In 1957, Porsche converted its 1500 RS-K race-sports car with four cylinder, four camshaft engine, which had been so successful, into a centre-seat Spyder. Formula 2 regulations then permitted fully enclosed vehicles.
Its Grand Prix premiere was successful: on 4 August 1957 at the Nürburgring in Germany, Edgar Barth was fastest in practice and won the race as well. In 1958, at the Grand Prix of Europe at Reims, France, Jean Behra produced another victory. A second place at the Nürburgring and victory at Avus, Germany, rounded out the season and prompted Porsche to build a thoroughbred, monoposto (literally 'single seat') race car.
With this car, the Type 787, Porsche sought victories in Formula 2 throughout 1960. British drivers Stirling Moss and Graham Hill, along with Swede Joakim Bonnier, celebrated a triple triumph at Aintree in England, while the Nürburgring, Zeltweg (Belgium) and Modena (Italy) also witnessed Porsche successes.
These drivers, joined by Barth and Hans Herrmann, Wolfgang Count Berghe von Trips, Bonnier as well as Dan Gurney, faced strong competition from Lotus, Cooper and Ferrari but nevertheless Porsche in 1960 won the desirable 'Coupe des Constructeurs', the unofficial Formula 2 World Championship for Makes. A year later, new rules for Formula 1 brought a fresh chance for Porsche: in 1961, these modified single seaters served as the company's entry into Grand Prix racing.
Company press release, last updated on June 27, 2005