Category Archives: Can-Am

“Hello – I’m Jacky”

I knew it was my lucky day when I received a call from the Porsche Club GB office to offer me a last minute place for the “Evening with Jacky Ickx” event they had organised at Porsche Centre East London.

Upon arrival – I was chatting with Ed Pike (co-organiser with other half Nick of of PCGB London Region) and another club member over a glass of wine when a dapper gentleman wandered over and introduced himself to us with – “Hello – I’m Jacky”, before shaking each of us by the hand.

It was none other than Belgian motor racing legend – Jacky Ickx!

Continue reading “Hello – I’m Jacky”

A-Z of Car Stuff: P is for Porsche 917

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about the Porsche 917?

To my mind – the things that make the Porsche 917 special are:-

1) Form and function working in harmony. A perfect combination of a lightweight but beautiful body/chassis with a brutally powerful air-cooled flat 12 engine to fling it round race circuits.

2) The 917 took outright speed to new levels at Le Mans and it took outright power to ludicrous extremes in the Can-Am series. It was designed to reach 250 mph and it achieved this on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in K (K=Kurz-heck or short tail) form pretty well straight well out of the box. In Can-Am racing – engine power reached 1100bhp in race mode and a crazy 1580bhp for qualifying!

3) The 917 finally secured Porsche’s 1st outright win at Le Mans in 1970 in the capable hands of Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann. A further outright win came the following year when a 917 driven by Gijs van Lennep and Helmut Marko crossed the line first.

I think there are many  parallels between the development of the pre-war Auto Union race cars (Types A, B & C) and the Porsche 917. Both were bold and radical Porsche designs targeting domination of the new race formulae in which they were about to run. Both had well established and highly proficient competition in the form of Mercedes for Auto Union and Ferrari for the 917.

Both cars went through a phenomenally rapid design and construction phase and both attempted to mitigate risk as much as possible by utilising as many  tried and tested concepts, technologies and components as was possible at the time.

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: P is for Porsche 917

Donington Historic Festival – Sun 4th May 2014

Donington – Sun 4th May 2014

I’ve always liked Donington as a racing circuit. Like Brands Hatch – its setting in rolling countryside makes it much more visually interesting for spectators than the airfield-flat-frozen-tundra of Silverstone.

Maserati 250F
Maserati 250F

I used to visit Donington regularly many years ago to attend historic racing events and it’s really great to see this historic racing tradition being successfully revived over the last couple of years under the Wheatcroft family’s fantastic stewardship.

From the vast array of earth moving vehicles parked at the entrance and evidence of what they’ve been doing inside  the circuit – its clear that Donington is slowly but surely being remodelled after the disastrous attempt to convert it into an F1 circuit simply to pander to Ecclestone’s pathological hatred of Silverstone and the BRDC.

My 911 parked amongst Porsche Club GB cars on the inside of Redgate Corner
My 911 parked amongst Porsche Club GB cars on the inside of Redgate Corner

The Donington atmosphere is also as it was – open, friendly and catering really well for classic car enthusiasts by providing cheap ticket deals for car club members, free access to the paddock/garages, Car Club reserved parking in the infield and opportunities for owners to drive their beloved classics around the circuit on parade laps during breaks in the racing. Continue reading Donington Historic Festival – Sun 4th May 2014