I am often asked what is the greatest racing car or what is my favorite racing car and, of course, it is impossible to answer that question because some cars are good for certain circuits and conditions and others are better in other places. I have some personal favorites because they were just nice cars to drive and I did well in them.
If you think of picking the right car for a particular type of race, it is easier to answer the question. When I drove in the Targa Florio in 1961, it was clear to me that the Porsche RS60 was tailor-made for the Targa. Porsche had won the Targa Florio three times by then and their cars were both rugged and light, they had good brakes, and they were reliable for that kind of race. In 1961, I shared the RS60 with Graham Hill. We tried the 1,700-cc car in practice but the 2-liter had much more mid-range torque, and I think I went about three minutes faster in the 2-liter. I thought it was a super car because it was so well balanced. You could put it anywhere on the road you wanted it. I led the race for four laps. Graham dropped behind the Ferrari but it was such a good car to drive that I made up the deficit. However, the differential failed on the last lap very near the finish, so we were out.
Then Graham and I were asked to drive the 1,700 RS61 at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers. It was slightly strange in that it had a 1,605-cc engine, not a full 1.7, and that was to put it in the 2-liter class.
It rained in practice and at the start of the race, so we were on the Dunlop wet tires which worked very well at the Ring in those conditions. I managed to pass Jim Clark’s much bigger Aston Martin DBR1 which was leading. Then it dried out and the Ferraris and the bigger cars started to get past Graham who was in 5th place when I took over from him again and, by then, it was snowing, which wasn’t unusual at the Nürburgring. The Porsche was ideal for those kinds of conditions on that type of circuit. It was really a perfect car in that situation.
I got the Porsche back into 3rd and then into 2nd because we could go so much quicker in the wet and slippery conditions, much quicker than anyone else. We were gaining on the leading Ferrari of Hill and von Trips, and I was timed at nearly 130 mph going down the Foxhole and flat-out up the other side, and all this in the wet. We were about to take the lead when the car gave out. We then jumped into the Linge/Greger Carrera Coupe with disk brakes and still won the 2-liter class…plus it was drier in the coupe! The Porsches were great for races like that.