From Tight Turns to Le Mans Triumph: Porsche 917's Silverstone Showcase

Porsche amazed the racing world with this ‘production racer’. And after 20 years, Andrew Frankel finally got to drive it

production racer

Andrew Yeadon

Photography Andrew Yeadon  /  Taken from Motor Sport February 1999

You may know Silverstone’s national circuit. For those who do not, it’s short and very tight. After the pits it swerves right at Copse, left at Maggotts and then hard right again at Becketts. It then runs down a short straight to another sharp left at Brooklands, onto the long, slow right at Luffield which leads you to Woodcote and the start of a new lap.

I mention this now to put into perspective something it was difficult not to notice when driving Richard Attwood’s Porsche 917 on the circuit. With admittedly short gear ratios and a rev-limit perhaps 800rpm below what would be used at Le Mans, I had to lift my foot off the accelerator while in top gear to avoid over-revving the engine on three occasions every lap. Just before Copse, again before Becketts and finally on the run down to Brooklands.