Like a plane take-off

03. Jan 2022 
by Ziv Knoll

In 1971, Derek Bell competed at Le Mans for the first time with Porsche, driving a mighty 917LH (long tail) with Jo Siffert (both drivers can be recognised in the picture above, in their white race overalls).

During the weekend tests, it was calculated that Bell, aboard his John Wyer Automotive-entered Gulf Porsche 917LH (picture below), reached 396 km/h on the Mulsanne Straight! He commented later that he had previously only experienced such a speed during a plane take-off at Heathrow!

No luck in the race, the fast pair was forced to retire after 18 hours race with transmission trouble. Winners were Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep, in their Martini Racing Porsche 917K.

Source: Porsche Museum

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