Porsche unveiled the 907 prototype sportscar racer at the 1967 LeMans 24 Hours race. Mounted mid-ship was a 2000-cc six-cylinder, Porsche engine from the Porsche 910 which produced 220 horsepower. An eight-cylinder unit had been considered, but the six-cylinder unit ruled-out due to its compact design, lightweight features, and proved reliability. On the straight stretches, the 907 was capable of speeds over 190 mph. Porsche finished the race with a respectable fifth place finish.
The vehicle brought with it innovative improvements such as a cockpit that had the driver to the right-hand side of the vehicle. This suggestion by Ferdinand Piech, gave the driver an advantage on clockwise race tracks. Vented disc brakes were now standard, and greatly improved the vehicles handling characteristics.
In the prototype racing group, Ford and Ferrari were dominating with their powerful eight- and twelve-cylinder engines. Porsche began work on equipping the 907 with a 2200-cc eight-cylinder engine. The engine increased horsepower to 270.
Rule changes in 1968 limited output to 3-liters which meant that Ferrari and Ford were left out of competition. Porsche began work on 3000cc unit and had hopes of winning the World Sportscar Championship and possibly even achieving a victory at LeMans. Ferrari protested these new engine restrictions by not participating in the 1968 season.
For the 24 Hours of Daytona race, Porsche had twenty mechanics and engineers ready to service the four 907 Porsche's entered. Gerhard Mitter piloted the number 53 and failed to finish the race due to an accident caused by a blown tire. Jo Siffert and Hans Hermann drove the number 52 car and were leading the pack for much of the race before experiencing difficulties and dropped to second. The number 54 car was driven by Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpash. The number 51 car was driven by Jo Schlesser and Joe Buzzetta. The Porsche 907 team finished in the top three positions.
At the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Porsche 907 finished in first and second place. Two other Porsche 907 entries retired prematurely due to engine failures.
The Ford GT40's often beat the Porsche 907s on the faster likes such as the 1000km Monza and the BOAC 500. Ford had filled the homologation requirements by constructing at least 50 cars and as such, the 5-liter Sportscars were able to compete for overall wins.
A Porsche 908 outfitted with a 3000cc engine won the 1000KM Nurburgring. At the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Porsche 908 proved to be the fastest in qualifying and had earned pole position. The race, which was traditionally held in the middle of June, had been postponed until the end of September as France tried to settle their political difficulties. During the race, the Porsche 908 had troubles with their alternator and eventually the team was disqualified due to not properly following repair rules. Ford went on to win the race and was followed by a Porsche 907 Long Tail.
For the following seasons, the Porsche 907 were entered in competition by privateers. A podium finish at the 1969 Monza race and a seventh at the 1971 LeMans were among the vehicles more memorable victories by the privateers.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007