Boasting a racing world lineage dating back to the 1970s, the Porsche 917/30 Spyder will be turned loose on the Shannons Phillip Island Classic March 7-9, 2008. Hailed as the most powerful sports cars
in the world, the 917/30 that is coming over from the Zuffenhausen Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, can produce a range of 1100 to 1580 hp (820 to 1178 kW.) The air-cooled, 5.4-litre, twin-valve, turbocharged 12 cylinder makes a top speed of 248.5 mph / 400 km/h. Exact acceleration figures are up for grabs, but the potential is zero to 62.1 mph /100 km/h in 1.9 seconds.
This particular 917/30 is the aerodynamically optimized model Mark Donohue took around Talladega at 221.11 mph / 355.85 km/h in August 1975. The closet-circuit record still stands today. The 917/30 will be in good company amid 550 cars spanning 80 years of automotive history from the Twenties to the Eighties -- racing, sports, and touring cars -- all appearing at what is now one of the largest historic race meetings in the world.
Technically the 2008 Phillip Island Classic, held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit 90 minutes south of Melbourne, honors Australian Legends this year, but the Porsche Museum and Porsche Cars Australia have always been big supporters of the event and the 917/30 is going to be a major highlight. The car was originally developed for the Canadian-American racing series after Porsche put the screws to Ford and Ferrari's dominance at the Le Mans 24-Hour. For the 1973 CanAm season, Porsche
produced the 917 with Donohue knocking off six victories in a row and claiming the first three spots (and the sixth) in the CanAm standings for the year. Ironically, at the end of the season the Porsche was banned from racing in the CanAm again thanks to a rules change and completely due to the car's undisputed dominance. (Attendance was falling off at CanAm events because there was no competition.) This turn of events has led many to proclaim that the 917/30 killed the event.
The historic 917/30 (chassis number 917 30 002) has a displacement of 5.374 cc. The tubular aluminum frame supports a plastic body with independent wheel suspension, coil springs, and disc brakes internally ventilated. The overall weight is 800 kg or 1,763.9 lbs. After 1973 many of the records it established were toppled by racers produced by Alfa Romeo and Ferrari that were smaller and weighed less. However, there's no denying that many of the 917/30's records still stand and the car was, in its day, unbeatable. And the fact that the Porsche 917/30 headed Down Under is 35 years old and a museum piece will only make it sweeter when it tears up the track at Phillip Island.