David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/19 3:07 p.m.

Historic and on-track photos courtesy Porsche. Lead photo courtesy Canepa. Body-off photos by Tim Suddard.

The no-holds-barred Can-Am series featured some of the world’s most technologically-advanced creations driven by the day’s top drivers. And then in 1973, Mark Donohue—backed…

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wspohn Dork
4/12/19 4:39 p.m.

The 917 was one awe inspiring car.  Porsche was struggling economically in those days and that car saved them. I saw them up close in 1982 when they came to the Monterey Historics and I was also racing so got to talk to the drivers and mechanics, and believe me, the cars were impressive indeed.

The recent Grand Tour episode pitting a 917 against a modern 911 GT2 RS merits rewatching!



Gary SuperDork
4/12/19 7:27 p.m.

The 917 was a great race car to begin with, but it's a testament to Mark Donohue, race car engineer extroadinairre, to adapt it to a "private" team for the US CanAm series and to dominate so well.

You may have the best and brightest design engineers who come up with a fantastic new ground-breaking product. But it needs to be developed. The development engineers are heros too, and deserve just as much of the credit as the conceptual design engineers.

Aktifspeed New Reader
4/12/19 7:58 p.m.

In reply to Gary :

Gary,  “The Mudge Pond Express” is an autobiography of Sam Posey’s racing career  


4/13/19 12:21 a.m.

In reply to Gary :

I saw Mark Donohue race the 917/30 at Laguna Seca in 1973. The car was stunning but the best part about the car was the sound . You could hear it way down the track above any other car. I have a picture of Donohue in the car just prior to leaving the pit area. It was a lucky time to see him.  I also had the chance to see the preparation before the race. The crew winch a spare engine out of the back of a semi truck. I seem to remember it was painted a green sort of a military color. The whole engine was absolutely business 

4/13/19 6:25 a.m.

In reply to Gary :

I think his only point is “The Mudge Pond Express” is Sam Posey’s autobiography. Mark Donohue wrote “The Unfair Advantage”. Both good reads and big dollars these days on the used book market. Cheers. 

Frank Calandra
Frank Calandra New Reader
1/2/21 2:39 p.m.

I saw the debut of this car at Mosport Can-Am in Canada. First impression was it was far quieter than the rest of the field. Second was it was a lot faster. Donahue had to pit with throttle linkage issues and lost some laps. When he went back out, he proceeded to reel them all in, and was in 2nd when the checkers waved. One more lap and he would have won. That performance pretty much spelled the end for Can Am. The other teams didn't have the resources Penske and Porsche had and moved on to other classes after 1974. 

chandler UltimaDork
1/4/21 6:24 a.m.


5/26/22 12:46 p.m.

I also saw the 917/30 one year at the Monterey Historics when Porsche was the honored mark. I believe George Follmer was driving it on some demonstration laps. What I noticed immediately, besides how beautiful it was, was how quiet it was due to the twin turbos. The tires screeching around the corners was almost louder than the car. Also had a chance to talk to Sam Posey who was there interviewing different drivers. Very approachable and nice guy. 

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