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Porsche’s first three Le Mans victories


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The Porsche 917K is one of the truly great race cars. It gave Porsche its first Le Mans victory, and dominated sports car and Can-Am races in the early 70s. I have a particular affection for it, as I was born in 1970, the year of its first victory.

I’ve modelled its first three Le Mans victories from the Fujimi 1/24 model. Decals are a combination of the model, IndyCal and my own.

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The first victory was #23 driven by Richard Attwood  and Hans Hermann. Heavy rain fell for most of the 24 hours, and many of the 917s and their Ferrari 512S competition failed to finish. Only seven cars were classified at the end. And #23 with the smaller engine, and a conservative approach was the winner.

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The 1970 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans was a dramatic affair with the closest racing finish. It was a Gulf Porsche 1-2 with Ferrari finishing just yards behind. Another Ferrari 512S had led at the start of the last lap, but failed to finish with a puncture.

The winning 917K #22 was driven by Larry Wilson.

There is a superb documentary on the race, which you should check out.

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The 1971 running saw a dominant display by Porsche. It was the swan song for the mighty 5 litre sports car regulations, and we saw the fastest running of the great race. The distance completed would not be surpassed for the next 40 years.

The Martini 917K that won was piloted by Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep. They covered over 5,000km in those 24 hours. Helmet Marko is now Red Bull’s F1 kingmaker.
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From 1972 sport cars moved to a 3 litre engine, and the 917 was raced in Can-Am for the next two years.

 

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I love your 917s, also a great favourite of mine. I confess to being slightly confused by the cars & their respective victories though, my memory is struggling to fit Larry Wilson's Gulf Porsche between the Atwood/Hermann #23 & the Marko/van Lennep #22 in 1970 & 71 respectively.

Ok, lightbulb moment, Larry Wilson won in the Steve McQueen movie, yup. :D 

Steve.

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Nicely done, especially the weathering on the Salzburg car, and the damage to the nose on the Martini car.  Despite winning pretty much everything with the 917K, JWAE's Gulf sponsored cars didn't win Le Mans except, of course, in the film.

Trevor

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Really lovely collection, three superb models of three superb racing cars - I never weather my car models, but do appreciate it when it's done as well as you have! I really like the subdued shine you have on the paintjobs too, suits the period very well.

 

Top job (s) !! :)

 

Keith

 

 

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Sadly, the #22 Gulf car didn't finish Le Mans in the real world.  Driven by David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood, it crashed out in the dodgy weather conditions.

 

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Driving past is the Solar Productions' Porsche 908 camera car driven by Herbert Linge and Jonathan Williams which captured some wonderful footage (a lot of it discarded, apparently) for Steve McQueen's movie.

Trevor

 

 

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Great models of the three winners!

 

Fab photo of number 22 being craned off the track. The safety car would be out for such an operation these days and certainly no marshals on track whilst cars pass at high speeds. Would they have been a little more careful (drivers and crane driver) if they realised the car would be worth over £10m in a few years?

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On 11/19/2022 at 11:47 PM, stevehnz said:

I love your 917s, also a great favourite of mine. I confess to being slightly confused by the cars & their respective victories though, my memory is struggling to fit Larry Wilson's Gulf Porsche between the Atwood/Hermann #23 & the Marko/van Lennep #22 in 1970 & 71 respectively.

Ok, lightbulb moment, Larry Wilson won in the Steve McQueen movie, yup. :D 

Steve.

Thanks for figuring that Steve out,  I was scratching my head.  But counting on from 4 Ford GT40 victories from Le Mans 1966.

Porsche 917 my favourite racing car,  and I've got the Fujimi kit for Daytona waiting in my stash.

 

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Thank you all for the kind words. 

I’m not sure I captured the weathering that well. I seem to specialise in “1 metre modelling”, so better if you take a step back.

 

The Fujimi kits are great. I did however repeat the same mistake three times when painting the body shells!
I had attached the side windows, and each time forgot to mask inside! The Gulf 917 therefore is a bit hazy, let’s pretend the inside had misted up in the rain.

 

Indycal decals are brilliant, so would highly recommend them. I made my own race numbers for the Gulf 917, and also the 70s adverts for the Armco. I really enjoyed that part. Not sure I’ve captured the bitumen of the track that well, so I may redo that.

 

Im glad there is a lot of love for the 917. I adore everything about the story of the car. Fans will know all about it, but take your time and have a look. 
You’ll find how they created 20+ cars to exploit a loophole, and how the initial cars were 240+mph and almost undriveable. How the Kurtz deck was hammered together in the pits at a test. You’ll see Rodrigues and Siffert (teammates) banging doors into eau Rouge on lap 1 of a 1,000km race. How the Le Mans rule change into 1972 simply meant that Porsche went to the US and made the most powerful sports car ever.

 

And the whole story around Steve McQueen and his passion project to film a fictional Le Mans 1970. I hope I tricked enough people with my post.

From Steve planning to race alongside Jackie Stewart, to poor David Piper’s accident. How none of the Gulf Porsches lasted through the night in the real race, and how a 908 was a camera car. 
 

As a proud Kiwi my next post will be Le Mans 1966 - the year three New Zealanders finished 1-2 in the great race (along with another driver). I plan on modelling theGT40s crossing the finish line.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Amaurosisbrown said:

As a proud Kiwi my next post will be Le Mans 1966 - the year three New Zealanders finished 1-2 in the great race (along with another driver). I plan on modelling theGT40s crossing the finish line.

Now you're talking, bring it on. :)

Steve.

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Truly beautiful Porsches - and excellently built!

I think your weathering gives a very realistic impression of rain on race day, so I'm not complaining!

I well recall the Steve McQueen movie, although I was all of seven years old at the time!

If I recall correctly (memory can play tricks) Steve's ride doesn't win the race, but the team's other car does.
As an impressionable kid, I recall being rather shocked that our hero of the film did not win the race!

Anyway, these three related builds are a strong inspiration to have a Fujimi kit added to my stash.

Thanks for showing them off.  They're great!

👏👏

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On 11/23/2022 at 8:55 PM, Amaurosisbrown said:

As a proud Kiwi my next post will be Le Mans 1966 - the year three New Zealanders finished 1-2 in the great race (along with another driver). I plan on modelling theGT40s crossing the finish line.

Excellent plan,  really looking forward to seeing that.

A controversial moment, that the film misrepresented.

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