Gijs van Lennep at 80
Porsche salutes its highly successful racing driver
Dubbed the “best Dutch race car driver of the 20th century”, Gijs van Lennep turned 80 in March and Porsche has been marking the milestone.
Gijs began his racing career at the wheel of a Volkswagen Beetle before taking victory at Zandvoort in a Porsche 904 in 1965. It was here that the Dutchman began a lifelong relationship with the Porsche brand. Further successes at the wheel of a Porsche came in 906, 908/2 and 911 models, and Gijs also drove a privateer 917 KH in 1970.
As a Porsche Works driver in a 911 Carrera RSR and partnered with the Swiss pilot Herbert Müller, Gijs won the last Targa Florio in 1973. The Dutchswiss duo competed again at Le Mans just a few weeks later, coming home in fourth overall. There were other notable outings for Gijs, including in 1974 when he drove a Works 911 Carrera RSR Turbo 2.1 – Porsche’s first Turbo entry at Le Mans – to a second place finish. In partnership with Jacky Ickx, Gijs drove the Porsche 936 to victory in the car’s very first 24-hour race.
“It’s best to quit when you’re on top” Gijs is quoted as once saying.
He did just that when he hung up his helmet to end his racing career and become a Porsche ambassador, which he remains to this day.