10/28/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Porsche versus Ferrari in 1970 Retold

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Drive, driver, driven

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Porsche 917

Porsche 917 (Images: Porsche)

Ted West was a writer for Road & Track magazine back in 1970, and his boss asked him whether he might be interested in going to Europe to follow the races that were going to be held as part of the International Championship for Sports Cars.

You know, races like 24 Hours of Le Mans.

West undoubtedly packed faster than one of those cars could get off the line. And off he went.

One of the things that he recalls about that period of motor sports is that there were excitement, exhilaration, and a pall of potential death, as driver after driver met their demise. Yet, West says, the drivers were drivers and that is what they had to do because that was (and is) who they are. To not race would be to be something other than what one is.

The 1970 series was one where the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512S battled it out, although the 917—which was powered by a 580 hp V12 engine and had a top track speed of 211 mph—proved to be the better of the two.

Porsche 917

Porsche pit stop.

Most important win: Le Mans, 1970.

If you’re at all interested in sports car racing in the period around 1970, then on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” you’ll be presented with nothing less than a master class.

Ted West, Peter DeLorenzo of Autoextremist.com, and “Autoline’s” John McElroy have an encyclopedic knowledge of the cars and the people of that period. I am essentially along for the proverbial ride.

West decided some years back that he wanted to write about the men and women who were involved in the racing scene of that period. Sure, he’d filed plenty of stories for Road & Track back in the day. But he wanted to go beyond journalism.

So he wrote a novel, Closing Speed (yes, you can get this on Amazon).

West talks about the book. But mainly the discussion focuses on everyone from Carroll Shelby (anticipating the Ford v Ferrari film) to Ferdinand Piech.

Yes, for the second half of the show we discuss a variety of news (e.g., Ford’s third quarter earnings report). But it is the discussion of racing that is the true centerpiece of this show.

And you can see it all here.