1972 Porsche 917/10 #59 Pilot: P. Gregg Team: Brumos Porsche-Audi Race: 11th overall at Can-Am Watkins Glen in 1972 Spark - US162 (resin)
After the 917K won Le Mans in 1970, there was no doubt it was THE best racing car of its era. By then, Porsche was also racing on the other side of the Atlantic. They began a discrete effort in Can-Am in 1969, using a 908. It didn’t take long for Stuttgart to think of the 917 as a Can-Am car. That being so, in 1970 they began working on their new Can-Am car, the 917/10. Though basically a stretched spyder version of a 917, the 917/10 had a key difference – it was turbocharged. The 917/10 had a 180º V-12 (or flat-12) displacing 5374 cm³. Though smaller than the current American V8 engines in Can-Am, being turbocharged it delivered around 750 hp. With that power output, the 917/10 was at the level of the McLaren M8F, the best Can-Am car at the time.
All in all, Porsche constructed 13 chassis. Though their factory team was Penske Racing, Porsche sold the 917/10 to privateers. And one of these privateers was Brumos Racing. Herbert Brundage founded Brundage Motors, a VW importer in the USA in the early 50s. At the time, with commercial communications done via Telex, they shortened the name to BruMos. In 1959 BruMos became also a Porsche importer and dealership. In 1964, with the death of Brundage, Peter Gregg, a former naval officer, bought the business. Also a competent pilot, Gregg instituted the “race-on-Sunday-sell-on-Monday” strategy, and created a racing team. When in the Navy, he often flew on the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier, which had its hull number “59” painted on the side. With that, he chose #59 as his racing number. Brumos Racing started in SCCA, always using Porsches, piloted mainly by Gregg and later on also by Hurley Haywood.
Porsche’s success at Can-Am was modest at best, at least until 1971. That’s when the 917/10 entered the scene, and then things changed. In the car’s first season Penske’s 917/10 finished in fourth place. With that, it became evident that the 917/10 was a potential winner. Porsche was quick to put the 917/10 on the market, and Brumos Racing bought chassis #917/10-07. With Peter Gregg himself at the wheel, Brumos debuted in the 1972 Can-Am season on June 11th. That day, at Mosports, 917/10 #59 finished in fifth place. Next on the calendar was Road Atlanta, where Gregg ran out of fuel. Still, he managed a fifth place classification, due to race distance. The following race was at Watkins Glen, on July 23rd. There Gregg only managed an 11th place, finishing 18 laps behind Denny Hulme’s winning McLaren.
In the 1972 season, the best result for 917/10 #59 was third place at Road America. And with a sixth place finish in Riverside, Peter Gregg finished the season in ninth place overall. Maybe not the best of results, however in his defense, the competition was against Porsche’s factory team (Penske) and McLaren’s M20. Or in other words, VERY stiff. An interesting detail is that Watkins Glen was the last race for Peter Gregg to race in baby-blue. From Mid-Ohio onward all of Brumos’ cars were painted in their (now) traditional white with blue and red stripes.
In scale, the 917/10 #59 is a true winner. Spark did a heckuva a job on the model, with great details and an A+ paint job. I don’t collect Can-Am cars per se, however I needed (BAD!) a 917/10 in the W-143 Garage. Fortunately Spark recently issued a few 917/10, all in limited edition – this one is #284/500. Therefore, more than probably, these cars will become scarce in the future. And with 917/10 #59 here I now have at least one of all the variations* of the mighty 917 😎.
*Well, I don’t have a 917PA, yet that was basically a regular 917K with the roof chopped off, so…
Yeah, yeah, I’ll try to get one.