917 KH (short-tail)


The local time in Le Mans is 4 p.m. on 13 June 1971, and the 917 short-tail, emblazoned with starting number 22, crosses the finish line as the winner of the 24-hour race. Covering a distance of 5,335 km with an average speed of 222.3 km/h, drivers Gijs van Lennep and Helmut Marko set two records that remain unbeaten for 39 years. Their Porsche – painted in the Martini Racing colours – features the new rear “shark fins” which first appeared at preliminary training in April and give the 600 PS race car directional stability. In true Porsche style, having brought the fastest race car to Le Mans, it is also awarded the “Index of Performance” classification that measures the most efficient fuel consumption-to-displacement ratio. The drivers are never aware that their 917 is the first Porsche with a magnesium tubing space frame to be used in a race. Magnesium is far lighter than aluminium, making this 917 so lightweight that the engineers are able to include a 55-litre oil reservoir to reach the 800 kg minimum weight limit and optimise weight distribution. The vehicle has a short and abrupt racing career: after construction is completed on 5 June, it drives 552 km during training for Le Mans ((229 according to Näher; this figure crops up again in his book)) and ends its career with the win at that race.

Year: 1971
Engine: 12-cylinder V 180˚
Displacement: 4,907 ccm
Output: 441 kW (600 PS)
Weight: 800 kg
Top speed: 360 km/h

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