The 917

The Porsche 917 is on the list of memorable race cars.  Some have winning background, others had movie roles, and if you wanted purchase an original one be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for it. Powered by a Type 912 flat-12, you could get this factory outfitted car with engines that came in three different sizes.    The engine sizes came in 4.5 liter, 4.9 liter or the 5 liter.  It is still considered one of the fastest track car ever built, which could slingshot this one seat beast from 0-62mph in a mind boggling time of 2.3 seconds. It that wasn’t fast enough, with barely enough time to hit the brakes, it could sling shot to 124 mph in just 3 more seconds. The Porsche 917 will also top out at around 240 mph.  To get in, drivers would need to have their own molded race seats.  The seat would snap into the chassis, then the driver would crawl in and then fit the steering wheel in front of him.  Once inside, his domain would be 180 degrees of almost uninterrupted view.

There were exactly 6 versions of the 917, each slightly different than the other.  Very few 917 were built identical to each other.

1. The original version (917LH) had this long tail that stretched beyond the rear wheels.   There were also these very interesting pair of fins sticking out over the tail.  Some cars had a spoiler between the two fins.  Some of the cars had air scoops to pull cool air into the engine.    The driver would sit just to the right of the center in the chassis, where he would have ample room for track radio, gauges, fire suppression equipment, and switches to his left.   In some cases there might be a provision for a second seat.   This car was fast, it could climb quickly and brake on a dime.   Like all the 917 gears were tight and the engine noise was a bit unbearable.   Helmets with ear protection would be required.    Despite the speed, they had considerable handling problems at high speed.

2. The Gulf team had then experimented with a shorter tail, and solved the handling problems at the expense of some top speed.  It didn’t take long for Porsche adopted the shorter tail options into the 917K. These versions produced around 620 bhp.

3. The modified 917K with the 908 rear spoilers was a fantastic car with great handling.  The car kind of resembles a very fast and fat hog and so someone thought of painting it flesh colored and naming it “The Pink Pig”.  What is really cool is they have divided lines that were like cutouts of PORK.

4. Turbo’ed spyder 917/10

Lots can be said about turbo charging already super fast cars, but then it took Porsche to get into doing it.  A turbo charged 917?  Must have been crazy fast.

5. Turbo’ed sypder 917/20  Probably just about everyone’s favorite car was Steve McQueen debut the Porsche 917.  This car not only sounded bad ass, it was entirely bad ass.  Fast, quick and produced a whopping acceleration.  The best part about this car is that it was totally unstoppable, but Lambo, Ferrari.. and so many others.   How many of us would wish to get to open something like that up on an open track/street?

6. Turbo’ed sypder 917/30

Just about every turbo version of the 917 was unbeatable. Unable to be outrun, outclass and for that matter out lasted. The turbo, defined as a forced induction system compresses air into cylinders which them means if you can increase air, you will higher boost. To get the boost you need a turbine, and then directly connected to is an air pump. It is the air pump that will do all the squeezing of air into a cylinder.

This image depiction show the standard way turbine are related to the air pump and related the cylinder head.

The 1973 Can-Am series, turbocharged version Porsche 917/30 was about as most powerful of a car, ever built, even by today’s standards. With the performance delivering over 1,100 bhp (820 kW), and as much as 1,580 bhp (1,180 kW) this car worried Enzo Ferrari and Alfa Romeo during any of the qualifying tune. These series of cars were so fast, races had to revise entry rule to allow them to race. As a whole the entire field of 917 variants is the most iconic sports racing cars of all time. It has created a cult following for its high speeds and high power outputs. So much so, its debut i, and was made into a movie star by Steve McQueen in his 1971 film Le Mans.

“Racing is life… everything before and after is just waiting.” Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in ‘Le Mans’


3 responses to “The 917

  1. Pingback: Porsche 917 group 5 (1969) - Racing Cars

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