As author Karl Ludvigsen reveals in Book 2 of Porsche: Excellence Was Expected, the 1970s and 1980s were years of intense innovation for the Porsche factory. In fact, 1970 was to see the tiny automaker fulfill a major goal: its first overall victory at Le Mans. The company became a force in every arena of motorsports it entered, including Can Am, where Mark Donohue, George Follmer and the mighty Penske Racing 917s literally decimated the competition. Ludvigsen discusses in depth the development and campaigning of Porsche's thoroughbred racers from this seminal era.
Porsche had long known the benefits of placing an engine amidships for its racing cars. However, in the late 1960s, Porsche and Volkswagen collaborated on a mid-engined sports car for the road. The author describes the development of this vehicle as well as its fortunes in the market place and its ventures onto racing circuits. He even discusses the sole pair of potent 914-based sportscars powered by the company's eight-cylinder racing motor.
In the late 1970s, the company adopted front-mounted engines and water-cooling in a move that was expected to spell the end for the venerable 911. The 924 and the impressive V-8 928 were both extremely successful in the American market, their primary target. Just as importantly, the Porsche engineers saw them as cars that could be more easily made to comply with ever-tightening Federal noise and emissions standards than the 911.
While detailing the company's models and its competition activities during this dynamic era for Porsche, Ludvigsen also explores the company's maturation process, the challenges facing the small automaker, and how it was to prepare for the future.
The cockpit of the 917/30 was designed around Donohue, who called it "the perfect race car."
Tucking away the hard top in the trunk was still a feature of the 914 in its final model year, 1975.
Highlights in Book 2:
|· The mid-engined 914
· 917 and victory at LeMans
· Return of the Carrera
· Turbo 911s
· The front-engined Porsches
· Porsche builds a V-8
· Racing in Group C
· Porsche model timeline
Models in Book 2:
911 Turbo Carrera