Was it someone's 70th birthday this year?
Now I will be the first to admit I was not a lover of Porsche to start with, however, I can change my mind right? As you maybe aware from my earlier post, I was lucky enough to attend the Classic Le Mans as a spectator.(Though I do wish I was part of the media team to get closer to the action). As part of the 2018 Classic Le Mans it featured a special celebration to Porsche, who brought together 70 cars that featured in a special race as well as others that formed part of the other grids or plateau's. Of course I was there with my camera to take a few pictures of the action.
Porsche first road certified car was the Porsche 356/1 which hit the roads on the 8th June 1948 which was produced in Austria. The Gmund Roadster had a 1.1 litre air cooled flat 4 engine from Volkswagen. The roadster reached speeds up to 83mph, and I suppose you could say the rest is history. Below is a gallery of the 365's at Le Mans.
When you think of Le Mans it hard not to think of Porsche. They first entered Le Mans back in 1951 and have not missed a year to this day. They have also won the 24 hours endurance race outright a total of 19 times, which is a real testament to the manufacture. Their first win came with the 917K a 4.5 litre flat 12 producing around 520bhp, driven by Hans Herman and Richard Attwood. They won again in 1971 with the 917K Martini Racing Team driven by Helmut Marko (Mr Red Bull) and Gijs Van Lennep. They did not win again till 1975, this time with Jacky Ickx and Van Lennep again in the 936. The following year again Ickx won with Porsche, in the 936/77 with Hurley Haywood and Jurgen Barth.
In 1979 Porsche reclaimed the crown from Renault Alpine with their 935K3 driven by Klaus Ludwig with brothers Bill Whittington and Don Whittington.
Between 1981 & 87 Porsche won it year after year, with great drivers such as Ickx, Derek Bell, Ludwig, Hans-Joachim Stuck to name a few. 1981 was won by the 936, 82 to 85 with the 956, 86 and 87 with the 962.
Porsche wouldn't win it again unitl 1996 as Joest Racing TWR racing WSC-95 with Manuel Reuter, Davy Jones and Alexander Wurz. They won it for the following two years with drivers Tom Kristensen, Stefan Johansson, Michele Alboreto, Laurent Aiello, Allan McNish and Stephane Ortelli.
Porsche had to wait until the Hybrid era in 2015 to win Le Mans outright again, this time with Nico Hulkenberg in his first Le Mans, with team mates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy in the 919 Hybrid. The following year was again Porsche's year with the 919 Hybrid with Romain Dumas, Neil Jani and Marc Lieb. Porsche's final year in LMP 1 went out with win for Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber in the 919 Hybrid. Though no longer in LMP 1 of course Porsche are still involved in Le Mans and continue to write the history books.
Porsche have contributed so much to Le Mans history, you could dig up a part of circuit and it would bleed Porsche. So Happy Birthday Porsche, here's to 70 more years.