The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

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 The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30You dont trust me with this affirmation? You will, after you finish reading the article.

The 917 model started his career in 1970 by winning the 24 hours Le Mans race. After 4 years of Ford domination ( ’66 – ’69 ), achieved by the americans with the GT 40 race car, Ferrari was determined to win the 1970 Le Mans race, but there was a little problem with their plan, and the problem even had a name : Porsche 917.P Porsche 917 G21 The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

The german manufacturer took the title that year because Ferrari had some technical issues almost at the end of the race. You could call this luck for Porsche but I disagree. Their cars were very well made and had a very high degree of performance.Porsche 917 Cover The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

The Le Mans version of the 917 was powered by a flat 12 cylinders engine developing 620 hp. After winning the Le Mans in 1971 too, Porsche decided to cross the ocean in 1972, and take part at the Can-Am championship ( was called Can-Am because the race track was half in Canada and half in the US ).Porsche 917 K 3 The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

Their first attempt in this canadian-american race, with the 917/10, the first evolution of the Le Mans model, brought them the title in ’72, breaking the chain of victories done by McLaren, who eventually left from the championship to concentrate over the Indy 500.

There was one more stage of evolution in  the 917 life cycle : 917/30. While the 917/10 was capable of producing 850 hp from its turbocharge flat 12 and it was already the fastest car in the championship, Porsche decided to flex their muscles once again and so the 917/30 was born.porsche 917 canam The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

Having to make a choice between a flat 16 engine and a twin-turbocharged 5.4 litres flat 12, the engineers finally decided to use the second variant, because the 16 engine would have made the car longer and thus the maneuverability would be affected a great deal.

Now hold on to your chair. The 917/30 engine was producing a whooping 1100 bhp in race mode and up to 1600 bhp in qualify mode !!! Because the whole car weighted only 816 kg, the power to weight ratio was absolutely insane : in race mode ( 1100 bhp ) the ratio was 1369.68 bhp/tonne and in qualify mode ( 1600 bhp ) the numbers just go through the roof : 1980 bhp/tonne !!!1973 porsche 917 30 sypder The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30

The performances of this car were and they still are unmatched : 0-62 mph in 1.9 sec, 0-100 mph in 3.9 sec and from 0 to 200 mph in just 10.9 sec. WOW. It won all the races in 1973 and in 1974 participated in only one race because of some regulations made about the fuel consumption.

Mark Donohue, the pilot who raced this incredible car, was asked how is it feel to drive a 1100 bhp monster. The answer wasnt surprising : there are no words that can possibly describe the feeling.

I believe that I convinced you that Bugatti Veyron isnt at all the fastest car ever built. By the way the 917/30 was capable of doing well over 260 mph.

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5 Responses to “The fastest race car ever built : Porsche 917/30”

  1. Tony says:

    There are so many amazing facts about the 917. It was truly an icon of what could be done with a road racing car given unbridled development parameters. I was very lucky to have spent most of my life in Gainesville, Florida, a university town (University of Florida)located a mere 90 miles from the Daytona International Speedway. As a teenager, I was able to see Pedro Rodriguez and his monsterous 917 win the 1970 and ’71 24 hour endurance races at that track. The car was amazingly quick and agile, even in it’s normally aspirated state. Also, Gainesville, Florida being not too far from Road Atlanta (located in Gainesville, Georgia)I was able to see the turbocharged 917/30 race at Road Atlanta in 1973. As the author of this piece points out, the 917/30 was capable of producing very close to 1600 HP in qualifying trim. Think about this for a moment. At that same time, Top Fuel dragsters were producing around 2000 HP, which was maintained for a mere quarter mile. The 917/30 would race for distances of 250 miles, utilizing up to 1100 HP repeatedly during the race. Top fuel dragsters are now producing in the neighborhood of 7500 HP (no doubt an impressive figure) for a quarter mile. Had the Canadian/American challenge continued unabatedly since the mid 1970′s, would we now see road racing Porsches producing 5000-6000 HP? I realize of course that this is very wild speculation on my part, but it is an interesting thought, is it not?

  2. Bradley says:

    I really really really like this car I’d like to have one but you shouldn’t say it’s the fastest car if its not the fatest car the jet car is faster but I still like th Porsche 917 more though.

  3. kenryu says:

    @Bradley : I said it is the fastest car with a conventional engine, I presume the jet car uses a turbine.

  4. Corey C says:

    Title does actually say that it’s the fastest race car ever built not the fastest car, Bradley.

  5. Paul says:

    What makes it a “conventional” engine? Is it the fuel? While it’s not a circuit racer, a top fuel Dragster will go well over 300mph.

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