Serious Porsche enthusiasts and/or collectors, with somewhere in the region of US $5 to $7million, pay full attention: one of only six Porsche 917/30 Can-Am racers – one of the world’s most powerful and successful sports-racers ever seen – is coming under the hammer with Gooding & Company later this week.
The Amelia Island, Florida sale on Friday (March 11) features a stunning array of road-going and competition machines, but the 917/30 surely tops the headline cars.
Built in very small numbers by Porsche for the 1973 Canadian-American Challenge series for Group 7 prototypes, the 5.4-litre, turbocharged flat-12 racer was the fastest and most sophisticated machine on the planet and this ultimate incarnation of the German giant’s 917 endurance icon moved the goal posts onto a different pitch.
This car, chassis 004, was never raced, but is identical in specification to the Sunoco-liveried car that romped to the ’73 Can-Am title with Mark Donohue. The American ace, who was run by friend and team boss Roger Penske, was unbeatable from the third round of the series at Watkins Glen – in fact he cleaned up in the remaining five races of the season – at Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake, Edmonton, Laguna Seca and Riverside – to become Can-Am’s most dominant champion.
Chassis 004 spent time in Australia in its early life, before returning to the Porsche factory in the early 1990s, at which point it acquired its period livery. Several more private collectors then became custodians of the most dramatic Porsche ever built, including US TV star Jerry Seinfeld. The comedian, actor, writer and producer, who sampled the 917/30’s twin-turbo, 1,200bhp, 240mph shove, commented: ‘What’s very surprising about this car is how comfortable and easy to drive the most powerful race car the world will ever see is. I never drove it as fast as it can go. The car’s crazy. I’m not.’
A sister car to the 917/30 seen on several occasions at the Festival of Speed in the hands of Derek Bell and marque fans the Franchitti brothers, Dario and Marino, chassis 004 is about as authentic and exhilarating a Porsche that’s ever likely to come up for sale.
And I’ve got to stop there, as I have to rush off to buy a lottery ticket…
Images courtesy of Gooding and Company