Photo Album: Essential Porsche 917K Wallpapers + Bonus!

January 16, 2012

There are few factory-derived racecars as tauntingly beautiful and purposely outlandish as the legendary Porsche 917K series. There’s just something about its purity of voilent speed and devilishly analogue nature that *pings* directly at the petrolheaded soul and has you searching for a YouTube fix at 2am…

The Porsche 917 was originally designed as a ‘long-tale’ (917LH) but seeing as how this initial version produced rather sketchy handling at high speeds, a shorter-tailed version (the 917K) was developed to cure the high-speed instabilities at the cost of a slightly lower top speed. Based on the Porsche 908, the 917 was conceived in an alarmingly short time of just 10 months (at great expense to Porsche) and made its debut win at the 1970 Le Mans – the first-ever overall win for Porsche. It followed this win up with a 2nd overall Le Mans win in ’71.

Power came from the monstrous Type 912 air-cooled flat-12 engine that ranged in size from 4.5, 4.9 and 5.0 litres producing upwards of 620 bhp. The dash to 60 would arrive in 2.3 seconds and 125 mph would be achived in a barely-believable 5.3 seconds… (!)

In the sorely-missed original Can-Am series (’66-’74) an insane turbocharged version dubbed the Porsche 917/30 produced well over 1,100 bhp and as much as 1,580 bhp when in qualifying tune… again, (!)

As an added little bonus, here we have a chart documenting every single 917 chassis ever made…

-Blake J.
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2013 Porsche Boxster: Longer and Wider Evolution Continues

January 12, 2012

Almost on-cue after yesterday’s spotlight on the legendary mid-engined Porsche 550 Spyder comes this: the 3rd-generation mid-engined Porsche Boxster for 2013. The longer, wider and slightly lighter (by 35kg) evolution of the firm’s entry-level Porsche appears to have followed suit with its 911-sibling by gaining more dimensional girth in almost every way.

Styling changes and revisions have predictably gone down the more gapingly aggressive route with even larger intake vents and wheels with headlamps that remind of the Porsche 918 RSR and a striking new rear-deck wing-extension that appears to draw inspiration from that of the aftermarket TechArt variant offered-up for the previous-gen Boxster. Now bigger in almost every way, it goes without saying that curiosity will be running high on the next-gen Cayman – I’m guessing it’ll look similar in size/dimensions to a 993-gen 911… ?

Inside, the cabin has also followed along with the new 911 and Panamera (via Carrera GT supercar) by incorporating a raised transmission console and edgier lines all throughout. More space inside as well, as is to be expected with the evolutionary themes of Porsche these days.

Behind the driver will sit two new flat-six engines on offer, both with direct-injection and the obligatory ‘Earth-saving’ (and rather annoyingly silly) stop-start tech: A 2.7-liter boasting 265bhp (up 10bhp from its larger predecessor) and a 3.4-liter unit fitted in the Boxster S good for 315bhp (up by 5bhp). A 6-speed manual is standard fare with the option of ticking the 7-speed PDK gearbox if flicking paddles is your thing…

New tech introduced on the next Boxster include electric steering (booo… hisss…), an electric rooftop (nice), the option of Porsche’s torque vectoring system and a mechanical limited-slip differential (yay..!)

Fuel consumption figures state 36.7 mpg and 35.3 for the Boxster S (all relative, of course) and the 0-60 dash is covered in 5.7 for the standard Boxster and 5.0 for the S version. Prices will start at $49, 500 for a base model (before ticking a lot of boxes) and $60,900 for the base S variant…. which seems like quite a lot when you factor-in that almost everyone will easily add-on $5000 in must-have extras without even blinking an eye… a Boxster S costing over $70,000 before taxes… ?!? yikes…

The new 2013 Boxster goes on-sale at the beginning of the Summer.

-Blake J.
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Legends: The Porsche 550 RS Spyder

January 11, 2012
  The Porsche 550 Spyder of the 1950’s. Rarely has a purpose-built sportscar rendered so much international acclaim and praise for its ‘Giant killing’ abilities alongside outright victories of some of the most demanding and challenging races (most notably its win in the 1956 Targa Floria) of the era from which it was conceived. But that it was also remembered as being a poster-child for a high-profile (and seemingly, cursed) city-to-city ‘Speed Kills’ campaign in the USA (after movie-star James Dean’s death in his ‘Little Bastard’ 550 Spyder) only further serves to inflitrate the mysterious and legendary effects that the 550 had on not only the racing scene and the general public, but also on the future of Porsche as a marque that had undeniably made its mark on the sportscar scene.
  Only 90 examples were made between October 1952 and June 1956 with the first four cars going to Porsche KG for testing and racing. The first 2 two examples bore removeable hardtops to aid in aerodynamics whilst racing against the other Motorsport leviathans of the time – namely the Jaguar D-types and Mercedes 300 SLRs – and upon the first race of the 1953 season at the Nurburgring (in appalling conditions), the 550 won outright in its very first race. A month later at Le Mans, both cars were entered and won their 1500cc class, ending up 15th overall.
  All 550s were built by hand and saw them borrowing parts from its 356 predecessor and Volkswagen during its build-evolution. Subsequently, each 550 made over the years received gradual improvements and upgrades along the way. Power for those first handful of cars originally came from the 356’s 1500 Super engine that was good for up-to 100 bhp, but eventually the reliably robust type-547 1498cc 4-cam engine, built by Ernst Fuhrmann, would come to readily power the 596 kg lightweight 550 with its larger bore and shorter stroke.
  Eventually, after a couple of years spent refining both the body and the mechanics of the 550, work was commissioned in 1955 to coachbuilder Wendler of Reutlingen, Germany to build 69 road-going examples for privateers, 33 of which would be bound for the USA. The 550 Spyder (renamed from ‘550 1500/RS’ to ‘550 Spyder’ by an American, for the American market) would continue on with racing success at the hands of such legendary drivers as Stirling Moss, Hans Herrmann and Richard von Frankenberg to name but a few, claiming multiple victories with the 550 during their racing careers.
  The 550 represented Porsche’s proper entry into the world of International Motorsport and was responsible for the introduction of the ‘RS’ Renn Sport (‘motorsport’ in German) moniker that has been attached to every road-going, limited ‘Hot’ Porsche ever since. Yet most importantly, the success of the 550 resulted in the furthering of Porsche’s Motorsport division throughout the 1960’s and onwards which, as we know, laid the foundations for such incredibe creations such as the 917 and 956 racecars of later years. No surprise then that 550 Spyders exchange hands nowadays in the $1-million+ arena… A true legend, it will always be.
-Blake J.
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Photo Album: A Pair of Iconic Porsche 917s

December 28, 2011

It’s the usual end-of-year crawl within the motoring industry – not a lot ‘breaking news’ out there per se. Plus, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all running on the exhaust-fumes from the busy Holidays… So then, what better time than now to simply feast your eyes upon these excellent high-res photos capturing two of the most-iconic Porsche race cars of all time – The Gulf and Martini-liveried 917s.

Enjoy.

I'd be smiling as well...

This wouldn’t feel complete unless I included a favorite movie-still from Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’ film…

-Blake J. 
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Video: The Sounds of 2011

December 27, 2011

Throughout this past year, there have been some heavily impressive creations within the exotic/sportscar realms. The Ferrari 458, the 997-series-ending Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, the McLaren MP4-12C, the BMW 1M, the Mercedes C63 AMG, the Lamborghini Aventador… the list goes on.

Here we present you with a video compilation from YouTube user jorrie2 displaying the various new sounds of 2011 mixed with some tasty bits of the old….

The internal-combustion’ed high-performance engine shall never die…!

-Blake J.
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Photos of the Day: Ferrari at Le Mans – 1969 (+video)

December 13, 2011

The 1969 Le Mans 24HR race was the stuff of legends. Before the race even started, many had bagged Porsche to win outright victories with its impressive (yet controversial) fleet of 908 and 917 long-tails. Ford had already performed a hat-trick at Le Mans with their 3rd victory in-a-row from the previous year’s 1968 race, so Porsche (along with Matra and to some extent, Ferrari) were adament in knocking Ford off of the top-spot for outright victories in 1969.

Ferrari entered two 312P Berlinettas (essentially F1 cars dressed-up in different bodies) driven by Perdo Rodriguez/David Piper (#18) and Chris Amon/Peter Schetty (#19) but unfortunately both failed to finish the race – the Amon/Schetty car being forced to retire on the very first lap after John Woolfe crashed his Porsche 917 (sadly, killing him) which subsequently dislodged its fuel-tank, of which the Ferrari drove straight over top of and exploded in the process.

The race came down to the final laps with Jacky Ickx (in the same Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 from the year before) doing lap-after-lap battle with Hans Herrmann in his Porsche 908, both of them exchanging the lead position on each lap. At the final turn, Jacky was able to take advantage of the Porsche’s ailing brakes and out-breaked Hans in his 908, coming out ahead in the final turn and winning Le Mans 1969 by mere seconds.

I’ve always loved the fact that Jacky Ickx made a subtle statement against the traditional sprint-to-your-car-and-get-in-and-go start of the Le Mans by merely strolling over to the GT40 when the flag dropped. He then calmly got in, buckled himself up and casually drove off… and, of course, in last place.

Ickx winning by mere seconds...

*** There’s a great DVD out there from Duke called ‘Le Mans 1969 – La Ronde Infernale’ that I highly recommend for your motoring DVD library, by the way. In the meantime, here’s the uploaded YouTube version of it… Enjoy.

Part 1:

 Part 2:

Part 3: 

Part 4:

-Blake J.
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Spied: The Next-Gen Porsche 911 GT3

December 8, 2011

With the all-new 991-series Porsche 911 barely breaking cover after a recent launch, it seems almost premature to be even thinking about the next hardcore GT3 variant. Yet, the photos published in German magazine Auto Motor and Sport clearly show a new 911 with the GT3 signature big-wing, twin central exhausts and slightly more-aggressive bumpers.

As you’d imagine, any further details would be by mere guess-work at this point in time but count on the next-gen GT3 achieving a nominal gain in power and (hopefully) a further decrease in weight. Industry-talk has also confirmed that the latest electric power steering unit found in the new Carrera will find its way into the next GT3 – that move will undoubtedly cause some controversy amongst the Porsche driving-purists…

The outstanding GT3 RS 4.0 - ending the 997-series 911 with an exquisite, metallic bang

If the incredible last-hurrah GT3 RS 4.0 (pictured) has proven anything, it is that Porsche engineers still know how to chisel-away and fine-tune their most-iconic of sporstcars. No wonder the GT3 cars feel and drive as if they’re hewn from a solid chunk of granite…

See the spy-shots of the next GT3 on the Auto Motor and Sport website here.

The next-gen GT3 will arive in 2013. Can’t wait..!

-Blake J.
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Video/Spotlight: RUF CTR ‘Yellowbird’ – Insane Nurburgring Lap

November 28, 2011

We’ve all seen our fair share of ‘hot’ laps from the Nurburgring throughout our Internet years, yet there are only a select few that actually manage to focus your undivided attention and drop your gaping maw at the same time – this is one of those rare moments.

When I was a teenaged petrolhead in the late 80’s I remember motoring-talk of some underground/dubbed VHS video showing a complete nutter by the name of Stefan Roser slinging a yellow Porsche 911 around the Nurburgring, setting a production-car lap record with this mythical beast in the process… albeit, an almost entirely sideways one.

It was called the CTR ‘Yellowbird’ and it was made by a specialty German sportscar manufacturer called RUF (The German Government recognizes RUF as a manufcturer, not a tuning company, hence the reason why you’ll never see ‘Porsche’ in the names of their creations). The performance figures alone seemed to defy the laws of right and wrong – 469 bhp and 408 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo 3.4L flat-6 / 0-60 in 3.7 sec., 0-100 in 7.8 sec. (!) / 1170 kg / top speed: 211 mph… In 1987, it was faster than both the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 Supercars.

The 469 bhp powerplant responsible for making 911s go very sideways

In the late 90’s I managed to track down a DVD-copy (of a copy of a copy of a…) of this legendary ‘Faszination’ video and I still watch it in utter amazement. In the days of no traction control or stability aids/nannies whatsoever, this impressive feat of driving is a timely reminder of the raw skills required to harness, control and almost-balletically exploit ferociously capable power against the forces of nature. At times, Stefan Roser comes across like he’s dancing with the CTR. Oh, to be embued with the might to drive a car like this at (or even remotely near) the limit…

Stefan Roser, just out for a leisurely Sunday drive...

As you can see, Stefan wasn’t wearing gloves or even a helmet. He even managed this slice of unbelievable driving while wearing his everyday slip-on deck shoes (some say he was just wearing socks)… All of this lairiness happening on a public-day at the Nurburgring with 469 bhp slung out back and a manual transmission to negotiate (again, sideways) through it all – Truly mind-boggling and courageous.

-Blake J.
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Pic of the Day: Porsche 911 GT3

November 10, 2011

The next-generation 991-series Porsche 911 is set to hit the showrooms in the Springtime of next year and by now most of you (aficianado or not) will have surely gleaned over the raft of changes and updates that will encompass the next 911 model.

Most noteworthy is the lengthened wheelbase over the outgoing 997-series and the rather controversial (and worrisome) addition of an electric pump to assist with the steering – an aspect of the 911 that has always been its trademark for driver interaction unlike any other car on sale today. Let’s just hope this new tech and additional creature comforts hasn’t further sanitised a key element of the 911s appeal…

Until those first drives and detailed reports come flooding in, let us take a moment to remind that there will undoubtedly be Turbo, GT2 (perhaps) and GT3/RS versions coming down the Porsche pipeline over the forthcoming year or two – the 911s we actually care about.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven extensive miles and cared-for a 997-series GT3 in identical spec/colour to the one below and without pause, I can firmly deliver that it was one of the most incredible sportscars I’ve ever driven.

It was also one of those cars that (still) shows you something new to learn and/or discover about its handling character and idiosyncratic foibles each time you got behind the wheel – I like that, a lot. The drivetrain itself was seemingly carved and engineered from a single solid slab of granite with an engine that sang a song of metallic urge and howling might… Yes, this car has soul and buckets of precisional beauty. Quite looking forward to the next-gen GT3….

-Blake J.
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Onboard Videos: Porsche’s Legendary 917, 936 and 956

November 1, 2011

Riding on the shoulders of yesterday’s Ultimate 911 article, here we present you with a trio of scintilating onboard videos riding along with Porsche Motorsport’s various leviathans from the past.

Porsche 917

First up is the legendary 917/30 that managed to capture Porsche’s first-ever outright wins at Le Mans in 1970 and ’71 (amongst many many other wins). It featured an air-cooled (air-cooled!) Flat-12 engine ranging from 4.5 to 5.0 litres in size that delivered around 620 bhp. Later turbo’d 917 variants saw insane outputs of up to 1100 bhp and tuned to upwards of 1500 bhp in hair-on-fire qualifying-spec. Here we have the affable Derek Bell inviting you onboard for a rather detailed, personal view.

Porsche 936

Another Motorsport legend from the Porsche garages here. With a chassis based on the incredible 917, The 936 featured a (once again air-cooled) 2.2L single turbo-charged Flat-6 that churned out 540 bhp. In the 6 years that Porsche entered the 936 into competitive realms from ’76 – ’81, it came away with 3 outright Le Mans wins (’76, ’77 and ’81). Take an onboard blast around Le Mans in 1977 here with Jurgen Barth behind the wheel of his Martini Racing-sponsored Porsche 936.

Porsche 956

The 956 continued on with the successes trail-blazed by the former 936 and featured the same engine (though enlarged) to a 2.6L turbocharged Flat-6 that mustered up 635 bhp. It too entered Le Mans in 1982 and won the race outright (actually, Porsche placed 1-2-3 that year). Mostly remembered for having set the Nurburgring fastest lap record via Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000 KM of Nurburgring race, his time remains an outright lap-record (6 min 11.13 sec) that stands to this very day.

The speeds (and blurred sights) achieved down the Mulsanne Straight in this video are truly bonkers… There is also an ‘In Car 956’ video/DVD that Duke Video made available a few years back that I would heavily recommend…! I own a copy – it’s amazing..!

-Blake J.
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