If there is one race I’d love to be able to turn the clock back for in order to attend it would be the 1971 Le Mans 24 hours which for my money was the ultimate road race with the ultimate cars.
Lined up on the grid were seven Porsche 917’s with a variety of body configurations against 9 Ferrari 512s in both closed M spec, earlier open S Spec and two unique 512’s one from the Penske team which had a large rear wing and the F spec car of Scuderia Filipinetti that had a narrow cockpit built around a Porsche 917 windscreen.
The race was an uneven contest between the Porsches as the Ferraris suffered from inferior reliability and top speeds were down on the Porsche’s 230 mph plus capabilities. However it was the fastest to be run at the circuit until 2010.
The winning car chassis #056 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed featured a special lightweight magnesium chassis built only for the works supported Porsche Salzburg team much to the annoyance of Porsche’s other works supported team run by John Wyer who’s employees had developed the Porsche body work in short (K Kurz) and long (LH Lang heck) tail forms and shared them freely with all the other teams running 917’s.
Gils van Lennep and Helmut Marko shared the winning 600 hp 4.9 litre 299 cui aircooled flat 12 powered #22 car which traveled 3,107.7 miles in 24 hours covering 397 laps at an average speed of 138.6 mph the equivalent to five consecutive Coke 600’s !
They beat the next car driven by Richard Attwood, Herbert Muller and Brian Redman in a Gulf Porsche 917 by two laps, 16 miles, and the third finisher the Ferrari of Sam Posey and Tony Adamowicz by 31 laps.
After the race chassis #053 was immediately retired and so has a 100% winning record.
Thanks for joining me on this “Ultimate Cars Ultimate Race” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1925 3 litre / 183 cui Bentley. Don’t forget to come back now !