Lap Time: Dieter Glemser, Targa Florio 1966
At the fiftieth Targa Florio, Dieter Glemser and his Porsche 906 Carrera 6 leave the competition in the dust.
At the fiftieth Targa Florio, Huschke von Hanstein is after a very specific goal. Here in Sicily, Porsche is expected to win the category for sports cars with up to 2,000 cc of displacement. Four factory Porsches, type 906 Carrera 6, each with two drivers (plus a Porsche-supported 906 Carrera 6 belonging to the Swiss private racing team Scuderia Filipinetti) go on a chase through the wild Madonie mountains. Porsche race director Huschke von Hanstein is not about to leave anything to chance.
That’s why the unconventional racing baron kicks his drivers out of bed every day at 4 a.m. during the training week, including the up-and-coming talent Dieter Glemser from Mühlhausen, in the region of Swabia. “I must’ve driven around twenty laps. Then I knew where I was going,” Glemser still recalls, half a century later. “Even if it was anything but harmless on the public, unblocked country road.”
But what they couldn’t influence, despite all their preparations, was the weather. On race day, the external conditions on the seventy-two-kilometer course are catastrophic. Heavy rain, lots of mud on the road. The cars slide around the treacherous curves of the narrow mountain tracks and can hardly find a foothold.
Glemser shares his 906 Carrera 6 with Hans “im Glück” Herrmann. The Stuttgart-based veteran, just back on the Porsche team, has had this nickname—“Lucky Hans”—since his terrible accident on the Berlin Avus in 1959. Herrmann takes off and stays among the best. At the head: local hero in the Ferrari 330 P3 is Nino Vaccarella, who knows every centimeter of the track by heart, followed by Gerhard Mitter, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Willy Mairesse, and Günter Klass. In other words: Ferrari, Porsche, Ferrari, Porsche, Porsche. It’s a merciless war of attrition. In persistent rain. Red against white.
After three laps, young Glemser takes over the helm from Herrmann. It’s still raining buckets. The sun breaks through only sporadically, and then it burns the water off, making steam rise from the track. For variety, short but powerful hailstorms keep the brittle asphalt slippery. Glemser still gives it all he’s got: “Incredible,” says the now eighty-year-old. “I overtook them one by one, all the superstars of the time.” He cheekily pushes his way through the field. In the pits, Hanstein is already dreaming of victory, all the more so as Glemser drives an incredible lap in the rain: the stopwatch stops at 45:34.000 minutes.
“Incredible.” Dieter Glemser
But the Swabian youngster’s dream of triumph soon shatters in a muddy, narrow right turn. Glemser spins spectacularly; the car crashes against the stone wall; the left rear suspension breaks. It’s over. Only two of the five factory Porsches make it to the finish line—Willy Mairesse, the Belgian, and his Swiss copilot, Herbert Müller, take first place in the Filipinetti Porsche. Italian drivers Vincenzo Arena and Antonio Pucci in the factory car come in third. Huschke von Hanstein is pleased. Mission accomplished.