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Porsche 917 K-69 (1969)

The short tail 917 K ("Kurz" in German for short) was raced first. The only engine available in 1969 was the 4.5-litre flat 12.

Porsche 917 K "Kurz" (Short Tail)
4.5 L Flat 12
512 bhp @ 8000 rpm
331 ft lbs @ 6800 rpm
0 - 60 mph
Top Speed
199 mph

Porsche 917 K (1969)

1969 Porsche 917 “Kurzheck” (Short Tail)

Premiere: 1969 May 11 at Spa 1000 km / Engine: 4494 cc flat-12 / Gearbox: 5-speed, ratios according to race track / Size: 4290 x 1880 x 920 mm, wheelbase 2300 mm / Wheels: 9+12×15″ / Weight with fuel: 896 kg / 1975 lb / Price: 140.000 DM

Although the longtail 917 was introduced first, it was meant only for the Le Mans. This meant, the short tail 917 K (“Kurz” in German for short) was raced first. The only engine available in 1969 was the 4.5-litre flat 12.

Approval from CSI to race the 917 was obtained on May 1 and the first race entered was the Spa 1000 km on May 11. The 917 K with chassis 003 (917-003) of Jo Siffert/Brian Redman was the fastest in qualification, but the drivers say it is incredibly unstable and they drive a 908 instead. Their 908 was 7 seconds slower per lap in qualification compared to their 917, but they still win the race with the 908. The other 917, chassis 024 is not among the fastest in qualification and unfortunately the car retires already on the first lap of the race because of the broken valve. The 917 is too fresh, not sorted yet.

The factory team enters one 917 K also for the Nürburgring 1000 km race, where it scores 8th. The factory team would not enter 917 K for racing anymore in the season, only private teams will. The first 917 victory comes at the Austrian long distance race, Zeltweg 1000 km, on August 10, 1969. Two private 917s score 1st and 3rd despite the aerodynamic problems they have to overcome.

In November, David Piper entered his personal 917 K for the 9 hour race at Kyalami, South Africa. The rear end of the car had the new downforce-generating style. Together with Richard Attwood they win the race.

Porsche 917 K-69
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
This engine can be called as a 180-degree V, but not as a boxer. © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
For the race tracks where the top speed was over 150 mph/240 kph, the long tail was meant to be used, in reality the long tail was used only at Le Mans. The tail was bolted to the chassis and the clips on the sides were used to fix the engine cover. © Porsche
The flaps were operated by the independent rear suspension and moved independently during the body roll in cornering © Porsche
First version without front flaps, without additional air vents in the nose, and without rear wheel arch extensions – as seen at Spa. © Porsche
The front flaps were installed for the second race, the Nürburgring 1000 km and the rear wheel arch extensions appeared on the 917 K for its third race, the Zeltweg 1000 km which saw private 917s entered. © Porsche
August 10, 1969 Zeltweg 1000 km winner 917 K-69
August 10, 1969 Zeltweg 1000 km winner 917 K-69 (917-009) #29 Jo Siffert/Kurt Ahrens Jr.
1969 Zeltweg 1000 km poster. © Porsche
November 8, 1969 Kyalami 9 hour race winner 917 K-69 with modified rear end (chassis 917-010). Piper is known to have kept the 917 for decades.