24 Hours of Le Mans 1970-2015 - 45 Porsche stories (17)
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24 Hours of Le Mans 1970-2015 - 45 Porsche stories (17)

Not only was 1970 the year of Porsche

In the late sixties, Porsche needed a car to attract new customers while Volkswagen was looking to spice up its range with a new sporty model. The joint initiative between the two German manufacturers resulted in the 914, unveiled in 1969. The car came as a Volkswagen version with a flat-four engine (914-4) or as a Porsche with a flat-six (914-6). Its distribution was shared between the carmakers, depending on the target market.

The 914-6 was first entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 by Sonauto, Porsche’s French importer. Driven by Claude Ballot-Léna and Guy Chasseuil, it finished sixth in a race devastated by atrocious weather conditions which saw only seven cars ranked (nine other cars completed the 24 Hours but had not covered enough mileage for classification). Two other 914s made the starting grid a year later but were forced out of the race. The 914 was produced until 1976, the year Porsche pulled off its third victory with the 936, the first turbocharged prototype to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translated from French by David Goward
Photo: D.R. - ACO Archives

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY 13 & SUNDAY 14 JUNE 1970. The 914-6 took the chequered flag on its 24-Hour debut.