Stuart Booth - Fact & Fiction - Porsche 917 - 1970 Le Mans (w)
1970 Le Mans 24 Hour Race with the Porsche 917 of the John Wyer Gulf Team Motor Racing Card by Stuart Booth
The Porsche 917 is often claimed to be the greatest sports-racing car of all time and is most usually associated with the blue and orange colours of the John Wyer Gulf team. These brutal five-litre cars fought a series of classic battles with the Ferrari 517s throughout 1970 and 1971, before new sports car regulations banned them.
The 1970 Le Mans 24 hours, run under terrible weather conditions, was won, not by a Gulf team car, both of which retired, but by a Porsche Salzburg 917. However the Gulf team was the ‘star’ of the movie ‘Le Mans’, featuring Steve McQueen, and much of the racing footage is from the 1970 race, hence the title ‘Fact and Fiction’.
Although the LH versions were extremely fast, reaching 240mph on the Mulsanne Straight, the race was won by the Martini Racing Team 917K driven by Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep, achieving a distance of 3315 miles. a record which, due to circuit changes, was to stand until 2010.
Here the winning Martini entered 917K leads the same team’s 917LH.