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  Article Image gallery (341) Chassis (10) 917-031 Specifications User Comments (5)  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced from:1970 - 1971
Numbers built:12
Price new:DM 140,000
Internal name:917
Predecessor:Porsche 917
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 18, 2017
Download: All images
Chassis: 917-031
One of three 917s prepared by John Wyer Automotive (JWA) for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, this chassis started life with the serial 917-026. It featured a distinct version of the familiar Gulf livery with only the roof painted orange. Running with #22, it was entered for David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood. The pairing ran as high as third until Hailwood aquaplaned off the road in tricky, very wet conditions. The resulting crash brought an end to the race after just 50 laps. Despite its race being cut short, it does feature in the race footage used for Steve McQueen's Le Mans movie.

With little time to repair the damaged chassis in the middle of the busy racing season, JWA instead rebuilt the car with spare chassis 917-031. For carnet reasons, this chassis was re-numbered 917-026. The original, damaged 917-026 was returned to Porsche where it was repaired and used to build up a Group 7 Spyder for the European Interserie Championship. Once complete. it was given the now available 917-031 identity and sold to Ernst Kraus.

Replacing the 908 Spyder he had raced previously, Kraus raced his 917 Spyder extensively. His best result that year was third in the Imola round, followed by fourth at Silverstone. The season came to a premature end when Kraus crashed his 917 at Hockenheim. Stepping up to a turbo charged 917 Spyder, Kraus then sold this 917 to Georg Loos and his Gelo Racing Team. It re-appeared in the hands of Jurgen Barth, who placed it fifth against strong competition at the Norisring and at Hockenheim.

Following its lengthy racing career, it was sold in 1974 to the prominent Chandon Collection. Here it remained until American Porsche collector Mike Amalfitano acquired chassis 917-031 in 1988. Still in Spyder configuration, Amalfitano would own the car until his passing in the late 2000s. In August of 2010, it was consigned by his estate to the Bonhams Quail Lodge sale together with the rest of his collection. It changed hands for close to $4 million and was acquired by a British historic racing.

Recognising the car's original identity, he decided to have chassis 917-031 (026) restored to its 1970 Le Mans configuration, complete with the unique livery. The work took several years to complete and the restored 917 K was shown at a variety of events but never raced. In 2021, it was consigned to headline RM Sotheby's annual Monterey auction.


Chassis details
Manufactured in 1970
First owner JW Automotive
Notes Originally built as 917-026
Appearances
Upcoming auction 2021 RM Sotheby's Monterey (Estimate: $16,000,000 - 18,500,000)

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  Article Image gallery (341) Chassis (10) 917-031 Specifications User Comments (5)