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Porsche 917 tribute marks racer's 50th birthday

It's been half a century since Porsche's iconic flat twelve 917 first took to the track

By Sam Sheehan / Monday, March 11, 2019

The racing car that first earned Porsche a win at Le Mans is 50 years old, so to mark the occasion Porsche has produced a special one-off 917 tribute. Called the, um, 917, it’s a modern interpretation of the original flat twelve racer’s gorgeous design that comes wrapped in a livery inspired by the 1970 and 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans winner.

Before we get our hopes up, the car is not set to become Porsche’s next prototype racer for a surprise return to Le Mans. Instead, the tribute is destined to be a show car at the Porsche Museum for its ’50 Years of the 917’ exhibition. That means there’s no modern remake of the original’s 520hp Type 912 engine, itself made from the mating of two flat six engines, beneath the bodywork. Let’s just be thankful it’s not an EV.

Still, it looks the part, mixing the original’s lines with a 21st century finish. And it’s not like we don’t have enough examples of the 917 to remind us what the 240mph-capable legend is famous for. In fact, 10 will join the tribute car at the Porsche Museum.

Among its many achievements, the two consecutive victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 Hours stand out, although the 917 was evolved into various guises that each had their own successes. This list includes the bonkers 917/13, a turbocharged, topless 1,100hp Can-Am racer that embarrassed the competition in 1973. An icon of motorsport in the truest form.

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