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Automotive Artist
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2
Exclamation Porsche 917/30 Myth or Legend?

This will be a long post but I believe this would be the right forum for this discussion (even if the forum is dead). I'm not looking for gossip or hearsay that can't be trailed or investigated to a source. But discussion of any possibilities to find facts are welcome.

The question is: Did a type 912 Engine ever produce a measured 1500hp?

The type 912 engine was a 5.4L aircooled, 180 degree v12, twin turbo engine. Used in the Porsche 917/30 chassis. Chassis 002 and 003 both raced in the 1973 Can-Am series with this engine. Piloted by Mark Donahue of team Penske racing, with factory support.

In Randy Leffingwell's book, "Porsche Turbo: The Inside Story of Stuttgart's Turbocharged Road and Race Cars" Valentin Schäffer (porches turbo engineer at the time of development) is quoted as saying (On testing the throttle stuck) "1400 was the most, exactly that number. exact." "1200hp was the regular at 1.3 Bar"

That is the highest number I can get a source for, and even that is just testimonial. The rumor is 1500-1580bhp. But "feel" is not a good enough measurement. I'm directed to say this is a false measurement never preformed, only theorized. Can anyone find a higher number with a name attached? Confirming 1500 or more?

I have been putting together a report for fun but sinking 100's of hours into it, and doing some serious investigation. That was all fine until Canepa a couple days ago posted a picture with 2 917/30s with the description "3000hp. That is all. #canepa"
I find this interesting because Canepa is a very reputable company yet could not provided a source for those numbers (I'm an ******* and asked for a source) the response was "Break in test at 1.1 bar had the 917/30 engine with 1000hp at the wheels, so about 1200 at the crank. They would race at 1.25 bar, and they could go higher for qualifying. So the math works out. We plan on a hard pull in the future with more boost. That being said we'll never push the engine as hard as it will go since they are worth about $1,000,000"

I have no doubt the engine with a fresh rebuild with today's technology and turbos could produce 1500hp. But I want a source to state one of these engines HAS produced 1500hp, even just once. I may be silly for getting into this but I don't think multimillion dollar companies should make claims without sources. The 917/30 was an amazing car, and very powerful. I don't feel it needs a 100hp embellishment to be a great car but if 1500hp is not provable...well then it didn't make 1500. I don't think this legend needs to be turned into a myth that gets bigger every year. Thoughts?
Old 09-17-2017, 11:57 AM
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The record run at Talladega in the red CAM 917/30 supposedly made 1600 HP. I don't know if that was a dyno result, but I have read that number somewhere. (Might have been Excellence Was Expected, might have been elsewhere.)

At this point, so far after the fact, I think the odds of seeing actual dyno results are pretty slim...

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Old 10-01-2017, 08:44 AM
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Perhaps in Mark Donohoe's book... I'll check and get back to you...
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:51 PM
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I recall reading the 1580 number in Excellence Was Expected. Now that you're asking, I don't recall if that was a dyno number or an estimate. I have the book somewhere - I'll have to look.

The 917/30, being one of the first turbocharged racecars, didn't have intercoolers. Perhaps it's impressive that they managed to make the engine live in a road racing environment at 1.2 bar or whatever it ran at in regular racing trim to get 1100 hp. I think it was in Excellence Was Expected where it was mentioned that for the Talladega run they initially were blowing engines due to the sustained high RPM use (and possibly higher boost as well), so I believe they did add intercoolers for the record-breaking run.

Old 01-24-2018, 06:12 AM
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