1972 Porsche 917/30 #0 Pilot: H. Müller Team: Martini Racing Team Race: 2nd overall (3.0 class) at Interserie Nürburgring 1974 Spark - SG672 (resin)
After their first class win in 1951, Porsche’s race cars became synonymous with Le Mans. However, even though many class wins followed, the first overall win only came decades later. In 1969, the combination of a rule change and the determination of Ferdinand Piëch, produced the 917. At first, the 917 was quite frankly a terrible car. Mechanically, it was absurdly sophisticated for the era, yet horrible to pilot at speed. To the point of a fatal accident at the car’s first race at La Sarthe in 1969. The problem baffled Porsche, and it took outside help to fix the car. In early 1970 John Wyer’s engineers finally figured out what was wrong: aerodynamics. After Wyer corrected the car’s poor aerodynamics, the 917K became a winning machine. With that, Porsche’s first overall Le Mans victory came in 1970. And they repeated the feat in 1971.
The following year FIA changed the rules again. For 1972 they eliminated the Sports class, consequently out-lawing the 917. Nonetheless, Porsche didn’t retire the car, shifting their focus to Can-Am racing. With that, for 1972 Porsche created the 917/10. The 917/10 was a spyder with a turbo-charged flat-12 instead of the 917’s original aspirated unit. Porsche was the only manufacturer to use a turbo engine, and the 917/10 easily won the 1972 Can-Am. For the following year the competition got stiffer, so Porsche had to evolve the 917/10. The resulting car was the 917/30, the outrageous Turbopanzer. It was a beast that could deliver up to 1500 hp (!), and Porsche made six chassis. The first one (#917/30-001), built for testing purposes, had an adjustable chassis. The 917/30 annihilated the competition, and won the 1973 Can-Am. However, in 1974 SCCA introduced a fuel consumption cap, and the 917/30 became illegal.
First raced in 1970, the Interserie was a European-based motorsport series. It allowed a wide variety of racing cars competing with less limited rules. In essence, a bring-what-you-got racing series, somewhat similar to Can-Am. The Interserie Championship of 1974 consisted of six races. They took place at Silverstone, Nürburgring (twice), Kassel-Calden, Casale and Hockenheim. The first one was on May 12th (Silverstone) and the last one was on September 29th (Hockenheim). Of the six races, while piloting 917/30 #0 (chassis #917/30-001), Herbert Müller came in first place four times. And on the other two he came in second. In other words, total domination. And with that, he took home the 1974 championship. He was back in 1975 and won the first race piloting the same #917/30-001. He then switched to a 908/3-6 Turbo and won the championship. In 1976 he won again, although piloting a Sauber C5 BMW.
Swiss Herbert Müller was a prolific driver. He raced from F1 to the Targa Florio, where he won twice! Adding to his three Interserie Championships, he also raced at Le Mans 13 times. At La Sarthe, he came second overall in 1971 and took a class win in 1979. Unfortunately, he died in a crash in 1981 at Nürburgring. Therefore, it is a delight to have in scale the car of such an accomplished pilot. Spark replicated 917/30 #0 as it raced at Nürburgring, on June 16th (Müller finished second there).
The 917/30 #0 is not a regular release from Spark, therefore produced in a smaller run. On my model’s base plate came hand-written 147/750. In other words, it probably will be hard to find in the future, therefore do NOT wait too long to get one. Future rarity notwithstanding, as you can see, it looks A-W-E-S-O-M-E. So, if you do the math: great pilot + great model + 917 (specially) = must buy.