What you’re looking at here is not new. It’s a Porsche 917 ‘concept study’, and it was actually built years ago.
The model predates Porsche’s entry to the LMP1 FIA World Endurance Championship class, and was “designed by a small team of designers and engineers”. Stuttgart had no intention to take the project any further, so it’s remained hidden from public view until now.
With the legendary 917 racing car with which the study shares a name celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Porsche has - rightly - decided that this is a great opportunity to show it off for the first time.
It’s just one small part of the Porsche Museum’s 917 celebrations, though. Along with the concept, 10 917s will be displayed, with - Porsche is keen to point out - “a combined PS output of 7795”. There’ll also be a few “technical exhibits” and a smattering of posters to complete the special exhibition which runs from 14 May to 15 September. One of the 10 cars is 917-001, which has just undergone an extensive restoration.
The flat-12-powered racer is a big name in Porsche’s rich motorsport history, and not just for providing the company’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 1970. Nor its second Le Mans victory in 1970. The car won the 1000km of Zeltweg in its debut year, and turbocharged variants kicking out over 1000bhp spent the 1972 and 1973 Can-Am Series seasons dominating rather spectacularly.
It was these cars that effectively gave birth to the 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo, giving the 917 a road car legacy that continues today.