Last weekend, we would have been at the Le Mans Classic had the coronavirus pandemic not intervened. Now, thanks to this global medical crisis, all sports and major events involving large public gatherings have had to be either cancelled or postponed. One of our favourite historic race car meetings, the Le Mans Classic, fell victim to this pandemic and instead of taking place last weekend, it has been postponed to 1-4 July 2021.
As a result of this, we thought we would bring you one of our favourite cars from the last Le Mans Classic, the Zitro Racing Porsche 917 chassis #025. Our photo shows the #2 race car just cresting the rise on the right hand sweep of the Esses, on its way down to the Tertre Rouge in the hands of Peter Vögele.
Originally this race car was built with a LH body (Lang Heck or Long Tail) as part of the 25-car homologation series prepared for the CSI inspection on 21 April 1969. This chassis was then converted to 917 K spec and sold to the Swiss Zitro Racing team in June 1970.
In period, this race car was driven mostly by Dominique Martin, sometimes with fellow Swiss co-driver Gérard Pillon, for the Swiss Zitro Racing Team. Martin’s best result was a podium finish (3rd place) in the Montlhéry Coupes du Salon on 4 October 1970. The following year this car competed in several of the major endurance races around the world, including: Buenos Aires 1000 km, Monza 1000 km, Imola Interseries, Spa 1000 km, and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Unfortunately the car retired from the Le Mans race with gearbox failure.
In 1972 this car was sold to Emerson Fittipaldi and he competed in two races with it, both at the Interlagos Circuit, São Paulo, Brazil. He finished second in his first race with the car, and first in his second race.
In closing, we would like to wish all our readers and their families good health and patience during this difficult time – stay safe!
Written by: Glen Smale
Image by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale