The 24h of Le Mans is the world’s greatest and most celebrated motorsports event – and for Porsche, certainly one of the most emotional.
On the 50th anniversary of our first overall victory, we take a special look back at the historic race.
1970: Torrential conditions at Le Mans. The rain comes down harder and harder as night falls. Spinouts, mechanical failures, crashes – many of the competitors and teams never even finish the race. Despite the difficult circumstances, racing driver Hans Herrmann fights his way into the lead in his 580 hp Porsche 917 KH. After 18 strenuous hours, Herrmann and teammate Richard Attwood finally cross the finish line to win the race and secure the first overall victory for Porsche on the Circuit de la Sarthe. They are followed by Gérard Larrousse and Willy Kauhsen in their Martini Porsche 917 LH and Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko in a Porsche 908/02. Porsche in first, second and third place – a perfect triumph, with many more to come.
To date, Porsche has taken a total of 19 overall victories in the famous endurance race, along with countless class wins. But the first big victory in 1970 remains unforgotten. Reason enough to celebrate this groundbreaking achievement half a century later and hopefully build on it not once, but twice, this year: At the 88th edition of the legendary race, which has been postponed until September due to the coronavirus crisis. And at the world’s first virtual 24h of Le Mans, which was held on June 13 and 14. Here the inaugural race was won by none other than the newly founded Porsche Esports Team with works drivers Nick Tandy and Ayhancan Güven as well as professional sim racers Josh Rogers and Tommy Östgaard.
And while the drivers are giving it their all to repeat the events of 50 years ago in the digital world, Stuttgart native Christian Blanck, with the help of his two sons aged seven and nine, is recreating the spectacular 1970 race in a completely analog form using true-to-original 1:43 scale models. The artist and brand expert already achieved a certain level of fame with his book series Childhood Heroes, featuring several of his somewhat discolored, much played-with and slightly worse-for-wear toy cars – for him, and many others, the foundation for a lasting automotive passion.