- ‘Project 50’ Historic 911 race car takes to the track at Silverstone Classic
(26-28 July 2013), driven by Porsche Carrera Cup GB winner, Barry Horne and Gordon Robertson, Chief Driving Consultant at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone
- 1965 911 is racing in Britain and Europe during 2013 – in a Porsche Cars GB initiative celebrating the 50th anniversary of iconic sports coupe
- The distinctive 911 recently travelled ‘The Long Way Doune’ from Scotland to Goodwood to raise money for Ninewells Cancer Charity - justgiving.com/longwaydoune/
- Silverstone Classic will also witness 911 x 911 record attempt on Sunday (28 July)
In an exciting initiative to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 911, Porsche Cars GB is racing a classic example of the iconic sports coupe in Historic motor sport this year. This Saturday (27 July), the ‘Project 50’ racing car will take to the track at the Silverstone Classic historic motorsport event in the Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Pre-1966 GT cars, in association with Chopard.
Behind the wheel of the 1965 911 will be Barry Horne, winner of the inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship in 2003, and Gordon Robertson, Chief Driving Consultant at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone – which is located adjacent to the Hangar Straight of the world-famous Grand Prix race track.
The ‘Project 50’ 911 is racing at Silverstone just two weeks since participating in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it joined many other examples of the model in a parade up the famous hillclimb course in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Stuttgart sports car. The 911 was also celebrated with the distinctive Central Feature sculpture in front of Goodwood House.
Gordon actually drove the car to Goodwood from his home town of Doune in Scotland, raising funds and awareness for a charity close to his heart. In a project light-heartedly referred to as ‘The Long Way Doune’, Gordon, who lives in the Perthshire town, visited nine race circuits between 8 - 11 July, on a serious mission: to raise money for the Ninewells Cancer Research Charity.
The first track on the journey south was Gordon’s home circuit of Knockhill, in Fife, and he reached Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex, three days later. Already, the adventure has raised nearly £10,000 via justgiving.com/longwaydoune/.
Along the way, the challenge emphasised how for 50 years the Porsche 911 has been equally at home on road or race track, and also demonstrated the roots in racing that have honed the driving experience of the iconic, flat-six rear-engined coupe since 1963.
Since its debut 50 years ago, the Porsche 911 has been at home on race circuits all over the world and earned a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date have been scored by the 911. Furthermore, many of the ideas and innovations that have been pioneered by the Porsche 911 over the past five decades were conceived on the race track.
On Sunday (28 July), the ‘Project 50’ 911 will also be participating in a record-breaking parade of at least nine hundred and eleven examples of the Porsche 911 around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. Models spanning the 50 years’ evolution of the sports car will take to the track over the lunch-hour between 12:30-13:30.
Built in September 1965, the ‘Project 50’ car is powered by a rear-mounted, 1,991 cc flat-six ‘boxer’ engine developing 130 hp. In the early days of 911 production, right-hand drive was available as a special order factory option and this car features that configuration – despite originally being sold to a customer in Italy. The equivalent price in the UK at this time – including £594 purchase tax – was £3,438.
Having spent some time in America, the ‘Project 50’ 911 was imported to the UK in the late 1990s, where it was subsequently fully restored and converted into an ‘FIA-Approved’ race car by an established historic Porsche motor sport preparation company.
With a simple silhouette and minimal exterior graphics, the early 911 has a very distinct design purity which is a lasting legacy of the designer, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. This not only established the Stuttgart coupe as a style icon, but also set the template for future generations of the car. These early cars also set the motorsport reputation of the 911, not least with an outstanding debut success in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally with a first in class and fifth place overall result.
As the appeal of the 911 began to spread towards the end of the 1960s, the performance potential of the six cylinder engine also grew. In line with this, the wheelbase increased in length and the wheel-arches became more flared to accommodate larger wheels and tyres.
Just 6,607 examples of the short-wheelbase 911 2.0 coupe were produced between 1964 and 1968. This short production span combined with low volumes, the inherent dynamic attributes of the rear-engine layout, and their eligibility for pre-1966 era Historic motorsport, ensures an early 911 remains as desirable today as when it first appeared in showrooms.
Team ‘Project 50’
The ‘short-wheelbase’ 911 is racing under the ‘Project 50’ team banner in selected 'Masters Series' events alongside appearances at larger festivals such as the Silverstone Classic and the Six Hours of Spa. The car is run by Porsche Cars GB, and maintained by technicians from the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone alongside the in-house Porsche Cars GB Motorsport team, who also provide the technical support for the Carrera Cup GB Championship and GT3 Cup Challenge GB.
The Porsche Cars GB ‘Project 50’ activity underlines the origins of the 911, and particularly its roots in racing. Long-standing Porsche fans and younger enthusiasts will also be intrigued to reflect on how Porsche has developed the unique rear-engined concept of the 911 continually over the past 50 years.
Few cars have enjoyed such a long production run and evolved so purposefully and effectively. The enduring design language that ensures a 911 is never anything other than a 911 to look at guarantees a consistency of style that has never gone out of fashion.
Since it was first launched, the 911 has been regarded as a rewarding car to drive quickly due to its rear-engine. To drive fast, a 1965 911 undoubtedly demands a particular level of commitment behind the wheel; this dynamic flair remains discriminating to this day. Systematic chassis refinements over the years have had the effect of lessening the influence of the legendary rear-biased weight distribution of the 911 yet the unique feel, character and driver involvement is undimmed. And the high dynamic limits of the chassis continue to demand respect.
While the origins of the latest Type 991 version of the 911 remain self-evident in the distinctive silhouette and emotional character, it is clear the 911 has been perfectly engineered over seven generations to remain the benchmark sports car. This process of evolution results in a car that it’s many fans regard as getting better and better with time.
Partners in ‘Project 50’ include the luxury five-star London hotel, The Mayfair, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer TAG Heuer, Dunlop tyres and the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. The ‘Project 50’ 911 is also a rolling ‘shop window’ for the Porsche Classic Original Parts service. Porsche Classic maintains a stock of over 35,000 genuine Porsche spares – for cars spanning the 356 to the Type 993 911 – and which are available over the counter from Porsche Centres worldwide. Porsche Classic also has dedicated workshops in Freiberg am Neckar, near Stuttgart in Germany, where everything from an oil change to a full restoration of a classic Porsche can be undertaken.
The Porsche 911 in motorsport today
Porsche can claim more than 28,000 race victories in almost every motor sports series worldwide, and while many of these successes have been achieved with immensely powerful specialist race cars like the evocative 917 and 956, the iconic 911 sports coupe is the bedrock on which the peerless racing reputation of the Stuttgart marque has been built.
Porsche is the world's largest manufacturer of racing cars; the
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car competes in the Mobil1 Supercup, the world’s fastest international one-make Championship, which supports Formula One Grand Prix. The 911 GT3 Cup also entertains spectators around the world racing in the many domestic Carrera Cup Championships in Germany, Asia, France, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia and Great Britain.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship
First run in 2003, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB is the fastest single marque racing Championship in Britain. With over 20 identical examples of the 450 hp
911 GT3 Cup race car battling for honours, it provides thrilling support to the British Touring Car Championship at circuits up and down the country. This year will see the 200th Porsche Carrera Cup GB race, in the eleventh consecutive season.
The 911 GT3 Cup car is the best-selling racing car of all time, having been built in a production series of more than 2,000 since 1998. The ‘Type 997’ 911 GT3 Cup racer is based on the 911 GT3 RS road car, and is powered by a rear-mounted, 450 hp 3.8-litre flat-six engine.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge GB
For 2013, the GT3 Cup Challenge GB has a six-weekend, 12-race calendar. This will once again culminate in a finale alongside the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, in support of the British Touring Car Championship, at Silverstone on September 28/29.
Open to any 911 GT3 Cup race car from the 2009 model year or earlier (spanning ‘Type 997’ and ‘Type 996’ model series), the GT3 Cup Challenge is designed to be a perfect stepping stone for drivers aiming to move up to the Carrera Cup GB in subsequent seasons. It is also ideally suited to younger racers with some sponsorship backing, as well as competitors graduating from track days. The series is open to drivers with a National B race licence.
The 911 GT3 R is designed to be the first step for drivers moving up to GT racing. The GT3 R celebrated 41 wins from 131 starts in a range of GT3 racing series worldwide. For the 2013 season, Porsche offers teams an upgrade package which will position the GT3 R even better in the performance window as defined by the FIA.
At the pinnacle of the 911 motorsport pyramid sits the RSR, the standard-bearer for Porsche in international blue riband events like the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Porsche factory team to race new 911 RSR in 2013
This year, Porsche will field two new GT race cars based on the new ‘Type 991’ generation of the Porsche 911 in the Le Mans 24 hours race and in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). For the first time since taking overall victory in 1998, a factory team from Porsche will tackle the world famous long distance motor race in France.
The two new Porsche 911 RSR race cars will contest the GTE category and will be run by the factory squad, Porsche AG Team Manthey. Following their WEC race debut at Silverstone on 14 April, and further development at Spa, the 911 RSR team scored a 1-2 finish in the GTE-Pro category at Le Mans in June, and currently lead the Championship.
Return to Le Mans: 2014
With 16 overall victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in Le Mans history. In 2014, Porsche will return to the world-famous venue with a works-run sports prototype race car in the top LMP1 category.
At the Porsche Motorsport headquarters in Weissach, near Stuttgart, Germany, preparations for the running of the new LMP1 sports prototype in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship are progressing at high revs.
To support this programme, the infrastructure at the Research & Development Centre has been considerably expanded with a new workshop building and an office complex completed. The first roll-out of the new LMP1 car took place in June. The initial driver line-up has already been confirmed, with established Porsche factory drivers, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, to the fore plus ex-Formula 1 driver Neel Jani. In an exciting development, current Red Bull Racing F1 driver Mark Webber will join the team for 2014.
Following a re-structuring, the LMP1 project is realised by a new department headed by Fritz Enzinger. With his well-established organisational structure, Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, continues to be responsible for all other motorsport programmes worldwide.
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Editor’s Notes: For five decades, the 911 has been at the heart of the Porsche brand. Few other cars in the world can look back on such a long tradition and continuity as the Porsche 911. It has been inspiring car enthusiasts around the world since its debut as the model 901 at the IAA International Automotive Show, Frankfurt, in September 1963. Today it is considered by its many devoted fans as the quintessential sports car, the benchmark for all others. The 911 is also the central point of reference for all other Porsche series. Every Porsche is the most sporting automobile in its category, and each one carries a piece of the 911 philosophy.
Over 820,000 Porsche 911s have been built, making it the most successful sports car in the world. For each of its seven generations the engineers in Zuffenhausen and Weissach have reinvented it, time and time again demonstrating to the world the innovative power of Porsche. Like no other vehicle, the 911 reconciles apparent contradictions such as sportiness and everyday practicality, tradition and innovation, exclusivity and social acceptance, design and functionality.
In addition to its classic yet unique lines, the Porsche 911 has always been distinguished by its advanced technology. Many of the ideas and technologies that made their debut in the Porsche 911 were conceived on the race track. The 911 was committed to the performance principle from the start, and motor racing is its most important test lab. From the very beginning the car has been at home on circuits and rally stages all over the world, earning a reputation as a quick and dependable winner. In fact, two thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date have been recorded by the 911.
* The latest Porsche models are designed to operate on fuels with an ethanol content of up to 10%. Data determined for standard specification and in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) in accordance with the Euro 5 and Euro 6 (715/2007/EC and 692/2008/EC) measurement method. The figures do not refer to an individual vehicle nor do they constitute part of the offer. They are intended solely as a means of comparing different types of vehicle. You can obtain further information about individual vehicles from your Porsche Centre.
Consumption figures were obtained on the basis of standard equipment. Special equipment may affect consumption and performance.