Even with the passage of thirty years, few vehicles can move an enthusiast as can Porsche's mighty 917! For one brief shining moment, all that Ferrari and Porsche had learned was put to the test in a "Clash of the Titans".
Nothing before or since in motorsports has surpassed these few brief battles where one Factory effort fought another. Throughout the 1970 and 1971 season, before the organizers banned both machines forever, Porsche and Ferrari went head to head for domination of theWorld Championship. While Ferrari was able to score an occasional victory, the war was decisevly won by Porsche in a near clean sweep. Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans, Monza, Spa, Nurburgring etc... one after another Porsche's incredible 917 swept to victory each of the races necessary to win the F.I.A.'s World Championship of Makes.
Without exception the vehicle described in this document will forever encompass this most special period of motor racing history. Chassis 917.020 remains arguably the single most correct, meticulously restored and one of the single most historicly important surviving vehicle of its type in existence. This car is one of only three remaining 917s known to have won a major World Endurance Championship race.
Chassis 917.020 remains fully documented from the very moment built by the Porsche Factory, through each of its individual races and on to only its second private owner since new. In fact, it is believed to be the only 917 known to still have its original Porsche Factory Invoice.
While '020' is most frequently associated with its overall victory at the gruelling 12 Hours of Sebring, this is but one small part of this most fortunate vehicle's charm, character and carisma.
917.020 started its racing life on April 2, 1970 when it was driven by Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann at Brands Hatch for the BOAC 1,000 Kms race, using a 4.5 liter Flat-1 2 engine. Attwood and Herrmann qualified 9th and finished 3rd in a race run in atrociously wet conditions. Monza was the next venue for 917.020 for the 1000 Km race held April 25th. Attwood and Herrmann were teamed up again but, despite running 6th, were forced to retire when the engine failed. The very fast Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium was the venue for the next race, another 1000 Km event where Attwood and Herrmann finished in sixth place.
For the 1971 season, "020" received a new 4.9 liter engine plus wider wheels and a four-speed gearbox. 917.020 was used as a practice car for the opening race at Daytona but at Sebring, for the 12 Hours Race in March, "020" was to be driven by Vic Elford and Gerard Larrousse. "020" was qualified 4th by Vic Elford and, in the first hour, was delayed by contact with a back-marker, which cost the car a complete lap. Elford and Larrousse then began to press on and by the third hour, "020" was up to 4th place. The leading Sunoco-sponsored Ferrari 512 was now in collision with Pedro Rodriguez's Gulf-entered 917K, leaving "020" in second place, behind an Alfa Romeo T33. Lapping ever faster, Larrousse caught up to and passed the Alfa Romeo to leave "just" 572 miles to go for the well-earned victory which awaited the English/French driver combination.
At the end of the season, Vasek Polak bought all three of the Porsche Salzburg Team 917's, chassis numbers "019", "020", and "023". Mr. Polak sold "019" to an American collector and kept the LeMans winner, chassis "023" and the Sebring winner, chassis # "020".
917.020 has been meticulously rebuilt and restored by Robert Hatchman Autocraft of Grants Pass, Oregon with all the mechanicals being restored by Gustav Nitsche, Vasek Polak's ex-Porsche Factory Team engineer. Most recently the car was competition prepared by renowned Porsche restorer Kevin Jeannette of Gunnar Racing.
There are no finer sports-prototype racing cars than the Porsche 917.
This coupe, with its Sebring Twelve Hour Victory and immaculate preparation
is, arguably, the finest 917 today.
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