I was listening to an interview with the great Richard Atwood this morning and it got me to thinking about the most historic racing sports cars of all time. I wondered to myself if I could decide, if pressed, on which one would be my all time favorite.
Though each unique in their own way, I personally see the current run of Audis as one continually improving and dominating car. Beginning with the R8 in 2000 up through the 2012 R18, the German marque has taken eleven of the last thirteen Le Mans Twenty-Four Hour victories. The R8 itself took five wins and could therefore be viewed as the greatest car in Le Mans history. But on the eve of the 2013 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, I want to talk strictly about all around sports car racing favorites, mine and your’s.
Like many young children, I had an over abundance of Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Corgi and various other toy cars. My earliest memory of them was having a particularly curvy orange prototype and of asking my father what kind of Ferrari it was. “Oh, that’s not a Ferrari, that’s a Porsche 917”, came the reply. And from that moment on, I was in love with all things Porsche and racing.
Though it only took two wins at Le Sarthe, the 917 gave Porsche it’s first over all victory at le Mans, also taking wins at Daytona in those same two seasons. The open top 917/30 variant which dominated the Can-Am series in the early ’70s unbelievably produced more than 1,500 horsepower in qualifying trim!
With further Porsche Le Mans wins taken by the 935 and 936 in the 1970s, the new Group C class of the early 1980s would be dominated by the Porsche 956 and 962. With seven overall Le Mans victories between them from 1982 and 1994, including six straight through 1987, the 956/962 just might be my own personal favorite sports prototype of all time. Heck, anything from the Group C period holds a special place in my still teenage, stuck in the ’80s heart.
But other personal faves from both before and after are the 1960s Ferrari 330 P4, which I consider quite possibly the most beautiful car ever made, as well as the ’90s Ferrari 333 SP. And for all out dominance and beauty, who can forget the Ford GT 40s with four straight wins at Le Mans between 1966 and 1969?
So now that you know where my sports car loving heart lies, what are the favorites of my fellow racing fans?