Exactly on this day 51 years ago were born the most famed racing car of all times, the Porsche 917.
By the hands of Hans Mezger, a German engineer, the Porsche 917 project was developed, the first Porsche benefit of 12-cylinder engine technology and designed with a single purpose, run the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Twenty-five units of this amazing prototype had to be built just to meet the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale) requirements to be approved.
Over time the Porsche 917 showed different paintings, but the original one was white for the body and a green front section. But many other emblematic repaints followed, as the light blue with orange (Gulf) the colours of U.S. Oil Company its sponsor at a time, and the “Pink Pig” paint, pink body colour and labelled each of the body parts as butcher-style cuts.
The premiere participation of Porsche 917 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was conducted by a duo of pilots, the German Hans Herrman and the Britain Richard Attwood, after it, both were also involved in the rework into a short version (917k) of this prototype.
The success path of 917 started in the first year, won all races involved in the 1000 km Zeltweg in Austria, in 1970 an overall triumph at 24 Hours of Le Mans and renewing the title in Le Mans in 1971 but now by a new duo of drivers, the Austrian Helmut Marko and the Dutch Gijs van Lennep.
The Porsche 917 know several improvements at the time, the development of Turbo versions with over 1,000 PS that resulted in the new versions 917/10 and 917/30, that contributed to the domain of Can-Am (Canadian-American Challenge Cup) in 1972 by the American George Follmer and in 1973 by his compatriot Mark Donohue. The 917 also experienced success and leadership in Europe in the Interserie.
Last year, to celebrate the fifth anniversary, Porsche decided by a restoration of the first 917, with the priority to reuse the original materials.
Some interesting facts about the Porsche 917, in 1971 the 917-024 was driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans and in 2017 it was sold for $14 million, becoming the most expensive Porsche ever sold.
Also, some watches have been associated directly and indirectly with Porsche 917, the most know is the Tag Heuer Monaco: Steve Mcqueen, Le Mans with the Gulf colours, other watch associated is the Rolex Daytona, that used to be the Rolex Le Mans before being renamed by Rolex Daytona and also some watches produced by the co-brand Porsche Design.