Race royalty will be present at Castle Combe’s annual Autumn Classic historic event this Saturday in the shape of a famous and successful Gulf-coloured Porsche 917K
An iconic Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K will be the star on the show at Castle Combe’s Autumn Classic historic meeting this Saturday, with the racer on display at the Wiltshire venue.
The 917K’s attendance is in keeping with this year’s Autumn Classic theme of celebrating Le Mans icons. The annual Castle Combe historic gathering, first established in 2012, traditionally brings together seven acclaimed historic series to provide a packed programme of on-track racing action.
Only around 59 to 65 917s were ever produced and the Gulf-liveried 917K features routinely among the most iconic racing cars from motorsport history.
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This 917K heading to Castle Combe has a particularly interesting past. It finished fourth in the 1970 Sebring 12 hours driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen. Then a few weeks later the car went to Le Mans to be used during the filming of Steve McQueen’s famous Le Mans movie, one of just three 917s to be used in the project.
The car was involved in an accident during the filming and sent back to Porsche for a comprehensive overhaul, at which point the factory changed the chassis number to #034. So the car, originally chassis #013, was known from then on as the #013/034.
In 1971 the car bounced back for its most successful year, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Monza 1000km races under the control of Rodriguez and Jackie Oliver. Oliver next teamed up with Richard Attwood to take two other victories that year, before Derek Bell and Gijs van Lennep won the Paris 1000km and finished second in Barcelona.
In ’73 the current owner Mark Finburgh purchased the car in Stuttgart and has since kept it in pristine condition. The car still today appears frequently at events, including this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and even at concours d’elegance.
‘We’re enormously thrilled to have Mr Finburgh’s very special car along for the Autumn Classic this year,’ said Tom Davis, Castle Combe Circuit’s head of marketing. ‘Although it will only be present in a static manner, it still promises to make many car enthusiasts’ days as they finally get to meet one of their heroes in the flesh.’
There will also be an array of static displays and club stands at Castle Combe. Tickets for the event are priced at £25 for adults and £20 for seniors and are available on the gates – under 17s go free of charge. For more information, head to the event’s website.
Historic images courtesy of Motorsport Images