Everyone who has done more than scratch the surface of Porsche’s history knows the name of Roger Penske. Following a relatively brief but highly successful time as a driver —his first race win was in an old Spyder- Penske became a team owner and manager. Over the course of his career he has been involved in everything from sports cars to F1 to Indy and NASCAR, often winning, and being totally dominant with the Porsche 917-30 in Can-Am racing.
I first crossed paths with Penske in early 1970 at Daytona, where he had entered an AMC Javelin for Donohue (that one didn’t work out). Looking nearly like a school boy with his close crew cut, he was delivering a jibe to an almost-smiling Jo Siffert, as Brian Redman was breaking up over the bit of humor. Penske himself was smiling slightly, something I rarely saw in the years to follow.
As a follow-on to his many successes with Porsche in Can-Am racing, he was selected to race Porsche’s new RS Spyder, and produced a class win in the car’s 2005 race debut at the season-ending ALMS race at Laguna Seca. Many subsequent wins for the yellow cars followed through 2008, when the image below was made at Sebring. Uncharacteristically alone with his thoughts before the start of the race, a deadly serious Penske sat in his control center in the pits, looking down the track, refining his strategy and thinking of what the day might bring. What the day brought was overall victory, beating the second place Dyson RS Spyder and two spots ahead of the mighty LMP1 Audi R10 TDI. Not a bad day. Perhaps there was another smile, at the end, that I didn’t see.
About Leonard Turner and “The Last Turn”
With a background in photography spanning more than 5 decades, Leonard Turner was Porsche Panorama’s chief photographer for some 40 years, shooting several hundred covers for the magazine and countless feature spreads involving racing, new car introductions, portraits, technical illustrations, and a plethora of other topics. In the course of doing this, he has traveled widely over the United States and Europe, visiting the Porsche factories and shooting at many venues, including a portfolio of the world’s greatest race tracks.
Leonard’s photographs have been published in many books including Porsche: Portrait of a Legend; Porsche Specials; Porsche, the 4-Cylinder, 4-Cam Sports & Racing Cars; Sebring, the Official History; Carrera RS; and Porsche: Prototype Era 1964 to 1973. His magazine credits, other than Panorama, include Autoweek, Road & Track, Automobile, Christophorus, and Excellence.
It was with this background in mind that we asked Leonard to open up his archives to share with you here on FLATSIXES.com. His personal files, both digital and film, contain tens of thousands of images of Porsches, Porsche people, and events they shaped and which shaped them. Our plan is to share one of Leonard’s images with you every other week, and the story behind it, in this newest feature, “The Last Turn” here on FLATSIXES.com.
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
The Last Turn – Jo Siffert At Sebring In 1971
The Last Turn – Press Intro Of The Porsche 993
The Last Turn – Porsche GT1 Le Mans 1996
The Last Turn – Derek Bell Fixing A 917
The Last Turn – An RSR At Weissach
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