Mid-Ohio, August 12, 1973. George Follmer, in the Rinzler-entered Porsche 917/10K, fights off a hard-charging Mark Donohue, in the Penske-run Porsche 917/30. Donohue would go on to win, with Follmer finishing 2nd—a result to be duplicated most of that season.
Photo: Hal Crocker
The Can-Am Porsche 917
The Can-Am Race Series, held from 1966 to 1974, helped propel professional sports car racing to new heights of popularity in the United States. The series was governed by an open and simple set of rules, which created an environment that brought the most powerful and fastest sports cars to race tracks around the United States and Canada. These liberal rules fostered technical innovations in engines, suspension, chassis design, aerodynamics and tires. To attract the best drivers, organizers offered substantial prize money so it was no surprise that many of the world’s best entered the series. Names like Surtees, Hall, Gurney, Follmer, Oliver, Siffert, Hulme, McLaren, Donohue, Stewart, and Revson drove entries from Lola, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Shadow, Ferrari, Chaparral, March and Porsche. Can-Am was highly popular with race fans who trekked to road courses to watch these “ground-pounding” racecars in what proved to be a very competitive series.
One of the most memorable racecars of this era was the Porsche 917/30, the “Penske Panzer” as it was known. Although a relative latecomer to the series, Porsche focused its efforts on developing a winning car, and what a car they produced. In partnership with the Penske Racing Team, the Porsche 917-10/30, the last and most successful cars in the 900 Series, totally dominated Can-Am in 1972 and 1973, demoralizing the competition and causing the rule makers to effectively ban the car for 1974.
Become a Member & Get Ad-Free Access To This Article (& About 6,000+ More)
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.