Lap Time: 86:00:00.00 hrs.
Fifty years ago the Porsche 914/6 swept the podium in the Eifel region.
In the black of night, sixty-four race cars assemble on the Nürburgring. Heading up the grid: three Porsche 914/6s. It’s pitch-dark on this August night in 1970, and before them lies the most dangerous racetrack in the world. At 1:00 a.m., the field of cars embarks on the Marathon de la Route—an eighty-six-hour battle against fatigue, driver error, and technical defects. A lap around the South and North Loops measures 28.29 kilometers. Fifty corners, bumps, barely secured crash barriers. The Marathon carries on the tradition of what was once the toughest rally in Europe: Liège-Rome-Liège. At its longest, in 1956, that race was over five thousand kilometers long and pushed the drivers to states of utter exhaustion. On the Nürburgring in 1970, each three-man team faces double the distance.
In this martyrdom in Germany’s Eifel region, Porsche is hell-bent on demonstrating the 914/6’s sportiness. Extreme marketing of the mid-engine sports car, offered jointly with Volkswagen. Each of the three factory cars boasts 160 hp, lightweight components, limited-slip differential, extra-large fuel tanks, beefed-up brakes, and enhanced suspensions as well as race-ready headlights. Behind the team lie countless kilometers of testing, lapping the Weissach development track day and night. All nine factory drivers are trained to conduct repairs on the open track. They complete their grueling, hours-long stints with the utmost precision, sticking fast to the engine speed limits and upping the pace as the race goes on. The fastest race lap posted by a factory 914/6 goes to the car with start number 3—driven by Åke Andersson, Guy Chasseuil, and Björn Waldegaard—with a lap time of 12:38 minutes.
The field is decimated: only twenty-four of the original sixty-four cars make it to the finish. Porsche finishes with flying colors, sweeping the podium after more than half a week of racing. Car number 1, driven by Claude Haldi, Gérard Larrousse, and Helmut Marko, takes the win with a total distance of 10,184 kilometers, or 360 laps, edging out their Porsche colleagues with the fastest lap. Claude Ballot-Léna, Nicolas Koob, and Günter Steckkönig round out the top three. With their heroic performance, all nine drivers demonstrate not only the true Porsche speed but the 914/6’s spectacular reliability. The maintenance log underscores this dependability, listing the following necessary repairs: a single tire change for each car, two blown fuses, one replaced taillight bulb, and two busted window cranks.