Author: Ian Wagstaff, Hardbound, 320 Pages, ISBN: 9781907085215, 1st Edition, May 2015
- Great Cars 2 - Sister volume to Jaguar: Lightweight E-Type (Philip Porter)
This Great Cars book is about the first Porsche to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. Run by Ferdinand Piech's Porsche Salzburg team and driven by
Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood, Porsche 917-023 came through the rigours of the rain-soaked 1970 race to achieve the first in a long line of Porsche victories in the world's most famous motor race. This success also confirmed the status of the magnificent Porsche 917 as one of the all-time greats of sports car racing.
This book recounts 917-023's racing life in absorbing detail. Along with detailed research in Porsche's archives, author Ian Wagstaff has interviewed all of 917-023's surviving drivers: Hans Herrmann, Richard Attwood, Vic Elford, Kurt Ahrens, Gerard Larrousse
and Gijs van Lennep. An extensive array of period photographs and a gallery of modern images support the meticulously researched text.
Porsche 917-023 took part in seven world championship races in 1970 and 1971.1n its first race, the BOAC 1,000Km at Brands Hatch, Pedro Rodriguez drove heroically in the wet to win in one of the Gulf-backed JW Automotive 917s but Elford in 917-023 was the only man able to challenge the Mexican driver, achieving a fine second place with Denny Hulme as his co-driver.
At Monza 917-023 became the first 917 to race with a 4.9-litre engine rather than the original 4.5-litre version, and the car duly dominated until forced to retire owing to damage caused by a puncture. Third place at Spa-
Francorchamps followed, and then came that famous success at Le Mans. Fitted once again with a 4.5-litre engine in the interests of reliability, 917-023 doggedly kept going in the hands of Herrmann and Attwood while most of the other 917s fell by the wayside. Fourth place at the Osterreichring brought the car's 1970 season to a close.
For 1971 the car passed to Martini Racing. The Buenos Aires 1,000Km brought an unfortunate disqualification for 'outside assistance' when Elford stopped out on the circuit with fuel starvation. Then at the Daytona 24 Hours the car crashed heavily: in the middle of the night, while doing 200mph on the banking, a tyre blew and Elford lost control. The damaged 917-023 was not raced again, but another of the Martini team's 917s went on to win Le Mans again.
This is the complete record of a most significant racing car.
Great Cars from Porter Press International is the most prestigious series of motoring books ever produced. Great cars, great authors, great quality.