40 YEARS OF THE PORSCHE 917
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The car described as the "Greatest Racing Car in History" celebrates its 40th birthday

ATLANTA - March 9, 2009 - Forty years ago, on March 13, 1969 at the Geneva International
Motor Show, today's Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche unveiled a car that would exceed its creator's
wildest dreams, and develop into one of the most iconic race cars of all time: The Porsche
917.

Project 917 began in June 1968 in response to an edict from the international motor sports
authority, known as the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). They had announced a
class for "homologated sports cars" with up to a five-liter engine capacity and a minimum
weight of 800 kilograms (1760 pounds).

Under the supervision of Porsche family member and gifted engineer Ferdinand Piƫch, the FIA-
stipulated minimum 25 units of the new race car were to be completed by April 1969 so that
the 917 could race during the 1969 international season. Initially, Porsche had built six cars
and had "all the bits and pieces to build 19 more for the homologation," according to Rico
Steinemann, Porsche's Racing Manager at the time, "the FIA then decided, no!" All 25 cars
would have to be built. As all of the racing department's resources were being utilized, the
workers to build the cars would have to come from elsewhere.

"We put together apprentices, messenger boys, bookkeepers, office people and secretaries,"
remembered Steinemann years later. "Just enough people, taught just enough to put together
25 cars!"

The original 25 "Secretary Cars," as they came to be called, passed the FIA inspection with
flying colors, despite the fact they would barely run on the street, let alone a race track. After
the inspection, all but two of the cars were completely disassembled and rebuilt by the factory's
race team mechanics.

The engine of the 917 was also unique. While the 917 retained Porsche's traditional horizontally
opposed, air-cooled "boxer-style" engine configuration, the 4.5 liter, 520 HP 12-cylinder engine
was bigger than any engine Porsche had built until that time.




The frame, designed more for durability than lightweight was constructed of TIG-welded
aluminum tubing (later switched to magnesium), while the fiberglass re-enforced resin bodywork
weighed in at a total of 93 pounds.

The 917 shape underwent constant evolution, with Porsche engineers developing different body
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