You have heard of it, haven’t you?
To all of our loyal followers, we apologize for the delay in our race car segment. With the holiday rush and many other happenings around the shop, it’s sometimes hard to find the time to write about the things that interest us (and maybe will interest you, perhaps).
So, back to the program. We have an absolute jewel for you today.
There are very few examples that really push us to rethink our concept of what is possible within the world of automotive design. Among the few examples are shining stars such as the Bugatti Veyron, McLaren F1, Tesla (all of their cars), Koenigsegg CCX-R, and some others that are more obscure. There isn’t (in this authors mind) a more stunning example of outright power and absurdity in an automotive format than the Porsche 917.
What’s that? You’ve not heard of a Porsche 917 before?
There is perhaps a good reason for this. Among the cars that I listed earlier, the major conjoining trend is that they were all somewhat recently produced. (Near or after the 2000 era). The Porsche 917 was first developed in the late 60′s to compete in 24 endurance races.
This version of the 917, otherwise known as the 917K made approximately 620 horsepower and was made famous by none other than Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans”. This car had a rocky start in endurance racing with a multitude of engine problems and high speed handling problems (in reality, not in the film). These were eventually resolved and the car went on to be very successful as an endurance racer in 1970 and 1971 with Porsche beginning to show everyone what you could do with a horizontally opposed, air cooled, 12-cylinder engine.
This is when it gets interesting, and arguably when motor racing was at its finest. The car pictured above is a 917/30 from 1972-1973. It is reported that this car made in excess of 1200 horsepower in qualifying form… and the car only weighed 1800 lbs.
Stop. Think about that.
Realistically, we have nothing in the modern day to compare that to, period. Take for example the Bugatti Veyron, the most powerful car mentioned above, that makes 1001 horsepower. Impressive, right? The problem is that the Bugatti weighs 4100 lbs. That’s approximately 500 horsepower per ton, the 917/30 in qualifying form makes almost three times that (~1350 hp / ton).
Granted, it’s a race car, and would probably cost millions of dollars to buy (edit, approximately 4.4 million)
…and millions more to maintain, but it’s still quite an impressive example.
Now, you know the story behind one of the most powerful cars ever raced.