Five truly great Porsche racing cars
Porsche has had a long and incredibly successful history in motorsport.
It will no doubt continue to add to that when it leaves LMP1 at the end of 2017 and enters Formula E from 2019. Just without the noise!
In celebration of that history and the milestone move to pure-electric competition, we take a look at five of the best racing cars Porsche has ever produced.
When it was introduced in 2014, the 919 Hybrid was immediately on pace, coming third in its debut championship. Since then Porsche has dominated the LMP1 category with it
But it is not just the 919's dominance that makes it special to New Zealand motorsport fans. It's that success combined with the fact that two Kiwi drivers have played a huge part in the 919 story that makes it truly special: Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber have been factory Porsche drivers for a number of years now, with both winning Le Mans for the German marque. It's a great car, but the drivers make it even more special for us.
Porsche released the 911 Carrera RS in 1973 and created a legend. But it really didn't care about that at the time: the company launched the car because it had to.
You see, the RS was the homologation version of a car that was far more important to the company - the 911 Carrera RSR, the racing version. The RSR would start strong and go on to dominate a vast number of race series around the world to this day. The latest version has gone mid-engined, just to make it even harder to beat.
956 and 962
Introduced to comply with the FIA World Sportscar Championship's new Group C regulations in 1982, the 956 was brutally fast and horrifyingly dangerous.
Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx won the Le Mans 24-hour race after leading for the entire 24 hours, while Stefan Belloff belted one around the Nurbugring in 6 minutes 11.13 seconds at an average speed of 202kmh. Sadly, Belloff was later killed in one at Spa after colliding with Ickx's new, safer 962. The 962 was a development of the 956 and was even more successful, becoming one of the dominant racing cars of its era.
The original 917K only competed in 10 races in 1970, but it won seven of them. A short-tail development of the original 917 - that was considered nearly undriveable at high speeds - the Kurzheck (German for "short tail") version of the 917 was developed after the test drivers far preferred the 917PA Spyder Can-Am car that had been bought along for comparison.
Engineers bodged up a swept-up Can-Am style tail out of race tape and an aluminium sheet and a legend was born. The 917K would be developed further in the 1971 season and would have even more success, eventually sporting the legendary "Pink Pig" livery.
A development of the 550A, the 718 was not only a very successful mid-engined racing car, it was also utterly gorgeous.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the 718 was the disparate range of championships it actually raced in. Designed to take part in sportscar races, it competed (and won its class) at Le Mans, as well as the Targa Florio. But then it also won the British Hillclimb Championship in 1958 and 1959. And then it was also converted to single-seater configuration to compete in Formula 2, before going on to become Porsche's first Formula 1 car, after the F1 regs were changed in 1961 to allow F2 cars to compete.