The most iconic Porsche numbers
From model names to lap times and everything else in between
Close-up of gold Porsche 911 numbers on car dashboard
From the launch of is first-ever sportscar in 1948, numbers have been important to Porsche. From landmark years to the names of models, record-breaking lap times and more, here are some of the most notable ones
5:19 • Nürburgring lap record for PorscheIn 2018, Porsche set an astonishing lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the Porsche 919 Hybrid EVO, an extensively modified version of its championship-winning Le Mans prototype. The 919 EVO completed the 20.8km-long lap in just 5min 19.55sec, breaking the previous record by almost a full minute – which was held, it’s worth pointing out, by a Porsche 911 GT2 RS. This time around it was the enhanced aerodynamics, more powerful hybrid powertrain and lighter overall weight that helped the 919 EVO shave off so much time and achieve this stunning achievement.7 • The Porsche prototype that gave rise to a legendIt was in 1960 that Ferdinand Porsche and his team built the prototype for the successor to the 356. It was a design that would ultimately become the 911 – internally referred to as the Type 754. Elements of the design of the Porsche 754 T7 are recognisable today in the car we now know as the 911, but it was originally designed to accommodate four people. Eventually the prototype was reconfigured to become a 2+2 seater, incorporating a sportier, lower roofline. In the process it created one of the most famous silhouettes in automotive history. If you pay a visit to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, you’ll find it on display.The name of the prototype lives on today in the shape of Type 7. A daily online magazine in the form of a vivid Instagram channel, it offers inspiring perspectives from across the world of cars, design, photography, architecture and sustainability.
Black and white images of Porsche 356 Coupé and Roadster
The first Porsche car – the 356 – was built on the grounds of a former sawmill in rural Austria
356 • The Porsche that started it allThe very first Porsche production car, the 356 helped establish the Porsche name as a manufacturer of high-performance sportscars. Designed by Ferry Porsche and his team, the 356 was initially powered by a 1.1-litre, four-cylinder engine that produced 40PS, with an aerodynamic body helped to improve handling and performance. As well as its success as a production car, it was also a huge hit in motorsport, including securing class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s difficult to overstate the significance of the Porsche 356 – it became the blueprint for all the two-door sportscars produced by Porsche ever since.550 • The first Porsche Spyder Designed primarily for racing, the mid-engined, lightweight Porsche 550 Spyder was unveiled in 1953. Its tubular steel frame and aluminium bodywork helped reduce its weight and, in turn, improved its handling. Powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine that produced around 110PS, one of the most memorable successes for the 550 Spyder came with a class win at the notorious Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico in 1953. It also took a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year too. Only a limited number of examples of the 550 Spyder were manufactured, but it was a car that helped establish Porsche as a serious contender on the motorsport scene.
Silver Porsche 550 A Spyder outside Castle Solitude in Stuttgart
The 550 Spyder was completely street legal, so drivers not only used it for competition but could drive it to and from races too
718 • A force for Porsche motorsportIntroduced in 1957 as a successor to the Porsche 550 Spyder, the 718 RSK was a lightweight, mid-engine sportscar designed for racing. It quickly gained a reputation for its agility, speed and handling, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958 and achieving great motorsport success in the years that followed. In 1962, the 718 GTR was introduced. Featuring a larger engine and improved aerodynamics, it continued the winning streak of the 718, proving dominant on the circuit.The 718 nameplate was retired in 1965, but in 2016 it was revived when it gave its name to the Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman. This new generation of Boxster and Cayman sportscars featured turbocharged four-cylinder engines instead of the flat-six engines that had powered the cars previously. The 718 name continues to be used to this day for the two mid-engined sportscars made by Porsche.
Black and white image of woman standing behind first Porsche 911
Three numbers that stir the passion of any Porsche enthusiast: 911
911 • The Porsche sportscar that conquered the worldOf all the numbers that we associate with Porsche, 911 is undoubtedly the most famous – although the car on which its name first appeared initially started life as the 901. The successor to the 356, Porsche had to change the name to 911 just before the car went on sale after Peugeot claimed ownership of the name of all three-digit car model numbers with a zero in the middle.The word ‘iconic’ is used far too liberally, but there surely can be no complaints when attributing that description to the Porsche 911. The 911 is now into its eighth generation (as of June 2023). During its first 60 years, some of the greatest cars of all time have worn the famous 911 name on its rear. They include the 911 Carrera RS 2.7, the first production vehicle to have a rear spoiler incorporated into its design, the game changing 911 (type 930) Turbo and the many limited-edition Porsche sportscars, like the much coveted 911 (type 997) Sport Classic. Other notables include the 911 GT2, 911 GT3 R and 911 Dakar. So many variants, but each possessing the essential 911 DNA.And these are just the 911 sportscars. The 911 has proved to be a sensational racecar too, winning countless races and titles over the years. Although the Porsche 911 may have undergone changes over the decades, its signature styling cues remain, with its rear-engined layout and classic sloping silhouette still part of the defining design features of the 911.904 • The first Porsche GTSThese special three numbers signify the internal Porsche number for the first-ever Porsche sportscar to bear the GTS (it stands for Grand Turismo Sport) letters. Produced between 1964 and 1965, the Porsche 904 – officially the Carrera GTS – was powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder 180PS engine. Notable for its fibreglass body, it would be yet another mighty Porsche competitor in the world of motorsport, winning numerous races and championships such as the 1964 Targa Florio.917 • 24 Hours of Le Mans legendOne of the true legends of Porsche racing, the 917 competed in the top tier of sportscar racing at the turn of the 1970s, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The original 917 and the 917 KH (KH stood for ‘Kurzheck’ or short-tail) was fitted with a flat-12 engine developed by the legendary engine designer, Hans Mezger. It collected numerous victories and championships during its tenure, most famously overall wins at Le Mans in 1970 and 1971, while the 917 also found fame with its appearance in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans, helping cement its status as a true racing legend.
White and red Salzburger liveried Porsche 917 KH on racetrack
By claiming the company’s first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, the 917 KH racecar secured its place in Porsche motorsport history
918 • A Porsche hybrid supercarUnveiled as a concept car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, production of the Porsche 918 Spyder took place between 2013 and 2015, with a grand total of 918 units eventually being made. Its hybrid powertrain combined a V8 engine with two electric motors to produce a total output of 887PS and enabling it to reach a top speed of 350km/h. Its cutting-edge technology, jaw-dropping performance and limited numbers make it one of the most sought-after of all modern Porsche sportscars.935 • The tale of a Porsche whaleDesigned for endurance racing, the Porsche 935 was introduced in 1976 as a successor to the 911-based Carrera RSR. Extensive modifications improved its racing aerodynamics and helped propel it to significant motorsport success, including an overall win at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as six wins each at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. One of its best-known versions was known as ‘Moby Dick’ due to its distinctive elongated body shape that resembled the profile of a whale, helping give it even more high-speed stability on the track.
Side view of ‘Moby Dick’ 1978 Porsche 935 on track
A whale of a story: the Porsche 935/78 earned the nickname ‘Moby Dick’ due to its distinctive side profile
In 2019, a new generation of Porsche 935 (type 991.2) was released as a limited run of 77 units, across seven different liveries, as a modern interpretation of a bygone motorsport era. One even paid homage to the legendary red and white paintwork of the Porsche Salzburg Team that secured a maiden overall victory for Porsche at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 917 KH.956 • A true Porsche racing starQuite simply one of the most dominant race cars of all time, the Porsche 956 first appeared on the racetrack in 1982 as a successor to the Porsche 936. Designed to compete in the FIA World Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the combination of aluminium monocoque chassis and powerful turbocharged flat-six engine in the Porsche 956 helped catapult it to success, including winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in four consecutive years between 1982 and 1985, as well as securing many more race wins and championships.959 • Classic Porsche collectibleThe Porsche 959 was a technological tour de force, featuring highly advanced technology for racecars of the time – it made its debut in 1986 – such as all-wheel drive, adjustable suspension and a twin-turbocharged, flat-six engine that produced over 400PS. Also notable for its lightweight construction and aerodynamic design, it was initially built to compete as a Group B rally car but the series was sadly cancelled before it got the chance to participate. However, as a production car, its cutting-edge technology and scintillating performance made it an instant classic. Today it’s one of the most cherished and collectible Porsche sportscars ever built.986 • A turning point in Porsche fortunesThe first-generation Porsche Boxster – known internally as the type 986 – would prove to be a game changing model for the company when it was launched in 1996. At the time, like many other businesses, Porsche had been battling with challenging global economic conditions, but the mid-engined design, lightweight construction and affordable price tag of the 986 proved a hit with a new generation of buyers. The two-seater 986, which shared numerous components with the current 911 (type 996) of the time, helped make a sizeable contribution to reviving the company’s fortunes.996 • The first water-cooled Porsche 911Launched in 1997 as the successor to the Porsche 911 (type 993), the 996 goes down in Porsche history as the first 911 to feature a water-cooled engine. Not only was this feature integral for improving performance and efficiency – governments worldwide were by now also bringing stricter laws on emissions – the new car was longer, wider and with a longer wheelbase than ever before. And it was lighter too, by some 50kg compared to its predecessor. Although its brawnier-looking proportions were initially met with some consternation – its so-called ‘fried egg’ headlights were designed to meet new European safety regulations – it all contributed to the unique character of the 996. And it would prove to be a great commercial success, with 175,262 models sold by the time it was replaced by the 911 (type 997) when it went on sale in 2004.
Side of Porsche 911 (type 996) parked sideways on racetrack
With the introduction of the water-cooled 911 (type 996) in 1997, Porsche brought an end to more than 30 years of fitting air-cooled engines in its iconic sportscar
1900 • The year that the first hybrid Porsche was unveiledYou might think that electromobility was a modern concept – but it isn’t for Porsche. The founder of the company, Ferdinand Porsche, was a pioneer of battery-powered mobility. He designed the first-ever hybrid car, which was unveiled in 1900 as a prototype 110 years before the first electrified Porsche of the modern era – the 2010 Cayenne S Hybrid. The Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus (its name meaning ‘forever alive’ in Latin) was an example of Ferdinand’s lifelong fascination with electricity, which included him installing an electric lighting system in his parents’ house in 1893 when he was just 18.1931 • When the Porsche story beganIt was back in 1931 that Ferdinand Porsche founded the engineering consulting firm – Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH, Konstruktionen und Beratung für Motoren und Fahrzeuge – which would eventually become Porsche AG. Alongside his close friend and business partner, Adolf Rosenberger, the business focused on developing innovative automotive designs and technology, including for Volkswagen. It was in 1931 that Ferdinand designed the P-Wagen, the world’s first racecar with a mid-engined layout. It wouldn’t be the last groundbreaking design of what would go on to be an illustrious career.1948 • The founding year of Porsche carsIn 2023, Porsche marked 75 years making cars. It was back in 1948 that the Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster was born, the first car to officially bear the Porsche name. Assembled on the site of a disused sawmill in Gmünd, Austria (the business relocated back to Stuttgart in 1949), the 356 was the sportscar that Ferry had dreamed about. This lightweight, compact roadster went into full production in 1950 with a hope that Porsche may sell 500 examples of them. It was an assessment that was to prove rather wide of the mark – by the time production ended in 1965, some 78,000 had been sold worldwide. With the 356, Porsche created the blueprint for future two-door sportscars produced by the company.1970 • Porsche wins Le Mans for the first timePorsche is inextricably linked with motorsport, but in 1970 it achieved a long-held ambition when it secured its first-ever overall 24 Hours of Le Mans victory. The winning racecar, a Porsche 917 KH co-piloted by Germany’s Hans Herrmann and Great Britain’s Richard Attwood, crossed the finish line in first place after 343 laps and 4,607km of dramatic, hard-fought, wheel-to-wheel action. There has been many more Porsche wins at Le Mans since then. In fact, a Porsche has taken the overall title 19 times as of the 2023 edition of the race, more than any other manufacturer.
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