If given the opportunity to test three of the most raw and brutal racing machines of the 1960s, it’s likely most of us would jump at the opportunity. This Gulf-Wyer Racing 917 was once muscled around by the likes of Jo Siffert and Derek Bell, and while I think quite highly of my own driving, I have no doubt that I’d be absolutely pants in comparison. With that giant throbbing flat-twelve engine roaring away behind the driver’s head, a surprisingly reclined seating position, and an austere driving cockpit ahead, I might have been too intimidated once behind the wheel to actually move away from a stop. Dario, however, is among the most accomplished drivers of all time, and even he felt a bit of trepidation.
Compared to its contemporaries, the 917 was a certainly the most successful of the bunch, though there were certainly more Lola T70s built. Each of these incredible machines are worthy of praise, but the Gulf 917 is certainly the most iconic. It is interesting that Mr. Franchitti notes that the 917 has a much larger steering wheel than the 512 in a bid for driver comfort and focus over 24 hours. That attention to driver fatigue was all important back then, and has carried through to today. With minor decreases in noise, vibration, and harshness, drivers can arrive to the end of their stint with more focus and speed than they otherwise might.
And, in case that trio review wasn’t enough 917 for you, here is a short video that shows a couple of on-board views out the back of the Porsche. Really, it’s all about that sound, so crank up your speakers and put the video on repeat. You’ll be in Porsche heaven in no time at all.