Porsche 908/2 Spyder

Introduced in 1969, the three-litre 908/2 is an evolution of the Porsche 908K Coupe. As the rule book for the season no longer required a minimum windscreen height nor the requirement to run a spare wheel, Porsche —and also Ferrari, Matra, and Alfa Romeo— opted for a much lighter Spyder body; which looked like a chopped version of the short-tail Coupe used in 1968.

The Spyder body was perfectly suited for high downforce races like the Nürburgring 1000 km and the Targa Florio. It was also about 100 kg lighter than the Coupe. New variants introduced re-profiled body panelling, moulded in ultra-light and thin glass-fibre, had a cleaner nose line with smaller central oil-cooler air intake, waisted sills, a higher waistline, flattened wheel-arch humps and more tightly-enclosing rigid cockpit surround leaving only the tiniest regulation opening for the driver and above the notional passenger-seat space. For Le Mans, a further development emerged in a Longtail variant with two prominent tail fins to reduce the car’s sensitivity to side winds.

Porsche’s first races with the 908/2 were a complete failure. The three 908/2 cars entered for the 24 Hours of Daytona failed to finish with engine related issues, while at the 12 Hours of Sebring the new Spyders placed third and fifth, placing behind Ford’s GT40 cars. Eventually, the 908/2’s victories of the season gave Porsche the 1969 Manufacturer’s Championship.

In 1970 at Le Mans, Austrian racers Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko drove the #27 Porsche 908/2 to 3rd place, with the Porsche 917 bringing the first Le Mans factory to the Stuttgart based manufacturer. Due to a Le Mans win outweighing any other race of a season, the Porsche 908 remains one of the most underestimated race cars of its era.

The car also appeared in the Le Mans movie starring Steve McQueen.

References

Herne, J. (2014). Porsche 908 LH Flunder Spyder. Retrieved from https://www.stuttcars.com/porsche-models/908/lh-flunder-spyder/

Melissen, W. (2014). 1969 Porsche 908/02 Spyder. Retrieved from https://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/417/Porsche-908-02-Spyder.html

Sports Car Digest. (2014). Porsche 908/02 Flunder. Retrieved from https://www.sportscardigest.com/porsche-908-02-flunder-car-profile/

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