DAYTONA WAR­RIOR

The 911 ST bridged the gap be­tween the 911R and the 2.7 Car­rera RS, mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Porsche's early 1970s com­pe­ti­tion his­tory. Clas­sic Porsche gets be­hind the wheel of a vet­eran of the Daytona 24 Hours

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tos: Antony Fraser

On the trail of a 911 ST that ran at the Daytona 24 hours…

We've come to Abbeville in north­ern France to feast our eyes on a rare 911 rac­ing car – a 1972 ST, prop­erty of the An­twerp­based JFD Col­lec­tion. This car 's main claim to fame is that it ran in the Daytona 24-Hours in 1973, en­tered by Rein­hold Jöst (ex-works driver) and driven by vet­eran Sepp Greger, Kurt Hild and Di­eter Sch­mid. It started 39th on the grid and, amaz­ingly, it fin­ished ninth over­all.

That's a remarkable achieve­ment for a one-year old 911, in amongst the works Ma­tra and Gulf pro­to­types, Chevron and Lola sports rac­ers. And don't for­get all the big banger Chevro­let Ca­maros and Fer­rari Day­tonas – not to men­tion the 911 RSRS of the likes of John Fitz­patrick and Erwin Kre­mer – and, sig­nif­i­cantly, the Bru­mos car of Hur­ley Hay­wood and Peter Gregg which won out­right.

As our Abbeville host Jo­han Dir­ickx avers, 'It's very nice to see that a small 2.5-litre car, which didn't even have the big­gest engine in its cat­e­gory, fin­ished ninth af­ter 24-hours' rac­ing. That makes it a wolf in sheep's cloth­ing in terms of re­sults at Daytona, and that's why it's fin­ished in the liv­ery that it raced in there.'

Introductions made, some def­i­ni­tions of the family tree are in or­der. Flaunt­ing its broad whee­larches and odd-look­ing Minilite rear wheels, the 911 ST is de­scended from the 1967 fac­tory race­car 911R. The in­ten­tion was to run the 'R' in sportscar rac­ing, but ho­molo­ga­tion rules pitched it in with the pro­to­types, so in 1968, Porsche cre­ated the 911 TR, ho­molo­gated as a Group 3 GT car: still highly mod­i­fied, but less so than the R. Prob­a­bly 36 TRS were built and cam­paigned by pro­fes­sional and ama­teur race and rally teams.

For 1970 and '71, the 2.2 'S' be­came the base model for tack­ling the tour­ing car race and rally scene, iden­ti­fied as the ST. And while rally cars re­tained stan­dard en­gines, rac­ing ver­sions were ini­tially in­creased by 52cc, ac­com­pa­nied by a power hike from 180bhp to 240bhp, fired by twin-plug ig­ni­tion and mated with the 901 trans­mis­sion and LSD.

It's likely that 15 ex­am­ples of the 2.3 ST were built in race and rally for­mat, with a fur­ther 23 units of the 2.5 ST des­ig­nated as race­cars. In his Porsche Book, Jür­gen Barth lists the chas­sis num­bers of 15 spe­cial 911S race and rally cars from 1970 and '71, with 23 race cars from 1972. Like the TR, the ST des­ig­na­tion was an in-house amal­gam of the 'S' engine and the lighter 'T' chas­sis.

Leg­end has it that 25 bare shells, 'bod­ies-in-white', that were lighter than stan­dard, were taken off the 911 line in 1969 and sent to Weis­sach to be built into race­cars, so the first 2.3 STS might well have orig­i­nated in these light­weight bod­ies. It's also pos­si­ble that some of the 2.5 STS were also built on the white bod­ies, though this par­tic­u­lar car wasn't one of them.

Ev­i­dently, there was far more go­ing on with the ST than just an in­crease in cu­bic ca­pac­ity. Wider wheels and tyres for en­hanced grip re­quired flared wheel arches front and rear, and the solution was a de­light­ful and fas­ci­nat­ing mélange of ma­te­ri­als. On the early ST, the front wings were made of glass­fi­bre, the rears steel, and the front lid and both bumper pan­els were in glass­fi­bre, with alu­minium doors and engine lid, and apart from the wind­screen, all win­dows were Plex­i­glas.

The rear three-quar­ter pan­els, roof and rear seat­pans were in thin­ner gauge steel, while all ex­tra­ne­ous fix­tures and fit­tings were left out, from glove­box lid and ash­tray to front and rear lid locks, and door and

“THIS MAKES IT A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTH­ING…”

bumper trim strips. There was no sound dead­en­ing or floor mats, and the paint was even thinned down.

Apart from a com­pe­ti­tion fuel tank with cen­tral un­der-bon­net filler, front strut-brace and 908/2 brake calipers, the run­ning gear was lit­tle changed. It's a pur­pose­ful look­ing ma­chine, and vis­ually, the most ob­vi­ous in­di­ca­tor of the ST'S iden­tity is the dif­fer­ence in wheel types. Since Fuchs did not pro­duce any 9in rims at the time, Porsche had to look else­where, and they found what they needed at Minilite, whose eight-spoke com­pe­ti­tion wheels, ubiq­ui­tous in con­tem­po­rary tour­ing car rac­ing, were made of sand-cast mag­ne­sium and there­fore lighter than alu­minium.

The Le Mans 24-Hours is a great barom­e­ter for gaug­ing what rac­ing cars are on the scene at any par­tic­u­lar time, and in 1970 four of the eleven 911s run­ning were ST spec. Just one was a clas­si­fied fin­isher, the Erwin Kre­mer/nick Koob 2253cc car, plac­ing sev­enth over­all. A spe­cial light­weight 911S (fea­tur­ing the swirling psychedelic red and yel­low liv­ery) was built for the 1970 Tour de France and driven to 2nd place by Gérard Lar­rousse. This was equipped with a big­ger bore and stroke 2395cc flat-six (this car was fea­tured in is­sue #43 of Clas­sic Porsche). The fol­low­ing year was, ar­guably, the ST'S hey­day, when there were nine STS out of eigh­teen 911s run­ning at Le Mans, and Raymond Touroul/'anselme' came sixth over­all and first in the GTS class.

The spec of the ST shifted for 1972. Ap­pendix J per­mit­ted only the 911S's glass­fi­bre front bumper with the em­bry­onic spoiler to be used on the com­pe­ti­tion ver­sion, and ahead of the '72 season a num­ber of 2.5-litre 911S coupés were built for rac­ing un­der op­tion M491, bear­ing the same chas­sis num­ber­ing as the stan­dard 911S, though for this rea­son it's not easy to say ex­actly how many were cre­ated at the fac­tory and how many were sub­se­quently fet­tled to ST spec by pri­vate teams.

This par­tic­u­lar chas­sis is #911 230 0987. It's only ret­ro­spec­tively that this group of cars has been known as STS; the man­age­ment dis­cour­aged it at the time, though it was the en­gi­neers' ref­er­ence term within Weis­sach. Jür­gen Barth refers to the 1972 race cars sim­ply as 911Ss, leav­ing the ST back in 1970–'71, but it seems fair enough to cat­e­gorise the com­pe­ti­tion 911 as the ST up to the in­cep­tion of the 2.7 Car­rera RS.

As Jo­han says, 'the STS all came out of the fac­tory as race­cars, al­though you could drive them on a daily ba­sis. Af­ter that you had the 2.8 RSRS, which were ba­si­cally race­cars, though you could drive them on the street, too. But the TR was

Above: Dual-plug2492cc engine is fed by Bosch MFI, and pro­duces around 270bhp at 8000rpm and 191lb ft of torque at 6300rpm

Be­low left: Volkswagen Beetle turn sig­nal is used as an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion light Be­low right: Hand-ap­plied pin­stripingis typ­i­cal of many US race cars of the era

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.