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Porsche 908/2 Spyder in the track test: Driving in the Porsche winning model from 1969

Rossen Gargolov
Porsche 908/2 Spyder in the track test
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D three rounds Small courses are usually enough during the test - one to run in and two for time - then the result is cemented and the lap time is determined. Only this time, with the Porsche 908/2 Spyder, not. Not even five are enough to get even remotely closer to the essence of this vehicle. It is also said that the Porsche 908/2 Spyder is too cold. Armin Burger, who is responsible for the organization and disposition of the collection at the Porsche Museum, has to rely on an air temperature of at least 20 degrees for the oil circuit of the V8. Otherwise the oil circuit of the Porsche 908/2 Spyder won't boil. But there are only twelve degrees.

The winning car of the Targa Florio

The Porsche 908/2 Spyder - the car that I know inside out from decades ago - and I, it seems, will not really warm today. It was no different at the first sport auto track test in Hockenheim in spring 1969. No, it was even worse: the presentation date for the new Porsche factory armada was drowned in the snow, long before global warming was published. Once there: Porsche works driver Gerhard Mitter, my hero and role model from my youth. The one in whose name I drove my absolute dream car, the Porsche 908 (albeit as a coupé) on the friend's Stabocar model racetrack for days at the limit. Oversteer, fly out of a curve, brake and roll over - the whole program. And now I actually drive this car in the original - the Porsche 908 in the Spyder version.

Gerhard Mitters Porsche 908/2 Spyder, exactly the vehicle with which he and Udo Schütz drove the Targa Florio in 1969 won with a new course record. It goes without saying that I don't have to repeat everything with the big car that I already tried out with the model car in '69. What else should the racing veteran, built in 1969, prove? The high point of his vita was forty years ago. Back then: ten laps of 72 kilometers each in a total time of six hours, seven minutes and 45 seconds. Full throttle through the Sicilian villages, past donkey carts and astonished mafiosi. 281 curves per revolution. The Porsche 908/2 Spyder reaches an average speed of 117.5 km /h. Without a crash and without technical malaise. And then the tires are flat for decades. What else do you want afterwardsdesire?

It shouldn't be much more than a brisk photo ride for a few laps. Then a happy and satisfied-looking Armin Burger leans down to me in the cockpit: 'You really should have challenged him more. The old man is still very open-minded when it comes to speeds. Only the annoying lateral forces that he cannot handle in the cold ten plain bearings of the crankshaft - already clear, right? ' Great! I was just about to mentally get the curve, to somehow coherently superimpose the ambition from the model railway era (I was in the middle of the 908) with today's humility towards the original Porsche 908/2 Spyder.

908/2 Spyder brought Porsche the first brand world championship

So I should have turned it up - pah! Why don't you tell me beforehand? Then I would have been able to confirm without a doubt that the Porsche 908/2 Spyder, at only 630 kilograms, is almost unbelievably handy. That it sprints quickly around corners and with its 350 hp goes off like a pig - no wonder with a power-to-weight ratio of 1.8 kilograms per hp. And that he's - damn it - a real winner. But let's be honest: Would such confirmations have been necessary on my part? The Porsche 908/2 Spyder has proven everything that had to be proven. He laid the foundation stone for Porsche to bring the Manufacturers' World Championship to Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen for the first time. With its aluminum frame, titanium axles, weight-optimized five-speed gearbox, Tital connecting rods and, last but not least, its 13 kg plastic body, it is, so to speak, the incarnation of the lightweight - a role model for all generations after it.

As a guest starter who arrived late, I have nothing else to do than express deep respect: to the makers of this open illustrative example of ingenious creativity and to those who dared to go forward with it so briskly. Respect for the drivers like Gerhard Mitter, who back then - I knew it - presented with absolutely heroic courage. They were lying more in the Porsche 908/2 Spyder than they were sitting. They had a roll bar as thick as a thumb in their necks and in front of their feet not much more substance than a few finger-thick aluminum tubes and a few grams of glass fiber reinforced plastic. To reach around the classic three-spoke valance of the Porsche 908/2 Spyder, they were forced to somehow briefly disappear their thighs due to the shortage between the steering wheel rim and the front edge of the seat.

Racing demands trust and a willingness to take risks

In return they were allowed to do so by their rather than Hat then, as veritable head protection, full-length three-quarter shell helmets listen to the gifted sound of the eight-cylinder engine that revs up to 8,400 rpm, enjoy the shiftability of the five-speed transmission that can be easily operated from the right wrist andFinally, you can also fully trust that no low-flying birds could mess up their rows of teeth over the narrow windbreak of the Porsche 908/2 Spyder. However, like me, they did not have to endure a V8 irritated by misfiring in the back. Because, as I now understand for understandable reasons, he only allows his smooth run to those who take full risk with him. Would I have done that? I'm not sure about this.

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