A new project in the UK aims to get young students involved (and hopefully fascinated) in motorsport and the career possibilities that the industry provides. A group of British engineers and designers has launched the Project 917 campaign with our favorite 70s World Champion sports prototype at the forefront of their effort. The team hopes to engage young prospective engineers in a thought experiment to "re-imagine the 917 and create a contemporary version".
The idea here is that students will create the plans for a modern iteration of Porsche's legendary sports racing car, follow through with those plans by actually building a functional prototype, and then showcasing the car at race tracks around the UK at vintage racing events and run it in exhibitions. It's an ambitious plan, but one that could potentially come to fruition.
The project is based on a "revolving initiative" with Coventry and Warwick University, wherein applicants proceed through a program that is said to be similar to the television series "The Apprentice". Through this process, the selection is whittled down to a group of six students who are given three months of intensive training in all aspects of car design and build. Ideally the project will then proceed with a 17-month build of the actual 'Project 917' end design.
The strange part, however, is that the project already has a chassis design, a body design, and an engine selected. The chassis and body are provided by the 917-replica builders 'Bailey Cars' of South Africa. The engine is stated to be a straight six, though which one is not specified (clearly not a Porsche engine, though, as they've never built a straight six). They've stated a goal of 1100kg and 180 mile per hour top speed. Which begs the question, how is this a modern 917?
The project is headed by car nut Ian Howe, design consultant Chris Beatty, and car prep master Neil Yates. You can follow the project on twitter @917Legend, or their hashtag #Project917.