From racing to series production

Porsche 917 – setting the benchmark in turbo technology

In 1974 the turbocharger technology recently developed for the 917/10 and 917/30 racing cars finds its way into the Porsche 911.

When the series version of the Porsche 911 Turbo celebrates its début at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 1974, it heralds a new age in many ways, and represents a first. Porsche has taken the winning turbocharger technology featured in the 917/10 and 917/30 Can-Am race cars and implanted it into a series vehicle, completely eclipsing the car’s previous performance. When combined with the 911 Carrera RS 1973, which is fitted with a naturally aspirated engine, it delivers 210 PS, though with the 911 Turbo it delivers 50 PS more; with 343 Nm of torque, it outperforms the previous top model in the 911 series by a solid 88 Nm. The 911 Turbo is seriously fast, achieving speeds in excess of 250 km/h and reaching 100 km/h from a standing start in just 5.5 seconds. In short, its performance sets new benchmarks and hits new heights for drivers.

Hans Mezger, engineer and “father” of the Porsche turbo engine, captures the essence of the first 911 Turbo in a few words: “It’s still all about driving – where other engines hit their limits, the turbo engine is just getting started. So driving is even more thrilling.” In fact, the 911 Turbo takes driving pleasure and dynamics to new heights – by no means is it a simple sporty enhancement for anyone and everyone. Though the three-cylinder boxer – which is fitted with mono-turbocharger, wastegate and Bosch K Jetronic fuel injector – proves its mettle as a sophisticated Porsche engine even at idling speed, when it hits 4,000 revs on the central counter it really creates new challenges for the driver. If the 911 Turbo comes up in conversation today, people still excitedly remember the “shock to the system” that many drivers experienced, overwhelmed by its powerful acceleration that caused the track-wide rear axle to practically tear into the asphalt. Witnesses of the era certainly reported the odd rear-end collision involving a 911 Turbo; not caused by a driver absent-mindedly braking too late and driving into the next car, but rather the vehicle’s powerful acceleration whilst overtaking ending with some accidental contact.

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Hans Mezger – The Porsche 917 Chief Engineer
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Porsche 917 – development, technology and racing in 1969