Vincent Gaye – 1970 Porsche 917K
Chassis 021 was one of the original 25 cars built for FIA homologation in April 1969. The car sat for 12 months unused until it was sold to Antti Aarnio Wihuri from Finland who was planning to run the 917K in the World Championship of Makes.
Antti Aarnio Wihuri used the proven Porsche 908 for the first part of 1970 at Daytona, Sebring and Brands Hatch. For the faster tracks of Monza and Spa the 917-021 was put to use. An accident at Monza meant the car finished 11th after driver Laine hit the barriers that required 2 further pit-stops. At a damp Spa the 917K was competitive and the fight was on for a fourth place finish until a pit stop cost the team time. They did finish in fifth place beating the Porsche works entries.
Laine was then tragically killed at the Nurburgring race, where the Porsche 908 he was driving took off and somersaulted, landing upside down and trapping Laine who perished in the flames.
As a result of this tragic accident, the team withdrew the remaining cars from the race. With one driver and the Porsche 917-021, the team took over the David Piper entry for Le Mans, meaning that Piper joined van Lennep in the driver lineup. Unfortunately the car was damaged beyond repair after suffering a puncture due to a bent chassis.
At this point, the car was rebuilt by stripping it down and putting the components onto chassis 012 that had been damaged at Daytona in 1969. Chassis 012 was renumbered 021 without the team being informed. The car was repainted in a white and yellow livery with red sills ready for the Interserie championship.
Van Lennep finished second behind Neuhaus driving the Gesipa entered 917 at the first race. At Hockenheim, the next round of the Interserie, 917-021 was raced in a new purple and green livery based on the paint scheme of the Le Mans 917LH Hippy car.
The car took its first victory in the Interserie round at Keimola, wearing the same psychedelic livery only now in yellow with red swirls. At Zandvoort, van Lennep won adding another success to 021 score sheet. The last round of the Interserie was held at Hockenheim and van Lennep finished 3rd in the race and 2nd overall in the 1970 Interserie series, taking the Porsche Cup prize.
The Porsche 917-021 was subsequently returned to Porsche and was stripped of its engine, wheels and suspension that were required to build the 917 spyder that went on to win the 1971 Interserie.
The chassis was then converted to road use by the German Joachim Grossmann, who had to find an engine, gearbox and suspension to return the car to an operational state. In 1977 chassis 021 became a white road registered car with licence plate CW-K-917.
In 1983, American Don Marsh bought the car and returned it back to its original specification. In 1999, 021 was repainted in the purple and green psychedelic livery. In 2004, a new Championship for Historic Sports Cars called the Classic Endurance Racing Series was created, reuniting many Group 5 cars with classic tracks from the period including Monza, Spa, Silverstone and the Nürburgring. Juan Barazi took ownership of 021 taking the car to 3 wins and a second place, winning the Championship. The car was last seen at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed in 2006 before being retired.
In 2008, Vincent Gaye bought 021 and performed a complete restoration of the car that took over 3 years to complete.