Porsche 917 drivers share memories and insights into legendary racing car in new book
Motor sport fans will be racing to get their hands on a copy of the new Porsche 917 Owners’ Workshop Manual, published by Haynes this December, and celebrating the golden era of sportscar racing in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Arguably the most iconic of all endurance-racing sportscars, the Porsche 917 took its manufacturer to its first Le Mans victory in 1970, winning again in 1971, and then dominating the North American Can-Am series in 1972 and 1973.
With drivers such as Derek Bell, Jo Siffert, Jackie Oliver, Pedro Rodriguez, Mark Donohue and Brian Redman all having raced the 917, Steve McQueen also drove the car to fame in the classic film Le Mans, in which it appeared in the iconic John Wyer Automotive (JWA) Gulf livery. Today, the Porsche 917 is one of the most sought-after and revered classic sports-racing cars of all time.
Written by award-winning motoring journalist Ian Wagstaff, the manual provides an insight into the design, engineering, maintenance and operation of Porsche’s legendary Le Mans winner. It studies the Porsche 917 in all of its guises, exploring just why it has become a cult favourite. Packed full of photographs and original technical drawings, the manual looks under the skin of the 917 at the car’s anatomy.
JWA mechanic Alan Hearn provides unique new insight into the engineering and operation of the Gulf 917s, while motor racing fans will lap up the memories shared by many of the racing heroes who drove it, including Vic Elford, Hans Herrmann, Brian Redman, Richard Atwood, Derek Bell, Kurt Ahrens and Jackie Oliver.
For those who dream of one day owning an example of this legendary car, the business of buying, restoring and maintaining a Porsche 917 is explored, including interviews with those involved in the process and current owners of such cars. The Can-Am cars – Spyder, 917/10 and 917/30 – are examined in detail in a dedicated chapter, and outline histories are provided for all the 917 chassis ever built.
Talking about the Porsche 917 Owners’ Workshop Manual, author Ian Wagstaff commented: "It has been fascinating putting this manual together and having the opportunity to speak with so many individuals who are as passionate as I am about the Porsche 917, and I hope that fans really enjoy the book.
"The 917’s period racing career saw some of the most memorable contests in sports car history – dramatic performances by men who must be regarded as amongst the discipline’s greatest drivers. Once its initial handling vagaries had been overcome, the Porsche 917, particularly in its kurzheck [short-tail] form, was a thing of beauty and had everything going for it."
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