1969 Porsche 917K 015

The Porsche 917K, my favorite, all time racecar… So I thought I would share it with some details.

This particular vehicle has been beautifully restored by Gunnar Racing in Florida to it’s original Gulf Oil colour scheme, which in my opinion is perhaps one of the greatest, simple colour designs ever produced.

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
1970
24 Hours of Daytona, 1st Overall
Pedro Rodriguez
Leo Kinnunen
Brian Redman
724 Laps, 2759 Miles

Watkins Glen Can-Am, 7th Overall Brian Redman

1971
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

Pedro Rodriguez

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 Kinnunen
Kinnunen 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.

Photos by: Zach Todd.

     

Complete Chassis Inventory

Chassis Model Year Group First owner Next owners (year) Comment
917-001 1969 Gr.5 Porsche Test car, now in Porsche Museum (painted as 1970 Le Mans winner).
917-002 1969 Gr.5 Porsche {scrapped} Test chassis, scrapped.
917-003 1969 Gr.5 Porsche {scrapped} Test chassis, then T-car at Spa 1969. Scrapped after accident.
917-004 1969 Gr.5 Porsche => John Wyer (1970) Nürburgring ’69 (Piper/Gardner). John Wyer then rebuilt after crash at Brands Hatch 1970 as 017.
917-005 1969 Gr.5 Porsche => John Woolfe (1969) Spa ’69 (Mitter) John Woolfe at Le Mans 1969 – destroyed
917-006 1969 Gr.5 Porsche {scrapped} Le Mans 1969 T-car. Roller endurance test, scrapped.
917-007 1969 Gr.5 Porsche => Gesipa (1970) Stommelen/Ahrens LM 69. To Gesipa in 1970. Rebuilt as spyder in 1971
917-008 1969 Gr.5 Porsche {scrapped} Elford/Attwood LM 69. Roller endurance test in 1970, scrapped.
917-009 1969 Gr.5 Porsche/Von Wendt? => John Wyer (1970) Siffert/Ahrens Zeltweg 1969. John Wyer car 1970. Scrapped after Sebring 1971
917-010 1969 Gr.5 David Piper Sold to David Piper 1969. Still owned & raced by him to-day (1997)
917-011 1969 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg {written off => scrapped} Porsche Salzburg no. 3 car at Daytona 1970. Written off while testing at Targa Florio 1970.
917-012 1969 Gr.5 Porsche {scrapped, used to rebuild 917-021} Scrapped after tests, 1969.
917-013 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer John Wyer 1970. Used for Le Mans film and crashed by David Piper. Allegedly rebuilt with 034 parts, but kept number 013 (probably not true).
917-014 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer John Wyer car 1970. Rebuilt for 1971 as 029.
917-015 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer John Wyer car 1970. Daytona 24 Hours 1970 winner. Rebuilt as Spyder for Interserie 1971 with chassis 917-01-021. A new chassis 035 became 015 in 1971. In 2000 car was restored in its original Daytona 1970 configuration and Gulf colors by Gunnar Racing. But 917-01-021 was re-created using the original roll bar and rear section of the chassis while about 80% of the Spyder chassis was new.
917-016 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer John Wyer car 1970-71
917-017* 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer => Ernst Kraus (1972) John Wyer car, rebuild of 004, carrying number 004. Used in 1970-71
917-018 1969 Gr.5 Alex Soler-Roig => Chuck Stoddard (1975~2001) Alex Soler-Roig, Spanish races 1970 , and Buenos Aires 1971
917-019 1969 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg => Martini International (1971) Porsche Salzburg 1970, Martini International 1971
917-020 1969 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg => Martini International (1971) => Vasek Polak (end 1971÷1997) => Gustav Nitsche (~2001) Porsche Salzburg 1970, Martini International 1971. Sebring 1971 winner. In 2000 restored in its Martini 1971 colors.
917-021 1969 Gr.5 Team AAW => David Piper (1971) Team AAW 1970. Crashed at Le Mans. parts used to build 1971 spyder 917 01 021. It was also rebuilt using 917-012, possibly to David Piper (1971, Chris Craft in 1972 Interserie, for Piper-White Racing). Interestingly, at one point in this car’s history it wore an Alabama license plate and was driven on Germany’s public roads.
917-01-021 Spyder 1971 Gr.7 Team AAW …=> Wayne Jackson (~2001) Spyder built on 917-015 using parts from 021.Gunnar Racing restored 917-015 from 917-01-021 in 1999-2000, but re-created 917-01-021 using the original roll bar and rear section of the chassis. All of the original suspension, engine, gearbox and bodywork from the spyder have been used though.
917-022 1969 Gr.5 Solar Production => Brian Redman => Richard Attwood Le Mans film car, Auto Usdau 1971. Originally purchased by Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions for the movie “Le Mans.” After the filming the car ran a couple of races and was briefly owned by Brian Redman, who then sold it to Attwood. Sold at auction in summer 2000. Limited use in competition.
917-023 1969 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg => Martini International (1971) …=> Matsuda Collection, J (early 1980s) => Dr. Julio Palmaz (early 2001) Porsche Salzburg 1970, Martini International 1971. Winner of Le Mans 1970 – first ever Porsche victory at Le Mans. Wearing incorrect paint and secluded in Japan’s famous Matsuda Collection since the early-1980s, this car has been returned to its proper Salzburg red and white livery (2000).
917-024 1969 Gr.5 Jo Siffert Originally sold to Jo Siffert. Used for Le Mans film. No race history
917-025 1969 Gr.5 Zitro Racing Team Zitro (Dominique Martin)
917-026 1969 Gr.5 John Wyer => Jürgen Neuhaus (1971) => Georg Loos (1972) John Wyer car 1970. Crashed by Hailwood at Le Mans. Rebuilt using chassis 031. Original crashed chassis repaired and rebuild as Spyder for Uschi Heckersbruch driven by Neuhaus in 1971.
917-027 917PA 1969 Gr.7 Porsche Prototype 917PA. Test chassis.
917-028 917PA 1969 Gr.7 Porsche/Audi => Vasek Polak (1971) Siffert 1969, to Vasek Polak 1971 (Milt Minter). Given 917/10 body for CanAm 1973.
917-029 Gr.5 John Wyer {renumbered as 014} John Wyer car 1971, carried plate 014.
917-030 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg => Martini International (1971) Martini car Osterreichring 1971. To Count Rossi as road car
917-031 Gr.5 John Wyer => Ernst Kraus (1972) => Monsier Chandon, F => Mike Amalfino (1988~2001) Used to rebuilt 026, used by John Wyer 1970-71. Possibly converted to spyder for Ernst Kraus.
917-032 Gr.5 {scrapped} Scrapped after tests
917-033 Gr.5 Sold in Germany. Never used
917-034 Gr.5 John Wyer {renumbered as 013} Used as a ‘new’ 013.
917-035 Gr.5 John Wyer {renumbered as 015} Numbered as 015 for John Wyer 1971. A new chassis.
917-036 Gr.5 Car sold without engine. Never raced
917-040* LH Coupe Gr.5 {scrapped} 1970 Long-tail test car using parts of 917-006. Scrapped after accident.
917-041 Gr.5 {scrapped} Le Mans tests 1970. Scrapped
917-042 Gr.5 Porsche Salzburg => Martini International (1971) Elford/Ahrems Le Mans 1970., Elford/Attwood Le Mans 1971
917-043 LH Coupe Gr.5 Martini International => John Wyer (19710 Martini long-tail Le Mans 1970, Rodriguez/Oliver le Mans 1971
917-044 Gr.5 Spare chassis.Never used
917-045 Gr.5 John Wyer Siffert/Bell Le Mans 1971. Now in Le Mans museum, painted as Martini 1971 (042)
917-051 Gr.5 {scrapped} Magnesium chassis; scrapped after tests
917-052 1971 Gr.5 {scrapped} Magnesium chassis; scrapped after tests
917-053 1971 Gr.5 Int. Martini Martini Le Mans 1971 (1st)