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Penske & Porsche, Can Am


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#1 cabianca

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 17:03

These two are in the news again these days, as Penske-entered Porsches are winning overall in US Le Mans series racing, despite being a lesser class. My concern here, however, is their Can-Am collaboration in the 1970s.

My memory from the gossip of the day was that Penske called Porsche, probably in the second half of 1970 to inquire about the possibility of the 917 being used in the Can Am. For some reason, whoever took the call didn't realize who Roger was and the call was not returned. Now we jump to Le Mans in 1971, where someone organized a luncheon. Two people who were there were Roger Penske (he had his Ferrari 512 entered) and Louise Piech. I'm assuming there were others, and I also assume this was the genesis of the Penske/Porsche Can Am programs of 1972-73-74.

Can anyone flesh out this rather spare account of what happened. Many thanks.

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#2 Gerr

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 18:09

The Le Mans luncheon is mentioned in "the Unfair Advantage". Michael and Ferdinand Piech were also present.

Dunno about the phone call gossip. Perhaps the Penske inquiry wasn't for a 917 CanAm possibility, maybe Indy ? Bruce Crower bought a 917 engine for an Indy project in early '71.

#3 Tmeranda

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 16:07

In his book, Porsche 917 Peter Morgan also speaks about the non productive phone call. Further he states that the deal was signed at Le Mans in 1971.