Friday, January 18, 2013

Porsche’s 917/20 “Pink Pig” Le Mans Racer is a Tasty Piece of History

Racing cars that don’t win races are quickly forgotten even by their own creators. Winners make history, second is the first loser: that’s the way it’s always been. Surely, nobody remembers a Le Mans contender that didn’t even make it to the finish line, right?

That may be true for most cars but not for Porsche’s 917. The brainchild of current VW Group supremo Ferdinand Piech, it is deeply etched in racing history not only for giving Porsche its first-ever victory at La Sarthe in 1970, followed by another one the next year but also because it starred in Steve McQueen’s 1971 Le Mans film.

There have been at least nine variants of the 917. One of them is the 917/20, a one-off version that was a hybrid between the short- and long- tail versions and took part in the 1971 race.

While the term “pig” is used to describe a car that handles badly, the 917/20 earned that nickname due to its paintjob that was created by Porsche’s own designers. It may have retired halfway through the race but its distinctive paint scheme makes it the most distinguishable 917 after the Gulf-liveried models.

You can watch a video showing close-up details of the immaculately restored “pig” that’s on display at Porsche’s museum right after the break.

By Andrew Tsaousis

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