Thursday, 12 January 2017

Sunoco Porsche 917-30

Can-Am racing was basically McLaren’s game in the late sixties/early nineteen-seventies.

In Europe, Porsche’s successful 917 was regulated out of competition for 1972, so their attention turned to the highly popular and lucrative Can-Am series as a way of repurposing the 917 in the North American market.

For 1972, the 917-10 was developed, featuring a completely new Spyder body. Roger Penske’s Team Penske ran the team with primary driver Mark Donohue.

Early in the season, Donohue was side-lined for most the season in a testing accident, so George Follmer was recruited to take his place. Follmer dominated the season by taking five wins out of nine races.

For 1973, Team Penske was given carte-blanche by Porsche to modify and improve the 917-10. Penske and Donohue revised the aerodynamics, lengthened the wheelbase and tweaked the engine, bringing the power up to a monstrous 1580 horsepower!

Mark Donohue racing the 917-30 at Watkins Glen
Acrylic on 100cm X 50cm (39.4"x 19.7") canvas 
© Paul Chenard 2016

Original art available, as are limited editions.

The new car was designated the 917-30, and was presented in lovely Sunoco yellow and blue sponsorship colours.

Marc Donohue won six out of the season’s eight races in the new racer and took the 1973 Can-Am Championship for Team Penske.

New rules for the 1974 season basically outlawed the 917-30, but it still stirs the blood of those lucky enough to see it in action at the vintage racing meets.