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Tuning cars, driving cars, testing parts, and complaining about everything. It's my job, and a the majority of my non-work life too...
You can't read anything, from Wikipedia to 'respected' car publications without them mentioning the “fact” that the insane Porsche 917/30 CanAm cars had '1580bhp' or '1580bhp in qualifying trim' or similar. But personally, I don't think that's true at all.
The 5.4ltr twin turbo engine was INSANELY fast, zero doubt there, and the claims of 1000bhp+ in qualifying trim I certainly do believe. The fact the car weighed under 900kg was also was a big part of why the cars were really mind blowingly quick- Especially bearing in mind this was 1973, long before most of us were even born!
BUT do I think the CanAm versions ever made this so called 1580bhp so many quote these days? No.
I think this is yet another case of half-truths from a long lost past getting mixed up, and now being talked about like reality. And after speaking to others who are some of the few people that I do trust what they say when it comes to things like this, they agree.
But ONE 917/30 DID run at this power, I’m 100% sure of that, but never in CanAm!
The CanAm series was cancelled after a season of the 917/30 obliterating the opposition, leaving some incredible cars with no series to race in, so Porsche decided to use it to go for the world speed record for a closed circuit, at Talladega Speedway.
6 months of development later, and the car had one big change that made it unlike all the other 917s- It now had INTERCOOLERS.
Look at all other pics of the Porsche 917/30s, old pics or even the cars today- They didn't run intercoolers at all! Pure hot air.
BUT for this speed record attempt they wanted more power and performance than ever before, and a big part of that came from two large alloy intercoolers at the rear of the car...
THIS is where this '1580bhp' story comes from IMO. But the CanAm race cars? With no intercooling at all? No, they wasn't as powerful as this, even in qualifying. Hundreds of bhp less in fact, same as comparing any engine at significant boost levels with and without intercooling.
For what it's worth, the car did brake the record, averaging over 221mph through the whole lap, going well over 230mph at times, and that's STILL a record at Talladega to this very day.
So yeah, next time you see or read about 917/30 CanAm cars having a supposed 1580bhp, well, you know a bit more about the reality of it now.
Here's a couple more pics of the intercoolers on this one-off spec car for you too...
A fairly short one this time, but a good bit of mythbusting and something very cool most of you have probably never seen.
Hope you enjoyed this one, and as ever, stay tuned with more coming on here, the Facebook Page, and the YouTube channel.
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Hi, I'm Stav...
You may or may not have heard of me, but I've spent the last 15 years working full-time in the tuning scene, and the last decade or so writing for various car magazines.