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Posted: 13 Jun 2014
Porsche 917 K
Porsche took its first Le Mans victory in 1970 with this 917 K race car. It may look pretty, but that doesn’t mean that it was a peach to drive.
British driver Richard Attwood and German legend Hans Herrmann - a former team-mate of Juan Fangio and Stirling Moss in the 1950s Mercedes Silver Arrows F1 squad - piloted the incomparable 917 to victory that year.
“In 1969, we were eight laps in the lead,” Attwood told Top Gear, “and then the gearbox broke. I was absolutely delighted! Remember, I hadn't won Le Mans at that point, and nobody believes me when I say I was glad we went out, but the car was truly horrible to drive. It suffered from understeer, oversteer, it had no balance, it lacked downforce... frankly, it was bloody awful.
“They'd tested it at an airfield, but didn't go much beyond 180mph. That wasn't much use to us when we were touching 235mph on the longest straights, and most of the problems occurred at 200mph. Of course, they developed the upswept tail, sorted the chassis out, and that did the trick. It was 20mph slower, but much more manageable...”