For the second episode of “Porsche Moments”, Timo Bernhard and race engineer Norbert Singer meet up in the historic motorsport workshop at the Weissach Development Centre. The 917 KH awaits them there, the car with which Porsche celebrated the second overall victory in the French endurance classic exactly 50 years ago. “I can still remember well how the car was pushed onto the scales back then and weighed just under 780 kilograms,” says Singer, who was involved in development of all the Porsche overall winners in the period from 1970 to 1998. The prescribed minimum weight was 800 kilograms at the time. “The 917 KH was an absolute lightweight due to its tubular space frame made of magnesium. Luckily it had an oil tank with a capacity of 55 litres. So we added 20 litres of oil and weighed it again. This time with success,” reveals Singer. He talks about the fascination of Le Mans back then, and remembers how there were neither pits nor timekeeping: “The vehicles were parked somewhere behind the truck. Those were the days. During the race, we could inform the drivers only by means of boards because there was not yet any radio communication available,” says the now 81-year-old. The outing of the test vehicle with magnesium frame became a race of records: Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep drove an overall distance of 5,335 km at an average speed of 222.3 km/h. This distance record would be broken only 39 years later – by a team including Timo Bernhard in an Audi R15.

Porsche Moment #2

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