Note appeared in the Corsa Magazine Nº 248 of the 19 of January of 1971 under the title: Porsche – Since Argentina 

Webmaster Note:: If I had scrupulously respected the chronology of the events, this transcription would have appeared after the chronicle of the 1000 km of Buenos Aires. But since this note explains the Porsche plans for the 1971 and 1972, seasons I believed advisable to place it like opening for the 1971 season chronicle. 


We had opportunity to speak with people of Porsche and the semi-official team of John Wyer. Our correspondent in Europe was in Stuttgart in the eve of the boarding of the cars for Argentina. With these two elements, we processed the respective note pointing the way that from the race in Argentina, the German mark will undertake. 

We saw the Porsche cars and its people, and we had many days to talk with them about their impressions and plans. We met John Wyer´s team up close, one of the poles of the marque: Slough’s; and meanwhile, Franco Lini, our correspondent in Europe, before leaving for Argentina held a long chat with the other pole of the Porsche axis, in Stuttgart. Thus we obtained a healthy report on the path of the champion marque and the institutional attitude towards the1971 season, year that opened the doors to them in the track of Buenos Aires.



John Wyer´s team is a small organization, considering it proportionally to the results that it obtains, although it is considered as a great maneuver organization for the participation of the marque in the championship.  

The John Wyer Automotive, finally, is a very complex team that participates in races but that also makes many other things. One would remember as where John Wyer was born, with others, the first Ford competition motor of the last years, that later evolved in the GT40 and that obtained so many victories. He was also in the group that constructed the Mirage, which had its moments of glory and going back a little further in time, we found John Wyer as Team Boss in the Aston Martin Team leader in the scope of the sport prototype races.

At the moment, next to John Wyer, it is David Yorke. He also counts on a succulent automobile experience. Great part of it was gathered with the Vanwall Team, when it raced in Formula 1 .

The two personalities of the Wyer-Yorke binomial are complemented perfectly. Together they successfully take ahead the John Wyer Automotive Team, called, since the last year, Gulf-Porsche.


David Yorke: aside with John Wyer, applies his experience so that the team works as finely as it does. 

The results obtained by the team have been, in 1970, very good: this is the result of having good mechanics, good drivers, in addition to the organization. Altogether the personnel of the J.W.A. its limited to 22 people who do not do more than to dedicate itself to the preparation of the machines for the races. 

In order to come to Argentina, for example, they spent a whole month – probably a little more- in the preparation of the cars. They had hardly finished them, and the personnel plunged itself in the works on the cars that will go to Daytona because the time of which they dispose is little, and they cannot stand still. Working to the maximum becomes a necessity during the off-season, because as soon as the calendar begins, there is not one single spare moment. But if it seems that during the season, the team moves relaxed, it is thanks to the sharp ideas of those who direct it, which have everything perfectly programmed with much advance. Thus it is left sometimes a period in which the personnel is not used thoroughly; then it is distracted in the construction of less important apparatuses like the Formula Ford that Franco Lini saw in a corner of the Slough facilities. Or in the development of some strange invention, like the Mirage that they took to Imola on which they had installed a 5-Litre Ford motor. 

If these are simple diversions for the Team members or not, if they are tests for future applications or not, nobody knows it. The concrete fact is the effort of the Team used in the preparation of the Porsche 917 with which the Gulf-Wyer will run the World Championship of Makes. 

The programs are clear and simple: repetition of the '70 with all the races where the Gulf-Wyer participated, except for the Targa Florio for which the team will be limited to help the Porsche factory team, that will participate with all its men. John Wyer has a contract with Porsche for two years, just like with Gulf, which is why it is unsure what they will do in 1972. If Porsche accepts to prolong the contract, the team is willing to continue with the collaboration. Even if is not in the World Championship of Makes. 

Yorke also has a good experience in F1, which could be useful, if needed, and affirms: "if Porsche decided to choose Formula 1 because the times have changed, and prepares their machines as it has prepared the Sports, I believe that it will be a very serious contender for everyone". 

The most interesting fact of the Porsche-Wyer-Gulf combination it is that all of them are benefited with the deal: Porsche deriving the necessities from the races, which allows its technicians to remain in the factory and to work for the future; Wyer by having top of the line machinery, and thus to obtain excellent results; Gulf because the obtained experiences altogether have allowed the completion of special lubricants extremely advanced with respect to their competitors, arranging in the laboratories of Pittsburgh, motors technically much better than the Americans and finally, Porsche again, because of the experience of the Gulf laboratories which has been able to develop lubricant elements that have allowed Porsche to improve its motors.


One of Porsche’s workshops, in Stuttgart.

As for the driver selection, the Gulf-Wyer has total freedom of choice; but obviously, later informing the house of Porsche. The team for the 1971 season will have to be, according to Yorke, even better than the one in 1970. "Derek Bell has given samples of being strong and mature, and Oliver’s performance has been consistent, and without a doubt, elevated". Yorke continues, "Thus, Rodriguez will not have to make so many sacrifices, because his new teammate is a man of proven performance".


 THE OFFICIAL PLANS   (Franco Lini´s interview to a Porsche directive in Stuttgart)

If there were news disclosed that announced the retirement of Porsche from the races, it must have been because a lamentable mistake. The organization itself, via its sport coordinators, was in charge of clarifying the future of the house of Stuttgart for us : "We will race now, and we also know the Wyer-Gulf  program (announced in London) for 1971. For 1972 we are still undecided on the activity that we will choose: we have three possibilities and we must still decide which one of them will be our battlefield. What it can be said for sure is that we will not divide the effort in many sectors, but in a single direction”.

"The Porsche house will continue appearing through the Wyer-Gulf like it has been made throughout last year. It is a very rational solution because this team has an excellent organization, good mechanics and a superb agility of action. They will use the 917 that, starting in the second race of the year, will be slightly modified with regard to the aerodynamic solutions. They will be logical general modifications, single improvements that the experience has dictated, even some modifications in the motors. Nowadays, the 12 cylinder horizontally opposed engines have clearly surpassed the 600 BHP and naturally we did not intend to stop the progress, or at least, to try to continue progressing".

While 1000 km of Buenos Aires took place, in Europe, near the Porsche house, the details for the participation of the marque in Daytona with the heavily modified 917 are completed.

    -  The presence of the Porsche machines will be identical to the year that just finalizes?

"We think that it will be equal. There will be two machines in each race, probably three for Le Mans. In any particular race, to which particular machines concur is very probable that we align our 908-03 like we did last year ".

The 908-03, the other hand for Porsche’s battle in '71. So far, everything follows just the same as it did in the '70.

   -  The participation in the same way, is worth to say, that in these particular occasions (Targa Florio, Nürburgring) the presence of the Wyer-Gulf will be limited to privateers, while in fact the factory technicians and mechanics are the ones who will take care of the cars, isn’t it true?  

"The Targa Florio is a particular case. We thought to enter like in 1970, is worth to say, with our technical team. But also with John Wyer and David Yorke in the pits, in addition to the independent collaborators, like the ones our lubricant sponsors send etc. With regard to the Targa, the factory wants to clarify the correct denomination of the 908 models seen there last year. It should be correctly identified as 908-03 and not 908-3 as everybody says. The factory identification system is done in the following manner: for each type of car we have a factory number, 906, 907, 908 911, 917 etc. When modifications of body or mechanics take place on a particular type of car, a progressive sub numeration is given, 01, 02, 03.... If, however, the modifications are radical, the numeration that identifies the change is decimal, 10, 11, 12.... or also 20, 21, 22 etc. according to the importance of the change ".  

"To finalize with the immediate plans lets speak of the drivers.  They will the same that John Wyer has chosen: Siffert and Rodriguez are confirmed. Derek Bell and Jackie Oliver in substitution of Redman and Kinnunen who have changed. The Siffert-Bell duo and Rodriguez-Oliver will continue working just as they did in 1970".   

- What will happen in 1972?   

" Its still a little early to think about that, don’t you think?"   

- No, I do not think that it is premature to speak of that, because we know that Porsche prepares its programs with long time of anticipation to be able to develop them better.  Proof of that is the 917 that you will run in the present season.   

"Yes, it is truth, we have done a huge amount of things to improve them and still more, in forecast of the battles that can be hoped against the Ferraris: It was said that Ferrari would not run in the ' 71 with the 512s, but only with the 3-litre machines” 

- Now, what machines do you plan to use in 1972?   

"We still don’t know, is too much early. We have thought on what we will do, but we have not decided anything yet. We have three possibilities: Sport Prototypes, Formula 1, and the Can-Am Cup. Three programs, but we still don´t know which one will we enter. But the fact is, we will choose only one of them. 

- Why one single program if we’ve seen that Sport Prototypes and Formula 1 are actually the same?  The example of Ferrari demonstrates that at heart, the same technical solutions for the SP and the F1 can be adopted.  

"I would like to see such a car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Although apparently equal, the devices of both cars are very different. Formula 1 machines are constantly changing; they have a continuous evolution but a reduced technical quality.  The SP are not like that, these participate in long distance races.  The F1 can still win races with little organization but with good ideas.  As far as the Can-Am cars, they are very diverse and more interesting because there aren’t weight or power limitations; in other words, there is more freedom of technical expression.  With the Can-Am engines you can gain lots of experience in fields that are not bound closely, which is essential for the other two formulas.  Formula 1 requires higher benefits that are interesting only to sponsors. Nevertheless, the other problems that arise are very interesting –for example the pollution problem, that with the Can Am engines can be studied thoroughly”

 - Don’t you think that your factory with both the F1 and the Sport Prototypes can make important technical studies?   

"Yes, on the chassis, for example. But the Can-Am machines present the same problems but they are more interesting because they offer remarkable possibilities of studies in the field of the aerodynamics that do not arise in Formula 1. With the Can-Am cars you can learn a lot because of the complete freedom that offers. This year, our machines were the lightest of all, and still not a single broken chassis. Not even in the Targa Florio with the 908-03, that all we feared that they were too fragile. You can make extremely heavy cars that break, and extremely lightweight engines that are virtually unbreakable. This gives us enormous pleasure". 

- All right, the subject is interesting, but how much does it cost? 

"Not more than those of the others.  Do you think that our lightweight aluminum chassis are more expensive than the heavier steel chassis used by others? " 

-Possibly not, but the material, is it aluminum? 

“It’s a lightweight material that we found and then prepared. A material that –it’s true- costs more than steel, but in the end it doesn’t matter in the total cost, because the welding and mounting job is the same and it always is much more expensive than the material itself. It is the design and the basic construction principle the hardest, not the material with which is built. Making a chassis costs 10.000 marks, if done with the special material it would cost 10% more. This percentage will not affect the total price of the car." 

"We have read the numbers that Enzo Ferrari published the last year and we agree that the costs are equal for him and us.  To us, the engines cost less because they are of eight cylinders, and our chassis are a little bit more expensive than his.  The difference of the completed product is minimum ".   

- In what will you work immediately after the season in Buenos Aires with respect to the future?   

"We’ve just finished preparing the different projects to show them to Mr. Ferry Porsche.  He will decide which will we follow ".   

- At what point does Mr. Porsche choice influences? 

"It has its importance in the selection the money that will be invested in the accomplishment of each project. The three programs cost more or less the same, but in Cam-Am much money can be won. Much more than the complete season of Sport Prototypes and surely far less than in Formula One”. 

"Yes, the prototypes are more expensive, this program has its positive aspects for us because many things are learned, for example in aerodynamics. With the Formula the One and SP not many interesting things for the engines are developed. On the SP remarkable lessons in the study of the forms can be obtained. Indications that are of almost immediate use on the production cars that we sell to the public. Can-Am has a certain interest in the aerodynamic and a lot of development on the motors.  Each one of the three programs has something good and something bad for us.  Now we are reviewing all the aspects ". 

- Moving towards Can-Am is a decisive step in the field of the engines. But eventually, with what do you plan to race that specialty?   

"By saying Can-Am we also mean the races in the European interseries. If we opt on the Can-Am program we will make a big engine.  The American motors that participate in Can-Am are all big ones and are used magnificently for the study of the atmospheric contamination. We will try to make a motor that can offer the study possibility, in this sense, starting off of certain dimensions of unitary piston displacement ". 

Rico Steinemann, Director of the Public Relations and Racing Divisions at Porsche, argues that:  "In the factory it is tradition (as well as a necessity) that when money is invested in a sport activity, this money must serve so much for the races, to try to win in them, with advertising intentions, and technical investigation with projection for the future". 

"If who must do it (in the administrative part of the company) demonstrates that the money of the races also serves to prove the resistance of the motors and the investigation on the contamination, so that the results can be transferred to the series production, the transaction will be facilitated by the executive part of the company. If a financial crisis should appear, the first office to disappear would be the racing division. But that would not happen thus, if it were well clear that the investment for the competitions also serves like experimentation for the future production; in that case the department would not be closed. The reasons given to the administration of the factory always must be sufficiently strong so that the investment for the races is accepted”. 

By means of capable language maneuvers the people of Porsche always elude with conversations of "distraction" the questions that demand concrete answers. And the subject that was tried to avoid with the most frequency is the institutional sports projects, be it mediate or immediate. 

Something is evident; there is a group of people within the house and with much influence, which is favorable to maintain the marque racing. And it cannot be any other way. There is something with a little of mistrust is possible to be intuited:  if Porsche decides for 1972 on the Can-Am project it will have a big motor. But, which one? It is said in Europe that is a 16 cylinder 7,500 cm3 (which seems to me a little bit too much); nevertheless, this is the most probable way in the sporting future for the marque of Stuttgart.  It is also commented between the people with whom I had the chance of talking, that within the production programs of Porsche there is a machine of nearly three and a half liters of piston displacement.  Which could well be an 8-cylinder engine to extract experience for a motor of the double of piston displacement and number of cylinders. In spite of the evasiveness, we insisted on the subject of the forced development of a bigger engine than the one on the 917, in the case of entering the Can-Am program. 

"Not necessarily –we were told- we’ll make things in a way that we obtain in matter of power something similar and comparable to the others 


We concluded the subject without many points in clear.  It is probable that the house may have reserved a mechanical surprise, like for example a compressor, or that continues working and they appear with a chassis of advanced aerodynamic development and weight. Anyway, it is not written that they will choose Can-Am, because I also found out at Buenos Aires, that they are also very interested in Formula One. 

- For next year, will you still be collaborating with team Wyer?   

“There is still nothing determined on the matter.  But directors of the house consider that other future possibility like the best one, since it releases the factory and the technical offices to be obligatorily present in the races.  What, perhaps by a psychological effect, is reflected with more time for the projects and developments in the factory in an idea of being able to work more accurately in the preparation of the cars ". 

"If we run (the factory) we are forced a greater technical investigation, whereas if we prepared the machines of an external team, we must be sure that that preparation is solid and safe.  Thus, at heart, we have as a result a more reduced technical team and win races".

Click para agrandar

While in Buenos Aires, Porsche entered the sport arena with the same 917s of the last year, while in the factory they continued to work frenetically to finish the cars for Daytona.


Franco Lini saw in Stuttgart, over a table, the left section of the cylinders (eight) completely new. Our correspondent understood this as the first half of the possible future 16-cylinder, 7+-litre engine that was so heard about in Buenos Aires


  "Terminará con la farsa en la Can-Am", aventuró un conocedor del deporte. Y será. 



The Photo of the Secret!  The factory tries to hide from the eyes of Franco Lini the 16-cylinder engine in assembly phase, but it does not succeed.  You can see - in the circle- less than half, with four uncovered cylinders.  In the center it must be located the power intake and then the other four cylinders.  Count by yourselves, but do not forget to multiply by two.  Click HERE to enlarge the photo.

While Porsche works with alloys that are neither aluminum nor titanium, that have the same resistance than the titanium but infinitely cheaper and they work better. A metal that "we found just by looking..." as we were told.  It has the same resistance of the steel and the same coefficients of expansion than the aluminum.  They will continue the “farce" while they continue working with a computer in the proving ground that carries out the calculations and the indications, the diagrams of motor displacement, consumption, etc; in five minutes. This is the work done almost exclusively to win races by a typically German marque, but agile and dynamic.


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