Monday, March 18, 2024

RETRO: Some of Porsche’s Three Quarter’s Century of Motorsports Accomplishments

Whilst another German legend is currently Asleep at the Wheel…


Naturally being a One Man Band, your Humble No Fenders scribe Tomaso simply cannot poond’ out fast enough everythingy’ that occurs in Der Wurld de Motorsprten, Ja-Ja!


And although we’ve turned the calendar to March, having just witnessed the conclusion of another 12 Hours of Sebring. Which perhaps I was able to listen to part of during my Heart surgery recovery. Which Y’all are probably getting tired of hearing about, Eh?


Thus obviously, I’m still playin’ Ketsup as always here upon Ye mystical Isle ‘O Nofendersville!


As I simply didn’t have the time, energy or space to pontificate about some significant events in 2023. Although having waxed-on about it being McLaren’s 60th Anniversary. I failed to note that Porsche’s legendous’ 911 turned 60, along with Lamborghini! Not to overlook that America’s “Sports Car” Corvette turned 70, Crikeys!


And whilst I did manage to scribble another short, HaHaHa! No Fenders Three part story about Honda celebrating it’s 75th Anniversary Justin-time last December. I’ve failed to give Porsche credit for also celebrating the same 75th Anniversary last year. For which ironically, both Honda and Porsche; two-thirds the “Axis of Evil” celebrated a year after Ferrari did so.


Yet like Ferrari (1939) and Honda, (1937) who both were founded prior to their noted Anniversary’s. Porsche also does likewise, with a most convoluted History.


As Dr. Ferdinand Porsche founded the company in 1931, along with Adolf Rosenberger and Anton Piech


The company’s first assignment was from the German Government to develop a “People’s Car”, better known as the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, Ja Volt! Before arguably the company’s first automobile, simply known as the Type 64 was manufactured in 1939. Albeit borrowing heavily from the Volkswagen Beetle, for which only three examples were built.


Ferdinand designed Tanks during World War II, although losing out upon the contracts to produce His Tiger I concept, before being Imprisoned for twenty months following the War’s end in 1945.


Thus during this time, Ferdinand’s son Ferry took over running of Porsche, along with having designed what Porscheaphiles’ denote as the company’s first production vehicle, the legendous’ 356.


As the first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948. Promptly being entered in a race, where it won it’s class. And hence, Porsche’s 75th Anniversary comes full circle. Even though the 356 was produced by Ferry and sister Louise’s Austrian Porshce Konstruktion GesnbH concern between 1948-50.


As the Austrian company would later become known as Porsche Salzburg, which entered the 917 that won Porsche’s first overall 24 Heurs du Mans victory. Subsequently becoming the largest distributor of Porsche Automobiles and ultimately becoming today’s Porsche Holdings…


Whilst we All know that Porsche is synonymous with Sports Car racing, for which I’ll tackle in a separate No Fenders yarn shortly. But first, a very brief look at it’s largely overlooked Single Seaters Open Wheel Racing History instead…


Arse-sumedly when Y’all hear the words Porsche and formula 1, Yuhs think of those F1 World Championship McLaren TAG-Porsche entries, Righto?


Yet it was actually the Porsche 718 model that first competed in Euripean Formula 2 that initially involved Porsche in Single Seater racing. Although reportedly Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had designed Formula 1 machinery for Mercedes and Auto Union during the 1920’s & 1930’s.


And although the 718 saw limited success as a Single Seater. It’s RS60 variant greatest successes were winning the 1960 12Hours of Sebring and the Targa Florio.


Yet with the FIA mandating maximum engine capacity of 1,500cc for Formula 1 in 1961, the 718 F2 model was instantly eligible for the f1 World championship.


Yet Porsche’s 718 F2 model was outdated and outclassed. And thus Stuttgart designed the brand new 804 model for F1 in 1962, featuring a Flat-8 cylinder engine. Which Dan Gurney won His and Porsche’s maiden Formula 1 victory aboard during the ’62 French Grand Prix.


Before Porsche withdrew from Formula 1 at season’s end due to it’s high costs and lack of road car relevance. Not returning to thee Pinnicle ‘O Motorsports for another two-plus decades as an engine supplier…