Sunday 13 May 1973, the weather is warm and dry around the 72 kilometre long race track of the 73rd Targa Florio on the Italian island of Sicily. Over 700,000 spectators are standing around the track with over 700 curves to watch the racing teams for the last time on the open track.
The Swiss racing driver Herbert Müller starts together with the Dutch racing driver Gijs van Lennep for the Martini Porsche works team and leads the team to a historic success. The racing car is the Martini Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, internally known in the Porsche racing department of Weissach R6. Due to the rule changes and the limitation of the cubic capacity to 3.0 litres for group 5, the RSR came just at the right time. Also because then Porsche boss Fuhrmann was enthusiastic about the idea to build a street-like racing car again and to sell it to customers for motor sports. At his first race George Follmer and Willy Kaushen on the Carrera RSR with the chassis number 911 360 0588 won the GT class at the 6 hours race of Vallelunga, 1973. Also the test for the 24 hours of Le Mans was positive, even if the car was prematurely retired in the race due to a defect in the fuel system. But the victory at the Targa Florio is definitive and of greatest historical value. There were numerous accidents and retirements during the training for the last Targa Florio. Porsche arrived with 3 Carrera RSR and the leading engineer Norbert Singer had everything else in mind than to go home with a victory. Even before the race, Paul Ricard was busy testing and fighting for every second that the cars could run faster. The two left and right rear wings in addition to the ducktail played an important role. Here they glued, experimented and formed with hammer and wood until the ideal shape was achieved. All this was well documented by Singer and his team, which turned out to be a real stroke of luck 45 years later.
“I want the car to be just as original as it was with the Targa”. With this wish the current owner came to England on Lee Maxted-Page, the restorer known as a Porsche specialist. For Lee and his team it was a great honour to restore such a historic racing car to its original condition. At first, a whole three months were spent researching the archives and looking for drawings, pictures and information. The Porsche Museum helped a lot, as did the pictures created under the direction of Norbert Singer. Many other Porsche legends such as Jürgen Barth were also consulted. The car was restored to its original condition “Targa Florio, 1973” in about 18 months. The result can not only be seen, it must be seen, heard and driven. The smallest detail was restored, so for example the holes for the attachment of the two additional tail fins in the body were found again during the restoration and these aluminum parts were fastened left with 3 rivets and right with 4 rivets. Also a result of the test series in Paul Ricard at that time. The beautiful Martini paint on the originally white delivered racing car was meticulously reconstructed and painted like in 1973 partly by hand. The adhesive strips for the windscreen and the rear wings were exactly reproduced by means of pictures. Even the lettering of the amateurs with small platinum adhesive strips was reproduced exactly (whereby the word “Lichtung” was probably copied from the ” Zundung, we will research that again…).
Sunday, 07. July 2019, the weather is cold and wet. The Martini Porsche 911 Carrera RSR is at the start of the Goodwood FOS 2019 hill climb. Porsche racing legend Jürgen Barth (also an original, and completely unrestored!) quickly moves his right foot down. The gas pedal is pushed through and the petrol flows joyfully from the safety tank into the combustion chambers of the roaring boxer engine in the rear of the RSR. The resulting power is transmitted directly to the rear axles. It seems as if the whole car is happy to drive again in its original condition. The tires spin on the first meters and only get grip again shortly before the first corner. Jürgen Barth intercepts the car before the first corner and drives up the track with the engine screaming with happiness. It hardly goes more original…