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Classic Velocity Blog

Porsche 908/01

Classic Velocity

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For 1968, the FIA's Commission Sportive Internationale which determined rules for sports car racing outlawed the big 7 liter engines popularized by Ford, and introduced a 3 liter and a 5 liter option. Few people thought it was worthwhile to introduce a brand-new car and sell 50 (later reduced to 25 for the 5 liter) of them for homologation within one year. However, Ferry Porsche saw an opportunity, and had been getting a head start. He ordered the development of a 3 liter car, and chief engineer Ferdinand Piech sprang into action. By the summer of 1967, a flat 8 engine was being developed.  The Porsche 908/01 was basically introduced in 1968 to take advantage of the new three liter displacement option in Group 6 prototype. The older Porsche 907 had a 2.2 liter displacement, and the initial 908 was based on that car, but with the air-cooled flat eight four cam engine they had developed.

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The 908/01 enjoyed a good start to its initial season, winning the Nurburgring 1000km race. However, that turned out to be the highlight of the year. The rush to get the car ready meant that testing and development had been limited. Teething problems plagued the car, and reliability was compromised due to the heavy differential fitted to cope with the extra torque. Despite top class drivers in Elford, Siffert, and Hermann, the car did not see the podium again. In fact it was bested on many occasions by the 907 it was meant to replace. The 908 did go on to produce /02 and /03 variations, and of course the 5 liter version became the mighty 917.

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