The third Porsche Rennsport gathering took place once again at the Daytona Speedway. Special emphasis was given to the 956 and 962 (which was celebrating its 25th anniversary), and also to the 917 and its variations. Actual factory participation in the sense of werks entries was sparse and the personnel responsible for the existence of these cars (such as Norbert Singer) were missing in action. But there was no shortage of pedaling talent wandering about and ready to sign photos and programs. Just seeing Gerard Larrousse and Vic Elford together again was worth the trip alone.
Porsche kunden (customers) made up the field with a large selection of machinery, from Matt Drendel's Sebring-winning 935 to the last air-cooled 911 that won Daytona and Sebring in 1999-belonging to Chris O'Donnell. All restored to concours condition.
Porsche did ship over several 917 rarities from its museum, such as one of the Martini Langhecks that ran at Le Mans in 1971 and the famous 917/20, otherwise known as the 'Pink Pig.' As Rennsport III was mainly for recollection and story telling, I will toss in a few.
The 917/20 was neither a failure nor a success, the result of an outside contract given to the French firm SERA. After the Le Mans trials, the Porsche design honcho hit upon the idea of the butcher paint scheme. The main entrant sponsor, Martini & Rossi, was so horrified when they saw the final visuals, they requested that their stickers not be displayed.
The race was anticlimactic for the Pig; an early retiree after Reinhold Joest had an off-road excursion. The saga takes a turn after Le Mans. Ferry Porsche called Lapine onto the carpet about the colors. The dressing down was along the lines of: Italian cars are red, British cars are green, French cars are blue and German cars are NOT PINK! By now, however, images of the Pig had been reproduced around the world and the 917/20 became one of the most recognizable Porsche racecars of all time. This notoriety no doubt saved the Pig from the slaughter haus, where it would have surely been cut up, as was the practice of many racecars of that time.
The Pig and the Longtail are well known to most Porsche enthusiasts. Rarely seen outside the factory is the 16-cylinder 917 Spyder. Housed in the familiar bodywork of the 917PA, the stark white chassis 917-027 was Ferdinand Piech's experiment for a possible Can-Am contender before going the route of turbocharging the flat-12 917 powerplant.