1969 Porsche 917K 015
In 1967 the Commission Sportive International decided to change the regulations for Group 6 prototypes competing for the World Sportscar Championship. For 1968 the CSI announced that the championship would be run with 3-liter prototypes. Well aware that few manufacturers were ready to take up the challenge, the CSI also allowed 5 liter Group 5 Sports Cars, of which a minimum of 25 units had to be manufactured to participate.
Starting in July 1968, Porsche committed to taking advantage of the Group 5 rule. Under the leadership of Ferdinand Piëch, the Porsche racing department designed and built the 917 in just nine months. On April 20 Piëch displayed 25 917s parked in front of the Porsche factory to stunned CSI inspectors. They fit the Sportscar regulations perfectly with two seats, a luggage compartment, spare tire and the ability to be licensed for street use, which included turn signals, turn-key ignition, and a horn.
J.W. Automotive became Porsche’s Werks team for 1970. They secured sponsorship from Gulf Oil, and created a new wedge shape tail for the 917K. The new tail transformed the car and the Gulf Porsche team dominated in 1970 and 1971 winning the World Championship for Porsche both years.
At the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona the new Group 5 Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s met for the first time. Chassis 917-015 would end up winning the event by 45 laps, still the largest margin of victory in the history of the legendary endurance race.
- Race History
- 24 Hours of Daytona, 1st Overall
- Pedro Rodriguez
- Leo Kinnunen
- Brian Redman
- 724 Laps, 2759 Miles
- Watkins Glen Can-Am, 7th Overall Brian Redman
- Converted to Spyder by the Porsche Factory
- Winner 1971 Interserie Championship
- Imola, 3rd, Leo Kinnunen
- Zolder, 2nd, Leo Kinnunen
- Hockenhiem, 2nd, Leo Kinnunen
- Norisring, 17th, Leo Kinnunen
- Imola, 1st, Leo Kinnunen
- Imola, 4th, Leo Kinnunen
- Montlhery, 2nd, Leo Kinnunen
Rodríguez was considered the best driver of his era in the wet, and after many years racing for Ferrari in the World Sportscar Championship, he signed for the Wyer-Gulf-Porsche team in 1970. He became the two-time world champion driver in the fearsome Porsche 917. He developed into one of the sport’s greatest all-rounders, racing CanAm, NASCAR, rallies and even becoming North American Ice Racing champion in 1970.
Leo KinnunenKinnunen won the Nordic Challenge Cup in 1969, the Interserie from 1971-1973 and helped Porsche to take the World Sportscar Championship for manufacturers in 1970. In 1974, he switched to Formula One driving his own Surtees TS16.