3 and worse still Spence was stranded when the new Fords driveshaft snapped. Ickx stayed out and managed to get the GT40 up to 2nd when the Porsche pitted. Siffert continued in the lead until Porsche fitted new brake pads which turned out to be faulty and teammate Herrmann had to retire. Mitter/Scarfiotti and Elford/Neerpasch were also delayed as Porsche had to replace their brake pads and this allowed Redman in the Gulf Ford to take the lead and the Hawkins/Hobbs GT40 to briefly take 2nd. The two remaining 907s managed to retake 2nd and 3rd although Ickx/Redman was unchallenged at the front and the Hawkins/Hobbs GT40 finished a competitive 4th showing there was life in the old girl yet while the two Alfa Romeo T33s were hopelessly slow and never featured.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 4 5 Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 218

Monza was next up and teams of two Gulf GT40s, two VDS entered Alfa 33/2, two Alpines and a five car team of Porsche’s with two each of the 907 and the 908 on debut along with a semi works 907. Elsewhere two privately owned GT40s were highly competitive although it was Jacky Ickx in the Gulf GT40 on pole with the Siffert/Herrmann 908 starting 2nd. The four leading Porsche and Gulf Fords competed for the first four spots, Ickx and Siffert particularly racy at the front until Siffert had a major gearbox oil leak which required an hour long pitstop to fix. Scarfiotti’s 908 was in the wars as well when its throttle stuck open and lost 4 precious minutes. Ickx/Redman weren’t immune to the reliability issues and they were deposed from the lead with a broken exhaust manifold although this left the Hawkins/Hobbs Gulf GT40 in the lead from the Stommelen/Neerpasch 907 and the Depailler/de Cortanze Alpine A211. The Scarfiotti/Mitter 908 did finish in a very delayed and distant 11th while the two Alfa’s didn’t even last the first hour, not a great result on their home track.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 40 3 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 100
DNF 39 1 Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 58 Exhaust

The Targa Florio needs little introduction but being a handling circuit, Gulf chose not to enter leaving a team of 5 Porsche 907s to battle 6 Alfa Romeo T33/2s. Porsche were clearly the quicker of the two but like at Brands and Monza they had a bizarre and never before seen issue, this time with wheel nuts working loose and Elford who had been on it through practice lost 20 minutes on the rest of the field. Despite a higher than average rate of decimation among the 907s, Elford went on a charge and reduced his lap time by 45 seconds, setting further records before finally winning by 3 minutes from two T33/2s, while co-driver Maglioli was also fast, many observers rated Elfords drive the finest ever seen on the 72km long circuit.

Battle resumed at the Nurburgring where Porsche entered two 907s and 908s against the two Gulf GT40s, six T33/2s (for Alfa Deutschland and VDS), two Ford F3L P68s and a couple of Alpines. Chris Irwin had a career ending crash in one of the Ford F3L P68s and he was lucky to survive in a practice that saw the Herrmann/ Stommelen 907 take pole from Ickx in the Gulf GT40 although the Mitter 908 promptly passed Ickx to make a 908 1-2 on lap 1, Ickx dropping back to 9th. Ickx climbed through the field with his usual class and was up to third before the Porsche’s pitted and he even briefly took the lead before his first stop although soon after the rain started to fall harder and this benefited the less powerful but better handling Porsche’s no end. Siffert had set a new lap record before his stop and Elford simply held station while Herrmann/ Stommelen managed to attain 2nd and despite a lengthy stint by Ickx at the end the Gulf GT40 came home 3rd.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
3 65 2 Jacky Ickx/Paul Hawkins Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 44
6 66 10 David Hobbs/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 43

The series moved to Spa, in the misty Ardennes for Ickx’ home race, where both Gulf GT40s, four Porsche’s (1 907 and 3 908s), two T33/2s, a Matra M630, an Alpine and the sole remaining Ford F3L P68. Gardner managed to take pole in the new F3L from Ickx in the GT40 on what was the worlds fastest circuit. Raceday was wet, conditions in which Ickx simply thrived and he held a considerable lead by the time the field completed lap 1. The three new Group 6 cars were out of the running on lap 1, the Matra and Ford retiring with electrical failure while the Alpine was severely delayed but able to continue. Elford stopped with a broken throttle linkage allowing Mitter/Schlesser to take over in second although Ickx simply ran away with the race. Ickx’ co-driver Redman was happy to simply keep the car on the track and won from Mitter/Schlesser and Herrmann/ Stommelen in their Porsche’s.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1st 33 2 Jacky Ickx/Brian Redman Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 71
4th 34 8 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1004/1084 John Wyer Automotive 67

Watkins Glen was usually run after Le Mans but France was having the famous 1968 riots and delayed the race until late September creating a gap for the teams to attend the mid July race. Porsche fielded four 908s against both Gulf Fords, two Howmet TXs, the Bonnier Lola and a privately entered Alfa T33/2. The Siffert/Elford Porsche 908 took pole with the Ickx/Bianchi GT40 starting 2nd, the Gulf Fords using the 4942cc Gurney-Weslatke Ford V8 engine for the first time while the 908s were running partly new short tail bodywork. Porsche’s started to wilt early on although most continued until the cause du jour became clear, wheel bearing failure putting out their fastest two 908s. Hawkins/Hobbs were left in a slim lead over the Ickx/Bianchi entry although when Bianchi had a flat tyre they chose to pit him and put Ickx back in and with Hawkins suffering oil pressure issues they let Ickx pass and take the win. Elsewhere the two Howmets managed to survive and the Thompson/Heppenstall entry finished 3rd. Just one works Porsche finished, Herrmann/Ikuzawa/Siffert in a distant 6th.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 5 2 Jacky Ickx/Lucien Bianchi Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 286
2 6 7 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 286

The Austrian Sportscar Grand Prix/Zeltweg GP had been a rather poorly contested event for many years, usually held after the championship had been decided although with the honours still up for grabs the main teams took diametrically opposed paths. Porsche entered four 908s while Gulf didn’t enter at all, preferring to prepare for Le Mans and the only competition came from Paul Hawkins own, competitive lightweight GT40, the two VDS Alfa Romeo T33/2s, two Lola’s and a Alpine A220. The 908s locked out the front row, Jo Siffert running solo taking pole from Vic Elford. Bianchi briefly lead on lap 1 in his Alpine but Siffert and Elford were soon past although Elford and Neerpasch had throttle issues which saw them delayed and eventually retire. The Siffert and Herrmann 908s didn’t suffer from the throttle failures and ran Siffert took the win while the Hawkins GT40 ran flawlessly to take 3rd. Ultimately the Alpine’s fine run at the front was stymied when a crash and ensuing oil leak put him out and while Porsche took maximum points, the race was only half distance so only counted for half points.

Le Mans had been altered since 1967 with a new chicane at the beginning of the pit straight to slow cars in this dangerous part of the track, this new corner was funded by Ford and named the Virage Ford on their behalf. 1968 saw the full entry of three Gulf GT40s against four works 908s, six T33/2s, six Alpines, two Howmet TXs and a Matra MS630/650. The Porsche 908s were the quickest cars and they took the first three spots, Jo Siffert sitting on pole in the car he shared with Hans Herrmann while the best Gulf Ford was the #1 car of Rodriguez/Bianchi in 4th, these two sportscar experts replacing Brian Redman and Jacky Ickx who were both recovering from broken bones. Stommelen lead a 908 train at the start and they comfortably circulated in 1-2-3-4 while the Gulf Fords made their usual conservative start and while the leaders got away okay, Mairesse got the red mist and sped away without properly latching the door and he crashed, destroying his private GT40.

A pre race rain squall had left most of the front runners on wet rubber and the drying track let the only slick runner, Jo Siffert take a sizable lead while Brian Muir decided to stay out later that the others and beached the third Gulf GT40 at Mulsanne and became the first retirement despite 3 hours of digging. The Jean Guichet Alpine and Giunti Alfa had managed to complete a great first hour and held 5th and 6th in the early running and the Fords was Rodriguez down in 9th while the two Howmets were already within the walking wounded. Stommelen/Neerpasch 908 lost two laps dealing with a broken engine fan, Buzzetta/Patricks 908 had a botched pitstop and despite recovering well, eventually went out with electrical failure and Mitter/Elfords 908 was delayed with a broken alternator belt, only Siffert/ Herrmanns 908 was running cleanly.

The Bianchi/Depailler Alpine, Servoz-Gavin/Pescarolo Matra and Giunti/Galli Alfa were all running well into the night hours and holding station between the Porsche’s and Ford’s. What had formerly been a Porsche parade dramatically changed at the four hour mark when Sifferts 908 stopped on track with a broken clutch and the Rodriguez/Bianchi Ford which had made the most of Porsche’ reliability issues had moved up to 2nd and now passed the stranded 908 to take the lead while Hawkins/Hobbs found themselves in 2nd. The two Fords spent some hours battling for the lead until the Hawkins/Hobbs car had a broken clutch and engine failure although the remaining Gulf car was running serenely at the front. Buzzetta/Patricks 908 had recovered from their earlier drama’s and were running in 2nd until they too had an alternator belt brake, this was the era of Porsche suffering a different malady at each race which would threaten to put their entire team out and whatever the cause, it only ever happened the once.

With the 2nd Gulf Ford and last clean running 908 out of 2nd place, this left the way for the Servoz-Gavin/Pescarolo Matra to take a good clean 2nd and they held this spot for many hours with the two semi works 907s of Steinemann/Spoerry and Soler-Roig/Lins holding 3rd and 4th. The Stommelen/Neerpasch 908 was finally back among the leaders although several laps behind and they were the only ones truly racing as the others settled into the early morning slog while the challenge from the two 907s came to little when the Steinemann/Spoerry entry made a lengthy pitstop and the Soler-Roig/Lins entry retired with a broken camshaft. The Matra was still running well in 2nd and the quickest Alfa, the Giunti/Galli car was running in an excellent 3rd, with the final fit 908 in 4th although the Matra stopped for a lengthy period to replace its wiper motors, letting the leading Alfa rise up to 2nd. The Steinemmann/Spoerry 907 managed to get running again and much quicker than the rest of the cruising field and despite the Stommelen/Neerpasch 908 stopping to fix a sticking clutch, the 907 took a healthy 3rd place.

Rodriguez/Bianchi continued unchallenged at the front, with a steady 4 lap lead over whoever was lucky to be in 2nd and 3rd and the 20th hour saw yet more drama when the Giunti/Galli Alfa stopped to have a chassis member re-welded, the Matra also pitted with a blown tyre and soon retired when another tyre let go and caused damage to the electrics. The last man standing was the Steinemann/Spoerry 907 who managed to hold 2nd until the end with the Stommelen/Neerpasch recovering to 3rd and the three remaining Alfa’s in 4-5-6 although noone could touch the Gulf Ford with Rodriguez/Bianchi running out the winners. Porsche had invested heavily in winning Le Mans and despite their extraordinary advantages over what was little more than a small English garagiste running a now almost six year old car. Further only the best five results counted so while Porsche accrued far more points over the entire season, Fords extra wins saw Gulf add the championship to their tally, sending Porsche back to Stuttgart with much to ponder after their enormous investment had gained them little.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 9 4 Pedro Rodriguez/Lucien Bianchi Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 331
DNF 10 6 Paul Hawkins/David Hobbs Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 107 Engine
DNF 11 9 Brian Muir/Jackie Oliver Ford GT40 #1076 John Wyer Automotive 15 Accident


1969s endurance season began with the expectation that it would be a continuation of the Gulf GT40 versus Porsche battles although Gulf like all the major entrants had spent most of 1968 trying to develop a new Group 6 challenger. JWA themselves had been trialing the M2 and while it was super quick it needed the Ford Cosworth V8 to truly unlock its potential and the cooling was never quite adequate. Into 1969 they finally got the Cosworth engine supply they needed and the much improved new Mirage M2 was launched in 1969 and became their main race car for 1969 with the GT40s only entered at Daytona, Sebring, Brands and Le Mans. The M2 was still too heavy and the team launched the M3 Spider mid season and it was finally successful later in the year although other developments had changed the path for Gulf racing and saw it return to the front of the grid.

Matra continued to develop the M530 although they only competed sporadically and concentrated more on their Grand Prix cars. Alfa Romeo developed their Group 6 Tipo 33 into the Tipo 33/3 with a more conventional chassis and 2 litre engine although they were still some way from success. Finally the Allan Mann run, Len Bailey designed Group 6 Ford F3L in 68 and P69 form also occasionally fleshed out the fields although it would never be competitive. Ferrari returned to the Sportscar championships with their new race car, the 312P, which basically combined their classic 3 litre V12 and the very light but relatively agricultural 612 chassis. Ferrari was going through one of their more turbulent periods and with a lack of finances and feet on the ground could only enter 1 312P at most rounds and while launched as a Spider, by Le Mans it was converted to Coupe form for better aerodynamics and extra speed. Most of the season saw Mario Andretti and Chris Amon driving although Pedro Rodriguez and Peter Schetty also drove occasionally.

Porsche continued to run their 908, which was now reliable, in both short short tail 908K and long tail 908L variants. Porsche went a step further and developed the 908 into a Spyder variant, the 908/02 which were 60kg lighter than the more aerodynamic Coupe and generally kept for the tracks where speed was less important than nimble handling and acceleration, especially the Targa Florio and Nurburgring. The assumption was that with only the elderly Gulf GT40 competing and then only sporadically, the season would be all about the six works Group 6 race cars and the Group 4 series would become pretty much irrelevant. Little did anyone know that by the time Monza rolled around, Porsche would have launched the 917 at the Salon de Geneve and stunned the racing world, launching a whole new style of Group 4 car, one that promised to make the Group 6 cars look rather insipid.

Daytona was held so early in the year that no new cars were present, the race a battle between five Porsche 908s, two Gulf GT40s and a single Matra M630, having a rare outing outside France. The only competition was from a few American domiciled Lola’s, especially the Penske entry of Mark Donohue/Chuck Parsons and while the Elford/Redman 908 sat on pole, Donohue managed to start 2nd in the Lola. The top 9 cars were the class of the field and faced little opposition with the five 908s easily leading from the front and the two quickest Lola’s slipping into 6th and 7th. An entirely new mechanical issue befell the 908s, cracked exhaust manifolds and lengthy pitstops ensued although the Attwood/Buzzetta 908 was mercifully unaffected and continued to lead at will. The two Gulf GT40s managed to get up to 2nd and 3rd while the Lolas continued behind and the Schutz/Mitter managed to recover the ground that was lost and began to battle the Hawkins/Hobbs GT40.

Donohue/Parsons were delayed for an hour with a broken exhaust when Mitter pitted to have his 908s exhaust fixed and he was replaced by Attwood. Soon after the 908s started to suffer from another malady, broken camshafts and the much delayed Elford/Redman and Stommelen/Ahrens both went out with that issue. Hobbs/Hailwood had moved into the lead while Mitter/Attwood battled the Ickx/Oliver GT40 for 2nd while Siffert/Herrmann retired with a broken camshaft and the Hobbs/Hailwood car retired with engine failure. This left just one GT40 to battle the last 908 although this didn’t last long since Ickx managed to crash the GT40 when a suspension member broke although Donohue had managed to get the Lola up to 2nd, mainly due to being one of the few cars still circulating. The last 908 finally stopped on lap 483 with a broken camshaft leaving the Donohue/Parsons Lola as the last of the frontrunners circulating. They eventually passed the 908 for laps covered and went on to take the win from another Lola T70, 30 laps back and a Pontiac Firebird finished 3rd.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
NRF 1 8 Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver Ford GT40 #1076 John Wyer Automotive 470 Accident
DNF 2 9 David Hobbs/Mike Hailwood Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 401 Engine

Sebring was next and 1969 would be the final time they would start the race using the Le Mans start rather than a rolling start, as is common in the USA. Ferrari made their debut with Amon/Andretti in the first 312P, facing two Gulf GT40s, a team of six 908/02 Spiders, three quick Lolas and three Alfa Romeo T33-3s. Andretti put the new Ferrari on pole, Donohue put the Penske Lola on the front row and otherwise the Porsche were quick and apparently the camshaft issue had been solved with a new firing order. Siffert made the most of his run to lead at the first corner with Donohue close behind and Herrmann taking up in 3rd. All three Alfa’s were among the walking wounded soon after the start while the two quickest Lola’s were also out or delayed with various maladies. Amon/Andretti managed to take the lead while Ickx/Oliver were making a charge through the leading pack after starting 12th. Ickx/Oliver had a stuck throttle which required a pit stop for repairs before the almost inevitable Porsche collapse, this time because of cracked chassis with Herrmann/Ahrens and Siffert/Redman the first 908s to retire.

Hobbs/Hailwood also retired when their GT40 lost full use of its steering and this left the Mitter/Schutz 908/02 in the lead from Amon/Andretti 312P with another two 908/02s and the recovering Ickx/Oliver GT40 chasing. The 312P had been having a magnificent run until it ingested some bodywork from a car that crashed in front of it and that caused it to overheat and while the car continued after a lengthy pitstop it wasn’t quite the force it had been. The rest of the 908/02 fleet pitted for lengthy chassis repairs allowing the 312P to retake the lead although it was using water at a rapid pace and requiring many pitstops which allowed the Ickx/Oliver GT40 back into the lead. The Gulf GT40 took the win from the new 312P which had a fine debut the Stommelen/Buzzetta/Ahrens 908/02. Mixed fortunes for all the teams and much to contemplate before the next round at Brands.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 22 12 Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 239
DNF 23 13 David Hobbs/Mike Hailwood Ford GT40 #1076 John Wyer Automotive 99 Suspension

Brands saw John Wyer take a cautious approach, entering one GT40 and two Mirage M2s to face Porsche who entered four of their repaired 908/02s, a single Ferrari 312P, two VDS Alfa T33/2s and two Alan Mann entered Ford F3Ls. The Siffert/Redman 908 took pole from the 312P of Amon/Rodriguez and these two duked out the early laps until the 312P got a flat tyre and pitted allowing the 908s to take a 1-2-3 although Siffert pulled out a 2 lap lead to his teammates. Elford/Attwood managed to climb back onto the lead lap although team management had ordered team discipline to stop any silly business. The Ferrari had managed to regain fourth place and went into cruise mode while the Mirages and Ford F3Ls were never a force, all among the walking wounded and the Alfa’s were well off the pace. Other than a brief period in which the Ferrari managed to gain 3rd there wasn’t much to excite in the race and they soon dropped back to 4th when Mitter/Schutz retook their rightful place. The race ran out with Siffert/Redman leading a 908 1-2-3, finally showing what the 908 could do and despite John Wyers best efforts the Mirage were nowhere near reliable nor quick while the GT40 at least managed to finish albeit a very distant 5th.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
5 10 14 David Hobbs/Mike Hailwood Ford GT40 #1074 John Wyer Automotive 207

Porsche had hoped to have the new 917 ready for racing at Monza but still had a fleet of five 908s in long tail 908L form, five private Alfa T33/2s, three Alpine A220s, a Matra MS630/650 and two Ferrari 312Ps. John Wyer withdrew his two Mirage M2s, knowing they would be uncompetitive after Brands Hatch. Andretti set pole in his 312P, Siffert started 2nd in his 908 and Rodriguez 3rd in the second 312P, these three forming the lead group. The pace was too much for some and Andretti had to pit early after a tyre blew while Siffert slowed down and allowed the Ferrari to break themselves. Schetty and Redman took over the leading 312P and 908 and Schetty proved the faster of the two, pulling away at will. Schetty also had a tyre go down and this allowed Redman to take over the lead while Amon didn’t even make one lap when he replaced Andretti after the engine expired.

Schetty returned to the race in 2nd place behind the Redman 908/02 although Shetty was delayed when he had a tyre blow as well and this caused another early pisttop during which Rodriguez was put back in the car. As he so often did, Rodriguez was super quick and soon made back up the places lost although he crashed mildly when baulked by a slower driver and required a stop to repair and refasten the bodywork. Rodriguez resumed his fight to claw back spots although this ended spectacularly when the loose bodywork decided to part company with the car and he absolutely destroyed the uncontrollable 312P. Herrmann/Ahrens and Elford/Attwood in their 908s moved up to 2nd and 3rd and they ran home behind the carefully driven car of Siffert/Redman. Porsche had now won two in a row while Ferrari had a debacle in front of their home crowd.

The Targa Florio was up next and Porsche arrived with seven 908/02s, six of which started the race. Against them were four Alfa Romeo T33/2s and otherwise just some older Italian cars. As usual Vaccarella started 1st although it was Elford who lead the first time around thanks to a relatively clear track although he soon stopped for a replacement alternator belt which cost him 20 minutes. Mitter/Schutz took over the lead from Galli in the leading Alfa T33/2 and Elford making another of his fine fightbacks managed to get back Galli into 2nd. Most of the Alfa’s went out with minor issues during the early running and this left the four 908s in 1-2-3-4. Vaccarella/de Adamich was running in 5th and the leading non Porsche but their engine was on the verge of destruction and posed no real danger. Such was the Porsche domination at the front that Elford was allowed to have a crack at the win but fell short and Mitter/Schutz won, Elford/Maglioli settled for second and Stommelen/Herrmann 3rd in a 908 1-2-3-4 finish.

Spa was next up and by this time the 917 had been homologated and was ready to make its debut although most of the drivers refused to do any more than cursory practice laps. Mitter/Schutz were convinced to drive one of the 917 although every other driver found themselves quicker in the 908s and the second 917 was scratched. The rest of the Porsche team consisted of three 908L Coupes and they battled a 312P for Rodriguez/Piper, the quick Lola T70s of Bonnier/Mueller and Hawkins/Prophet, the VDS Alfa T33/2, three Alpine A220s and the two Mirage M2s. Siffert actually managed to take pole in the 917 but he refused to start in it so Hawkins was awarded the position while Jacky Ickx managed to drag the M2 around to start 2nd on the grid. Mitters Porsche 917 didn’t even complete the first lap and pitted with “engine issues”.

Hawkins held the lead from Sifferts 908 and Rodriguez’ 312P until lap three when Siffert and Rodriguez went past. Rodriguez managed to survive a close call with a backmarker while Ickx was pacy in 4th although a broken fuel pump put the Mirage out. Rodriguez worked his way back up to 2nd in the 312P although he wasn’t on the same pace as the leading 908. Hawkins ran well in the Lola although right at the end his engine gave up the ghost and he dropped back to 8th. Elford had been a little way off in 3rd but gaining on the leading 312P and received a tow from Siffert although it was to know avail with laps running out and the race ended with Siffert/Redman winning from Rodriguez/Piper and Elford/Ahrens. Porsche would have returned to Stuttgart knowing the 917 was fast but still needed a lot of work.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
DNF 30 8 Gerhard Mitter/Udo Schultz Porsche 917LH #917-005 Porsche 1 Engine
DNS 31 N/A Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917LH #917-003 Porsche N/A Drivers

The next round at the Nurburgring saw Porsche enter seven 908/02s and a single 917L although two of the 908s were crashed in practice and once more every team driver refuse to draw the short straw so Porsche bought in Frank Gardner and David Piper to drive the beast. Ferrari entered the one operational 312P for Amon/Rodriguez, Mirage the two M2s, incl. the new Cosworth powered car for Ickx/Oliver although other than the 312P, it was a Porsche top 7 at the start. 1969 was the year for new beginnings and the Nurburgring had their first rolling start where Amon and Siffert weren’t sure if the race had actually started or been flagged away so Mitter got away in the lead and while Siffert quickly recovered and retook the lead, Amon was not so lucky and fell into the 908 pack. Amon soon started to fight back as rain fell over part of the circuit and was soon back to second and chasing after Siffert.

Gardner struggled to keep the 917 on the blacktop and he struggled away down in 14th although retirements let them climb to 8th at the finish. The Mirages were actually running well, both running in the top 10 although they both retired with various issues at the 1/3rd mark. Amon was suffering from an ailing clutch and dropped back allowing the Porsche train to right itself although the battle soon resumed when Rodriguez clawed his way back to 2nd and began to battle Redman for the lead and this battle continued until Amon returned to the drivers seat. The final Ferrari pitstop had been lengthy and Amon needed to fight back which he did superbly until the 28th lap when an unusual severe vibration caused a wiring harness to come loose and stranded Amon out on the circuit. Six were still running and inherited the top 6 places although Mitter/Schutz later retired and after the intra Porsche battle settled, Siffert/Redman lead the remaining cars home in 1-2-3-4-5 which secured Porsche first Manufacturers championship.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
8 61 10 Frank Gardner/David Piper Porsche 917K #917-004/017 Porsche 40

Porsche arrived for Le Mans with teams of three 908Ls and 917Ls along with the first customer 917 of John Woolfe that was entered for Woolfe/Linge/Ahrens/ Maitland and while Digby Maitland withdrew, feeling the car was well beyond his abilities, Woolfe continued with his racing plans. Gulf Racing entered two of the GT40s, Matra entered four of their MS630/650s, Alpine eight of their works and semi works cars, Ferrari their two 312Ps in Coupe form while Alan Mann returned to racing an elderly GT40. The Stommelen/Ahrens 917 sat on pole with Elford/Attwood starting 2nd, with the Ferrari 312Ps starting 5th and 7th in what was otherwise a Porsche whitewash and it seemed little could stop the Stuttgart team dominating the race. Two different perspectives to the start showed the brutality and banality of the sport with Ickx casually walking to his car and carefully belting up, content to sit out the early Grand Prix while John Woolfe who had been advised not to start sped away in his new toy and put two wheels off at Maison Blanche, spinning and flipping the big Porsche which promptly caught on fire and despite quick work from the marshals the poor Brit died a few days later.

Chris Amon had been close behind the Woolfe 917 and he couldn’t do much as he ran over the fuel tank from the wreckage and his 312P caught fire, quick thinking saw the Kiwi bail out and escape injury although the 312P was out of the race. Stommelen and Elford lead in their 917s while four 908s and Jo Bonniers Lola trailled behind although the 917 was quite the thirstiest car in the field and would need to pit more often than others. Stommelens lead evaporated after the first stops with various issues delaying and then seeing the #14 917L retire while the Servoz-Gavin/Muller Matra was also delayed with a suspension collapse. The second 312P also dropped out of the lead group with a faulty gearbox while Herrmann/Larrousse lost 30 minutes when they stopped to replace a wheel bearing. While Muller retired one of the Matra when it lost a wheel the others were going well especially Courage/Beltoise who was in 4th. Schutz ignored Porsche team orders during the mid race phase and went after the leading 917, his quest ending when he clipped the Larrousse 908 and rolled his own car.

All of this drama simply moved the Lins/Kauhsen 908 up to 2nd behind the leading Elford/Attwood 917L although Porsche must have been concerned that there were now few reliable Porsche running and that the Ickx/Oliver GT40 was now up to a comfortable 3rd while the two remaining Matra’s of Courage/Beltoise and Guichet/Vaccarella were up to 5th and 6th. The 917 seemed to run sweetly until well after the 20 hour mark when the first cracks became clear and after a lengthy pitstop, Elford did continue although much slower than before and knew that with the gearbox, electrics and other issues his 917 would be lucky to reach the end. When the 917 retired on lap 327, just 10 laps after the Lins/Kauhsen 908, it left the Ickx/Oliver GT40 in the lead with the Herrmann/ Larrousse 908 in close pursuit. Ickx and Herrmann were able to battle out the last hour and duel they most definitely did, Herrmann always ahead at the beginning of the Mulsanne, Ickx always repassing at the end of the Mulsanne both doing an excellent job of wringing the last 1% out of their cars.

Ickx/Oliver ran out the winner in their GT40, making it just one of four cars to ever win Le Mans twice while the Herrmann/Larrousse 908 finished just 100 metres behind in 2nd, Hobbs/Hailwood took a fine 3rd in their GT40 while two Matra’s finished 4th and 5th. Porsche had come so close yet returned despondently to development of the 917 which so nearly won first time out at Le Mans.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 6 13 Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver Ford GT40 #1075 John Wyer Automotive 372
3 7 14 David Hobbs/Mike Hailwood Ford GT40 #1076 John Wyer Automotive 368
DNF 14 1 Rolf Stommelen/Kurt Ahrens Porsche 917LH #917-007 Porsche 148 Engine
DNF 10 9 John Woolfe/Herbert Linge Porsche 917LH #917-005 John Woolfe 1 Fatal Accident
DNS 15T Herbert Linge/Brian Redman/Rudi Lins Porsche 917LH #917-006 Porsche

Watkins Glen was held a month later and the Porsche and Matra teams both made the trip with Porsche entering three 908/02s under the Porsche of Austria and A.G. Dean names, Matra entered two MS630/650s while even John Wyer entered a Mirage M3 Spider. Qualifying showed the 908s and Matras were closely matched, Siffert/Redman taking pole in their 908 from Servoz-Gavin/Pescarolo in the Matra MS650. A damp start saw the Porsche’s on intermediates and the Matra’s on slicks although rain began to fall and every non Porsche pitted for wets. The Mirage had to have radical suspension surgery pre race and spent most of the actual race in and out of the pits trying to cure evil handling while Servoz-Gavin/Rodriguez had a fuel pump failure in their Matra and a 30 minute pit stop. Despite this the Matra was the only car to present a challenge to the Porsche’s and eventually took 4th although nothing could match the 908s with Siffert/Redman leading home a 1-2-3.

The Austrian 1000km was the final round of the championship and something of a dead rubber in 1969 although much colour was provided by the entry of two 917s. The first was a semi works car that was entered by Karl von Wendt for Jo Siffert/Kurt Ahrens and the second customer car of David Piper for Richard Attwood/ Brian Attwood. Elsewhere there was six 908/02s for a mix including the semi works team Porsche Salzburg and several privateers, six Alfa T33s and single car entries for Matra and Mirage and even a very quick Scuderia Filipinetti Lola T70. Jacky Ickx was very quick in qualifying and took pole from Bonnier in the Lola, the Matra started 3rd and the works 917 in 4th. Bonnier took the lead at the start with Siffert and Ickx dropping into 2nd and 3rd although Siffert soon got past while Attwood, Servoz-Gavin and Giunti formed another group close behind. Ickx and Siffert turned up the wick and dropped Bonnier, the Mirage finally showing some pace while Gregory passed Bonnier for 3rd after a slow start.

Ickx managed to pass Siffert on lap 24 and actually forced a relatively solid lead over the 917 while Bonnier climbed back to 3rd. Ickx retained his lead after the first set of stops while Matra had a great stop and Rodriguez came out in a solid 2nd while Ahrens couldn’t get the 917 restarted and it dropped back to 7th. The delay spurred Ahrens to make a run to the front while the other cars were settling in to a comfortable lead group and he was soon past the Lola into 3rd and later into 2nd although the next pitstop saw the 917 refuse to start once more. Ickx had a steady lead over the Matra when he suddenly pitted with a loose steering column and Servoz-Gavin crashed the Matra when he accidentally turned off the car instead of changing gear and this left the recovering Siffert/Ahrens in a lead they wouldn’t lose. Behind them the Bonnier/Mueller Lola finished 2nd and the Attwood/Redman 917 which recovered to finish 3rd. The season ended with the 917 success Porsche had hoped for although they new more work was needed while Gulf had finally shown the pace the M3 was capable of.


Ferrari launched their new 512S in late 1969 to try and compete with Porsche although they really hadn’t learnt the lessons Porsche had spent most of the year learning. The 512S was based on the same chassis that had been in use since the P2 in 1965 and the 612 CanAm engine and required a lot of mid season development. Further Porsche had showed the way by moving the majority of the cost and time to prepare and race these Group 5s whereas Ferrari resolutely continued to race them themselves, preferring to have all the glory and although they still supported NART, Filipinetti and Francorchamps their attention was partially taken by the F1 team. The 580bhp 512S was initially a rather aerodynamic Coupe but was pretty soon converted to a Spider and later still available in short and long tail versions.

Matra had shown plenty of speed in 1969 and they launched the new Group 6 M660 which featured a full monococque while Alpine withdrew with little success for Renaults immense investment in 1969. Alfa Romeo continued to develop their Tipo 33 series and proceeded to race the latest T33/3s, Chinetti purchased the remaining 312Ps and raced them through 1970 although the 512S made them instantly outdated. Porsche didn’t ignore Group 6 and decided to produce the ultimate 908 with the short chassis 908/03 which was ideal for the twisty circuits such as the Targa Florio and Nurburgring. Porsche had won the 1969 Austrian 1000km in early August but since then had contracted Gulf to run its surrogate works team which had allowed them to somewhat offset its expenses. This had also brought on John Wyers race management nous and perhaps the best driver lineup they could wish for.

Wyers first task was to redevelop the 917s aero package which was successfully achieved in late 1969, with the 917K which improved the car in every area. Porsche weren’t simply content to let the 917K run, developing the new 917L with Charles Deutsch’ input and the 917PA Spider for Interserie and Can Am competition. Elsewhere they also established the semi works Porsche Salzburg team and between them and Gulf they had their race teams covered.

Daytona saw five 917K entered by Gulf who had three cars including a spare, David Piper and Porsche Salzburg, three 908/02s were also present. Ferrari entered three works 512S, NART entered two 312Ps and a 512S, while Scuderia Piccolo Rosso also had a 512S, finally Matra entered three of their MS650s including a spare. Qualifying was held in the wet and the times were not representative of the actual speed, Andretti sitting on pole in his 512S and Sifferts 917K in 2nd. The two Gulf 917s instantly took the lead at the start with Andretti settling into 3rd and the Porsche Salzburg 917 fitting into 4th although the 512S was the thirstiest of entries and pitted after just 45 minutes. The problems started to befall everyone during the 2nd stint with Redman pitting with a cut brake line, the Beltoise Matra had a broken distributor motor and Ickx/Schetty clouted the wall among the many cars to be delayed or retired.

Rodriguez/Kinnunen were the only car to still be running trouble free and they built a substantial lead over the rest of the field. Further decimation during the night included the Brabham/Cevert Matra with a distributor failure, the Porsche Salzburg 917 with a broken fuel tank, the Andretti/Ickx 512S with brake failure, Posey/Parkes 312P with a faulty radiator while a collision between the Gurney/Parsons NART 512S and the Scuderia Piccolo Rosso 512S of Manfredini/Moretti severely delayed both. Siffert/Redman was severely delayed by a tyre blowing although he continued in a distant 2nd while Andretti/Ickx recovered to 3rd and eventually passed the Gulf Porsche when it stopped with a damaged clutch. Despite the 80 minute job, Redman managed to return to the race in 4th place,  with the Parkes/Posey 312P sitting in a comfortable 4th although they managed to have a minor off that required a lengthy pitstop to reattach bodywork.

Ickx/Andretti were safe in 2nd until a chassis member collapsed and the Ferrari crew needed to perform their own heroic repair both Siffert and Redman taking the opportunity to do some very quick laps in pursuit. Despite some close calls, the Siffert/Redman Porsche managed to overhaul the Ferrari and take 2nd although no-one could touch the leading 917K which had no less than a 45 lap gap at the end of the race. The Ferrari had done well and been pacy but noone could match the Porsche 917K.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 2 3 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-015/035 JWA/Gulf 724
2 1 2 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-014/029 JWA/Gulf 679
3 28 1 Mario Andretti/Arturo Merzario/Jacky Ickx Ferrari 512S #1026 SEFAC 676
DNF 25 6 Dan Gurney/Chuck Parsons Ferrari 512S #1014 NART 464 Gearbox
DNF 30 33 Corrado Manfredini/Gianpiero Moretti Ferrari 512S #1032 Scuderia Picchio Rosso 412 Accident damage
DNF 3 4 Kurt Ahrens, Jr./Vic Elford Porsche 917K #917-011 Porsche Salzburg 337 Fuel tank
DNF 27 5 Jacky Ickx/Peter Schetty Ferrari 512S #1004 SEFAC 115 Accident
DNF 26 8 Nino Vaccarella/Ignazio Giunti Ferrari 512S #1022 SEFAC 89 Accident
DNS T Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen/Jo Siffert Porsche 917K #917-013/034 JWA/Gulf T-car
DNS 52 15 Tony Dean/Peter Gregg Porsche 917K #917-010 David Piper Engine

Sebring rolled around 7 weeks after Daytona and four entries from both Maranello and Stuttgart. Ferrari entered three works 512S supported by a single 512S from NART who also entered their two 1969 312P while both the Porsche works teams (Gulf and Porsche Salzburg/Porsche-America) had two 917Ks. Further back in the field, Porsche 908/02s were entered by Martini Racing (two cars), Team AAW and Solar productions (for actor Steve McQueen), two Matra MS650 and three Alfa T33/3 were also present. Practice saw the Andretti driven 512S on pole, fully a second faster than Siffert/Redman in their Gulf 917K and they lined up for the first rolling start in Sebring history. Andretti/Merzario and Siffert/Redman continued to lead until the first stops when Redman stopped with electrical trouble and while they continued, they were no longer a factor and their misfortune allowed the Elford/Ahrens 917K to move up into 2nd.

Rodriguez brought the leading 917K into the pits with a puncture and while they continued, they were now 4 laps behind the Andretti/Merzario 917K. Both the Herrmann/Lins and Elford/Ahrens 917ks went out before the 3rd hour after an accident and engine failure and their retirements saw the three 512S running in the first three positions. Ickx/Schetty went out with a blown head gasket mid race and the Giunti/Vaccarella car was in the pits being repaired. Although these delays were hurting the Ferrari effort, the two remaining 917s of the Gulf team were also delayed, the now Rodriguez/Siffert/Kinnunen car had crashed and retired while the #14 Redman/Kinnunen car had a front hub fail which cost many laps. The Andretti/Merzario 512S continued in the lead until they pitted with a faulty gearbox late in the race. Rodriguez/Siffert in the #15 917K was making ground while the Andretti/Merzario 512S was in the pits and when it retired, the Steve McQueen Solar Productions 908/02 found itself in 2nd behind the #15 917K.

An hour from the end the #15 Porsche 917K of Rodriguez/Siffert and the #21 Ferrari 512S of Giunti/Vaccarella were the last of the eight Group 4 cars still running with the #21 512S back in fourth. Ferrari team manager Mauro Foghieri called in Giunti and replaced him with Andretti who went on a charge, unlapping the 512S and when Siffert pitted with hub failure the win was the Ferrari’s. Behind the Ferrari the McQueen/Revson 908/02 finished 2nd, the Hezemans/Gregory T33/3 finished 3rd and the Rodriguez/Siffert/Kinnunen 917 came home in 4th. Ferrari were invigorated by their fine win and hoped this was a sign of what was to come while Porsche had work to do.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 21 7 Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella/Mario Andretti Ferrari 512S #1026 SEFAC 248
4 15 5 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen/Jo Siffert Porsche 917K #917-013 JWA/Gulf 244
NRF 19 1 Mario Andretti/Arturo Merzario Ferrari 512S Spyder 1010 SEFAC 227 Gearbox
NRF 14 2 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-009 JWA/Gulf 211 Accident damage
DNF 20 4 Jacky Ickx/Peter Schetty Ferrari 512S Spyder #1012 SEFAC 151 Head gasket
DNF 24 6 Sam Posey/Ronnie Bucknum Ferrari 512S Spyder #1006 NART 92 Fuel pump
DNF 16 3 Vic Elford/Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Porsche 917K #917-019 Porsche Audi 61 Accident
DNF 17 11 Hans Herrmann/Rudi Lins Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche Audi 28 Engine
DNS T Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-015 John Wyer Automotive

Brands Hatch was up next, six 917s were present, John Wyer entering three cars, Porsche Salzburg their two 917s and David Piper his privately owned car. Four Ferrari 512S were present, the works team fielding two cars, GELO and Filipinetti one each. Elsewhere there were four 908/02s including two for Martini racing, two Matra MS650s and a single Alfa Romeo T33/3. Amon and Ickx managed to lock out the front row in their works Ferrari while Elfords 917k and the Brabham/Beltoise Matra qualified 4th although many of the top drivers had been absent to attend the Le Mans Test Weekend. Race start was wet as typical for this track and Elford managed to get the jump on Ickx with the rest of the field picking their way through the murk. All hell broke loose when a backmarker spun and Ickx, Elford and Amon slowed for the waved yellows although Rodriguez did not and was Black flagged, when he finally stopped the Clerk of the course read him the riot act and lit a fire in the Mexican driver.

Ickx had passed Elford as they started to lap drivers and the Ferrari’s wipers weren’t up to the task so he had to pit for adjustments while Siffert also had to pit when his with a blown tyre. This left Elford in the lead from Amon and a very fast closing Rodriguez and they soon began to battle for the lead of the race, a battle that Rodriguez eventually won although Siffert recovered well to take up 3rd while Brabhams Matra was a fine 4th. The first pitstops were all Porsche who swiftly had the cars going, even Matra did well but Ferrari were awful and their two 512S returned to the battle well down the order. Beltoise soon developed electrical issues in the rain and dropped back allowing Merzario in the 512S to move up a spot although it was still a 917 1-2-3 at the front. Herrmann in the Porsche Salzburg 917 and van Lennep in the AAW 908/02 moved up to fight Merzario for fourth while the two Matra’s dropped back.

Siffert/Redman had a lengthy battle with Amon/Merzario which ended when the 2nd Gulf Porsche was assisted off the track and retired. At the front Rodriguez had done so well in his first lengthy stint and even Kinnunen had been able to hold steady so that they now held a 5 lap lead over Elford/Hulme who were two laps ahead of Attwood/Herrmann in 3rd. Behind them the van Lennep/Laine 908/02 managed to get the better of the Amon/Merzario Ferrari and took 4th. A great win for Gulf while the Porsche Salzburg cars proved more than capable.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 10 7 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-016 JWA/Gulf 235
2 11 3 Vic Elford/Denny Hulme Porsche 917K #917-023 Porsche Salzburg 230
3 12 9 Richard Attwood/Hans Herrmann Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche Salzburg 227
5 2 1 Chris Amon/Arturo Merzario Ferrari 512S #1012 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 225
8 1 2 Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver Ferrari 512S #1010 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 213
13 3 14 Herbert Müller/Mike Parkes Ferrari 512S #1016 Scuderia Filipinetti 197
NRF 9 5 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-004 JWA/Gulf 176 Accident
DNS 4 19 Georg Loos/Jonathan Williams Ferrari 512S #1018 Gelo Racing Team Tyres
DNS 14 31 David Piper/David Hobbs Porsche 917K #917-010 David Piper Camshaft
DNS T Leo Kinnunen/David Hobbs Porsche 917K #917-015/035 JWA/Gulf

Monza saw the biggest Group 5 entry yet with seven 917s and six 512S competing, the Porsche were Gulf (2 cars), Porsche Salzburg (2 cars), Gesipa, AAW and David Piper while the 512S were Ferrari (three cars incl a new spider), Scuderia Filipinetti, Scuderia Piccolo Rosso and Gelo. Group 6 entries included two Matra M650, three Alfa Romeo T33/3 and two Martini 908/02s. Practice showed the Siffert/Redman 917 was the quickest with the Amon/Merzario 512S the second quickest. Giunti lead from the start much to the partisan crowds delight, Rodriguez and Siffert slipping into 2nd and 3rd. Rodriguez lined up the Ferrari and took over in the lead, while the rest of the 917s and 512s trailed behind until Siffert collided with a 908 that he was lapping and had to pit for 20 minutes. The pitstops showed the difference between the leading teams, all three works Ferrari stopping on the same lap causing massive delays for the third of them, while the Gulf Porsche were quickly serviced and on their way.

Such was the immense pace of the slipstreaming leaders, Elford set a lap time quicker than Sifferts pole time. Ahrens took over from Elford in the lead with Kinnunen (who had replaced Rodriguez) and Giunti close behind which lasted until a tyre blew on the Ahrens/Elford car and he stopped with a lack of bodywork among other damage. Giunti managed to get past Kinnunen after many laps of trying but the Ferrari pit crew botched his next stop and when Gulf returned Rodriguez to the field he quickly pulled out a 16 second lead. While Rodriguez was in the lead, the three works Ferrari were in 2-3-4 although things wouldn’t go quite that smoothly with team manager Gozzi pitting the 2nd and 4th placed Ferrari, replacing Amon with Merzario and Giunti with Amon. This backfired when the 2nd placed Ferrari briefly caught fire and cost the team a lap. The three Ferrari continued their pace and the Giunti/Vaccarella/Amon car got back on the lead lap but the gap was simply too great. Monza ’69 was a great win for the Rodriguez/Kinnunen Porsche but it was also a very good result for Ferrari, their cars finishing 2-3-4 and briefly the fastest road race ever held.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 7 5 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-016 JWA/Gulf 174
2 3 4 Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella/Chris Amon Ferrari 512S Spyder #1042 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 174
3 2 6 John Surtees/Peter Schetty Ferrari 512S #1004 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 171
4 1 2 Chris Amon/Arturo Merzario Ferrari 512S #1026 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 171
8 4 14 Mike Parkes/Herbert Müller Ferrari 512S #1016 Scuderia Filipinetti 163
9 5 15 Corrado Manfredini/Gianpiero Moretti Ferrari 512S #1022 Scuderia Picchio Rosso 163
10 14 7 Jürgen Neuhaus/Helmut Kelleners Porsche 917K #917-007 Gesipa Racing Team 162
11 12 9 Hans Laine/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-021/012 Racing Team AAW 162
12 8 1 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-009 JWA/Gulf 158
DNF 10 3 Vic Elford/Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Porsche 917K #917-023 Porsche Salzburg 92 Accident
DNF 9 8 Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche Salzburg 63 Engine
DNF 11 17 Tony Adamowicz/David Piper Porsche 917K #917-010 David Piper 55 Gearbox
DNQ 6 Georg Loos/Franz Pesch Ferrari 512S #1018 Gelo Racing Team

Porsche were aware that the Targa Florio wasn’t a track where the big Group 5 would ever excel and developed the 908/03 to cover any lack of a challenger with a five car entry of 908/03s (three for Gulf and two for Porsche Salzburg). These were supported by the unique 909 and even a 917K for Porsche Salzburg, both only used in testing and practice although Martini and AAW had a 908/02 each in the race. Ferrari didn’t have the luxury of a spec. built car and two 512S were entered, one each by SEFAC for Vaccarella/Giunti and Scuderia Filipinetti for Muller/Parkes while a four car team of T33/3s came from Alfa Romeo and even Abarth had two special SP3000 running in Group 6. Siffert showed himself to be the quickest of the 908 drivers in practice, 30 seconds quicker than Attwood while Kinnunen surprised by being faster than Rodriguez and even the Ferrari 512S was setting competitive lap times.

Race day dawned dry but overnight rain had saturated the circuit and made life difficult for everyone especially Elford and Maglioli (Alfa Romeo T33/3) both of whom crashed on lap 1. The leader at the end of that first lap was Larrousse in a private 908/02 who was more cautious than anyone else but had no issues although Siffert and Kinnunen were close behind and finding their rhythm. Kinnunen was having the race of his life and assisted by Porsche pitting Siffert early while Vaccarella/Giunti in the works Ferrari were also on a tear and up to 3rd. Vaccarella’s second stint coincided with Lins in the AAW 908/02 and the Ferrari was up to 3rd although by this time Siffert had recovered from early dramas and recovered 2nd place. Rodriguez eventually replaced Kinnunen as required but he was much slower than his Finish semi amateur teammate and Vaccarella’s Ferrari was past, with Redman (in for Siffert) close behind. Fortunately for Porsche, Ferrari’s pitwork was abysmal at the Targa Florio and Siffert was able to stop and get going again well ahead, even Kinnunen/Rodriguez getting ahead thanks to the 512S causing the drivers to get extremely painful blisters which hampered their ability to compete. Siffert/Redman won from KInnunen/Rodriguez in their 908/03s and the Vaccarella/Giunti Ferrari 512S, Ferrari almost beating Porsche at a track that they had made their own would have been a miracle and the win must have been relieving indeed.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
3 6 34m46.0 Nino Vaccarella/Ignazio Giunti Ferrari 512S #1012 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 11
6 4 37m38.5 Herbert Müller/Mike Parkes Ferrari 512S #1016 Scuderia Filipinetti 10
DNS 2T 35m06.6 Hans Herrmann/Vic Elford Porsche 917K #917-011 Porsche Salzburg

Spa was much more suited to the big Group 5s and eleven examples were present, three Gulf, two Porsche Salzburg and single entries from Gesipa and Team AAW, all running 917s while Ferrari runners were three works, and Ecurie Francorchamps a single, 512S. Group 6 entries were limited to just two 908/02s from Martini and that was it, practice saw Rodriguez set pole with Siffert/Redman starting 2nd and Ickx 3rd. The start of the race quickly descended into a three way battle between Siffert, Rodriguez and Ickx, while Ickx quickly settled for third, lacking the speed of the 917s, the pace was even more frantic than Monza and laps kept seeing records set. The first set of stops saw Ickx manage to get ahead of Siffert although Rodriguez retained the lead which lasted until he had a tyre explode and required an unscheduled to fit another one although Rodriguez showed his class and a series of fastest laps returned him to the front, the fastest of these was 258km/h, a record that stood for years.

Redman and Surtees replaced the leaders and while Surtees was quick, Redman was even quicker and secured the lead. Rodriguez pitted and was replaced by Kinnunen who promptly stopped out on track with a broken gearbox. Siffert pulled away at the front even when Ickx returned to the lead Ferrari while Bell in the Ferrari 512M suffered a minor pitlane fire although continued. Siffert/Redman ran out the winner from Ickx/Surtees and Elford/Ahrens in their Porsche Salzburg 917K, a lap down in 3rd.

 Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 24 2 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-014/029 JWA/Gulf 71
2 20 3 Jacky Ickx/John Surtees Ferrari 512S #1038 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 71
3 28 12 Vic Elford/Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Porsche 917K #917-023 Porsche Salzburg 70
4 22 5 Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella Ferrari 512S #1026 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 68
5 43 6 Hans Laine/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-021/012 Racing Team AAW 68
6 29 8 Richard Attwood/Hans Herrmann Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche Salzburg 68
7 21 10 Peter Schetty/Arturo Merzario Ferrari 512S #1044 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 66
8 23 7 Derek Bell/Hughes de Fierlant Ferrari 512S #1030 Ecurie Francorchamps 64
NRF 30 4 Helmut Kelleners/Jürgen Neuhaus Porsche 917K #917-007 Gesipa Racing Team 54 Accident
DNF 25 1 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-004/017 JWA/Gulf 44 Gearbox
DNS T Jo Siffert/Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-015/035 JWA/Gulf T-car

Porsche returned to the 908/03s for the Nurburgring, entering four cars, two each for Porsche Salzburg and Gulf racing supported by 917s from Gesipa and AAW as well as six 908/02s including two for Martini racing. Ferrari entered three works 512S and an example for Scuderia Filipinetti while Alfa Romeo entered a single T33/3. Practice was marred by Hans Laine fatally crashing the second AAW 908/02 but the two John Wyer 908/03s filled the front row, Porsche Salzburg the second row, the Alfa started 5th an the best Ferrari Giuntis in 6th. Rodriguez took an instant lead and thanks to Giunti’s Ferrari slowing the advance of Jo Siffert in 3rd. Siffert finally managed to pass the only 512S with any pace and quickly caught the leader so Gulf chose to pit both at the same time and the delays allowed Elford to take over the lead in the Porsche Salzburg 908/03.

Redman managed to finally secure the lead with Ahrens and Attwood close behind although when he stopped the 908/03 lost all oil pressure and the car had to be retired, the second Gulf team car also went out just a couple of laps later when the engine stopped on track. The two Porsche Salzburg 908/03s remained in 1-2 while Surtees was back up to 5th in the surviving Ferrari and not content there, Surtees eventually passed the Martini 908/02 and Scuderia Filipinetti 512S to take 3rd. Elford/Ahrens took over the lead in the Porsche Salzburg 908/03, their teammates Herrmann/Attwood finished 2nd and Surtees/Vaccarella a fabulous 3rd in the works 512S. It later became known that Porsche Salzburg had access to a report that lead them to discover the oil issue but chose not share it with Gulf, such is racing.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
3 55 7 John Surtees/Nino Vaccarella Ferrari 512S Spyder #1042 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 43 6h10m36.2
4 58 8 Mike Parkes/Herbert Müller Ferrari 512S #1008 Scuderia Filipinetti 42 6h05m35.9
DNF 54 9 Helmut Kelleners/Jürgen Neuhaus Porsche 917K #917-007 Gesipa Racing Team 9 Wheel
DNF 57 6 Ignazio Giunti Ferrari 512S #1010 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 2 Engine
DNS 56 John Surtees/Peter Schetty/Jacky Ickx Ferrari 512S Spyder #1012 Spa Ferrari SEFAC Accident
DNS 49 Pauli Toivonen/Sten Axelsson Porsche 917K #917-021/012 Racing Team AAW Withdrawn

Porsche returned to Le Mans for the 18th time in 1970, still searching for their first ever win and no less than twelve of their prototypes were entered, six short tail 917Ks for Porsche Salzburg (two cars), Gulf (three cars), AAW (one car), two long tail 917Ls for Martini racing and Porsche Salzburg and four private 908/02s for Martini racing (two cars), Solar Productions (one car) and Escuderia Montjuich (one car). Ferrari entered four long tail 512S for their works team with another seven entered by NART (two cars), Ecurie Francorchamps (one car), Escuderia Montjuich (one car) and Scuderia Filipinetti (three cars) while NART also entered two 312Ps. Elsewhere Alfa entered four T33/3s and Matra three cars, two MS650s and the new MS660. Elford sat on pole in the Martini Hippy 917L (so named for its psychedelic paint job from the Vaccarella/Giunti 512S which started 2nd.

1970 was the unique year that Le Mans used the traditional start but with a twist, they started as per usual, lined up in the usual place but with the drivers already strapped in and secure, this was a reaction to John Woolfe’s death in 1969 and by 1971 would be replaced with the now traditional rolling start. Elford and Siffert lead the first few laps with Rodriguez leading the following pack which included the works 512S although Merzario and Vaccarella had early issues that dropped them back and Hezemans Alfa retired with engine failure. Elford easily pulled out a lead in what was proving to be the fastest car in the field although most had settled into their race, except for Siffert who started to catch up, especially when Elford eased off the pace. Rodriguez was the first 917K driver to retire although the battle remained Siffert versus Elford at the front with the 512S not too far behind and it wasn’t until the early evening that the situation changed, Wisell was lapping slowly with the three works 512S running closely together approaching to lap him. Bell pulled out and passed Wisell although an un-sighted Regazzoni promptly rammed the Wisell entry and the two cars were collected by Parkes, Ferrari was now down three 512S.

Another bizarre accident occurred when Facetti had issues in his Alfa T33/3 and abandoned it at the side of the track only for Hailwood to innocuously spin his 917K on a wet track and hit the stranded car, knocking the 2nd Gulf 917 out of the race. Further back, three Matra went out between the 70th and 80th lap with engine failure, Ickx was driving the sole 512S with any pace and back up to 3rd offering some hope to Ferrari although the Siffert/Redman 917K continued unimpeded in the lead. Ickx was unusually struggling and heavier rain saw his Ferrari crash, killing a track worker, Siffert missed a shift and overrevved his 917K, elsewhere the Juncadella 512S, Filipinetti 512S and AAW 917K all went out during this period. All of the attrition left the carefully driven 917K Attwood/Herrmann in the lead from the elderly Lins/Kauhsen 908/02 with the Galli/Stommelen Alfa T33/3 and Posey/Bucknum 512S, even further Elford/Ahrens 917L which had been running so quickly dropped a valve and retired.

Any remaining hope for Alfa Romeo evaporated when Galli was disqualified when he received outside assistance to repair his T33/3 while the engine on the de Adamich/Courage example finally retired with a broken engine. Herrmann/Attwood ran home the winner in their Porsche Salzburg 917K from the Larrousse/Kauhsen 917L and the Lins/Marko Dechent 908/02 while the Posey/Bucknum NART 512S was the best Ferrari in 4th. Porsche had finally won Le Mans after 20 years of trying and everyone knew it wouldn’t be another 18 years before they won again, Hans Herrman who had first raced for Porsche in 1953 had promised his wife he would retire, knew he had reached the pinnacle and never raced again, going out on the absolute top.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 23 15 Richard Attwood/Hans Herrmann Porsche 917K #917-023 Porsche KG Salzburg 343
2 3 12 Gérard Larrousse/Willy Kauhsen Porsche 917L #917-043 Martini 338
4 11 13 Sam Posey/Ronnie Bucknum Ferrari 512S #1014 North American Racing Team 313
5 12 25 Hughes de Fierlant/Alistair Walker Ferrari 512S #1030 Ecurie Francorchamps 305
DNF 25 1 Vic Elford/Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Porsche 917L #917-042 Porsche KG Salzburg 225 Engine
DNF 20 3 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-004/017 JWA/Gulf 156 Engine
DNF 5 6 Jacky Ickx/Peter Schetty Ferrari 512S #1038 SpA Ferrari SEFAC 142 Accident
DNF 9 24 José Juncadella/Juan Fernandez Ferrari 512S #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 130 Accident
DNF 18 11 Gijs van Lennep/David Piper Porsche 917K #917-021/012 Team AAW 112 Accident
DNF 16 16 Corrado Manfredini/Gianpiero Moretti Ferrari 512S #1022 Scuderia Filipinetti 111 Driveshaft
DNF 10 18 Helmut Kelleners/Georg Loos Ferrari 512S #1018 North American Racing Team 54 Handling
DNF 22 10 David Hobbs/Mike Hailwood Porsche 917K #917-026 JWA/Gulf 49 Accident
DNF 7 7 Derek Bell/Ronnie Peterson Ferrari 512S #1026 SpA Ferrari SEFAC 39 Accident
DNF 8 4 Arturo Merzario/Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 512S #1034 SpA Ferrari SEFAC 38 Accident
DNF 15 8 Herbert Müller/Mike Parkes Ferrari 512S #1014 Scuderia Filipinetti 37 Accident
DNF 14 9 Jo Bonnier/Reine Wisell Ferrari 512S #1008 Scuderia Filipinetti 36 Accident
DNF 21 5 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-016 JWA/Gulf 22 Engine
DNF 6 2 Nino Vaccarella Ferrari 512S #1044 SpA Ferrari SEFAC 7 Engine
DNS 24 Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche KG Salzburg

Porsche had already wrapped up the World Sportscar Championship and with their win at Le Mans had little to prove while Ferrari were busy developing their 512M derivative and the heavily revised 312PB that would make its debut in 1972. Three Gulf 917Ks were present as were the two Porsche Salzburg 917Ks, entered by Porsche-Audi USA and a Martini racing 917K against just three 512S, two works entries and a Georg Loos car, no Group 6 cars made the effort to compete. Siffert was quickest in practice and started on pole with Andretti starting second although Andretti was the master of the rolling start and got the jump on the field. Rodriguez was coming up through some backmarkers on the short circuit and went to flash his lights and actually switched off his fuel pump dropping him to the back of the field before going on one of his inimitable charges and soon returned to 3rd place.

Such was Rodriguez pace, he soon passed the second place Andretti, who was having fuel flow issues, and then Siffert before pulling out a laps lead over his teammate. Redman and Kinnunen replaced their teammates and Redman showed his class to not only claw back the laps lead but to takeover the lead while Giunti had only a short stint in the Ferrari and Andretti soon returned to pass Kinnunen and take up second. The race was won when Redman had a lengthy pitstop to try and cure an oil leak and Rodriguez returned to take over the lead and he took the win from the recovering Siffert/Redman car in a Gulf 1-2 while Elford/Hulme took 4th and Attwood/Ahrens 5th after running out of fuel, the best Ferrari was Andretti/Giuntis works 512S in a distant 3rd. Gulf had made up for their poor showing at Le Mans in emphatic fashion.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 2 3 Pedro Rodriguez/Leo Kinnunen Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive Engineering 308
2 1 1 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-014/029 John Wyer Automotive Engineering 308
3 92 2 Mario Andretti/Ignazio Giunti Ferrari 512S Spyder #1042 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 305
4 31 7 Vic Elford/Denny Hulme Porsche 917K #917-019 Porsche-Audi USA 302
5 91 4 Jacky Ickx/Peter Schetty Ferrari 512S Spyder #1010 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 299
6 32 6 Richard Attwood/Kurt Ahrens, Jr. Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche-Audi USA 295
9 35 5 Gijs van Lennep/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-012/021 Martini International Racing 260
DNF 33 26 Georg Loos Ferrari 512S #1018 Georg Loos 24 Electrics
DNS 6T Jo Siffert/Leo Kinnunen/Pedro Rodriguez Porsche 917K #917-015/035 John Wyer Automotive Engineering

The final race of the season at Zeltweg saw Porsche Salzburg competing for the final time having sold their cars and Porsche contracts to Hans-Peter Dechents Martini racing concern and being their home ground Porsche Salzburg had a full entry of three cars, as did Gulf. Ferrari were in a state of flux, unable to win anything and questioning their continuing support but their last roll of the Group 5 dice was to enter the much developed 512M, a much quicker and more competitive Coupe with a healthy dose of extra power, the one car converted thus far was entered by the works for Ickx/Giunti and the only other Ferrari was the standard 512S of Gelo racing. Four of the Alfa Romeo T33/3-71s were entered by Autodelta and with three 908/02s were the entire Group 6 contingent although the Bosch entry had one Niki Lauda making his debut in the series.

Ickx Ferrari was super pacy in the new Ferrari and set the fastest time, only beaten by Rodriguez Gulf 917K, Salzburg 917Ks starting 3rd and 4th. Bizarrely enough the race start was delayed due to fog but when it finally got underway, Ickx lead the early proceedings with Ahrens, Siffert, Rodriguez and Elford following behind. Rodriguez only lasted a handful of laps when a valve collapsed while the Alfa’s also suffered early issues and pretty soon Ickx himself had to stop when the car suffered electrical failure and while he returned to the fray, it retired for good soon after. Marko found himself in the lead in the Porsche Salzburg 917K although his team didn’t call him in soon enough and the 917K retired when it ran out of fuel and damaged itself, letting the Siffert/Redman Gulf 917K take over in the lead. Elford/Attwood in the #1 Porsche Salzburg entry had been delayed when a stone from the Siffert/Redman 917 damaged their radiator and despite a fight back, they were too far back. Indeed when the leading 917K suffered a valve train issue and slowed, the only pacy car was the Pescarolo/de Adamich T33/3 which was closing rapidly, unlapping itself and highly capable of winning. The very last lap saw Pescarolo dive into the pits with the engine blown which left the Larrousse/Lins closing although too far back to win as Siffert/Redman just held on to their position.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 23 5 Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-031/026 John Wyer Automotive 170
4 21 4 Vic Elford/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-023 Porsche KG Salzburg 162
7 25 13 Georg Loos/Franz Pesch Ferrari 512S Spyder #1018 Gelo Racing 156
DNF 20 3 Kurt Ahrens, Jr./Helmut Marko Porsche 917K #917-020 Porsche KG Salzburg Out of fuel
DNF 31 2 Jacky Ickx/Ignazio Giunti Ferrari 512M #1010 Spa Ferrari SEFAC 53 Electrics
DNF 22 1 Pedro Rodriguez Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive 4 Valves
DNS T Jo Siffert/Leo Kinnunen/Pedro Rodriguez Porsche 917K #917-015/035 John Wyer Automotive
DNS T Vic Elford/Richard Attwood/Kurt Ahrens, Jr./Helmut Marko Porsche 917K #917-019 Porsche KG Salzburg


The biggest talking point of the off season was the FIA who decided that 1971 would be the last season the Group 5s would be eligible for and returning to their original 3 litre formula, ruling that formula would be renamed Group 5 from 1972. Porsche’ absolute domination during 1970, winning every round except Sebring and with arguably the most successful Group 6 entry of their own in the 908/03 for the tracks where handling was paramount didn’t stop them working on further 917 developments for 1971. Porsche launched the 917/10 for Can Am and Interserie events as well as a new 917LH with even more aerodynamic bodywork and a 917/20 which blended the Can Am cars bodywork with the Long tail and and a ultra narrow glasshouse. Elsewhere they developed V16 engines of up to 7 litres capacity and V12 turbos of 4.5, 5 and 5.4 litre capacity for the new Can Am car.

Ferrari debuted the new 512M which would have been competitive with the Porsche 917 but promptly quit the category, preferring to campaign and develop the new Group 6 312PB which was the same chassis as the 312P with fibreglass bodywork and the new 450bhp Tipo 312B formula 1 Flat 12 engine. The various teams seen in 1970 were relatively successful in 1971 with most converting their cars to M spec although Penske racing took their development even further, hiring Traco to build an engine and rebuilding the rest of the car with advanced materials, further they hired Mark Donohue to drive and he was to become one of the greatest American road racers of all times. Autodelta also continued to develop their T33/3 and set to work on an all new Tubular monococque based 33TT3 which would be properly raced in 1972. Matra was the only team, other than Ferrari, that tried to race in both Formula 1 and Sportscars and while they continued to develop and race the MS660, it was stretched too thin with the sportscar team only occasionally being seen.

No less than twelve races were held as part of the 1971 Sportscar Championship and apart from the all conquering 917K the Ferrari 312PB and Alfa Romeo T33s were expected to be competitive and various supporting cast members were capable of a surprise. As such the season could be expected to be a ripper.

Buenos Aires was the first event of the year, having hosted several important non championship events, seven 917Ks included two car teams from Gulf and Martini racing, further entries from Zitro, Team Auto Usdau and Escuderia Nacional CS. Four Ferrari 512S were entered for Escuderia Montjuich, Ecurie Francorchamps,  Scuderia Filipinetti and North American Racing Team while Group 6 entries included two T33/3s, an Auto Usdau Porsche 908/02, the first Ferrari 312PB and a Matra MS660. Pedro Rodriguez took pole in the Gulf 917K, the Giunti 312PB starting second and the Alfa’s at the right end of the grid. Giunti lead the first few corners before Rodriguez overtook on the straight and lead at the end of the first lap, Siffert and Elford also going past while Marko was out with engine failure. Elford was having a great race and took over in the lead, Rodriguez slipping into second with Giunti and Siffert close behind.

Elford didn’t get far before his 917K went out with no oil pressure, letting Rodriguez return to the lead. A most unfortunate series of events lead to a very dark pall falling over the race, the Group 5 cars pitted allowing Giunti to take the lead when Beltoise ran out of fuel in the Matra and despite the rules banning cars from being pushed, push he did. Giunti was slipstreaming Parkes in the Filipinetti 512M and (ignoring the yellow flags) pulled out to pass at the exact moment the Matra was in that section of track and while Beltoise jumped clear there was nothing Giunti could do as he speared the Matra at top speed. Giunti was killed in the ensuing fire and the two cars were destroyed leading to the race being red flagged while the track was cleared of wreckage. Rodriguez and most of the field returned to racing without waiting for the official restart which lead to chaos but his lead didn’t last long, a flat tyre allowing Siffert/Bell to take over in the front with Parkes/Bonnier slipping into second.

Siffert/Bell cruised home to win the event and while many counted the Alfa Romeo T33/3 of Stommelen/Galli as finishing second, the official time charts claimed Rodriguez/Oliver had finished a lap ahead and awarded them the place. A most unsatisfactory day for all concerned.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 30 3 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-029/014 John Wyer Automotive 165
2 32 1 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-035/015 John Wyer Automotive 164
5 20 12 José Juncadella/Carlos Pairetti Ferrari 512S #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 155
6 18 16 Hughes de Fierlant/Gustave Gosselin Ferrari 512S #1030 Ecurie Francorchamps 153
7 8 8 Mike Parkes/Jo Bonnier Ferrari 512S #1048 Scuderia Filipinetti 150
8 22 9 Sam Posey/Nestor Garcia-Veiga/Luis Ruben di Palma Ferrari 512S Spyder #1006 North American Racing Team 148
10 34 18 Dominique Martin/Pablo Bréa Porsche 917K #917-025 Zitro Racing 145
DNF 48 13 Reinhold Jöst/Angel Monguzzi Porsche 917K #917-022 Team Auto Usdau 85 Engine
DNF 38 4 Vic Elford/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-023 Martini International Racing Team 65 DSQ – assistance
DNF 28 11 Emerson Fittipaldi/Carlos Reutemann Porsche 917K #917-018 Escuderia Nacional CS 43 Oil leak
DNF 36 10 Helmut Marko Porsche 917K #917-019 Martini International Racing Team 2 Engine

Daytona saw many of the same competitors that had been present at Buenos Aires, the six 917Ks were three cars each for Gulf and Martini while the six Ferrari 512s were a 512S and two 512Ms for NART, single 512S for Escuderia Montjuich and Ecurie Francorchmps and the special 512M for Penske/Sunoco. Group 6 entries were just the old NART Ferrari 312P, the sole 312PB having been destroyed at Buenos Aires, qualifying saw Donohue take pole from Rodriguez in the fastest Gulf 917. Donohue took an instant lead with Rodriguez in pursuit and after 13 laps the order was reversed although Siffert/Bell retired in the early hours and the Donohue/Hobbs car stopped for the first of many times to try and fix electrical issues. This left Rodriguez/Oliver with a large lead to Elford/van Lennep although they did remain in third and the race settled until the required evening crash.

A seemingly innocent crash by a backmarker saw Elford hit debris at 200mph and caused damage which required repairs, when a errant 911 and the Sunoco 512M came upon the scene, Donohue slowing for the yellow, the 911 not and the 512M was punted into the wall before the 911 cartwheeled down the track. Donohue managed to slowly get the 512M back to the pits where the Penske crew spent 70 minutes rebuilding the front end and the formerly beautifully turned out car returned to the circuit held together with more ducktape than bodywork. Despite the lengthy stop the 512M returned in 4th place and quickly overtook the 312P for third although Rodriguez/Oliver were now 43 laps ahead and remained unreachable. Late race excitement was provided by the only other surviving 917K, Marko having a tyre blow at top speed and causing a lengthy yellow period.

Further excitement was presented when Oliver bought in the leading 917K with a broken gearbox and while the casing couldn’t be legally replaced, no-one said anything about the gearset so the Siffert/Bell car sacrificed its gearset in the resulting surgery. Such was the 917Ks lead that despite a 75 minute pitstop they returned to the race with two hours to go and just three laps behind the rough sounding NART 512S. The short lap at Daytona meant that number was never going to be enough and the 917K was back out with Rodriguez setting times ten seconds faster than the 512S and only took an hour to return to the front. The Donohue/Hobbs run for the front kept getting delayed with fuel pump issues and couldn’t quite close the gap at the death. Rodriguez/Oliver ran out fortunate winners from Bucknum/Adamowicz in their 512S and the Donohue/Hobbs car, fully 13 laps further back. A plucky 5th was the outclassed 312P of Garcia-Veiga/ Chinetti.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 2 2 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-034/013 John Wyer Automotive 688
2 23 6 Ronnie Bucknum/Tony Adamowicz Ferrari 512S Spyder #1006 North American Racing Team 687
3 6 1 Mark Donohue/David Hobbs Ferrari 512M #1040 Roger Penske/Kirk F. White 674
DNF 3 12 Helmut Marko/Rudi Lins Porsche 917K #917-019 Martini International Racing Team 462 Accident
DNF 4 11 Vic Elford/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-023 Martini International Racing Team 274 Accident
DNF 22 3 Peter Revson/Sam Posey/Chuck Parsons/Luigi Chinetti, Jr. Ferrari 512M #1020 North American Racing Team 202 Engine
DNF 28 7 Arturo Merzario/José Juncadella Ferrari 512S #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 161 Fuel pump
DNF 26 8 Hughes de Fierlant/Gustave Gosselin Ferrari 512S #1030 Ecurie Francorchmps 124 Oil pressure
DNF 1 4 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #017/004 John Wyer Automotive 113 Engine
DNF 20 5 Masten Gregory Ferrari 512M #1014 North American Racing Team 16 Engine
DNS T Vic Elford Porsche 917K #917-020 Martini International Racing Team
DNS T Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver/Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Sebring saw Alfa Romeo return to the series with three T33/3s facing just nine Group 5 cars, four 917Ks and five 512S/M and both a new works 312PB and the old NART 312P. Gulf had the same three 917Ks that were seen at Daytona, Martini entering just one, the Ferrari were entered by NART (two 512S, two 512M and the old 312P), Ferrari and Penske who had done so well at Daytona. Qualifying saw Donohue set pole with the Andretti/Ickx 312PB also on the front row, Rodriguez and Elford starting third and fourth. Donohue took an instant lead at the start although Siffert and Elford got past the 312PB, the first set of stops saw Siffert take over the lead with Andretti in second and Rodriguez third. Siffert decided to eke out his fuel load and stayed out just a little too long, running out of fuel and accepting a ride back to the pits where he was penalised 4 minutes although lucky not to have been disqualified.

Andretti/Ickx used their better fuel efficiency and agility to create a large gap back to the Penske 512M and Rodriguez/Oliver 917K. A lengthy battle for second ended when Donohue and Rodriguez went to lap a backmarker, Donohue having the clean line past until Rodriguez moved over to try and take the line, the big Gulf Porsche causing immense damage to the 512M. Rodriguez lost two laps having his Porsche fixed while the Ferrari lost fifteen laps and both teams protested loudly. This collision left the Andretti/Ickx 312PB with a five lap lead over the Elford/Larrousse 917K, the two Alfa T33/3s close behind. After such dominance, the 312PBs gearbox seized at the half way mark and they were out leaving Elford/Larrousse in control of the race with the two Alfas waiting to see if the 917 would fail and then the recovering Gulf cars and Penske 512M.

Elford/Larrousse ran out the narrow winners from the Galli/Stommelen and de Adamich/Pescarolo T33/3s while Rodriguez/Oliver ended up fourth and Donohue/Hobbs sixth.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 3 4 Vic Elford/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-020 Martini International Racing Team 260
4 2 3 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-009 John Wyer Automotive 248
5 1 6 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-031/026 John Wyer Automotive 244
6 6 1 Mark Donohue/David Hobbs Ferrari 512M #1040 Roger Penske/Kirk F. White 243
DNF 22 7 Peter Revson/Swede Savage Ferrari 512M #1020 North American Racing Team 169 Gearbox
DNF 23 9 Ronnie Bucknum/Sam Posey Ferrari 512S #1028 North American Racing Team 114 Oil pressure
DNF 20 8 Masten Gregory/Gregg Young Ferrari 512M #1014 Young American Racing Team 29 Accident
DNF 26 12 Chuck Parsons/David Weir Ferrari 512S #1006 North American Racing Team 20 Radiator
DNP T Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Brands Hatch saw a resurgent Alfa Romeo enter two T33/3s alongside Ferrari 312PB as serious Group 6 entries. Just eight Group 5 cars were present, two Ferrari 512Ms for Herbert Muller and Escuderia Montjuich against six 917Ks for Gulf (three cars), Martini (two cars) and Team Auto Usdau. Ickx was joined by Clay Regazzoni in the 312PB and took pole from Stommelen in a T33/3, Siffert the best of the Group 5s in third. As usual the race started wet and Stommelen lost a lot of ground on his intermediates while Rodriguez was soon into second, harrying the leading 312PB although a spinning backmarker saw Ickx go off and crumple the Ferrari, allowing Rodriguez to take the lead from Siffert and the two Alfa’s. Ickx carved his way back through the field from last after his off and soon carving his way back to the front while Rodriguez retired out on track after suffering fuel starvation.

Siffert/Bell inherited the lead with the Alfa’s following and such was the Alfa’s pace Pescarolo managed to unlap himself while the Ickx/Regazzoni 312PB was back up the fifth. Bell stopped and the Gulf team spent several minutes trying to get a stuck wheel nut off and this allowed the two Alfa’s to get past, Stommelen building up a one lap lead. Siffert/Bell were delayed when their mandatory spare wheel fell off their car and they had to stop for the team to fit a deflated race tyre while Hezemans had the engine fail and he was out of the race. This let the Ickx/Regazzoni 312PB back into second behind the de Adamich/Pescarolo Alfa which cruised to a win and the recovering Siffert/Bell 917K. The future had arrived in no uncertain terms although Monza was next and the Group 5s would reign supreme yet again.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
3 6 3 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-029/014 John Wyer Automotive 229
4 1 11 Herbert Müller/René Herzog Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller 228
5 3 8 David Hobbs/José Juncadella Ferrari 512M #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 227
6 10 12 Reinhold Jöst/Willy Kauhsen Porsche 917K #917-022 Team Auto Usdau 221
9 9 7 Gijs van Lennep/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-020 Martini International Racing Team 216
DNF 8 5 Vic Elford/Brian Redman Porsche 917K #917-019 Martini International Racing Team 104 Fuel tank
DNF 7 4 Pedro Rodriguez Porsche 917K #917-035/015 John Wyer Automotive 79 Fuel system
DNS T Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Monza saw a return to the fields of Group 5 sportscars, thirteen entered for the race, seven 917Ks and six 512Ms. The 917s ran the 4907cc engine and were entered for Gulf (three cars), Martini racing (two cars) and single cars for Team Auto Usdau and Zitro, the 512s for Herbert Muller (two cars), Scuderia Filipinetti (two cars), Escuderia Montjuich and Scuderia Brescia Corse. Group 6 entrants were three T33/3s and a Ferrari 312PB for Ickx/Regazzoni, Vic Elford took pole in practice with Ickx starting second although it was Parkes in the Filipinetti 512M who took the early lead although the Gulf 917Ks were in the lead by the end of lap one and even Elford and Ickx were past soon after. Rodriguez set an unmatchable pace to extend his lead, seemingly at will while the Alfa’s stuck to their race plan, content to let the Group 5s destroy themselves. Very early on Merzario’s Montjuich 512M collided with an older Porsche at the Ascari Curve and the two spinning cars collected several others including Ickx in the 312PB putting them both out.

Rodriguez and Siffert found themselves with a substantial lead although Rodriguez didn’t slacken a bit and eventually left the lap record at 246km/h. Despite their outrageous speed the Group 5s were still having to stop more often than the Alfa’s so they simply collected places by being methodically consistent. The enormous disparity between Gulf racing and everyone else for sheer speed became clear during the race, Martini racing and the 512Ms never a force and with the Siffert/Bell car having minor issues, the race was all Rodriguez/Oliver. Behind them the Siffert/Bell car took a distant second while the de Adamich/Pescarolo Alfa lead home a T33/3 3-4. The Monza race took just 4 hours and 14 minutes to complete the 1000km at an average speed of no less than 236km/h which was a new world record for the fastest Sportscar race ever held.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 2 5 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-034/013 John Wyer Automotive 174
2 1 7 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-017/004 John Wyer Automotive 171
6 12 10 Herbert Müller/René Herzog Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller 164
7 6 14 Willy Kauhsen/Reinhold Jöst Porsche 917K #917-022 Team Auto Usdau 164
8 11 13 Gianpiero Moretti/Teodoro Zeccoli Ferrari 512M #1008 Herbert Müller 157
9 5 15 Gérard Pillon/Dominique Martin Porsche 917K #917-025 Zitro Racing Cars 154
DNF 4 12 Helmut Marko/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-019 Martini International Racing Team 60 Throttle linkage
DNF 3 1 Vic Elford Porsche 917K #917-020 Martini International Racing Team 44 Throttle
DNF 8 4 Mike Parkes/Jo Bonnier Ferrari 512S/M #1022 Scuderia Filipinetti 30 Engine
DNF 9 9 Corrado Manfredini/Giancarlo Gagliardi Ferrari 512M #1050 Scuderia Filipinetti 27 Fuel pump
DNF 7 11 Arturo Merzario Ferrari 512M #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 11 Collision with Meier
DNQ 14 Marsilio Pasotti Ferrari 512M #1024 Scuderia Brescia Corse
DNS T Derek Bell/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Spa was a similar track to Monza although the Ferrari challenge was wilting, just three 512Ms entered for Filipinetti and Herbert Muller (two cars). The 917s were for Gulf (three cars), Martini racing (two cars), Team Auto Usdau and Zitro while Group 6 cars consisted of single cars from Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. Practice showed the speed advantage of the Porsche’ with Siffert taking pole and Vic Elford sitting in second, the Ickx/Regazzoni 312PB the best non 917 in starting fifth, fully ten seconds a lap slower than Siffert. Rodriguez and Siffert ran away and hid in the race and had a 23 second lead on the rest of the field by the end of lap one while Elford made the ill fated decision to start on intermediates on what was essentially a dry track and pitted at the end of lap one, dropping to the back of the field while the Marko/van Lennep car stopped early on with a fuel leak.

The pace of the two Gulf cars saw them draw away from the field and while distant the 312PB managed to hold third, ahead of the Alfa Romeo. The 312PBs fine run ended when it tangled with the much slower Dulon and retired which left the Alfa T33/3 in a fine if distant third although nobody could touch the two Gulf 917Ks. Rodriguez/Oliver ran out the winner from Siffert/Bell but perhaps more importantly the leader covered the 1000km in 4 hours 1 minute, setting the record for the fastest ever road race ever run, a record that still stands. As if to underline that record, it averaged out at 249.069 km/h including pitstops.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 21 3 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917K #917-035/015 John Wyer Automotive 71
2 20 1 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-029/014 John Wyer Automotive 71
4 25 7 Willy Kauhsen/Reinhold Jöst Porsche 917K #917-022 Team Auto Usdau 66
NRF 32 6 Giancarlo Gagliardi/Corrado Manfredini Ferrari 512M #1050 Scuderia Filipinetti 51 Engine
NRF 26 9 Herbert Müller/René Herzog Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller Racing 50 Engine
DNF 22 2 Vic Elford/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-020 Martini International Racing Team 31 Handling
DNF 24 11 Dominique Martin/Gérard Pillon Porsche 917K #917-025 Zitro Racing Cars 31 Puncture, accident
DNF 23 4 Helmut Marko/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-019 Martini International Racing Team 6 Engine
DNF 28 10 Cox Kocher Ferrari 512S #1016 Herbert Müller Racing 0 Hub
DNS T Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver/Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Unlike 1970, the 1971 Targa Florio saw no Group 5 entries although their were five Alfa Romeo T33/3s and three Porsche 908/03s for Gulf and Martini racing. Several of the favourites were out on the first lap, Redman spun off and got burnt as his 908/03 caught fire, Stommelens Alfa hit a curb and wrecked its suspension and Rodriguez also wrecked its suspension in his 908/03. Larrousse was piloting the final 908/03 well and lead from Vaccarella with de Adamich 3rd and Elford took over and extended the lead from Hezemans, in for Vaccarella. This status lasted until the 7th lap when Elford first had a tyre let go and had to crawl 30km on a spacesaver spare and then had a rotor arm break. Vaccarella/Hezemans were able to cruise home the winners in their T33/3 with their teammates de Adamich/van Lennep second and the Bonnier/Attwood Lola T212 in third.

The Nurburgring saw the major teams including Ferrari and Porsche enter their Group 6 cars although their were four privately entered Group 5s that took part, the Auto Usdau 917 and Gelos 512M while Herbert Muller had two of his 512Ms and a third that never even practiced. Group 6s included four Porsche 908/03s for Martini racing and Gulf, a Ferrari 312PB and four Alfa Romeo T33/3s. Qualifying was an interesting affair with the track having been modified considerably, humps lowered, armco fitted and trees removed, Ickx setting pole in the 312PB, Stommelen starting second in the Alfa, the fastest Group 5 was the Weisdanger/Kocher 512M. Ickx was easily quicker than the rest and held a 5 second lead at the end of lap one, steadily drawing away from the rest of the field while Stommelens Alfa and the Porsche’ of Elford and Siffert fought over second place.

Ickx lead ended when the 312PB overheated and he had to pit for a water and fuel top up which dropped him back to fourth, Siffert taking over the lead for just one lap although he then had to pit when his chassis undertray came loose, all this action left Stommelen and Elford battling for the lead with Rodriguez a distant third. The rest of the field pitted on lap 11 which let Ickx through into third place while Galli retired the Alfa he shared with Stommelen when the engine failed, Ickx had got the 312PB running well again and retook the lead from Larrousse/Elford in second and Siffert/Rodriguez in third. Regazzoni eventually replaced Ickx while Larrousse had a decent lead over Siffert as the field relaxed into the slog on an unusually dry and warm day. Regazzoni’s stint at the front was short lived and he dived in for more water on lap 21 although the 312PB never restarted. Elford/larrousse found themselves in a comfortable lead which they held to the end, leading home Rodriguez/Siffert and van Lennep/Marko, all in 908/03s. The Group 5s never featured on a track that only had one decent straight, the best was the carefully driven Kauhsen/Joest 917 back in second.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
6 55 10 Reinhold Jöst/Willy Kauhsen Porsche 917K #917-022 Team Auto Usdau 40
9 59 12 Georg Loos/Franz Pesch Ferrari 512M #1018 Gelo Racing Team 40
DNF 60 11 Herbert Müller/René Herzog Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller 21 Accident
DNF 61 9 Heinrich Wiesendanger/Cox Kocher Ferrari 512S #1016 Herbert Müller 9 Fuel pressure
DNP 62T Ferrari 512M ?? Herbert Müller

Le Mans was up next and sixteen Group 5 cars were present, seven Porsche and nine Ferrari. The Porsche comprised of three 917s for Martini Racing, a 1971 spec 917L long tail, the unique 917/20 and unique magnesium chassis 917K, Gulf also had two 1971 spec 917Ls and a single 917K while Zitro Racing entered their 917K. Ferrari runners were NART with two 512Ms and a 512S including the Penske 512M, David Piper with a single 512M, Ecurie Francorchamps with a 512M, Scuderia Filipinetti with two 512Ms including one modified by Mike Parkes to 512M/F form, Escuderia Monjuich with a 512M and Gelo Racing with a 512M. Ferrari didn’t enter the 312PB having had trouble getting the engine to survive 1000km let alone 24 hours of racing leaving Matra as the only serious Group 6 entrant although they only entered a single MS660 which saw competition from the prototype Ligier and a gaggle of elderly 908s, elsewhere the Ferrari Daytona had still not been homologated as a Group 4 sportscar and the Grossman/Chinetti entry ran in Group 5. Practice was all Porsche with the 917LHs qualifying 1-2-3 lead by Rodriguez/Oliver and Larrousse/Elford with the best Ferrari, Donohue/Hobbs back in 4th, some 4 seconds slower.

The first ever rolling start was held in 1971, yet another post 1969 safety improvement and saw the Craft and Gregory 512Ms pit with fuel pressure issues leaving the rest of the field to continue. Rodriguez shot into the lead with Larrousse, Siffert and Vaccarella trailing and while Donohue got past Vaccarella at the first stops it remained a Porsche 1-2-3 at the front. Rodriguez was delayed when he had a refuelling issue and Siffert took over in the lead although Siffert encountered an electrical issue when he stopped and Rodriguez returned to the front. Most of the 512s were already in the walking wounded before nightfall and Donohue/Hobbs suffered from gearbox and engine failure, robbing the race of the only truly competitive example. Rodriguez/Oliver eventually pulled out a consistent lead while Siffert/Bell battled Larrousse/Elford for second while yet more 512s retired or joined the walking wounded.

Larrousse/Elford’ fine run for second came to naught when they retired with overheating which allowed the third Gulf 917K of Attwood/Muller to join the leaders in a Gulf 1-2-3. A record pace was being set, the 917L capable of 370kmh on the Mulsanne and this was causing no end of stress to the front runners. Siffert/Bell had a suspension failure and lost an hour getting it repaired and at the eleven hour mark Rodriguez/Oliver had the same issue while finally Attwood/Muller lost top gear although at least they could continue. Vaccarella/Juncadella found themselves in an unlikely lead although their clutch packed up a few laps later leaving Marko/van Lennep in the lead in the magnesium chassis 917K while Rodriguez went on a tear and got his 917L back into second despite the lengthy stop. Unfortunately Rodriguez chances of success ended when an oil pipe ruptured and sprayed his feet, the ensuing pitstop seeing the car retire.

Beltoise/Amon in the Matra were having a great run in second although Attwood/Muller managed to overtake them and the Matras fine run ended with fuel system failure. This let the slow and very distant Posey/Adamowicz NART 512M up to third and the Craft/Weir Piper 512M to fourth while the very slow but reliable Daytona, a converted road car no less, up to fifth. Nobody could touch Marko/van Lennep who ran home the winner in their very special Martini 917K in record distance, covering 5335km in 24 Hours, a record that would stand for 39 years, the Attwood/Muller 917K coming home a fine second.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 22 5 Helmut Marko/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-053 Martini International Racing Team 397
2 19 11 Richard Attwood/Herbert Müller Porsche 917K #917-031/026 John Wyer Automotive Engineering 395
3 12 12 Sam Posey/Tony Adamowicz Ferrari 512M #1020 North American Racing Team 366
4 16 9 Chris Craft/David Weir Ferrari 512M #1006 David Piper 355
DNF 57 18 Dominique Martin/Gérard Pillon Porsche 917K #917-025 Zitro Racing Team/D. Martin Gearbox
DNF 9 10 Hughes de Fierlant/Alain De Cadenet Ferrari 512M #1030 Ecurie Francorchamps Gearbox
DNF 17 3 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917LH #917-045 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Crankcase
DNF 6 14 Corrado Manfredini/Giancarlo Gagliardi Ferrari 512M #1050 Scuderia Filipinetti Gearbox
DNF 15 6 Nino Vaccarella/José Juncadella Ferrari 512M #1002 Escuderia Montjuich Gearbox
DNF 18 1 Pedro Rodriguez/Jackie Oliver Porsche 917LH #917-043 John Wyer Automotive Engineering Oil system
DNF 23 7 Willy Kauhsen/Reinhold Jöst Porsche 917/20 #917/20-001 Martini International Racing Team Accident
DNF 7 8 Mike Parkes/Henri Pescarolo Ferrari 512M #1048 Scuderia Filipinetti Engine
DNF 10 13 Franz Pesch/Georg Loos Ferrari 512M #1018 Gelo Racing Team Piston
DNF 11 4 Mark Donohue/David Hobbs Ferrari 512M #1040 North American Racing Team Engine
DNF 21 2 Gérard Larrousse/Vic Elford Porsche 917L #917-042 Martini International Racing Team Overheating
DNF 14 15 Masten Gregory Ferrari 512S #1028 North American Racing Team Fuel system

The penultimate round of the Group 5/6 series was the Austrian 1000km at Zeltweg, just eight Group 5 entries appearing. Gulf had their standard three 917Ks, Martini just one, Herbert Muller entered two 512Ms, Scuderia Brescia Corse and Escuderia Monjuich one 512M each. Ferrari entered their 312PB in Group 6 joining four Alfa T33/3s and some older 908s. Rodriguez was a touch quicker than Ickx in practice and took pole in his last WSC race and he lead the first lap with Ickx slipping into second and Muller third while Juncadella managed to roll his Spanish 512M. Rodriguez pitted early with electrical gremlins allowing Ickx to take over in the lead and returned three laps behind the leaders. Siffert had balls upped the start but he roared back into contention and retook second behind Ickx although clutch failure put paid to the second Gulf 917K. Regazzoni took over from Ickx and promptly lost the lead to Marko in the Martini entry although he soon returned to the front once acclimatised to the 312PB.

Rodriguez began to claw back the deficit to the leading Ferrari and with rain falling he was untouchable, reeling off laps faster than anyone else, rejoining the lead lap at the half way mark. Attwood took over the Gulf 917 for 13 laps before handing back to the much quicker Mexican and while the extra stopped put them a lap down again, Larrousse stopped when a tyre deflated and caused damage to the Martini car, letting Rodriguez back up into second. Regazzoni remained well ahead of the 917K and simply needed to finish to win but the suspension was failing and he crashed on lap 149, allowing Rodriguez to take over in the lead. Rodriguez/Attwood ran home the winner in their Gulf 917 with the Alfa T33/3s of Hezemans/Vaccarella and Stommelen/Galli trailing home in third and fourth.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
1 16 1 Pedro Rodriguez/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-034/013 John Wyer Automotive 170
4 18 12 Marsilio Pasotti/Mario Casoni Ferrari 512M #1024 Scuderia Brescia Corse 159
NRF 28 3 Helmut Marko/Gérard Larrousse Porsche 917K #917-030 Martini International Racing Team 122 Accident
DNF 15 4 Jo Siffert/Derek Bell Porsche 917K #917-017/004 John Wyer Automotive Clutch
DNF 22 5 Herbert Müller Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller 17 Accident
DNF 30 9 José Juncadella Ferrari 512M #1002 Escuderia Montjuich 12 Accident
DNS 23 11 Heinrich Wiesendanger/Masten Gregory Ferrari 512S #1016 Herbert Müller Engine
DNS T Derek Bell/Richard Attwood/Pedro Rodriguez Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Watkins Glen was the final race of the mighty Group 5 era and it was a poignant event for reasons other than the end of that era, Pedro Rodriguez, arguably the greatest Group 5 driver, had agreed to race an insignificant Interserie race at the Norisring in one of Herbert Mullers Ferrari 512Ms when Kurt Hild pushed him off track and the Ferrari crashed heavily before it burst into flame and he was killed. Gulf replaced the great Mexican with van Lennep and entered their usual three 917Ks, the only other 917K that of David Piper, 512Ms were entered by NART (two cars), Ecurie Francorchamps, Penske and Herbert Muller. A Ferrari 312PB and the four Alfa Romeo T33s were the only competitive entries in Group 6 and practice showed the Donohue 512M to be the quickest, Sifferts Gulf 917K second quickest and the 312PB the best of the rest. Donohue and Ickx were both pacy at the start, Donohue quickly building a substantial lead while Ickx came through to sit in second.

Bell was the quickest of the 917K drivers and set fastest lap in pursuit although he broke the throttle cable while Siffert had a puncture and both had to pit putting them well back. Donohue’ fine run ended when his suspension collapsed while Ickx stopped as regular but the 312PB wouldn’t restart and Andretti never even had a drive. All of the drama left the two Alfa T33/3s of Peterson and Stommelen in the lead with Siffert close behind and the Swiss driven 917K took the lead when the Alfa’s finally pitted although the next Gulf stop saw the wheel nut jam and they lost two laps as it began to rain. Elford had been in a safe third but the spray made vision difficult and he managed to ram a Lola, letting the recovering Bell/Attwood retake third behind the de Adamich/Peterson T33/3 which ran out the winner from the recovering 917K Siffert/van Lennep. The Group 5 era had proven capable of surprise and even shock and awe but the final race saw it go out on a bit of a whimper.

Result Entry # Grid Drivers Cars Entrants Laps completed Reason for DNF
2 1 2 Jo Siffert/Gijs van Lennep Porsche 917K #917-029/014 John Wyer Automotive Engineering 277
3 2 4 Derek Bell/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-035/015 John Wyer Automotive Engineering 259
4 63 10 Alain De Cadenet/Lothar Motschenbacher Ferrari 512M #1030 Ecurie Francorchamps 253
NC 43 11 Tony Adamowicz/Mario Cabral Porsche 917K #917-010 David Piper Racing 191
DNF 14 5 Sam Posey/Ronnie Bucknum Ferrari 512M #1020 North American Racing Team 126 Starter motor
DNF 6 1 Mark Donohue Ferrari 512M #1040 Roger Penske/Kirk F. White 53 Steering
DNF 48 9 Herbert Müller Ferrari 512M #1044 Herbert Müller Racing 17 Accident
DNS 21 12 Gregg Young/Jim Adams Ferrari 512M #1014 Young American Racing Team Fuel leak
DNS T Jo Siffert/Gijs van Lennep/Derek Bell/Richard Attwood Porsche 917K #917-016 John Wyer Automotive

Group 5 racing was more a fortunate accident than anything planned but the cars that filled the void from 1968 to 1972 set numerous records and fans hearts alight. After the FIA banned them in 1971 A single Ferrari and two series of Porsche’ were developed for Can Am and the turbo 917/30s were equally dominant there with the same result. That said the technology developed for the Group 5 series fueled future road and race cars, especially Porsche’ with much of the tech seen in various 911. It truly was the greatest of times.

Ferrari 512S/M

Ferrari were in a state of buoyancy in 1969 with the ink drying on the Fiat purchase and both support and funding from the Agnelli’s allowing them to return to Sportscar racing with the Group 6 312P and a season of Can Am events with the 612P. Formula 1 had subtly expanded to the point where multiple teams could simply buy Cosworth V8s and go racing, making differences in the aero, tyres and subtle design changes all important. This had allowed smaller teams such as Brabham, McLaren and others scope to go racing, no less than 26 teams entering 10 different chassis during the 1969 season although the infancy of the new formula and the rapid advancements in aero and tyre tech meant that teams really needed to concentrate their energies into Formula 1 to have any chance of success. Ferrari had also been bedeviled with driver issues, whether due to former team manager Eugenio Dragoni, who only ever wanted an Italian to win, or due to the seemingly never ending run of casualties, Bandini killed at the ’67 Monaco GP and Mike Parkes severely injured at the ’67 Belgian GP.

Dragoni had been replaced by Franco Lini but even that didn’t work since the parlous state of Ferrari in late ’68 had left them unable to properly compete in ’69 and they only fielded one car 312GP for Chris Amon and after he resigned to drive for Brabham, Pedro Rodriguez. In sportscars they could barely field more than one 312P at any event while much of the Can Am effort was managed by NART and yet the funds from the Fiat sale were poured into developing an all new family of flat twelve engines that would make its debut in the 312B Formula 1 car in 1970. Porsche’s release of the 917 at the Salon de Geneve in early 1969 and its homologation shortly thereafter left Ferrari shocked but Mauro Foghieri decided that rebuilding the 612P to Group 4 spec would be their retort and with the finances available set to develop their own racer, the 512S. The 612P chassis was the basis with the front structure a spaceframe with aluminium plate as strengthening, with a separate rear tubular assembly for the engine and transmission.

The engine was also based on the new 60° V12 engine first seen in the 612P with reduced bore and stroke but retaining the 4 valves per cylinder heads and offering 560bhp in its initial 4994cc form. The bodywork was designed by Giacomo Caliri and made from ploycarbonate/fibreglass for light weight and featured a similar nose to the 312P. Ferrari had high hopes for 1970 and after all Porsche had only won the Zeltweg 1000km against weak competition, and for brief periods, especially after Sebring, it appeared the hopes might be realised. Ultimately Ferrari didn’t follow Porsche’ recipe for success and three major factors saw them fail. Firstly the new car was 80kg heavier than the Porsche 917 and despite the water cooling no more powerful, secondly Ferrari resolutely continued to run a works team rather than assisting surrogates to reduce costs while thirdly they were more than distracted by their concurrent Formula 1 campaign. The 25 examples were built by late 1969 and available for 2.4 million Lira (roughly $38k US) although like Porsche, most were deconstructed after homologation and only built up when sold or needed. Dragoni was replaced by Franco Cozzi, Enzo’s private secretary, who took over as Sporting director although in reality Mike Parkes was the team manager, day to day.

Daytona showed the 512S to be overweight and underpowered so Maranello used the six weeks before Sebring to redevelop the car in several respects. The bodywork was modified with a new squarer nose and Targa style Spider roof top in the quest for better aerodynamics and lighter weight while chassis work also lightened the car and work on the engine saw power rise to 575bhp. This paid instant dividends when the works Ferrari of Giunti/Vaccarella/Andretti won the Sebring 12 Hours although this was arguably due to higher than average decimation throughout the field. The following rounds saw the Ferrari effort outclassed by either the 917s or the 908/03 which dominated the Nuburgring. No less than eleven of the 25 512S appeared at Le Mans including four works cars where they met nine 917ks and 917ls, and the works 512s reverted to the much more aerodynamic 312P nose, Coupe roof and new Lungo (long) tail while most of the privateer 512s also featured the new Lungo tail. The new aero package saw immense speed on the Mulsanne but the increased braking pressure put immense stress onto the gearbox which wasn’t designed to cope with it.

For all the numerical advantage the 512s had they were never competitive with the 917k at any point during the Le Mans week and the third hour crash which saw the Regazzoni and Parkes 512s retire pretty much scuppered any chances they had. Ferrari were out of the running for either of the championships so they only sent two short tail 512S to compete at Watkins Glen where they were thoroughly outclassed. The final round was the Zeltweg 1000km which saw the prototipo of the new 512M make its debut. Starting with a much lighter chassis with less tubing and a lighter main front cross member, larger rear brakes, an uprated engine with chromed alloy cylinder liners and improved breathing capable of over 600bhp and all new bodywork. The new body consisted of lighter nose and tail sections and a coupe roof for the perfect aero package.

The CSI announced in late 1970 that 1971 would be the final year of the 5 litre Group 5 series and from 1971 they would rename the Group 6 3 litre series as the Group 5 although it would remain limited to 3 litre open topped Sports Prototypes. Ferrari chose to withdraw for the series and prepare their own new Group 6/5 Sports Prototipo based on the 312P fitted with the 312B Grand Prix engine with sleek new coachwork. This left only the privateer teams to run their 512S and eleven of them decided to return them to Ferrari to be rebuilt as 512Ms while another was converted into the unique 712 Can Am. The major teams, Filipinetti, Francorchamps, GELO and NART continued to be the major entrants of 512S/M while Roger Penske partnered with Kirk F. White and obtained Sunoco backing to run their own car. In the fashion Penske would become renowned for, his race crew rebuilt the car from front to back, they fitted a new pressurised fueling system, built in jack system and 600bhp Traco prepared engine.

Most of the privateer teams were mere grid fillers to the new 312PB and Porsche’ 908/03 and 917s although the new Sunoco/Penske 512M was always there or thereabouts. The Penske 512M was always fast, especially with Donohue at the wheel and took 3rd at Daytona before a fighting chance at Sebring ended with the Rodriguez/Donohue collision although it did recover to 6th. The European races were merely situation normal until Le Mans when a strong entry of nine 512S/M were present although only the Donohue/Hobbs Penske and Juncadella/Vaccarella entries were truly competitive. The Donohue/Hobbs entry was in 2nd when it pitted with an engine that was failing and refused to start while the Juncadella/Vaccarella entry was actually leading when the gearbox broke.

While the 512S/M only ever won Sebring 1970, the cars were often in with the chance of victory but often failed due to poor preparation and needless retirements which returns us to the original argument that but for an arrangement similar to the Porsche Gulf partnership the 512S/M might have overcome that obstacle. Regardless of preparation, ultimately though the story of the Ferrari 512 was one of development, both at the start where Porsche had almost a years start in which they could iron out issues pre 1970 and at the end where Ferrari gave up when further developments might have closed the gap. The end of 1971 saw these cars regulated into history and other than a few Can Am stints, they never raced again, at least until historic racing organisers like Peter Auto caught up and provided them with a venue to go and relive the glory days.

Individual 512S/M chassis histories:

#1002 – 512S – Escuderia Montjuich, E (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #9 Juncadella/Fernandez DNF, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #20 Juncadella/Pairetti 5th, Daytona 24 Hours #28 Juncadella/Merzario DNF, converted to 512M spec., Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #3 Juncadella/Hobbs 5th, Le Mans 3 Hours ’71 #15 Juncadella/Hobbs/Merzario DNF, Monza 1000km ’71 #7 Juncadella/Merzario DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #15 Juncadella/Vaccarella DNF, Austrian 1000km ’71 #30 Juncadella/Soler-Roig DNF, Robert Horne, UK ’74 (2), via Bob Houghton to Dieter Roschmann, Germany ’09 (3), via Fiskens for €12 mil to Carlos Monteverde, UK (4).

#1004 – 512S – Scuderia Ferrari, Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #27 Ickx/Schetty DNF, chassis repaired, Monza 1000km ’70 #2 Surtees/ Schetty 3rd, Targa Florio ’70 #6T Vaccarella/ Giunti DNS, renumbered #1024, Ecurie Francorchamps, BE (1), loaned to Solar Productions for the movie “Le Mans”, Herbie Muller Racing, CH ’70 (2), Manfred Lampe, USA and Europe ’79 (3), restored by Bob Houghton as a 512s Spider, classiche certified, via Girardo to Pierre Mellinger, CH ’17 (4).

#1006 – 512S – Luigi Chinetti/ NART Racing, USA (1), as #1006, Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #24 Bucknum/Posey/Everett DNF, Can Am conversion, later reconverted to 512S form, renumbered #1028, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #22 Posey/di Palma/ Garcia-Veiga 8th, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #23 Posey/Adamowicz 2nd, David Weir, UK/USA (2), Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #26 Parsons/Weir DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #16 Weir/ de Cadenet 4th, Gordon Tatum, MD, USA ’72 (3), Jeffrey & Marge Lewis, CA ’89 (4), Ihm, D ’96, Classiche certified. Still stamped #1028.

#1008 – 512S – Scuderia Filipinetti, CH (1), Nurburgring 1000km ’70 #59 Mueller/ Parkes 4th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 Bonnier/Wisell DNF, Herbie Muller ’70 (2), converted to 512M spec, Monza 1000km ’71 #11 Moretti/ Zseccoli 8th, Norisring ’71 #26 Pedro Rodriguez DNF/fatally crashed and destroyed. Replica by John Hajduk exists.

#1010 – 512S/712 Can Am – SEFAC Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #19 Andretti/Merzario DNF, Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #1 Ickx/Oliver 8th, Nurburgring 1000km ’70 #57 Giunti/ Merzario DNF, Watkins Glen ’70 #91 Ickx/ Schetty 5th, converted to 512M spec, Austrian 1000km ’70 #31 Ickx/ Giunti DNF, converted to 712 Can Am, raced in Interserie and Can Am ’71, NART, USA (1), Gordon Tatum, MD ’76 (2), Steve Forristall, TX ’86 (3), Albert Obrist, CH ’80s (4), via Christies Monaco ’90 Not sold, Cavallino Holdings/McCaw collection, WA, USA ’98 (5), via Christies New York ’00 $1.6 mil. to Carlos Monteverde, UK (6), via RM Monterey ’04 Not sold, Paul Knapfield/Provenance Collection, UK ’05 (7).

#1012 – 512S – SEFAC Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #2 Amon/Merzario 5th, Targa Florio ’70 #6 Vaccarella/ Giunti 3rd, Nurburgring ’70 #56 Surtees/Schetty DNS, renumbered #1024, Jacques Swaters, BE (1), Solar Productions ’70 (2), possibly confused with the other #1024 (#1004), Herbie Muller, CH (3), possibly sold to Italy, Manfred Lampe, USA ’79 (4), restored, via Bob Houghton to Peter Read, CA, USA (5)

#1014 – 512S/M Luigi Chinetti/NART racing, USA (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #25 Gurney/Parsons DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #11 Posey/Bucknum 4th, converted to 512M spec, Gregg Young (2), Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #20 Young/Gregort DNF, Sebring ’71 #20 Young/Gregory DNF, rebuilt as a 512M Spider, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #21 Gregg/ Young DNS, Kirk F. White, CA ’72 (3), Walt Medlin, FL ’72 (4), via Mike Sheehan to Giorgio Perfetti, CH ’94 (5).

#1016 – 512S – Scuderia Filipinetti, CH (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #3 Parkes/ Mueller 13th, Monza 1000km ’70 #4 Parkes/ Mueller 8th, Targa Florio ’70 #4 Parkes/ Mueller 6th, rebuilt with a long tail, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #15 Parkes/ Mueller DNF, Solar Productions for the movie Le Mans (on loan), Spa 1000km ’71 #28 Weisendanger/ Kocher DNF, Nurburgring 1000km ’71 #61 Wiesendanger/Kocher DNF, Austrian 1000km ’71 #23 Wiesendanger/Gregory DNS, via Lukas Huni to Chris Cord, CA, USA ’71 (2), via Harley Cluxton to Bob Rapp, NC, USA (3), via Christies Pebble Beach ’97, Brandon Wang, UK ’98 (4), via Brooks Gstaad ’99 CHF 1.874 mil. to unnamed, CA USA (5), Jean Guikas, France ’00 (6), Olivier Gazalieres (7), Carlos Monteverde, UK (8), via Franco Meiners to unnamed, Italy ’12 (9).

#1018 – 512S/M – GELO Racing Team, D (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #4 Loos/ Williams DNS, Monza 1000km ’70 #6 Loos/Pesch DNS, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #10 Loos/Kellener DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #33 Loos/Pesch DNF, Austrian 1000km ’70 #25 Loos/Pesch 7th, converted to 512M spec, Le Mans 3 Hours ’71 #10 Loos/Pesch NRF, Nurburgring 1000km ’71 #59 Loos/Pesch 9th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #10 Loos/Pesch DNF, Pierre Bardinon/Mas du Clos, France ’71 (2), Eiichi Ida, Japan (3), Mike Sheehan, CA, USA ’91 (4), Engelbert Stieger, CH ’91.

#1020 –  512S/M – Luigi Chinetti/NART (1), unused until converted to 512M, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #22 Posey/Revson/Parsons/Chinetti DNF, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #22 Revson/Savage DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 Posey/Adamovicz 3rd, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #14 Posey/Bucknum DNF, retained as part of the Chinetti collection, Lawrence Auriana, CT, USA ’05 (2), paid $1.8 mil.

#1022 – 512S/F – SEFAC, Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #26 Vaccarella/Giunti DNF, Corrado Manfredini/Scuderia Piccho Rosso (1), Monza 1000km ’70 #5 Manfredini/Moretti/ Merzario 9th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #16 Manfredini/Moretti DNF, converted to 512M spec, replaced by #1050, restamped as #1032, original #1022/1032 fitted with parts from #1048 and renumbered as such, returned to Scuderia Filipinetti (2), Monza 1000km ’71 #8 Bonnier/ Parkes DNF, rebuilt by Carrozzeria Silingardi and Mike Parkes as a 512F, entered for Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 but DNA due to strikes in Italy, David Piper, UK ’72 (3) as an incomplete rolling chassis, John Lewis ’74 (4), Steve O’Rourke ’78 (5), built up by Michael Cane, via Duncan Hamilton to Don Walker, TX, USA ’84 (6), Ed Swart, NL (7), Sander van der Velden, BE (8), Fritz Kroymans, NL (9), via Christies Monaco ’89 $1.301 mil. to Jean-Pierre van Rossem, Belgium (10), Marc Caveng, CH ’99 (11), Classiche certified ’06 as #1022 (after 35 years as #1048), via Kidston to Adrian Newey, UK ’07 (12).

#1024 – 512S/M – Alfredo Belponer/Scuderia Brescia Corse (1), never used as 512S, rebuilt in 512M spec, Monza 1000km ’71 #14 Pasotti/Facetti DNQ, Austrian 1000km ’71 #18 Pam/ Casoni 4th, Nick Dioguardi, CA, USA ’74 (2), G.E. Bud Keeny (3), Harley Cluxton, AZ (4), Dr. Jean Aussenac, France ’75 (5), Albert Uderzo ’81 (6), Charles Arnott, MD, USA ’90s (7), via SMC $1.8 mil. to Ed Davies, FL ’97 (8), restored, via RM Maranello ’08 €2.09 mil./$3.23 mil. to Harry Yeaggy, OH, USA (9), Steven Read, CA, USA ’10 (10).

#1026 – 512S – SEFAC, Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #28 Andretti/Merzario 3rd, Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #21 Giunti/Vaccarella 1st, Monza 1000km ’70 #1 Amon/Merzario 4th, Spa 1000km ’70 #22 Giunti/Vaccarella 4th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #7 Peterson/Bell DNF, Ecurie Francorchamps, BE (1), loaned to Solar Productions for Le Mans movie, destroyed, remains to Nick Mason, UK ’78 (2), restored by Church Green & Rosso Racing.

#1028 – 512S/M – Luigi Chinetti/NART, USA (1), renumbered #1006 before use, converted to full Spider, raced in Can Am, reconverted to Targa 512S form, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #23 Bucknum/Posey DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #14 Gregory/Eaton DNF, Harley Cluxton, AZ ’72 (2), Steve Earle, CA ’72 (3), Chris Cord (4), Otis Chandler ’76 (5), James W. Stollenwerck ’77 (6), Steve Griswold ’79 (7), via Rod Leach to Michael Vernon, UK ’79 (8), Peter Kaus/Rosso Bianco, Germany (9), unnamed (10), via Axel Schuette and Talacrest to Harry Leventis, UK ’99 (11), unnamed, Japan (12), Charles Wegner, IL, USA (13), Charles Arnott, MD ’02 (14), via RM Monterey ’05 $1.947 mil. to Skip Barber, CT (15), via RM Maranello ’07 €2.7 mil. to Howard Lutnick, NY ’07 (16).

#1030 – 512S/M –  Garage Francorchamps, BE (1), Spa 1000km ’70 #23 Bell/ de Fierlant 8th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #12 Walker/ de Fierlant 5th, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #18 Gosselin/ de Fierlant 6th, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #26 de Fierlant/ Gosselin DNF, converted to 512M spec, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #9 de Fierlant/ de Cadenet DNF, Alain de Cadenet, UK ’71 (2), Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #63 de Cadenet/ Motschenbacher 4th, Anthony Bamford ’72 (3), Philip Walters Dowell (4), unnamed (5), Nigel Chiltern-Hunt (6), Carlo Bonomi ’83 (7), R. Beckwith Smith ’92 (8), via Michael Sheehan ’94 (asking $995k), Terry Jones, NV, USA ’94 (9), Yoshiho Matsuda, Japan ’95 (10), via SMC ’99 (asking $1.95 mil.), Xavier Beaumartin, France ’99 (11), via Sothebys Maranello ’05 Not sold at €1.5 mil., via GTC, Nathan Kinch, UK (?), Blackbird Automotive, Hong Kong (?), via Jan Leuhn ’15.

#1032 – 512S – Scuderia Picchio Rosso/ Corrado Manfredini (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #30 Manfredini/ Moretti DNF, crashed at Coppa Verona ’70, engine and gearbox removed and the rest was scrapped, #1022 renumbered #1032.

#1034 – 512S – SEFAC, Le Mans ’70 #8 Merzario/Regazzoni DNF/crashed, returned to factory and scrapped.

#1036 – 512S/M –  SEFAC, used for testing, Ecurie Francorchamps, BE (1), without engine, Solar Productions Inc. for the movie “Le Mans” (2), Herbie Muller, CH ’70 (3), converted to 512M spec, converted to Can Am spider form, fitted with 5 litre, 5.7 litre and 7 litre engines, competed in Can Am and Interserie races through ’75, Manfred Lampe, MI, USA/UK and Germany ’77 (4), restored to 512M form.

#1038 – 512S – SEFAC, Spa 1000km ’70 #20 Ickx/Surtees 2nd, Le Mans #5 Ickx/ Schetty DNF, crashed, scrapped.

#1040 – 512S/M – Chris Cord and Steve Earle, CA, USA (1), raced in Can Am events, Roger Penske and Kirk F. White (2), converted to 512M, new Berry Palsti-Glass bodywork fitted, Traco prepared engine fitted, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #6 Donohue/Hobbs 3rd, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #6 Donohue/Hobbs 6th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #11 Donohue/Hobbs DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #6 Donohue/Hobbs DNF, Roberts Harrison, PA ’72 (3), restored by Steve Griswold, Peter Heuberger ’86 (4), via SMC (asking $2.5 mil.) to Carlos Monteverde, UK ’96 (5), via Talacrest (asking $1.7 mil) to Lawrence Stroll, Canada/Switzerland ’98 (6), restored by Bob Houghton.

#1042 – 512S – SEFAC, Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #20 Ickx/Schetty DNF, Monza 1000km ’70 #3 Giunti/Vaccarella 2nd, Nurburgring 1000km ’70 Surtees/ Vaccarella 3rd, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #92 Andretti/Giunti 3rd, Anthony Bamford, UK ’71 (1), Giuseppe Lucchini, Italy ’95 (2).

#1044 – 512S/M – SEFAC, Spa 1000km ’70 #21 Merzario/Schetty 7th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #6 Giunti/Vaccarella DNF, converted to 512M spec, Herbie Mueller, CH (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’71#1  Mueller/ Herzog 4th, Monza 1000km ’71 #12 Mueller/ Herzog 6th, Spa 1000km ’71 #26 Mueller/ Herzog 15th, Nurburgring 1000km ’71 #60 Mueller/ Herzog DNF, Austrian 1000km ’71 #22 Mueller/ Herzog DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #48 Mueller/ Eaton DNF, used in Can Am and Interserie events, crashed ’72 and rebuilt using a spare chassis ex Filipinetti, raced through ’75, Albert Obrist ’77 (2), Hartmut Ibing, D ’79 (3), Fabrizio Violatti, I (4), via SMC ’99 (asking $1.9 mil.), Nick Harley, UK (5), via Gregor Fisken to John Bosch, NL ’99 (6).

#1046 – 512S – Herbie Muller, CH (1), as a rolling chassis, built up ’71 as a Coda Lunga using parts from #1008, renumbered #1016, Klaus Scholtyssek, D ’79 (2?), Don Walker, TX, USA ’80s (3?), John Giordano, NJ ’92 (4?). Unique 512S

#1048 – 512S/M – SEFAC, used for testing, Scuderia Filipinetti, CH ’71 (1), Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #8 Parkes/Bonnier 7th, converted to 512M/F by Mikes Parkes, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #7 Parkes/ Pescarolo DNF, David B. Keller, USA ’72 (2), Harley Cluxton, AZ ’72 (3), G.E. “Bud” Keeney, CA ’73 (4), James Emert, AZ ’74 (5), Robert Donner, CO ’76 (6), Tom Hollfelder, CA ’92 (7).

#1050 – 512M – Built up ’71 as a 512M, Corrado Manfredini/Scuderia Picchio Rosso ’71 (1), Monza 1000km ’71 #9 Manfredini/Gagliardo DNF, Spa 1000km ’71 #32 Manfredini/Gagliardi/Parkes DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 Manfredini/Gagliardi DNF, via Crepaldi to Gaetan Tortora, France ’72 (2), Price Sangusko ’72 (3), restored, GTC ’95 (4), Claude & Marc Caveng ’95 (4).

Ford GT40

Little needs to be said about Ford other than to note that the eponymous company made Henry Ford, however briefly, one of the worlds 10 richest men. His passing lead to a modernisation of the firm and various investments that saw the firm decentralise in many areas which provided a firm foundation for future growth. By 1962 Ford executives Henry Ford II and Lee Iaccoca had already contemplated the idea of buying Ferrari and they considered the Italian firm a ready way to sell Ford motorcars, marketed as powered or bodied by Ferrari. Ferrari himself was sick and tired of being a car maker and while he needed the funds that auto production was bringing, he didn’t want the hassles of dealing with those that bought his cars. A letter was sent to Ford Germany and although it was ignored, an introduction had already been made via the Salon de Geneve.

Serious talks began to take place at Maranello with Ford Italiano chief Phil Paradise and the deal initially took shape with two companies to be formed, Ford-Ferrari to produce high powered sportscars and Ferrari-Ford to run a Ford funded but Ferrari controlled race team. These plans were enough to lead to a delegation from Dearborn visit Maranello for contract negotiations and while Enzo was happy with the $10 million price for the road car division he wasn’t happy with two factors in the contract. Firstly, Ford demanded the right for Carroll Shelby to continue to race in Sportscars, competition Enzo really didn’t want and the right to veto any Ferrari competition budget over what they were planning to spend in 1963. Enzo promptly balked at both of these Ford gambits and unilaterally cancelled any further negotiations.

Fords reaction was to go and beat Ferrari at their own game and commissioned Shelby to prepare and race Cobra’s in the 1964 season and even funded the new Cobra Daytona which was bodied by Carrozzeria Gransport, just up the road from Ferrari. They also began negotiations with Cooper, Lola and Lotus to supply a chassis for Prototype racing, Cooper was soon discounted while Lotus didn’t have the capacity to manage production and development of the intended Le Mans challenger. Lola was successfully campaigning their new Mark VI and Ford could see the potential for the aluminium chassis to form the basis for their prototype so promptly bought the rights to the chassis while also contracting Eric Broadley to come on board and join former Aston Martin team manager John Wyer and Mustang designer Roy Lunn as the designers. A special unit was established at Slough, near Heathrow airport and named Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) to prepare and produce the new car which was named the GT40 due to it being a GT and just 40 inches high.

Fords new car made its debut at the Nurburgring in May and was quick but flawed with aerodynamics and general reliability plaguing the development. Ford had had enough of the lengthy development with no reliability and transferred the team to Kar Kraft and Shelby American International (SAI) although other than one car winning Daytona in early 1965 it remained a year of development. Kar Kraft was a Ford subsidiary based in Detroit and they became responsible for stateside ccar prep. with production chassis built by FAV in steel, and fitted with bodywork by Abbey Panels, in the UK and shipped to dearborn. Among the developments were GT40 of all types switching to steel chassis from the prototypes aluminium, FAV beginning production of the Group 4/5 spec. production series which essentially followed the new aerodynamic package developed by SAI in a quest to reach the 50 examples to meet homologation requirements. The other major development was SAI deciding the answer was yet more power and developed the 427 cui engine that had been successfully raced in stockcar events and concurrent strengthening to allow the cars to handle the extra weight and power, creating the Mark II.

Bruce McLaren was supplied with one of the spare FAV aluminium chassis and the McLaren team, especially Howden Ganley, set to develop the car into a true racing weapon and starting with the Mark II spec., removing the roof structure entirely, fitting a different gearbox, and lightening every component. Further work was underway to race proof the GT40 Mark II for 1966 and while this made the car reliable at last while Ford invested enough that they could run as many as eight Mark IIs, the official teams including SAI, Holman & Moody, Ford France and Alan Mann. Instant success came with wins at Daytona and Sebring, the latter thanks to the ex McLaren spider while they didn’t bother with the other rounds of the championship, other than a single Alan Mann entry at Spa, to prepare for Le Mans. The eight cars at Le Mans were entered for the best drivers the world had on offer and the sheer investment was always going to outdo anything Ferrari could muster with Ford taking an easy win with the infamous McLaren finish leading home a 1-2-3. 1966 had seen Ford start development on their new and improved 1967 challenger, the J car/ Mark IV.

An all new car, other than the tried and tested 7 litre engine, the J car was developed entirely by Kar Kraft and the Brunswick Aircraft Corporation from honeycomb aluminium panels which were bonded together to form a lightweight, rigid “tub”.  This proved to be much lighter but the same strength as the GT40 Mark II and the first car was on test before Le Mans ’66 but was nowhere near ready so Ford chose to continue development with a view to use in 1967. The aerodynamics on the new car with its advanced breadvan type body were fatally flawed and when the prototype crashed in testing, killing Ken Miles, the project returned to Kar Kraft for a complete rethink. Shelby and Kar Kraft returned to work and developed all new bodywork that somewhat bridged the GT40 and J cars, creating the Mark IV which was a quantum shift away from the GT40 in every way.

Ford unsuccessfully campaigned the Mark IIs at Daytona although they were unbeatable at Sebring in the first of their two outings for the year. Le Mans 1967 was even better for Ford than 1966 had been so the sentiment was mission achieved when the CSI decided to ban the unlimited prototypes at the end of 1967. FAV had been left without a race program and when Ford closed the production line in 1966, John Wyer established JWA with John Willment to take over the Slough plants operations. They initially continued building and supplying GT40s while developing their own racing campaign while Gulf Oils Executive Vice President Grady Davis began to race his own GT40 which was supplied by John Wyer. When Davis got wind that Wyer was planning a race campaign Gulf agreed to sponsor the proposed team and the iconic light blue and marigold livery was born.

Gulf/JWA began to race their Ford GT40s at Daytona in early 1967 but Monza saw the debut of the JWA built Mirage M-1 which was based on a standard GT40 chassis that JWA had lightened but with radically revised bodywork featuring a much narrower upper structure and revised tail bodywork. Throughout the year Gulf/JWA ran the standard Shelby 289cui V8 (4.7 litres) but soon moved up to 302cui (5.0 litres) and then to 351cui (5.7 litres) providing useful extra grunt. Against the Ferrari 330P4s and GT40s in either Mark II or Mark IV guise, the Mirage M-1 was always at least a little undergunned although the year at least provided plenty of testing and they even won at Spa although competition was limited. When that competition was banned in late 1967, the door was left wide open for John Wyer to use his knowledge of CSI rules to best effect and he decided to convert the Mirage M-1s back to Group 5 form although he ensured only the minimum modifications were made. The Gulf Fords only faced true competition from Porsche with their 907, 910 and (new) 908 race cars and despite their outdated GT40, they had more than enough pace and in Pedro Rodriguez and Jacky Ickx the and race craft to realise John Wyers abilities.

1968 proved to be pretty much a walkover for the Gulf/JWA GT40s with wins at Monza, Brands Hatch, Watkins Glen and Le Mans giving them the Sportscar Championship. 1969 saw Gulf/JWA enter the GT40s at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans winning the latter two although with strong opposition from the 908 they decided to concentrate on the M2 elsewhere. Like everyone else, Gulf/JWA had believed the future was the 3 litre Group 6 category and hired Len Terry to develop the M2 racecar which was initially designed for the new Cosworth V8. Alan Mann racing managed to snaffle the 1968 supply for sportscars and Terry had to redevelop the car with a heavy rear substructure to hold the underpowered 24 valve BRM V12 engine. Further tortured development saw them receive the Cosworth V8 supply in early 1969 when they had finally received the long promised 48 valve BRM engine.

The Cosworth engine allowed fitting as a stressed member so the revised M3 was built while the BRM could be fitted as is although both versions remained too heavy so Terry converted the sole M3 to spider format. The M3 Spider finally saw some success at the end of season non championship Imola 500km although by this time, JWA/Gulf had already signed a contract to prepare and race a works supported team of Porsche 917s so the remaining Mirage were sold off at the end of the year although the marque would return in 1972 when Group 6 resumed as the premiere category.

Individual Gulf GT40 chassis histories:

#M.10001 – Mirage M1 – Gulf/JWA, 289cui engine fitted, Le Mans trials ’67 Attwood, 305cui engine fitted, Monza 1000km ’67 Ickx/Rees DNF, Spa 1000km ’67 Piper DNF, 351cui engine fitted, Nurburgring 1000km ’67 Ickx/Attwood DNF, 305cui engine fitted, Le Mans 24 Hours ’67 Piper/Thompson DNF, Malcolm Guthrie, UK (1), Frank Williams ’72 (2), Derek Robinson (3), Anthony Hutton (4), Paul Weldon ’74 (5), David Mulvaney (6), Harley Cluxton, AZ, USA ’74 (7), Jo Schoen ’78 (8), Terry Clark ’79 (9), the Chequered Flag and Blackhawk, unknown (10).

#M.10002 – Mirage M1 – Gulf/JWA, 289cui engine fitted, Le Mans trials ’67 Piper, Monza 1000km ’67 Piper/Thompson 9th, Nurburgring 1000km ’67 Thompson DNS/ wrecked, scrapped after return to JWA, some parts apparently fitted to #1075.

#M.10003 – Mirage M1 – Gulf/JWA, 305cui engine fitted, Spa 1000km ’67 #6 Ickx/Thompson 1st, 351 cui engine fitted, Le Mans ’67 #15 Ickx/Muir DNF, 305cui engine fitted, Brands Hatch 6 Hours ’67 #3 Rodriguez/Thompson DNF, rebuilt as GT40 #1074.

#1004/1084 – GT40 – Shelby USA (SAI), built up as a 325cui race car, loaned to Rob Walker, 289 cui engine fitted, Le Mans 24 Hours ’65 #7 Bondurant/Maglioli DNF, used on the Cobra Caravan tour, stored at FAV UK, sold to JWA (1) and rebuilt by them to Gulf team spec, Spa 1000km ’68 #34 Hawkins/Hobbs 4th, Rodney Clarke, UK (2), stored, Martin Colvill ’81 (3), crashed and rebuilt, Anthony Bamford ’90s (4),via Duncan Hamilton (asking $6 mil.) to ROFGO Collection ’09 (5).

#1074 – M1/GT40 – Rebuilt from Mirage M.10003 to Group 4 spec, JWA/ Gulf Racing (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’68 #9 Hawkins/ Hobbs 2nd, Sebring 12 Hours ’68 #29 Hawkins/Hobbs NC, Monza 1000km ’68 #40 Hawkins/Hobbs 1st, Nurburgring 1000km ’68 #66 Hobbs/Redman 6th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’68 #10 Hawkins/Hobbs DNF, Brands Hatch 6 Hours ’69 #10 Hobbs/Hailwood 5th, David Brown, USA (2), Solar Productions (3), used as a camera car, Harley Cluxton (4), Anthony Bamford, UK ’71 (5), Harley Cluxton, AZ, USA ’79 (6), Steve Juda (7), Bob Richmond ’80 (8), stored in Belgium, George Stauffer ’83 (9), via Adrian Hamilton & Harley Cluxton to Jamey Mazzotta ’84 (10), via Williams/Clyne ’92 to Bernie Carl (11), via RM Monterey ’12 $11 million to Miller Family ’12 (12).

#1075 – M1/GT40 – Built new to Mirage spec, JWA/Gulf Racing (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’68 Ickx/Redman DNF, Sebring 12 Hours ’68 Ickx/Redman DNF, Brands Hatch 6 Hours ’68 Ickx/ Redman 1st, Monza 1000KM ’68 Ickx/ Redman DNF, Nurburgring 1000km ’68 Ickx/ Hawkins 3rd, Spa 1000KM ’68 Ickx/ Redman 1st, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’68 Ickx/ Bianchi 1st, Le Mans ’68 Rodriguez/ Bianchi 1st, Daytona 24 Hours ’69 Hobbs/Hailwood DNF, Sebring 12 Hours ’69 Ickx/Oliver 1st, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 Ickx/Oliver 1st, returned to Gulf HQ, USA, Indy Museum (on loan), Harley Cluxton, AZ ’84 (2), Rob Walton ’90s (3).

#1076 – JWA/Gulf Racing, Le Mans 24 Hours ’68 Muir/Oliver DNF, Daytona 24 Hours ’69 Ickx/Oliver DNF, Sebring 12 Hours ’69 Hobbs/Hailwood DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 Hobbs/Hailwood 3rd, David Brown, USA (2), Harry Heinl ’72 (3), Fred Knoop ’76 (4), restored by Griswold, Joel E. Finn (5), Otis Chandler (6), Chuck Kendall (7), Leslie Barth ’84 (8), Harry Yeaggy, OH ’96 (9).

Porsche 917

Porsche had been developing their 2 litre racers from the late 718s through the 904 and 906 to their ultimate expression in the 910 when they released the rather advanced if flawed 907. The 907 featured the same platform as the 906 but radically aerodynamic bodywork and while they considered the 2 litre 8 cylinder engine, the more reliable 2 litre 6 cylinder was chosen. Making its debut at the 1967 Le Mans these cars managed to put out just 220bhp but were able to top 300km/h on the Mulsanne Straight courtesy of extreme weight loss and the lowest CD ever seen on a Porsche automobile. Porsche hedged their bets at Le Mans and entered two 907s, two 910s and a 906 so while they were slower than the 4 litre Ferrari and 7 litre Fords, the Siffert/Herrmann 907 lead home a fine 5-6-7 finish for the Stuttgart firm. Late 1967 saw Porsche move to develop the full 3 litre Flat 8, Group 6 908 by extending the relatively new 911 engine as seen in the 906 with an extra 2 cylinders and increasing the bore and stroke, giving Porsche its first fully competitive engine, capable of a reliable 350bhp.

The 908 was also the first car designed under the auspices of Prof. Piech rather than Ferry Porsche so signaled the changing of the guard. Aware of the rather lengthy development the team also redeveloped the 907 with short tail bodywork, suitable for use at tracks other than Le Mans and the 906s and 910s were sold off. The late 1960s were the most fertile period for Porsche’ race team so while the race team were off trying to compete with the Gulf/JWA Fords, Porsche engineers were working a new Spider variant of the 908 and an all new car that would shock the racing world. To the outside world Porsche were only interested in the Group 6 Championship and their media team ensured that was well portrayed although Piech and race car designer Hans Mezger were already exploring other avenues allowed by the shift to a minimum production of 25 examples.

By mid 1968 they had already designed a 4.5 litre air cooled Flat 12 by mating two 911 engines in a row and built a 908 based chassis in alloy that would form the basis for the prototype 917. This new engine produced 580bhp in its first guise with central power take off from the crankshaft and a new gearbox that could take either 4 or 5 gearsets with independent suspension all round. French aerodynamics expert Charles Deutsch was hired to design longtail fibreglass bodywork with the lowest CD rating in the quest for maximum top speed and this was tested throughout 1968 while Mezgers team worked to create the lightest car possible. Various factors made the 917 dangerous at launch, the Flat 12 engine was much longer than the 908s and the answer was to move the drivers seat further forward so that the drivers feet were in front of the front wheels, the car was also prone to lift and suffered from chassis flex. The racing world, especially Porsche’ competitors, were shocked and wrong footed when Porsche released the new car at the Salon de Geneve and many didn’t believe that they could be bold enough to make 25 of them. The CSI inspectors refused to homologate the 3 cars then existing in early 1969 but when they returned on April 20th the 25 gleaming 917s sat outside the factory and they were promptly passed although most were deconstructed immediately and only a handful actually existing at any one time in 1969.

Porsche’ 917 development was slow and they missed Monza, the cars debut coming at Spa where noone wanted to drive either of the two 917s present and the one car didn’t even complete a lap although Siffert/Redman took the win in their 908. The next race at the Nurburgring followed further testing in which the 917 had been deemed fast but dangerously flawed and the works drivers refused to participate, leaving the works team without any drivers so Frank Gardner and David Piper were rushed in to drive. Gardner and Piper managed a very cautious race preferring to finish than destroy a car that wanted to shake itself apart and managed 8th although the 917 was totally unsuitable for the Nurburgring track. The next race was Le Mans and Porsche were desperate for some successes at last so they had revised the engine and seen an increase to 580bhp and a reduce in the anti dive device to try and reduce the tail lift issues. Porsche had fitted small adjustable rear wings and despite adjustable aerodynamic devices being banned by the CSI, the Le Mans organisers saw sense and allowed them to be used for one last time.

Porsche arrived with an immense Le Mans entry of a semi works 908/02 Spider in long tail form, four full works 908 long tail Coupes and four 917s, one a spare and one the first 917 sold to a private race team. 917s had been available since the Salon de Geneve and at 140,000DM ($35k USD) were priced to sell but their fearsome reputation stopped them selling, until John Woolfe decided to take the plunge and bought and entered a semi works 917 with co-pilot Digby Maitland. Woolfe was a strange first client, having only ever raced some rather slow Chevrons and a Lola T70 Chevrolet and Maitland soon pulled out of the race although Porsche substituted works driver Herbert Linge who was fast enough to set the 9th fastest time in qualifying. Rolf Stommelen set pole in the works 917, setting a new lap record and Elford in the other 917 locked out the front row. The last ever Le Mans start saw the various starting drivers, incl. Woolfe, run across, start up and set off although unfortunately Woolfe didn’t heed Porsche pleas to let Linge start and didn’t do up his belts and when he got two wheels onto the grass at Maison Blanche the twitchy car crashed and the poor Englishman was thrown out and died soon afterwards.

The other two 917s were the class of the field and they were running in 1-2 for most of early running until the Stommelen/Ahrens car went out with gearbox failure although the Elford/Attwood 917 continued to dominate until 10am when they too were defeated by a broken gearbox. Ickx/Oliver in the JWA/Gulf GT40 and the Porsche 908 of Herrmann/Larrousse were on it all the way to the end and by using the racecraft he would be known for Ickx managed to slipstream the 908 on the last lap and hold on to win by just 10 seconds, the closest ever finish at Le Mans. The Austrian 1000km was the final race of the Sportscar Championship and Porsche entered a works 917 along with David Piper in his newly purchased 917 and Siffert/Ahrens managed to nurse the 917 home to win from a fairly sparsely populated field. Porsche had realised that a new vision was necessary for success in 1970 so gave up trying to build, prepare and race the 917s and approached John Wyer after the Austrian 1000km and signed a contract for them to become one of the two works teams in 1970.

JWA engineer John Horsman and Porsche engineers held lengthy tests at the Zeltweg track where they cobbled together a new upswung tail that gave the 917 the stability it needed which gave the drivers the confidence to race it at speed at the cost of absolute top speed. Porsche now had a tested car capable of winning anywhere and supplied Gulf with 3 – 4 917s and supplied two 917s to the semi autonomous Porsche Salzburg team while all of the 917 fleet were converted to the new 917K format. The extra eight months of development had allowed the Porsche engineers the space to develop the 917 into a successful race car although they didn’t stop there, pushing on with development of a Spider 908PA for Jo Siffert to race in Interserie and Can Am racing which effectively formed the basis for the 917Ks tail. Further Porsche engineers were freed up to develop a 4.9 litre Flat 12 capable of 600bhp and new Lang Heck bodywork that was incredibly fast but prone to instability.

Race management by JWA/Gulf made the 917 literally unbeatable, winning every round they entered except two. Higher than usual decimation throughout the field saw Ferrari take a lucky win at Sebring while the Herrmann/Attwood Porsche Salzburg 917K managed to turn a very cautious race strategy into Porsche first Le Mans. Elsewhere Porsche developed the ultimate 908 in the short wheelbase 908/03 which was raced by Porsche Salzburg and Gulf Racing with success at the Targa Florio and Nurburgring 1000km. 1971 proved to be more of the same although the Porsche Salzburg team was replaced by Hans Peter Dechents Martini Racing as the second semi works team and Porsche developed a full 620bhp 5 litre Flat for the 917 as well as a new 917/10 for Can Am. Not content to stop there Porsche developed a new magnesium chassis for use at Le Mans along with the 917/20 aka Pink Pig which took the aerodynamic theories of the 917L to its ultimate extent.

While it was a year of mixed fortunes, JWA/Gulf did well enough to set records at Monza and Spa for the fastest road races ever held and won at will. While they lost to the Alfa T33/3 at the slower tracks, Targa Florio, Brands Hatch and Watkins Glen it was the loss of Pedro Rodriguez, who was killed at the Norisring in an Interserie race he shouldn’t have even been entered in, that most hurt the team. Elsewhere JWA/Gulf also lost at Le Mans where they took a punt on the 917L which was quick but flawed versus the new magnesium chassis 917K entered by Martini Racing that set a record for the furthest distance covered that would stand until 2010. Porsche had won Le Mans twice, the Sportscar championship twice and generally dominated so it was no surprise when they were banned in favour of the 3 litre Group 6 although Porsche had one last trick up their sleeve when they trialled a V16 Can Am challenger before launching the ultimate 1200bhp twin turbo V12 917/30.

To race the 917/30, Porsche partnered with Penske and Sunoco who themselves hired Mark Donohue and they dominated that series to the extent that they were banned there too. Porsche had immense success with the 917 finally achieving their 18 year long quest to win Le Mans but more than that, the technology helped shape Porsche race and production cars for a decade or more.

#917-001 – LH/K – Porsche KG, shown at the Salon de Geneve ’69, used for testing, converted to K and redone as #917-023, retained for the Porsche Museum

#917-002 – LH – Porsche KG, Le Mans test ’69 #34 Stommelen, used for testing, scrapped.

#917-003 – LH – Porsche KG, Le Mans test ’69 #46, Spa 1000km ’69 #31 Siffert/ Redman DNS, used for testing, scrapped.

#917-004/017 – LH/K – Porsche KG, Nurburgring 1000km ’69 #61 Gardner/Piper 8th, converted to 917K, JWA/Gulf (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #9 Siffert/ Redman DNF, Spa 1000km ’70 #25 Rodriguez/Kinnunen DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #20 Siffert/Redman DNF, parts used to rebuild #917-017, chassis and remains to Alan Hamilton, Australia (2), Burke (3), OEM engine, gearbox and suspension fitted, David Piper, UK (4), via the Auction ’92 and Brooks ’96 Not Sold both times, Abba Kogan, Monaco (5), via Fiskens ’04 to Miguel Amaral, Portugal ’05 (6), Gunnar Jeanette, USA (7), restoration begun by Kerry Morse, Bruce Canepa (8), restoration completed. Canepa asking $25 mil. in 2016.

#917-005 – LH – Porsche KG, John Woolfe, UK (1), Le Mans ’69 #10 Woolfe/Linge DNF/Fatal crash, remains returned to John Woolfe Racing, Willi Kauhsen, Germany ’08 (2), rebuilt by Willi Kauhsen and Dave Seabrook with assistance from Norbert Singer. (ED – unknown what might have remained post ’69)

#917-006 – LH/L – Porsche KG, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 #T Spare, rebuilt as 917L #917-040, fitted with Sera designed Longtail coachwork, crashed in testing and scrapped. Parts rebuilt in #917-024.

#917-007 – LH/L – Porsche KG, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 #14 Stommelen/ Ahrens DNF, Gesipa (1), converted to K spec, Monza 1000km ’70 #14 Neuhaus/ Kelleners 10th, Spa 1000km ’70 #30 Neuhaus/ Kelleners 17th, Nurburgring 1000km ’70 #54 Neuhaus/ Kelleners DNF, converted to 917 Spider form, raced in Interserie, 5 litre engine fitted, Blatzheim (2), converted back to Coupe form, Auto-Fox Racing (3), returned to 917K spec, Peter Kaus/Rosso Bianco Museum (on loan), via Jean Guikas ’14 to Francois Febre, BE (4).

#917-008 – LH – Porsche KG, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 #12 Elford/Attwood DNF, used for testing, development car for the 917K, Scrapped.

#917-009 – LH/K – Porsche KG, entered by Karl von Wendt, Austrian 1000km ’69 #29 Siffert/Ahrens 1st, converted to K spec, Gulf/ JWA (1), Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #14 Siffert/Redman DNF, Monza 1000km ’70 #8 Siffert/Redman 12th, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #8  Rodriguez/Redman 4th, Vasek Polak, USA ’72 (2), said to have been sold to Argentina? (3), discovered by Dale Miller and restored by Freisinger, Charles Nearburg, TX, USA ’12 (4?).

#917-010 – LH/K – David Piper, UK (1), Austrian 1000km ’69 #30 Attwood/Redman 3rd, converted to K spec, Buenos Aires 1000km ’69 #28 Piper/Redman DNF, Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #4 Dean/Gregg DNF, Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #14 Piper/Hobbs DNS, Monza 1000km ’70 #11 Piper/Adamowicz DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #43 Cabral/Adamowicz DNF, 5 litre engine fitted, retained by Piper. Replica built for Carlos Monteverde.

#917-011 – K – Porsche Salzburg (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #3 Ahrens/Elford DNF, Targa Florio ’70 #3 DNS/Crashed and scrapped.

#917-012/021 – K – Loaned to Firestone for testing at Daytona late ’69, chassis used to rebuild #917-021 which then became #917-012/021, Team AAW/ Martini Racing/Dechent (1), repainted in Hippy livery, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #35 van Lennep/ Larrousse 9th, returned to Porsche, engine removed and fitted to #917/01-021, Freisinger Motorsports (2), Joachim Grossman ’77 (3), Gerry Sutterfeld ’84 (4), Don Marsh ’95 (5), Bob Rahal ’02 (6), Juan Barazi, UK ’03 (7), Vincent Gaye, BE ’07 (8).

#917-013/034 – K – JWA/Gulf (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #T Spare, Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #15 Rodriguez/Kinnunen 4th, loaned to Solar Productions, crashed by David Piper, rebuilt on/replaced by chassis #917-034. Chassis #013 possibly the spare chassis with Bill Bradley.

#917-014/029 – K – JWA/Gulf (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #1 Siffert/ Redman 2nd, Spa 1000km ’70 #24 Siffert/ Redman 1st, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #1 Siffert/ Redman 2nd, retained by Porsche for their museum/ on loan to Langenburg Museum.

#917-015/035 – K – Daytona 24 Hours ’70 #2 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen 1st, Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #T Spare, Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #T Spare, Spa 1000km ’70 #T Spare, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #T Spare, Austrian 1000km ’70 #T Siffert/Kinnunen/Rodriguez, chassis returned to Porsche, chassis #035 fitted during rebuild and renumbered #015, original chassis #015 eventually renumbered #035 and used to construct #917/01-021 for Team AAW in ’70, #917/01-021 eventually rebuilt as both #917-015 and 917/01-021 from ’97. #015 sold to Kevin Jeanette/Gunnar Racing and restored, via Canepa ’14 (asking $25 mil.).

#917-016 – K – JWA/Gulf (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #10 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen 1st, Monza 1000km ’70 #7 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen 1st, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #21 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #2 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen 1st, Austrian 1000km ’70 #22 Rodriguez/ Kinnunen DNF, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #T Spare, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #T Spare, Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #T Spare, Monza 1000KM ’71 #T Spare, Spa 1000km ’71 #T Spare, Austrian 1000km ’71 #T Spare car, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #T Spare, returned to Porsche,  Gerry Sutterfield, USA ’74 (2), Chris McAllister ’96 (3).

#917-017 – K – Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #1 Siffert/ Bell DNF, Monza 1000km ’71 #1 Siffert/ Bell 2nd, Austrian 1000km ’71 #15 Siffert/ Bell DNF, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #2 Bell/ Attwood 3rd, Gerry Sutterfeld ’75 (2), Waldren (3), Otis Chandler ’70s (4), Bruce McCaw ’92 (5).

#917-018 – K – Alexander Solger-Roig, Spain (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #19 DNS?, Escuderia National, Brazil (2), Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #28 Fittipaldi/ Reutemann DNF, Chuck Stoddard, USA ’75 (3), restored.

#917-019 – K – Porsche Salzburg (on loan), Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #16 Elford/ Ahrens DNF, repaired at Stuttgart, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #31 Elford/ Hulme 4th, Austrian 1000km ’70 #T Elford/Attwood/Ahrens/Marko, loaned to Martini Racing, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #36 Marko/ van Lennep DNF, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #3 Marko/ Lins DNF, Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #8 Elford/ Redman DNF, Monza 1000km ’71 #4 Marko/ van Lennep DNF, Spa 1000km ’71 #23 Marko/ van Lennep DNF, returned to Stuttgart, Vasek Polak, USA ’72 (1), Collier Collection ’91 (2).

#917-020 – K – Porsche Salzburg (on loan), Sebring 12 Hours ’70 #17 Herrmann/ Lins DNF, Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #12 Herrmann/ Attwood 3rd, Monza 1000km ’70 #9 Herrmann/ Attwood DNF, Targa Florio ’70 #T Spare car, Spa 1000km ’70 #29 Attwood/ Herrmann 6th, 4.9 litre engine fitted, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #24 Spare,  Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’70 #32 Attwood/ Ahrens 6th, Austrian 1000km ’70 #29 Ahrens/ Marko DNF, H.D. Dechent/ Martini Racing (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #4 Elford/ van Lennep Spare, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #3 Elford/ Larrousse 1st, Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #9 van Lennep/ Larrousse 9th, Monza 1000km ’71 #3 Elford/ Larrousse DNF, Spa 1000km ’71 #22 Elford/ Larrousse DNF, disassembled at Stuttgart, Vasek Polak, USA ’71 (2), renumbered #023, Matsuda Collection, Japan ’70s (3), Vasek Polak, USA ’98 (4), restored as #020, via RM ’99 $995k, SMC ’01 $1.95 mil, Frank Gallogly (5), Wayne Jackson ’02 (6), offered at Christies Retromobile ’03 not sold $1.65 mil. high bid, Chris d’Ansembourg, BE ’05 (7).

#917-021/012 – K – K. Wihuri/Team AAW (1), Monza 1000km ’70 #12 van Lennep/ Laine 11th, Spa 1000km ’70 #43 van Lennep/ Laine 5th, Nurburgring 1000km ’70 #49 Toivonen/ Axelsson DNS, David Piper/ AAW (2), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #18 – van Lennep/ Piper DNF, car rebuilt at Stuttgart with chassis #012 (see under that number), engine fitted to #917/01-021 (totally different car). Supposedly remains incl. chassis to David Piper, UK ’72 (2), Vic and Peter Norman (3), Peter Kaus, D ’89 (4), Louwman Group, NL ’05 (5), Christian Zugel, USA ’08 (6), restored by Gunnar Racing, possibly sold to Europe in ’14.

#917-022 – K – via Jo Siffert to Solar Productions (1), Team Auto Dusau (2), Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #48 Jost/ Monguzzi Disq., Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #10 Jost/ Kauhsen 6th, Monza 1000km ’71 #6 Kausen/ Jost 7th, Spa 1000km ’71 #25 – Kauhsen/Jost 4th, Nurburgring 1000km ’71 #55 Kauhsen/ Jost 6th, Brian Redman, UK ’75 (3), Richard Attwood ’78 (4), via RM Monterey ’00 $1.32 mil. to Frank Gallogly (5), Jerry Seinfeld ’02 (6).

#917-023 – K – Porsche Salzburg (on loan?) (1), Brands Hatch 1000km ’70 #11 Elford/ Hulme 2nd, Monza 1000km ’70 #10 Elford/ Ahrens DNF, 4.9 litre engine fitted, Spa 1000km ’70 #28 – Elford/ Ahrens 3rd, 4.5 litre engine fitted, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #23 Herrmann/ Attwood 1st, Austrian 1000km ’70 #21 Elford/ Attwood 4th, Martini Racing (2), Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #38 Elford/ Larrousse Disq, Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #4 Elford/ van Lennep DNF, dissasembled at Stuttgart, Vasek Polak, USA ’71 (3), built up as #020, Matsuda Collection, Japan ’80 (4), via SMC ’99 (asking $3.5 mil.) to Julio Palmaz, USA ’00 (5), Carlos Monteverde, UK ’11 (6).

#917-024 – LH – Porsche KG, used for testing, renumbered #917-002, renumbered #917-005, Spa 1000km ’69 #31 Mitter/ Schutz DNF, Nurburgring 1000km ’69 #63 DNS, Le Mans 24 Hours ’69 #15 Redman/ Linge/ Lins DNS, used for testing. Scrapped.

#917-024-2 – K – Jo Siffert (1), leased to Solar Productions, Mr. Pruir, France (2), restored with a new chassis, original retained, Jean-Pierre Clement (3), restored by Modena Motorsport with original chassis, Gooding Pebble ’14 withdrawn, Gooding Pebble ’17 sold $14.08 mil.

#917-025 – K – Team Zitro, CH (1), Raced in various events, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #34 Martin/ Brea 10th, Le Mans 3 Hours ’71 #57 Martin DNP, Monza 1000km ’71 #5 Martin/ Pillon 9th, Spa 1000km ’71 #24 Martin/ Pillon DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #57 Martin/ Pillon DNF, Emerson Fittipaldi ’72 (2), raced in South America, David Piper, UK ’82 (3), Collier Collection, USA ’84 (4), Peter Vogele, CH ’05 (5).

#917-026 – K – JWA/Gulf (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #22 Hobbs/Hailwood DNF, Chassis #026 rebuilt as #031 in Interserie Spider form. Team Shell/ Heckersbruch (2), raced in Interserie, Georges Loos/ GELO Team (3), raced through ’73, Freddy Chandon ’74 (4), Mike Amalfatino, USA ’78 (5), via Bonhams Quail Lodge ’09 $3.967 mil. to Shaun Lynn, UK ’10 (6), restored by Gunnar Racing to Gulf Coupe form.

#917-027 – PA – Porsche KG. Built as a PA/Can Am Spider in late ’69, first car to be fitted with a tail that would be called 917K type, tested widely ’70 & ’71, 16 cylinder engine fitted June ’71. Retained in Porsche Museum.

#917-028 – PA – Porsche KG. Built as a PA/Can Am Spider, raced by Jo Siffert (1), raced in Can Am ’69, Vasek Polak Racing ’71 (2), raced by Milt Minter, Sam Posey and others in Can Am, 4.5 litre Turbo engine fitted, converted to 917/10 form ’73, restored as a PA, Collier Collection, USA ’91 (3).

#917-029/014 – K – Renumbered #917-014 for Carnet purposes, JWA/Gulf (1), Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #30 Siffert/ Bell 1st, 5 litre engine fitted, Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #6 Siffert/ Bell 3rd, Spa 1000km ’71 #20 Siffert/ Bell 2nd, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #1 Siffert/ van Lennep 2nd, donated to ONS for use in training and destroyed.

#917-030 – K – Martini Racing (1), Austrian 1000km ’71 #28 Larrousse/ Marko DNF, used to test Teldix ABS racing. Rebuilt as a unique roadcar for Count Manfredo Rossi di Montelara, Italy (2).

#917-031/026 – K/PA – JWA/Gulf Engineering (1), chassis renumbered #917-026 to replace the car crashed at Le Mans, 4.9 litre engine fitted, Austrian 1000km ’70 #23 Siffert/ Redman 1st, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #1 Siffert/ Bell 5th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #19 Attwood/ Muller 2nd, rebuilt with Spider bodywork, Ernst Kraus/ Team Boeri (2), raced in Interserie ’72, 5.4 litre engine fitted, Vasek Polak, USA ’73 (3), Jeff Hayes (4), restored to Gulf form, via Gunnar to Jean-Marc Luco (5), ROFGO/ Roald Goethe, UK (6).

#917-032 – K – Porsche KG, used for testing, scrapped. Dirk Sadlowski claims to own this car in Germany.

#917-033 – PA – Spare chassis, built up as a PA Spider, Alan Hamilton, Australia (1), Jean-Claude Miloe, France ’82 (2).

#917-034/013 – K – Built up and renumbered #917-013 for Carnet reasons, Gulf/JWA (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’71 #2 Rodriguez/ Oliver 1st, Monza 1000km ’71 #2 Rodriguez/ Oliver 1st, Austrian 1000km ’71 #16 Rodriguez/ Attwood 1st, engine removed and used for exhibition, Mark Finburgh, UK ’74 (1).

#917-035/015 – K – Built up with parts from #917-015, Gulf/JWA, 4.9 litre engine fitted, Buenos Aires 1000km ’71 #1 Rodriguez/ Oliver 2nd, Brands Hatch 1000km ’71 #7 Rodriguez/ Oliver DNF, Spa 1000km ’71 #21 Rodriguez/ Oliver 1st, Watkins Glen 6 Hours ’71 #2 Bell/ Attwood 3rd, retained by Porsche for promotional use at Weissach. Retained in Porsche Museum.

#917-036 – K – Chassis only, Georges Valario (1), built up, Dave Morgan, USA ’80 (2), Tom Congleton ’86 (3), Jeff Lewis ’96 (4), Rudolf Junco ’98 (5), offered at Poulain Monaco ’00 Not Sold $995k, Jean Guiattard (6), Richard Mille ’13 (7?).

#917-037 – K – Claimed chassis only (Naher says never built), Marco Marinello ’78 (1), Carl Thompson, USA ’03 (2), built up by Gunnar Restorations, Freisinger, Germany ’06 (3), Greg Galdi ’10 (4), Claudio Roddaro, Monaco ’16 (5). Martini & Rosso livery.

#917-040 – L/LH – Built up on chassis #917-006, renumbered and scrapped.

#917-041 – LH – Porsche KG, Le Mans ’70 test weekend #21 Herrmann/ Linge, tested, scrapped or Freisinger Motorsport ’72 (1), Guy Chasseuil/ Sonauto (2), Olivier Boyadjian ’92 (3).

#917-042 – LH – Porsche KG, loaned to Porsche Salzburg, Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #25 Elford/ Ahrens DNF, tested, disassembled, rebuilt ’71, Martini Racing (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #21 Elford/ Larrousse DNF, retained for Porsche Museum collection.\

#917-043 – LH – Porsche KG, loaned to Martini Racing Team (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #3 Larrousse/ Kauhsen 2nd, tested, disassembled, rebuilt, Dechent (on loan), Le Mans 3 Hours ’71 #21 Bell DNF, Gulf/JWA (on loan) Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #18 Rodriguez/ Oliver DNF, either scrapped (Naher) or rebuilt as #917-044. Some claims that Willi Kauhsen has a #917-043.

#917-044 – LH – Porsche KG, either spare chassis or #917-043 rebuilt, Vasek Polak, USA (1), renumbered #917-043?, via SMC, via Christies Pebble Beach ’98 Not sold $1.045 mil., Fred Simone ’00 (2).

#917-045 – LH – Porsche KG, built up, JWA/Gulf (on loan), Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #17 Siffert/ Bell DNF, permanent loan to Le Mans Museum, France.

#917-051 – K – Porsche KG, Magnesium chassis. Used for testing, scrapped.

#917-052 – K – Porsche KG, Magnesium chassis. 4.9 litre engine fitted. Le Mans Test Weekend ’71 #17 Siffert/ Bell, used for testing, scrapped.

#917-053 – K – Porsche KG, Magnesium chassis. 4.9 litre engine fitted, loaned to Martini Racing, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #22 Marko/van Lennep 1st, retained for Porsche Museum.

#917/01-021 – PA – Built up using the chassis from #917-015, parts from #917-012 and engine from #917-021, raced by AAW (1), in Interserie, Sten Hilgrand (2), Harrah Collection, USA ’74 (3), Robert Hendrickson ’91 (4), Bob Rapp ’99 (5), Wayne Jackson ’01 (6), Chris Cox ’02 (7), via RM Monterey to Bruce Canepa (8), chassis removed to rebuilt #015?, Jean-Claude Miloe, France (9).

#917/20-001 – 917/20 – Porsche KG, Le Mans Test Weekend ’71 #20 Kauhsen, Le Mans 3 Hours ’71 #20 Kauhsen/van Lennep DNF, Le Mans 24 Hour ’71 #23 Kauhsen/ Jost DNF, retained by Porsche for their museum.

#917/10-001 – 917/10 – Porsche KG, fitted with 908/3 style bodywork, used for testing, Willi Kauhsen ’71 (1), raced in Interserie and Can Am, stored until ’97, Freisinger (2), restored, Dr. Ulrich Schumacher ’08 – ’12 (3), Claudio Roddaro, Monaco ’12 – ’15 (4), Unnamed ’15 (5), via RM Paris ’17 Not sold High bid $4.16 mil, via Jan B. Leuhn.

#917/10-002 – 917/10 – Team STP (1), fitted with a 5 litre engine, raced by Jo Siffert in Can Am, Willi Kauhsen, Germany (2), 5 litre Turbo engine fitted, raced in Interserie, crashed badly, stored until ’80s, restored, via Christies Pebble ’00 $666k, John McCaw, USA ’01 (3), Ulrich Schumacher, Germany (4), via RM Monterey ’13 Not Sold $2.75 mil., Claudio Roddaro, Monaco (6?), Didier Cazeux, France (7?).

#917/10-003 – 917/10 – Penske Ent., USA (1), 5 litre engine fitted, 4.5 litre Turbo engine fitted, ’71 Can Am champion with George Follmer, Rinzler Racing, Germany (2), Interserie and Can Am ’73, crashed, Vasek Polak, USA ’73 (3), rebuilt, via SCM to John McCaw ’00 (4), via Mecum Monterey $5.83 mil. to Rudy West ’13 (5).

#917/10-004 – 917/10 – AAW Racing team, 5.4 litre engine fitted, raced by Kinnunen in Interserie, 4.5 Litre Turbo engine fitted, raced in Interserie through ’73, Jobst Heemeyer, Germany ’73 (2).

#917/10-005 – 917/10 – Penske Ent., USA (1) Raced by Donohue in Can Am with success, 5.4 litre Turbo engine fitted, Raced by Follmer in Can Am through ’73, Porsche Museum, Germany (3).

#917/10-006 – 917/10 – Vasek Polak racing, USA (1), 5.4 litre engine fitted, raced by Milt Minter in Can Am, 5 litre Turbo engine fitted, Hans Wiedmer/ Air Canada ’73 (2), raced by Wiedmer in Can Am, Jobst Heemeyer, Germany ’73 (3).

#917/10-007 – 917/10 – Peter Gregg/Brumos Porsche, USA (1), raced by Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood in Can Am with 5 litre turbo and 5.4 litre turbo engines, retained by Brumos Porsche.

#917/10-008 – 917/10 – Unknown chassis either (scrapped – Naher) or Carl Thompson, 2006 – Freisinger

#917/10-010 – 917/10 – Magnesium chassis, Porsche KG tested and scrapped

#917/10-011 – 917/10 – Magnesium chassis, Porsche KG, raced by Donohue at Mosport in ’72, crashed and scrapped.

#917/10-015 – 917/10 – Kauhsen racing, Germany (1), raced in Interserie, Randy Townsend, USA (2), raced thru ’75, Dan Hannah (3), Monte Shelton (4), Rosso Bianco, Germany (5), via Bonhams Quail ’06 to Chip Connor, Hong Kong/ USA (6).

#917/10-016 – 917/10 – Ernst Kraus, Germany (1), 5.4 lite non turbo engine fitted, raced in Interserie, Vasek Polak, USA (2), Ottokar von Jacobs (3?)

#917/10-017 – 917/10 – Georg Loos/ GELO Racing team, Germany (1), raced in Interserie, Convector Group, Sweden ’91 (2), via Brooks 1997 to Bruce Canepa, USA (3).

#917/10-018 – 917/10 – Vasek Polak, USA (1), raced by Jody Schekter in Can Am ’73, retained via RM 1999 $495k to Jody Sheckter, UK (2).

#917/30-001 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, tested ’72, converted to 917/10 spec, raced in Interserie by Vic Elford and Helmut Kelleners, Martini Racing, Germany (1) (on loan?), raced by Hubert Muller in Interserie with success, retained for display in the Porsche Museum.

#917/30-002 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, tested ’73, Penske Ent. (1),Raced by Donohue in Can Am ’73, retained for display in the Porsche Museum.

#917/30-003 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, Penske Ent. (1) Mark Donohue’s ’73 Can Am series winner, World Speed Record setter ’75, Otis Chandler, CA, USA (2), Jacky Setton, France (3), via Duncan Hamilton to Rob Kauffman, USA (4).

#917/30-004 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, never completed, Alan Hamilton, Australia (1), built up, Porsche KG ’91, redone in Sunoco livery, David Morse, CA, USA ’94 (2), restored, Mat Drendel, NC ’01 (3), via Gooding Amelia ’12 $4.4 mil. to Jerry Seinfeld, CA ’12 (4), via Gooding Amelia ’16 $3 mil. to unknown.

#917/30-005 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, never completed, Gerry Sutterfeld, USA (1), Hans Thulin, Sweden (2?), Brooks ’92 $130k to Unknown, Japan (3?), Sammler (4), via Talacrest to Peter Harburg, Australia (5), RM Auctions ’14 Not Sold 2 mil. EUR, Unknown.

#917/30-006 – 917/30 – Porsche KG, never completed, Vasek Polak, USA (1), Chris Gruys (2), Jim Torres (3), built up, Cavallo Motorsport (4), Freisinger Motorsport, Germany (5).

Value strata

$3 – 5 million – Non Gulf GT40, semi replica Ferrari 512S/M or Porsche 917K (less than 25% real), unraced but real 917/10 or 917/30.

Multiple examples of the 512 and 917 have been built up by those that have large parts collections, notably Willy Kauhsen and David Piper for 917s and 512S/Ms by John Hajduk, Roelofs and Bob Houghton. Traditionally these have had very little value and yet now the real examples are worth so much money, they are being more prevalent in historic events, Peter Auto, Goodwood and the Monterey Historics all allowing replica’s to take part. The value of these types of cars entirely depends on exactly how much of an original car remains in that which has now been built up and whether the actual original still exists, perhaps the high point being a car which contains the sole and only remains of the original so is the only claimant to that serial # which could be worth as much as $5 million (on a good day), the weakest is a car that continues very little of the original and is one of many claimants to being that original serial # and they are worth only the costs of building and have no collector value.

Other cars available at this price point are the three 917/30s and any 917/10s that were built up out of period with authentic components but no actual history. These are little better than proper replica’s in that they contain the original chassis but the rest of the components are either OEM parts or newly made parts and they certainly aren’t original nor anywhere near matching numbers. Unlike the Group 5 sportscars they aren’t eligible for many events either and while fun and powerful as a track day toy, there are cheaper ways of going down that path, many of these 917/10s and 917/30s exist only as garage ornaments and have only limited collector value. While I would be cautious regarding a 917/10 or 917/30 without history, a mid range semi replica Group 5 car, with just enough to be acceptable at Goodwood or Peter Auto, would be great fun and should be an acceptable investment at around $2 million. It certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if it was crashed or had safety updates and should be lots of fun but any purchase would need to start with confirmation about event acceptability.

Normal old GT40s are at this level and genuine examples in excellent condition are around the $3 million mark, non works team racing cars also sit around this level and can perhaps creep up to the $5 million mark if they have a great race history. That said very few non Gulf GT40s ever did race well and the only car that truly performed well in the Group 5 period was the ex Alan Mann Hawkins raced lightweight AMGT-2, that could and should be up around the $5 million mark.

$5 – 10 million – Weakest Gulf GT40 (1004/1084), semi legitimate 917K (25 – 50% real), proper Can Am 917/10, weaker but genuine Ferrari 512S/M

At this level you begin to get into various options for what is serious money after all and while it wont get you the best of anything it might just provide the best buying of any price point. Other than #1074 and #1075, none of the Gulf GT40s ever won much and one of them was not even a member of the team for long and was born as a standard GT40, #1004/1084 and despite being converted to Gulf specs was only raced twice. The weakest of the Gulf cars, I would be surprised if its value exceeds $9 – 10 million and yet it would be afforded the same access to any event as the other Gulf GT40s and a superb car it is. This price bracket would also get you a genuine, raced 917/10 with absolutely clear provenance although probably not a Penske team car and while they are worth the money and icons of the era, they are not particularly usable with no classic Can Am series nor any real practical use other than demonstration runs.

A genuine 512S/M with poor or non existent race history, #1024 or 1036 spring to mind would be in this sort of area and would be good buying as they are legitimate cars with good provenance but without the value of any racing history to speak of. These are eligible for anything and provide good buying especially compared to a genuine works 512M at twice the price. 917Ks are worth somewhat more than the 512S/M and the only sort of 917K that would be available at this price would be one of the cars with unknown provenance, either #917-037 which was built up in the 1980s from an authentic frame but has little Porsche heritage is the poster child for this sort of car. Another example is a car that was built by David Piper as a second #917-010 in the early 1970s, supposedly with original parts but on a replica chassis frame, it is accepted as a 917K but not as a genuine, authentic car. Any of these flawed 917ks are going to be $7 – 10 million.

$10 – 15 million –  Mid range Gulf GT40 (M10001 or 1076), legitimate 917K, a very good Ferrari 512S/M

This is the price point where one begins to get really serious about these Group 5s and the proper genuine cars are priced, #917-024 sold at Gooding Pebble for $14.08 million in 2017 and while wearing the Gulf livery it was no such thing. Very good Gulf GT40s are worth around this money although not one of the race winners, #M10001 and #1076 are proper authentic, genuine examples and would make great buying at the price point with strong collector values and high usability. A proper, genuine 917K should be at the higher end of this value spectrum as proven by #917-024s sale but wont be enough to get a car with any sort of decent race winning history although it might be enough to buy a privately raced example in poor condition. Penske 917/10s of the types Donohue and Follmer raced with immense success should be at the lower end of this bracket. A very good 512S/M with a great race history should be in this price bracket although as with the other cars, it must be a no stories example.

$15 – 20 million –  The best Gulf GT40 (1074), Ferrari 512S/M or Martini 917K, poor quality Gulf 917K (#026/031)

Just eight years ago, only three cars had ever broken the $10 million barrier publicly, a Bugatti Royale, Ferrari 250GTO and a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa but no less than 15 different Ferrari models are now worth more than $15 million so its fairly common to see cars sell at this level. Most of the cars sold at these levels are highly usable and eligible for the very best events, to that extent there are few full race or Grand Prix cars because they weren’t designed to drive on the road so usability is not a big value factor. The very best Gulf GT40, #1074, is valued at around this mark since it combines race winning history, impeccable ownership and clear provenance. The very best works and NART 512S/M are also going to be priced around this mark as are the non Gulf racing 917Ks, those with Martini and Porsche Salzburg history are excellent examples of this breed. Finally, the weakest of the Gulf 917Ks (031/026) should have a value in the high teens although any example with race winning history is going to be much more. Returning to my original point, lest one thinks that these values are relatively cheap, Ferrari’s Testa Rossa or GTO are seen as the ultimate in collectors vehicles because they represented a high point in evolution, designed to run on most surfaces comfortably for hours at a time, no aero, no driver aids and no fancy tires. The fact that these cars of just a decade later have all of these revolutions, are not particularly usable or user friendly and are still worth so much just goes to show how special they are.

$20 – 25 million – The best Gulf 917K, works 917L or Sunoco 917/30

The Gulf livery is one of the most iconic liveries ever used on a racing car, arguably matched only by the Rothmans Porsche 956/962, Marlboro McLaren F1 cars and JPS Lotus, when matched to the Porsche 917, arguably the best and quickest race car before the late 2000s Hybrid Le Mans racers, it becomes unbeatable. No Gulf 917K ever won Le Mans, if it had it would be worth $50 – 70 million, as it is there are a handful of race winning Gulf cars in private hands, #917-013, #917-015 and #917-016, that would easily fetch this amount and indeed $25 million is possibly a little low since asking prices higher to $30 million have been mentioned but it remains an accurate real world price. Just one Sunoco/Penske 917/30 exists outside of the Porsche Museum and this car might be essentially unusable but it was the car Donohue drove to win the 1973 Can Am championship and would be worth somewhere in this region.

$35 – 40 million – Le Mans winning Martini 917K (#917-023)

Le Mans is the ultimate sportscar race, the one every manufacturer wants to win and since sportscars are the most valuable category of collector car, a Le Mans winning sportscar is among the most valued. A recent example to test this theory is the Jaguar D-Type #XKD501 that sold at RM Monterey in 2016 for $21 million, roughly double what any other D-Type would be worth. Just two Porsche 917Ks ever won Le Mans and one of them was retained by Porsche for their museum so is incredibly unlikely to ever be offered for sale through any avenue. The one example that is in public hands is 917K #917-023, which was the first Porsche to ever win Le Mans and this car has famously sold back in 1999 via Symbolic Motors for roughly half the value of a mid level GTO and again to Carlos Monteverde in 2011 for around the $25 million mark. I think this tracks to a value of around the $40 million mark in 2018 real money terms. It bears contemplating that if this was a Gulf team car it would certainly be worth another $10 million if not more although as already stated, Gulf never won Le Mans with the 917K and even with the less exciting red and white Porsche Salzburg livery it is a stunning automobile.

$50 million+ – Le Mans winning Gulf GT40 (#1075)

A Le Mans win is the top trumps of car values but even better is a car that has won two Le Mans, a feat achieved by just three or four individual cars, Bentley Old Number one in 1929 and 1930, Ferrari 275P #0816, 1963 and 1964 (still to be proven), Ford GT40 #1075 in 1968 and 1969 and finally Porsche 956 #956-117 in 1984 and 1985. Each of these cars are unicorns and trade once in a lifetime, further Bentley Old Number doesn’t truly exist any longer although a car that contains the remains does, so they make a splash when available. GT40 #1075 combines the two great value factors of Gulf livery and double Le Mans winning heritage so while Rob Walton (of Walmart prominence) will likely never sell it, if he did it should fetch at least $50 million, maybe closer to $75 million.

Refence sales 2007 – 2018 

1970 Ferrari 512S #1006 – RM Maranello 20/5/07 #208 $3,557,928/€2,640,000

Luigi Chinetti/NART, USA (1), renumbered #1006 before use, converted to full Spider, raced in Can Am, reconverted to Targa 512S form, Sebring 12 Hours ’71 #23 Bucknum/Posey DNF, Le Mans 24 Hours ’71 #14 Gregory/Eaton DNF, Harley Cluxton, AZ ’72 (2), Steve Earle, CA ’72 (3), Chris Cord (4), Otis Chandler ’76 (5), James W. Stollenwerck ’77 (6), Steve Griswold ’79 (7), via Rod Leach to Michael Vernon, UK ’79 (8), Peter Kaus/Rosso Bianco, Germany (9), unnamed (10), via Axel Schuette and Talacrest to Harry Leventis, UK ’99 (11), unnamed, Japan (12), Charles Wegner, IL, USA (13), Charles Arnott, MD ’02 (14), via RM Monterey ’05 $1.947 mil. to Skip Barber, CT (15), via RM Maranello ’07 €2.7 mil. to Howard Lutnick, NY ’07 (16).’

1971 Ferrari 512M #1024 – RM Maranello 18/5/08 #317 – $3,239,082/€2,090,000

Alfredo Belponer/Scuderia Brescia Corse (1), never used as 512S, rebuilt in 512M spec, Monza 1000km ’71 #14 Pasotti/Facetti DNQ, Austrian 1000km ’71 #18 Pam/ Casoni 4th, Nick Dioguardi, CA, USA ’74 (2), G.E. Bud Keeny (3), Harley Cluxton, AZ (4), Dr. Jean Aussenac, France ’75 (5), Albert Uderzo ’81 (6), Charles Arnott, MD, USA ’90s (7), via SMC $1.8 mil. to Ed Davies, FL ’97 (8), restored, via RM Maranello ’08 €2.09 mil./$3.23 mil. to Harry Yeaggy, OH, USA (9), Steven Read, CA, USA ’10 (10).

1968 Ford GT40 Mirage #1074 – RM Monterey 17/8/12 #139 – $11,000,000

Mirage M1 M.10003 – Gulf/JWA, 305cui engine fitted, Spa 1000km ’67 #6 Ickx/Thompson 1st, 351 cui engine fitted, Le Mans ’67 #15 Ickx/Muir DNF, 305cui engine fitted, Brands Hatch 6 Hours ’67 #3 Rodriguez/Thompson DNF, rebuilt as GT40 #1074 in Group 4 spec, JWA/ Gulf Racing (1), Daytona 24 Hours ’68 #9 Hawkins/ Hobbs 2nd, Sebring 12 Hours ’68 #29 Hawkins/Hobbs NC, Monza 1000km ’68 #40 Hawkins/Hobbs 1st, Nurburgring 1000km ’68 #66 Hobbs/Redman 6th, Le Mans 24 Hours ’68 #10 Hawkins/Hobbs DNF, Brands Hatch 6 Hours ’69 #10 Hobbs/Hailwood 5th, David Brown, USA (2), Solar Productions (3), used as a camera car, Harley Cluxton (4), Anthony Bamford, UK ’71 (5), Harley Cluxton, AZ, USA ’79 (6), Steve Juda (7), Bob Richmond ’80 (8), stored in Belgium, George Stauffer ’83 (9), via Adrian Hamilton & Harley Cluxton to Jamey Mazzotta ’84 (10), via Williams/Clyne ’92 to Bernie Carl (11).

1970 Porsche 917K #917-024 Gooding Pebble Beach 18/8/17 #44 – Est. $13 – 16 mil. $14,080,000 €11,993,189 Mid

Blue and Marigold Gulf livery over Race. 630BHP 4998cc V12. 5 speed manual. Porsche AG ’70, Le Mans test day ’70, testing, Jo Siffert, Switzerland ’70 (1), loaned to Solar Productions for the Steve McQueen movie “Le Mans”, Pierre Prieur ’78 (2), via Modena Motorsport to unnamed ’02 (3), restored by Graber Sportsgarage. Docs incl. Walter Naher report.

1970 Porsche 917 Spider 917-026 Bonhams Monterey 12/8/10 #236 $3,967,000

Yellow race over Race. JWA/Gulf (1), Le Mans 24 Hours ’70 #22 Hobbs/Hailwood DNF, Chassis #026 rebuilt as #031 in Interserie Spider form. Team Shell/ Heckersbruch (2), raced in Interserie, Georges Loos/ GELO Team (3), raced through ’73, Freddy Chandon ’74 (4), Mike Amalfatino, USA ’78 (5), via Bonhams Quail Lodge ’09 $3.967 mil. to Shaun Lynn, UK ’10 (6), restored by Gunnar Racing to Gulf Coupe form.


#917/01-021 – 1971 917 Spider – RM Amelia 10/3/07 #254 – NS$850000

Blue and White race livery over race. RHD. Built up for Team AAW as a Interserie Spider using chassis #917-015 (1), 2/5/71 – Imola #11 Kinnunen 3rd, 6/6/71 – Zolder #11 Kinnunen 2nd, 4/7/71 – Hockenheim #11 Kinnunen 2nd, 11/7/71 – Norisring #11 Kinnunen DNF, 22/8/71 – Keimola #11 Kinnunen 1st, 22/8/71 – Imola 500km #11 Kinnunen 4th, 10/10/71 – Hockenheim #11 Kinnunen 3rd, 17/10/71 – Montlhery 1000km #3 Larrousse/ Kinnunen 2nd, loaned to Boeri Racing Team, 6/8/72 – Norisring #17 Kraus DNF, 27/8/72 – Keimola #17 Kraus 8th, 1/10/72 – Hockenheim #17 Kraus DNF, Team AAW 24/6/73 – Norisring #47 Sirvio 9th, 15/7/73 – Hockenheim #47 Sirvio 7th, 19/8/73 – Santa Monica #47 Sirvio 8th, 30/9/73 – Hockenheim #47 Sirvio DNF, Sten Hilgrand (2), Harrah Collection, USA ’74 (3), Robert Hendrickson ’91 (4), Restored by Bruce Canepa, chassis removed to rebuild #015, rebuilt with a replica chassis, Wayne Jackson ’01 (5), Chris Cox ’02 (6), via RM Amelia ’07.

#917/10-001 – 1970 917/10 – RM Paris 8/2/17 #147 – Est. €4.6 – 5.5 mil. Not sold N/A

Bare metal and gulf livery over race. 600+bhp 4998cc V12. 5 speed manual. 1st 917/10 built. Completed 3/12/70 with 908/3 style bodywork. Used for R & D and testing. Fitted with no less than 5 different bodies including the nose from the #18 Gulf Porsche 917L as used at Le Mans in ’71. Rebuilt with standard /10 nose and sold to Willi Kauhsen, late ’71 – ’08 (1), 1972 results: Laguna Seca Can-Am DNF, Riverside Can-Am 8th, taken to the end of year Coppa Brazil at Interlagos 1st and Retired, 1973 results (Kauhsen unless noted): Imola Interserie Charlie Kemp DNF, Silverstone Interserie Gunther Stekkonig 6th, Norisring Interserie 4th, Mid-Ohio Can-Am DNF, Hockenheim Interserie Wilson Fittipaldi DNS, Kausen 4th, 1974 results: Nurburgring 300km Emerson Fittipaldi 6th. Stored until 1997. Restored in Bosch livery before use in historic racing. Dr. Ulrich Schumacher ’08 – ’12 (2) Unnamed ’12 – ’15 (3), restored with engine #917-089 in 630bhp spec. and Gulf oil nose. Unnamed ’15 – date (4). ONS Wagenpass and FIA HTP.

#917/10-002 – 1971 917/10 – RM Monterey 17/8/12 #251 – NS$2900000

Red over Black STP livery. RHD. Jo Siffert, Switzerland (1), 4.5 litre engine fitted, Watkins Glen Can Am ’71 Siffert 3rd, Mid Ohio ’71 Siffert 2nd, Elkhart Lake ’71 Siffert 2nd, Donnybrook ’71 Siffert 5th, Edmonton ’71 Siffert 4th, Laguna Seca ’71 Siffert 5th, Willi Kauhsen, Germany ’71 (2), raced in ’72 Interserie events, 4.5 litre Turbo engine fitted, 2nd in series, wrecked at Nurburgring, stored until ’98, rebuilt by Kauhsen, chassis partially rebuilt during restoration. Original drawings and chassis jigs that were onsite at Porsche AG were used for the reconstruction. The engine and gearbox, which are correct, original-type, period 917 units, were fully rebuilt by the famous 917 engine expert Gustav Nietsche. The body was built up to the Can-Am specifications of 1971 and painted in the unmistakable STP red livery, vendor (3).

#917/30-004 – 1973 917/30 Can Am – Gooding Amelia 11/3/16 #44 – $2,800,000 & Gooding Amelia 9/3/12 #57 – $4,400,000 

Blue and Yellow Sunoco livery over race. RHD. 1 of 3 spare chassis. Adrian Hamilton/Porsche Australia, Australia (1), partially incomplete car displayed in Hamiltons showroom, Porsche AG, Germany ’90s (2), David Morse, USA ’90s (3), restored with 1200bhp 5.4 litre turbo engine supplied by Porsche, Matt Drendel (4), via Gooding Amelia Island 9/3/12 sold $4,400,000 to Jerry Seinfeld (5).

#917/30-005 – 1973 917/30 Can Am – RM Paris 5/2/14 #24 – NS€2000000 

Sunoco Blue and Yellow over race. RHD. 1 of 3 spare cars. Gerry Sutterfield, FL, USA (1), built up by the works c’79, Leslie Barth ’81 (2), Hans Thulin, Sweden ’89 (3), Meitec Corporation, Japan (4), unnnamed ’05 (5), via Talacrest to vendor ’11 (6). In addition to claiming all of the superlative characteristics of the 917/30, including overwhelming power and low weight, 917/30-005 was never competitively raced, and it was built by the Weissach factory to even more exacting standards than a standard racing schedule could ever allow. Of the three 917/30 examples without period competition history, this car is surely the finest, and it can, in many respects, be considered the freshest example in existence, as the other two have experienced significant vintage racing campaigns. Importantly, it is also the only one of the three that was actually completed by the Porsche factory at Weissach.

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