“‘ST’ WAS THE ENGINEERS’ REFERENCE TERM WITHIN WEISSACH…”
a street car that you could drive on the track, and it is difficult to tell if it is a real factory race car or not, because it could have started as a street car and afterwards sent back to the factory for conversion, and that does not make it an original factory racer.'
On the other hand, we do have the genuine kiddie here: 0987 is listed in all factory papers as a works ST, and as well as in Jürgen's Porsche Book, its chassis number is also identified in Patrick Paternie's Red Book pocket guide as an ST.
These 1972 STS were fitted with bigger bore (86.7mm x 70.4mm) 2492cc competition flat-six engines (Type 911/70) that were assigned a special serial number group – this one being 662 2035 – mated to uprated gearboxes with improved cooling and full pressure lubrication. Suspension modifications included new anti-roll bars and harder Bilstein shocks. It was lowered and 7in and 9in wheels were fitted, traditional Fuchs on the front and Minilites on the back, enclosed by the familiar swollen wheel arches, flared by 5cm according to the regs, fabricated in steel, and of a curvature peculiar to the ST.
There were significant differences in composition to the earlier STS, and Johan's '72 car duly corresponds with the later spec. Except for the front spoiler, the rest of the body panels were also in steel or aluminium, including steel front wings and an aluminium valance between the deleted overriders, adding up to a given weight of 1025kg.
Stylistically, what's intriguing about the Stis the flaring of the wheelarches and the way the front wheelarches marry up so beautifully with the front bumper and front valance, and the rather heroic swell of the rear wheel arches. In fact, the flaring of front and rear arches is one of the finest and most satisfying of all car designs, and having the classic bumpers, grilles and indicators in the wings also adds to the charisma.
The interior lining of the M491 cabin was black, with simplified door panelling, Recaro bucket seats – in this case with leather sides and cloth centre sections – webbed by OMP fourpoint harnesses anchored from the rear bulkhead, and a roll hoop rather than a comprehensive cage. A smaller four-spoke steering wheel (380mm) was fitted, and lightweight door linings featured thong openers and wind-up windows.
It's fully instrumented apart from not having a clock; the rev counter is in the conventional position rather than being upside-down. There's a fully plumbed-in Sparco fire extinguisher system, and an engine cut out where the radio would go. Normally, a racecar is stripped out like a hog roast carcass, but not so our beauty of the banking. It's got RS style door pulls, lightweight carpet and mats, so it's very civilised considering the Stspec.
From the outside it looks more aggressive than it does
from the driving position. As well as its rather large Volkswagen identification light (for night racing) on the lefthand wheel arch it's also got a pair of Cibie driving lamps mounted on the front lid. Both front and rear lids have rubber clamps securing them in place.
Being a '72 car it has the external oil filler flap, and a 110-litre racing fuel tank is located in the front compartment with central filler nozzle – accessed in this case under the front lid while a decal replicates the original external cap.
They were delivered with Weber carburettors but could be specified with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, like our Daytona car with its smart red intake trumpets. Racing camshafts and pistons were incorporated, and the engines were blueprinted with polished intake and exhaust ports, plus a dual ignition system. In this spec the 2.5-litre engine developed an impressive 270bhp at 8000rpm with 191lb ft torque at 6300rpm. The 911 ST was priced at DM 49,680 ex-factory, which was getting on for a heady £30,000 in '72.
At Le Mans in 1972, six out of seven 911s entered were STS, mostly still running the rear Minilites, with Louis Meznarie's 2466cc car driven by Jürgen Barth/michael Keyser/sylvain Garant the only 911 to finish, coming home 13th overall. And that was it for the ST. At Le Mans 1973, the 2.8 RSR was the 911 of choice, ushering in ducktail spoilers and wide Fuchs rear rims, and a whole new chapter in the 911 hagiography.
As Johan reflects, 'The ST is fundamental to Porsche racing history; it's right there, buried deep in the legend of Porsche racing cars.' He believes that STS number between 20 and 25 cars. 'The factory didn't want them referred to as STS,' he says. 'It was what the engineers called them; the 2.3s were an evolution of 2.2s, and the 2.5 was obviously an evolution of the 2.4.'
Johan considers the 2.5 to be the more interesting because it's more of a race car than the 2.3, though at the time that was the more radical transformation: 'The 2.5 ST is very close to a '73 Carrera 2.8 RSR; it's not as wide, but it is very close in philosophy and construction. The 2.5 ST had 270bhp, which was enormous at that time, considering that a standard 2.4 'S' only had 190bhp, so it was a very fast car. The larger wheel arches are completely different from the later ones of the RSR: the curvature is flatter at the top of the arch and more concave than the RSR'S; they are all a little bit different – and this was the first time that Porsche made bodies that were wider front and back to accommodate wider wheels.'
The paperwork tells us that this ST was sold new to Wilhelm 'Willi' Bartels (father of WTCC and DTM racer Michael Bartels), early in 1972, and he took it hill climbing that year, resplendent in blue with horizontal white stripes. In 1973 it was handed to
“IT’S FUNDAMENTAL TO PORSCHE RACING HISTORY…”
Reinhold Jöst's team who prepped it for Daytona, and after its successful US stint, Bartels sold it to the Tebernum Team's drivers, Josef Weisskopf and Heinz-jörgen Dahmen.
'It seems that it went to America for just one race, probably because Reinhold Jöst was driving his 908 at Daytona as well, and then after the 24-hours it came back to Germany.' It was campaigned in Group 4 races until 1976, including an engine blow-up in 1975. It then passed on to Klaus Uwe Brem, though its racing days were over; he had the car until 1989, converting it into a wide body car for street use, though the project was never finished. It passed on to a succession of owners, one of whom restored it in 2001 and another who ran it in a few historic events in 2003.
Here at Abbeville it's debuting its Daytona guise, and Johan is vigorous with it, hell-bent on exploring its dynamics to the full. 'They're pretty close in the driving experience, the 2.5 ST and the 2.8 RSR,' he declares, 'but I have to admit I like the RSR better, because with the ST you have way too much flex.'
My take is slightly different. It's like an enthusiastic, but more raw 2.7RS, and it slingshots me down the main straight, writhing under hard braking and twitching at the slightest hump, its nose exploring every nuance of the track surface, smooth as it is. It could be a hectic ride, but I find that optimum control comes by relaxing and simply being the guide rather than the hustler, because the steering is light, requiring a deft touch rather than brute force, and lock is not bad, considering tyre width.
It's beautifully set-up and easily controllable, with pinpoint turn-in on these tight Abbeville turns, so I can place it exactly where I want, and it responds instantly as I ease on the gas pedal, surging from corner to corner in a glorious six-pot shriek. It's a sheer oral delight up around 5–6000rpm, using third and fourth gears, down to second for the corners.
It's relatively softly sprung for a racecar. It's easy to forget how wide the rear track is, and I ride the kerbs in a few corners as I come to terms with its foibles. The gearshift has a metallic sensation, and it's precise as I move it from notch to notch, but each selection demands care so as not to graunch the cogs.
Acceleration is phenomenally vigorous from 2000rpm right round the rev counter to 8000rpm – the gauge goes all the way to 10,000rpm – though that's about it along Abbeville's short main straight. This is where heaviest braking application comes into play, and the unservo'd pedal needs early and firm application of pressure.
I back off around the far side of the circuit and cruise back to the paddock. This is a thrilling car, and though we're way off the grandeur and magnitude of Daytona here, it's not difficult to see why the ST earned a crucial place in the evolution of 911 racers, aptly demonstrated by that top ten placing at Daytona. CP Contact: Johan Dirickx 911Motorsport Web: http://911motorsport.be Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to: www.eurotunnel.com
Below: An inspired drive saw the ST finish ninth overall at Daytona in 1973, having started from 39th on the grid
Above left: 9Jx15 Minilite wheels are used at the rear as Fuchs couldn’t supply a wheel of sufficient width at that time Above centre: Centre-fill fuel filler is located under bonnet Above right: Being a ’72 model, the ST features the trademarkexternal...
Above: Rubbermats in place of carpets, simple door cards and pull straps, no glovebox lid orclock – weight-saving measures abound on the ST
Below left: 10,000rpm tachometer hints at freerevving nature of ST’S ‘six’ Below middle: Recaro seats are trimmed in a mix of leatherand cloth Below right: 915-series transmission features pump to aid lubrication and cooling
Above: Despite giving away several litres to the big banger Camaros, the little ST shone in the hands of Greger, Hild and Schmid
Below left: Uniquely-flared arches gave the ST an aggressive look. Note the identification light in use on the front wing Below: Our man Tipler dreams of Daytona…