50th Anniversary Celebrations For Porsche 911 At Silverstone Classic

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1965 Porsche 911 Project 50

1965 Porsche 911 Project 50

In an exciting initiative to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 911, Porsche Cars GB is racing a classic example of the iconic sports coupe in Historic motor sport this year. This Saturday (27 July), the ‘Project 50’ racing car will take to the track at the Silverstone Classic historic motorsport event in the Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Pre-1966 GT cars, in association with Chopard. Behind the wheel of the 1965 911 will be Barry Horne, winner of the inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship in 2003, and Gordon Robertson, Chief Driving Consultant at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone – which is located adjacent to the Hangar Straight of the world-famous Grand Prix race track. The ‘Project 50’ 911 is racing at Silverstone just two weeks since participating in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it joined many other examples of the model in a parade up the famous hillclimb course in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Stuttgart sports car. The 911 was also celebrated with the distinctive Central Feature sculpture in front of Goodwood House. Gordon actually drove the car to Goodwood from his home town of Doune in Scotland, raising funds and awareness for a charity close to his heart. In a project light-heartedly referred to as ‘The Long Way Doune’, Gordon, who lives in the Perthshire town, visited nine race circuits between 8 - 11 July, on a serious mission: to raise money for the Ninewells Cancer Research Charity. The first track on the journey south was Gordon’s home circuit of Knockhill, in Fife, and he reached Goodwood Motor Circuit in West Sussex, three days later. Already, the adventure has raised nearly £10,000 via justgiving.com/longwaydoune. Along the way, the challenge emphasised how for 50 years the Porsche 911 has been equally at home on road or race track, and also demonstrated the roots in racing that have honed the driving experience of the iconic, flat-six rear-engined coupe since 1963. Since its debut 50 years ago, the Porsche 911 has been at home on race circuits all over the world and earned a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date have been scored by the 911. Furthermore, many of the ideas and innovations that have been pioneered by the Porsche 911 over the past five decades were conceived on the race track. On Sunday (28 July), the ‘Project 50’ 911 will also be participating in a record-breaking parade of at least nine hundred and eleven examples of the Porsche 911 around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. Models spanning the 50 years’ evolution of the sports car will take to the track over the lunch-hour between 12:30-13:30. The car Built in September 1965, the ‘Project 50’ car is powered by a rear-mounted, 1,991 cc flat-six ‘boxer’ engine developing 130 hp. In the early days of 911 production, right-hand drive was available as a special order factory option and this car features that configuration – despite originally being sold to a customer in Italy. The equivalent price in the UK at this time – including £594 purchase tax – was £3,438. Having spent some time in America, the ‘Project 50’ 911 was imported to the UK in the late 1990s, where it was subsequently fully restored and converted into an ‘FIA-Approved’ race car by an established historic Porsche motor sport preparation company. With a simple silhouette and minimal exterior graphics, the early 911 has a very distinct design purity which is a lasting legacy of the designer, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. This not only established the Stuttgart coupe as a style icon, but also set the template for future generations of the car. These early cars also set the motorsport reputation of the 911, not least with an outstanding debut success in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally with a first in class and fifth place overall result. As the appeal of the 911 began to spread towards the end of the 1960s, the performance potential of the six cylinder engine also grew. In line with this, the wheelbase increased in length and the wheel-arches became more flared to accommodate larger wheels and tyres. Just 6,607 examples of the short-wheelbase 911 2.0 coupe were produced between 1964 and 1968. This short production span combined with low volumes, the inherent dynamic attributes of the rear-engine layout, and their eligibility for pre-1966 era Historic motorsport, ensures an early 911 remains as desirable today as when it first appeared in showrooms. Team ‘Project 50’ The ‘short-wheelbase’ 911 is racing under the ‘Project 50’ team banner in selected 'Masters Series' events alongside appearances at larger festivals such as the Silverstone Classic and the Six Hours of Spa. The car is run by Porsche Cars GB, and maintained by technicians from the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone alongside the in-house Porsche Cars GB Motorsport team, who also provide the technical support for the Carrera Cup GB Championship and GT3 Cup Challenge GB. The Porsche Cars GB ‘Project 50’ activity underlines the origins of the 911, and particularly its roots in racing. Long-standing Porsche fans and younger enthusiasts will also be intrigued to reflect on how Porsche has developed the unique rear-engined concept of the 911 continually over the past 50 years. Few cars have enjoyed such a long production run and evolved so purposefully and effectively. The enduring design language that ensures a 911 is never anything other than a 911 to look at guarantees a consistency of style that has never gone out of fashion. Since it was first launched, the 911 has been regarded as a rewarding car to drive quickly due to its rear-engine. To drive fast, a 1965 911 undoubtedly demands a particular level of commitment behind the wheel; this dynamic flair remains discriminating to this day. Systematic chassis refinements over the years have had the effect of lessening the influence of the legendary rear-biased weight distribution of the 911 yet the unique feel, character and driver involvement is undimmed. And the high dynamic limits of the chassis continue to demand respect. While the origins of the latest Type 991 version of the 911 remain self-evident in the distinctive silhouette and emotional character, it is clear the 911 has been perfectly engineered over seven generations to remain the benchmark sports car. This process of evolution results in a car that it’s many fans regard as getting better and better with time. Partners in ‘Project 50’ include the luxury five-star London hotel, The Mayfair, Swiss luxury watch manufacturer TAG Heuer, Dunlop tyres and the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. The ‘Project 50’ 911 is also a rolling ‘shop window’ for the Porsche Classic Original Parts service. Porsche Classic maintains a stock of over 35,000 genuine Porsche spares – for cars spanning the 356 to the Type 993 911 – and which are available over the counter from Porsche Centres worldwide. Porsche Classic also has dedicated workshops in Freiberg am Neckar, near Stuttgart in Germany, where everything from an oil change to a full restoration of a classic Porsche can be undertaken.Tags: