The Tour de Force that is the Porsche 908/3

Sep 5, 2022


Something to that effect anyway… though in this case, the Porsche 908/3 is truly a small package with a big roaring flat-eight which pulled out victories of epic proportions during its service, but specifically in 1971.

1971 Porsche 908/3 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – taken by Ryan Bula

Back in the days when racing was cooler, albeit deadlier, the Porsche 908/3 was the car created for two very specific races: the Targa Florio and the Nurburgring 1000km. The Porsche 917 was already dominating everywhere else except in these two events, but due to its power and size, it was not a car suited for the Targa Florio and the Nurburgring. Instead, Porsche approached these two races with finesse and precision. Why bring a sledgehammer to a fight when a dagger will do?

Although the car was thought not to be structurally sound and durable enough for the intensity of these events, the critics were severely proven wrong and the race results showed the absolute dominance the car had. Coming in at only 540kg and sporting the same flat-eight from the earlier Porsche 908 variants, its extensive use of titanium allowed the pairing of big power with featherweight chassis, which is obviously a great combination as long as the car holds!

During the 1970 Targa Florio, the 908/3 took 3 of the top 5 finishes, showing the Ferrari 512 S and the Italian world how Porsche comes to play. It helped the drivers at the helm were at the top of their class!

The 1971 Nurburgring 1000km was a 3-Porsche show of dominance! Not content with just having won the Sebring 12-Hour Race earlier in the year, Vic Elford and Gerard Larousse took 1st place at the Nurb, further extending the legacy of Porsche during the 1971 season of racing.

1971 Porsche 908/3 overhead view.
Photo credit: The Revs Institute

The win rate for the Porsche 908/3 was a very impressive 75% and its ferocity stood the test of time. It was a serviceable piece of machinery up through the World Championship race at the 1980 Silverstone 6-Hour, where it placed 2nd.

Porsche’s racing DNA and heritage can be felt through each of the cars it delivers. The modern Porsches might have all of today’s safety standards and equipment, but under all of that is a beast that is ready to be unleashed at the drop of a hat. How will you honor the Porsche legacy?