Restored Porsche 917K returns to US race track after 40 years
Historic Porsche race cars stand behind many victories at the 24-hour classics of Le Mans and Daytona and they also celebrated memorable successes at other endurance races on circuits such as the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps. To ensure that these vehicles can still be admired at race tracks today, Porsche now also offers customers a comprehensive service for historic motor racing legends in Germany and the USA. The priorities of the new business field are to restore vintage race cars as true to the original as possible as well as to repair and maintain them.
The figurehead for the new business service is the just completed restoration of a Porsche 917K. The legendary victorious car of the 1,000-kilometre race at Spa in 1971, driven by Jackie Oliver and Pedro Rodriguez, experienced its roll-out at Porsche Motorsport North America and now can be admired at the Rennsport Reunion, the world’s largest event featuring historic Porsche race cars held from September 25-27 at Laguna Seca in California.
The race car was also successfully campaigned in the USA, for instance at Watkins Glen, before it was finally put into storage at the museum in Zuffenhausen. In 2009, the vehicle was painted in the famed Gulf colours and exhibited in the museum. In 2012, Porsche Motorsport North America was commissioned to restore the race car to its 1971 condition and get it back on the track.
This task was implemented using a variety of resources, such as the Porsche Museum archives with its extensive collection of documents, as well as in consultation with witnesses of that time and, of course, by relying on the experience and broad knowledge of older and former Porsche employees.
In addition to restorations and repairs, Porsche also offers a comprehensive service for owners of historic race cars to take their vehicles racing. This includes, for example, the replacement of safety-relevant parts. Especially now, this is an issue with many Group C vehicles that were built 30 to 40 years ago. When it comes to safety, and only then, deviations from authenticity can be made. For instance, old safety belts are not fitted.
In order to fulfill every customer’s wish, Porsche aims to establish a network of vintage car restoration and repair specialists already known in the historic motorsport scene. This ensures that their customers receive the greatest possible guarantee of supply in all matters.
Another focus in the portfolio is the maintenance of historic race cars. As with current motor racing customers, Porsche not only takes care of supplying parts, also at race tracks, but is available for customers with advice and assistance in all technical matters. After the completion of the new Porsche Experience Centre (PEC) in Los Angeles, which is expected to open mid next year, customers are also offered the chance to store their historic vehicles on site. Between race meetings, they are maintained by experts, transported to the circuits if desired, and sent back to PEC afterwards. There, they are exhibited in a first-class Porsche environment for visitors to enjoy – until the next race.
“I’m very pleased that we can now also offer our motorsport customers a comprehensive service for their historic race cars. At our Weissach Motorsport Centre and at Porsche Motorsport North America we have specialists for every task in this field. The 917K, which now returns to the race track after more than 40 years, is a perfect example of how we implement this expertise and preserve it for the future,” said Porsche Head of Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser.