Classic Race Cars

Porsche 908 Coupe (1968)

January 7, 2013

Porsche 908 1969After FIA reduced the engine capacity limit to 3 litres for prototypes in the World Constructors’ Championships at the end of 1967, Porsche designed the 908 sports car to have an even footing with its rivals in the competition for the title.  Porsche 908 was the first Porsche sports car to have an engine with the maximum size allowed by the rules. Its new 3-litre engine was tailor-made to the large capacity class for the first time in the long motorsport history of Porsche.

The new 3-litre, eight-cylinder, twin-valve Boxer engine had four overhead camshafts with chain drive. The air-cooled engine produced 350 horsepower at 8400rpm. The power was delivered through five-speed gearbox and locking differential to the rear-wheels. Porsche 908 had a tubular space frame with plastic body, independent wheel suspension, coil springs and disc brakes. Weight of the car was 650 kilograms. There were long-tailed and short tailed versions of the 908 Coupe. Later also spyder versions, Porsche 908/02 and 908/03 were introduced. The tail unit of the Porsche 908 Coupe with two tail fins and a transverse airfoil, whose flaps moved with the compression of the rear wheels, ensured, in the case of the long-tail version, that full advantage was taken of the power of the eight-cylinder engine.

Porsche 908 made its race premiere at the Monza 1000 km race in 1968. in the Nurburgring race, driven by Siffert and Elford, Porsche 908 won took its first win. For its first Le Mans race in 1968, Porsche 908 was fitted with an aluminium tubular space frame. The car proved to be quick, but unreliable. Driven by Jo Siffert, Porsche 908 took the pole position. Unfortunately, because of the technical problems, only one Porsche 908 finished. Neerbasch and Stommelen secured the third place for Porsche 908.

1969 was more successful for Porsche 908, although Porsche had already introduced the more powerful 917. In the 1969 Le Mans race, Porsche 908 fought for the victory. Driven by Hans Herrmann, Porsche 908 finished second very close behind the winning Ford GT driven by Jacky Ickx.