In Pictures: Porsche at Le Mans (1961-1970)


The 2.0-litre 718/4 RS Spyder came close to the front-runners at Le Mans 1961, and headed its class (4th overall, with a second car in 7th); the 10th-placed 356B Abarth GTL was also a class winner. This brave little 1600cc car managed a 7th place overall and a class win, driven by Hans Hermann and Edgar Barth, in 1962, as well. However, just 14 out of 49 starters managed to finish the following year, and only one Porsche: the eight-cylinder 718/8 WRS Spyder of Herbert Linge and Barth (pictured second from top in the car at the European Hill Climb Championship a year later).

A pair of 904/4 GTS put in a respectable performance in 1964, finishing 10th and 11th, but the six-cylinder 904/6 fared better in 1965: Herbert Linge and Peter Nocker achieved an overall fourth place and a class win, with the 904/4 GTS of Anton Fischhaber and Gerhard Koch in fifth. 1966's race was dominated by Ford, whose mighty GT-40 took the 1-2-3, but the Porsche 906/6L Carrera 6 headed the sub-2000cc class - and finished in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th places.

Six-cylinder Porsches again led the sub-2000cc cars in 1967, the 907/6L, 910/6K, 906K (model pictured, held by driver Herbert Linge) and 906 taking 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. Upping the engines to eight cylinders in 1968 again brought dividends - and a second-place finish and sub-3000cc win for a Swiss 907L, plus third for the works 908 driven by Jochen Neerpasch and Rolf Stommelen. Porsche came closer yet to a win in 1969, despite some mechanical problems for the 908s; Hans Hermann and Gerard Larrousse finished only a second behind the winning GT-40.

It took till 1970, and a 12-cylinder car, for Porsche to win outright for the first time - but that year, Porsche swept the board, with Hermann and Richard Attwood's works 917 KH (pictured top) coming in first, the Martini Racing 917 LH ('long tail') second and the eight-cylinder Martini Racing 908/2L third and a winner in its own category. Porsche has since gone on to win overall 15 times.

Tags:356B Abarth GTL|718|904|906|907|908|910|917|Anton Fischhaber|Edgar Barth|Gerard Larrousse|Gerhard Koch|Hans Hermann|Herbert Linge|Jochen Neerpasch|Le Mans|MARTINI RACING|Peter Nocker|Richard Atwood|Rolf Stommelen

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