Porsche AG’s first fully purpose-built racing car came in 1953 in the form of the 550 Spyder. The first major win for the 550 came at the 1956 Targa Florio, driven by Umberto Maglioli. The 550 was further developed into the 718 RSK, another successful winning racer.
These wins by the light, small-displacement Porsche race cars against large-displacement 12-cylinder racers, such as Ferrari, gave them the reputation as “Giant-killers”.
For 1960, Porsche introduced the RS60, a further development of the RSK. Like the RSK, it sported sleek, light-weight aluminum bodywork, a low center of gravity and a mid-engine layout. The 4-cylinder, 4-cam engines used were either 1.5 litres (150bhp) or 1.6 litres (160bhp). With a weight of less than 1,300 lbs, the RS60 was very nimble indeed!
For the 1960 season, the FIA stipulated that sports racing cars match more closely the specifications of production sports cars. The racers had to sport a full-width windshield with a minimum height of 25 cm, a luggage compartment and a streamline fairing behind the driver’s head.
The RS60 was very successful out of the box, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in the hands of Olivier Gendebien and Hans Hermann, followed by Porsche’s third Targa Florio win in the hands of Jo Bonnier, Hans Hermann and Graham Hill. It also won the European Hill Climb Championship.
These wins helped solidify Porsche’s position in North America, with Porsche going from class winners to overall winners.
Today’s post was written by Paul Chenard, MGDC. Here’s a little more info on Paul in his own words.
My professional background is that of a graphic designer with more than 25 years experience, but my passion is for the history of racing. I started collecting vintage toy racecars at the end of the 1980’s and this led to picking items, books and reference material on racing history. After a few years of studying all this, I decided to transfer my accumulated knowledge to paper in the form of illustrations and stories. In 2007, I set up a company Automobiliart.com to market my creations. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia with my wife, our two sons and a cat.