“‘ST’ WAS THE EN­GI­NEERS’ REF­ER­ENCE TERM WITHIN WEIS­SACH…”

Classic Porsche - - Contents -

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: info@911mo­tor­sport.be

Thanks to: www.euro­tun­nel.com

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

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 oil filler. Great care was taken to ac­cu­rately re­pro­duce de­cals car wore at Daytona

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…

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