1970 Porsche 917K Pilots: J. Siffert, B. Redman Team: John Weyer Automotive Engineering Race: DNF (S 5.0 class) at Le Mans in 1970 Brumm - R495 (diecast)
When Porsche embarked in the 917 program, they knew it would not be easy. The new 25 car minimum demand by FIA was a blessing, but also a problem. The lower number demand meant that finally Porsche was able to produce a Le Mans contender. However, it also meant that they had to make 25 cars at once, so necessary modifications would be for the batch. And from the start, the 917 needed serious modifications. It was a terrible (and dangerous!) car to drive. In fact, it earned the nickname “The Ulcer” from factory drivers. The first Le Mans race of the 917 at Le Mans was a disaster, with fatal consequences. With that, and especially because of the financial strain, soon after Porsche secretly withdrew from active competitions. Thus, for 1970 and 1971, John Weyer Automotive (JWA) would handle the 917 program.
Porsche did well, because John Weyer and his team sorted the car out. After extensive testing at Zeltweg they discovered that the problem was the aerodynamics of the tail. They designed a new tail section and suddenly the car (now called 917K) became a potential Le Mans winner. However, for 1970 Porsche took a page from the Ford racing book. For Le Mans, they had three official teams running the 917. Much to John Weyer’s dismay, he would have to compete with factory teams not only from Ferrari and Alfa but from Porsche as well. The 917Ks all used the Typ 912 engine, a flat-12 with 24 valves and DOHC. But JWA used it in two sizes, displacing 4.5 and 4.9 l. The 917K #22 (chassis #917-026) was the only one of their cars with the 4494 cm³ engine.
Despite JWA’s valiant efforts, none of their three cars finished the race. 917K #22 here crashed onto the Alfa T33/3 #38 on lap 49th and was out. In the end, Porsche’s first overall victory at La Sarthe came from a Porsche Salzburg car. Unlike JWA though, Brumm did not disappoint in scale. This is the third and last of the Gulf Porsches, and my second from Brumm. After the very pleasant surprise by their #20, I was eager to get the remaining #21 and #22 cars. Though I don’t like to be a completist, I gladly opened an exception for this trio. And as you can see, another VERY nice model from Brumm.