While the design of Porsche’s latest road cars has been fairly standard and predictable, the company has been busy churning out beautiful concept cars like the Taycan, the limited-run Porsche 935, and now this, a modern interpretation of the Le Mans winning Porsche 917 race car.
The Porsche 917 design concept, revealed today to mark the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the original 917 race car back in 1969, has flattened out the bulbous body of the old car, instead offering a sleek, low and long look that seems like a natural progression of the styling on the Porsche 918.
The original 917 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall in 1970 after working out a lot of initial failings. Referred to after its Salzburg team from Austria, the 1970 winner rode out in a corresponding red and white striped livery, which the modern concept pays homage to. The 917 won overall again in 1971, and a Gulf-liveried version of the car starred in the 1971 Steve McQueen flick, Le Mans.
The new 917 is sadly just a concept car destined for the Porsche museum, designed by a group of designers and engineers to join the first car from 1969—a test chassis that never raced, as noted by the 962 registry—that has been restored for the exhibition. The two join nine other 917s that will be on display, according to Porsche. Funny enough, chassis 917-001 was for a time repainted to look like the 1970 winner as well, being displayed in that livery and spec.
The technology used in the later turbocharged models of the 917 race cars in our nearly-unrestricted CanAm Series led directly to the development of turbo engines in Porsche road cars. We should all make a trip out of it and go pay the 917, old and new, our respects.
Porsche didn’t include any additional photos or renders, so I guess we’ll have to go see it in person now.