The BP 911R at Monza 07 (11899001R)
1967 Porsche world records 911R
The BP Porsche 911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)

In November 1967 a Porsche 911R achieved a number of world records at the Autodromo di Monza. It all started while Rico Steinemann and Dieter Spoerry had a glass of beer. They brought up the idea of breaking some long-distance records after the race season in their Porsche Carrera 6. The thoughts of sitting home in the winter seemed to scare them. Even though realizing it would be a tough challenge, both drivers couldn’t leave the idea for what it was. For financial reasons, only European race-tracks were taken into consideration.

That only left 2 tracks. Monza and Monthléry. The latter was immediately eliminated because both Steinemann and Spoerry thought the high speeds at the banking would not be fast enough to break records. That only left Monza, even though they knew by experience that the condition of that track was not exactly ideal.

Financial support for the project was found with BP that took the complete organizational aspect for its account. Firestone delivered the tires and Porsche would support them technically.  Many meetings later, and after being assured that Jo ‘Seppi’ Siffert and Charles Vögele would join the record-hungry team, the complete team set off to Monza and started some test runs.

On October 28th, 1967 everything was finally ready. One more night and the challenge would take off. However, the next morning, the Monza bankings were covered in deep fog with zero visibility as a consequence. At 10:00 am, however, it started to brighten and Karl Junker, head of the BP racing department, decided to start the record run.

The first records

Exactly at noon, Jo Siffert took off for the first lap of a long journey. Driver changes went according to plan, swell as refueling, tire changes, and windshield cleaning. Towards the evening, the first class records started to fall. Despite the successes the Porsche Carrera 6 had in various races, the roughness of the famous Monza bankings did no good to the car. After about 12hours in the attempt, no less than 3 shock absorber piston rods broke in a period of just a single hour. The attempt had to be abandoned. A long-distance call to Stuttgart brought the solution. After all, they had a complete crew in Monza and at the factory, they believed the new Porsche 911R would be a great car to beat some records.

911R’s to replace the Carrera 6

They immediately sent 2 Porsche 911R’s to Monza. One to actually start the record run, another as a parts car in case the first car would break down. Jo Siffert, who tested the Porsche 911R before, was confident the car was both strong enough to last the tough challenge, and fast enough to beat the records.  In the meantime, the team started disassembling the Porsche Carrera 6 as it had set some records so FIA officials would have to inspect the car.

Jo Siffert, Charles Vogele, Rico Steinemann
Jo Siffert, Charles Vogele, Rico Steinemann

After the car arrived, some test laps were run. These laps proved the car was fast enough to beat the records but without much safety margin. The car would have to be driven flat out constantly, and there was no time left for major repairs. In the meantime rain was pouring down, forming puddles on the back straight forcing the pilots to drive with great caution and concentration. This couldn’t stop the pilots from pushing the pedal deep down and keeping the speed high. This results in an average speed of approx 130 mph after 12hours of racing. This news encourages the crew and gives them a boost to continue exactly the way they were doing.

Pitstop after pitstop, the crew got faster and faster with the routine jobs of cleaning the windshield, fueling up, checking the oil and adding a liter when necessary, and testing the suspension for possible wear. The weather was getting better, the pilots were driving faster, and after 48hours the average speed was approx 132 mph.

1967 Porsche world records 911R
The BP Porsche911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)

Shortly before dark the 3rd night, rain set in, and drivers began complaining about worsening adhesion. On top of that, the Firestone tires were running out. Some started worrying about 3 world records in the 72hour realm.

Dieter Spoerry / Timekeepers @1967 Monza World record attempt
Dieter Spoerry / Timekeepers

(3 days, 15.000 km and 15.000 miles ).  However the mechanics did a great job, they replaced to front shocks to better the handling of the car, they welded the driver’s seat, and mounted ‘rain’ tires. All this did the job, despite the pouring rain, the record attempt went on at full speed.  By the 4th evening, quite some class records were broken, and it was about time to have the first world records set. But then, frog set in and the deep mist made the further continuation of the record run questionable. The complete team went on, and the first record of 15.000 km was set. In the meantime, visibility at the banking was diminished to about 50 meters.



The BP 911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)
The BP Porsche911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)

4th and last day

The 4th and last day was the longest one. Pilots felt the lack of sleep and the as the driving in rain and fog had taken lots of them. Nervosity was all present among the crew. The Porsche 911R however did a remarkable good job and turned laps as regular as a clock. After ignition problems, the mechanics had to change the plugs. Off for the last hour. In the meantime, dark clouds filled the air, and the rain was pouring down again. Back into the pits for another tire change and back to the track again. Shortly after 7:30 pm, the world record for 20.000 km fell, and just another 30 minutes later the FIA official dropped the checkered flag. In spite of some troubles and bad weather, the goal was achieved.

The 72 hours world record back to Porsche

With extreme concentration, the pilots managed to keep driving flat out, and the 72 hours world record returned to Porsche. (Back in 1951, Porsche set this world record at Monthléry in a Porsche 356 Gmünd SL with Walter Glöckler, Peter-Max Müller, Huschke von Hanstein, H. Ramelow and Richard von Frankenberg as pilots. ) Shortly before midnight, the 10.000-mile mark was reached at an average speed of 130,67 mph.



World Records
15.000 km128,12 mphToyota 2000GT
130,50 mphPorsche 911R
10.000 mi128,04 mphToyota 2000GT
130,67 mphPorsche 911R
20.000 km112,46 mphFord Comet
130,02 mphPorsche 911R
72 hours128,03 mphToyota 2000GT
130,46 mphPorsche 911R
96 hours112,85 mphFord Comet
130,01 mphPorsche 911R
International Records
(Class E Records)
1000 mi130,27 mphToyota 2000GT
140,20 mphPorsche Carrera 6
2000 km130,50 mphToyota 2000GT
134,84 mphPorsche Carrera 6
2000 mi128,93 mphToyota 2000GT
131,44 mphPorsche 911R
5000 km128,19 mphToyota 2000GT
131,89 mphPorsche 911R
5000 mi127,00 mphToyota 2000GT
130,62 mphPorsche 911R
10.000 km126,74 mphToyota 2000GT
130,62 mphPorsche 911R
10.000 mi128,12 mphToyota 2000GT
130,67 mphPorsche 911R
15.000 km128,04 mphToyota 2000GT
130,50 mphPorsche 911R
6 hours130,75 mphToyota 2000GT
139,97 mphPorsche Carrera 6
12 hours129,75 mphToyota 2000GT
133,32 mphPorsche 911R
24 hours128,15 mphToyota 2000GT
131,92 mphPorsche 911R
48 hours126,07 mphToyota 2000GT
130,57 mphPorsche 911R
72 hours128,03 mphToyota 2000GT
130,46 mphPorsche 911R
96 hours93,99 mphAustin 1800
130,01 mphPorsche 911R



Pictures courtesy Porsche AG and BP