Turn 2 is tricky because it is both off-camber and more or less blind. Earlier in the day, the Can-Am car required exquisite attention and deft handling here, whereas the 910 felt nimble, solid and remarkably light on its feet. Squeezing back on the throttle for the short run to Turn 3 provides another addictive dose of engine note and acceleration, before I make my way through the left-right Turn 3 & 3A complex. It is here that I’m struck by how neutral the 910’s handing is. Powering through these two turns, while quickly transferring the car’s weight from side to side, the 910 doesn’t provide even the remotest sense of polar moment of inertia—in fact, the car’s feeling of lightweight neutrality is almost a little unnerving!
After making my way on through Turns 4 and 5, I set up for another traditionally tricky part of the course, the long, off-camber, downhill Turn 6 sweeper that opens up onto the back straight. This is a fabulous place to over-cook it and take a potentially long and scary, backwards ride into the grass. But, yet again, the 910 was nothing but poised and confident as I accelerated my way out onto the backstretch.
Part of the track’s NHRA drag strip, the section between Turn 6 and Turn 7 is the longest straight on the track and I, of course, avail myself of the opportunity to launch the 910 up through the gears. With the all-synchromesh transmission, I confidently BLAAT my way up through the gears into fifth, before having to get hard on the brakes and work my way back down to second for the right-hand hairpin that is Turn 7. As one can imagine from a 1254-lb car engineered to race for 24 hours, the brakes are exceptionally good at hauling the 910 back down and, with not having to worry about double-clutching and matching rpms on the downshifts, less concentration is devoted to shifting, allowing more attention to be focused on late braking and turn-in. This, in itself, would be a huge “luxury” and advantage in a mentally draining, long distance race.
Turn 7 is tight, and almost a buttonhook, so here is where the 910 will most likely demonstrate any tendency to understeer. There is a little at initial turn-in (as it was designed to do), but just the slightest adjustment with the loud pedal, gently brings the rear end predictably right around to the optimal angle. As famed racer and Porsche expert Paul Frére noted when he tested the 910 for Autocar in period, “…the 910 is a very easy car to drive. It can be driven with real abandon, powersliding what is really a beautifully balanced and neutral steering car and keeping the tail under complete control by means of the precise and high-geared steering.”
My next challenge are the esses from the exit of Turn 7 through the final right-hand dogleg at Turn 8A. This is a long series of left-right-left turns that ideally are continuously accelerated through, with the last right at Turn 8A launching you towards a long expanse of K-rail(!) and another long bit of straight. This section requires rhythm, timing and precision, because if you miss the early apexes, you’ll be both late and too fast coming out of the last one, which can render a close encounter of the K-rail kind! This section—in my opinion, above all others at this track—provides the truest test of a car’s handling and balance. The 910 felt nothing but poised and stable as I powered my way from turn to turn. In fact, once out of Turn 8A and onto the back straight, I realized that I had significantly underestimated the 910’s capabilities here…however, being ever so aware of the privilege to sample Mr. Hagan’s piece of Porsche racing history, I remind myself not to get too confident or comfortable!
As I get a few more laps under my belt, I’m more and more struck by what an absolute delight the 910 is to drive. It’s fast, it’s easy to drive quickly and it makes the most glorious growl on the overrun!
While the 910 enjoyed one of the briefest stints as Porsche’s frontline sports racing car, its brief history should, in no way, diminish its significance in Porsche racing history. Not only did the 910 handily win the under 2-liter prototype championship in 1967, but it laid the true foundation for every Porsche endurance racer to follow, culminating in the triumphant 917. Along with that, the 910 was also emblematic of the complete change in the engineering and design culture at Porsche, brought about by Ferdinand Piëch, which not only elevated Porsche into an endurance racing powerhouse, but as a result, would also forever alter the arc of the company as a whole.
|Chassis||Steel tubular spaceframe|
|Track (Front)||1430 mm|
|Track (Rear)||1401 mm|
|Weight||1254 lb (575 Kg)|
|Bore/Stroke||80-mm x 66-mm|
|Induction||Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection|
|Horsepower||220 hp @ 8,000 rpm|
|Transmission||5-speed transaxle w/ synchromesh|
|Wheels (Front)||8 x 13|
|Wheels (Rear)||9.5 x 13|
Barth, Jurgen & Büsing, Gustav, The Porsche Book, David Bull Publishing, 2009.
Frére, Paul, The Racing Porsches, Arco Publishing, 1973.
Ludvigsen, Karl, Excellence Was Expected, Bentley Publishers, 2008.
Morgan, Peter, Porsche 917—The Winning Formula, Haynes, 1999.
Long, Brian, Porsche Racing Cars—1953-1975, Veloce Publishing, 2008.
Wimpffen, Janos, Time and Two Seats, Motorsport Research Group, 1999.