50 years ago this weekend, Porsche celebrated their second overall triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the #22 Porsche 917K of Dutch driver Gijs van Lennep and Austrian racer Helmut Marko battled to victory. With a ban for over 3.0 litre engine displacements imminent, the race turned into quite the swansong; a long, fast track and good weather produced a record race distance, one that would stand for nearly four decades.
To commemorate this landmark in motorsport history, we would like to reveal an exciting new project under development.
The Porsche 917K at 1:18 Scale
We are delighted to reveal the beautiful #22 Team Martini International Porsche 917K at 1:18 scale. With the co-operation and assistance of Porsche regarding original finishes, materials, archive imagery and drawings, the model has been developed from supremely accurate digital scanning of an original 917.
Chassis number 917-053 is the sole surviving (and only raced) Porsche 917 coupé with a tubular frame built from magnesium – an alloy that, though ultra lightweight, burns so fiercely, and with a very low ignition temperature, that it’s near impossible to extinguish. Essentially a mobile bomb driven in anger, 917-053 is a true monument to its era. The car was actually only ever raced once, to wonderful effect, and, following its triumph on its maiden outing at La Sarthe, it was retired by Porsche and never fired up again, simply for fear of what would happen with its ageing and fragile chassis.
We anticipate the first batches of these models to start building later in the year. with the expectation to deliver in time for the holiday season. Register your interest to be notified when these models become available for pre-order.
The Porsche 917K at 1:8 Scale
For the ultimate collector, the 1:8 scale is currently available to order. This supremely detailed handcrafted recreation features opening doors and an openable engine cover, fully displaying the spartan race interior and superb 4.9 litre flat-12 atmospheric power unit.
The Team Martini Porsche finished two laps ahead of its rival John Wyer Porsche and an incredible 29 laps (386km) ahead of the third place Ferrari. The two Porsches were the first cars to cover over 5000km at Le Mans, clocking 5335km (3315 miles) at an average 222 km/h (138 mph). This was a phenomenal achievement in 1971, so much so that the record would stand for 39 years, cementing the 917K’s dominance over this era of motorsport. That’s pretty remarkable for a car that, when it was introduced two years prior, was deemed almost undriveable at high speed by even the finest of drivers.
In a race that did not see many accidents, rare for the era, many cars were still delayed or forced to retire due to mechanical problems, meaning only twelve cars were classified as finishers. Save for a shattered headlight cover and rapidly deteriorating brakes in the closing stages, Marko and Van Lennep’s race was without fault, predominantly thanks to their mechanical sympathy and clockwork consistency.