Porsche, Penske Racing, and Mark Donohue combined efforts in 1972 to take on the all-conquering McLarens in the Can-Am Challenge. No one should have doubted the results this trio would achieve.
McLaren was coming off its fifth straight Can-Am title when this tough trio got together and developed the Porsche 917/10, a spinoff of Porsche’s mighty 917 that raced and won at Le Mans. This version was roofless and featured a turbocharged flat-12 engine capable of making 900 horsepower. Donohue, who won the Indianapolis 500 that same year, helped develop the car, working closely with Porsche engineers.
Now Minichamps delivers a beautiful white and red-striped sealed-body die-cast metal model of the car in 1/18 scale and available from Replicarz, who provided the review sample.
Penske’s Porsche 917/10 debuted at the Can-Am season opener in Mosport, Canada. This model is of that car, driven by Mark Donohue to second place after sitting on the pole, just ahead of the two orange McLarens that had dominated the five seasons prior with Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson winning championships.
Donohue served notice at Mosport that the Porsche would be a strong challenger. But while leading the race he was forced by a mechanical issue to make about a 3 ½-minute pit stop. He rejoined in 7th place and closed rapidly on the leaders to finish second to Hulme. However, the 1,600-lb. Porsche and its 5.0-liter flat-12 went on to win 6 of the 9 races that season, mostly with George Follmer at the wheel. Follmer was substituting for Donohue, who had broken his leg in a practice accident. Follmer won the 1972 Can-Am title for Penske and Porsche.
Penske, Porsche and Donohue returned the next season with a further refined Porsche 917/30 that again won the championship with Donohue as driver. He won all but two races in 1973 and the 1,580-horse 917/30 was dubbed the Turbopanzer by the competition.
This Minichamps model is sharp and a fine replica of the car Donohue drove at the Mosport race.
You can see the big white turbo fan behind the cockpit and roll bar. The unit was fed by two huge air scoops that comprise that roll bar right behind the driver’s head. The twin exhausts exit the tail where you can see the differential as it blends into the massive motor, although you can’t see a motor here. Suspension struts also are visible along with the bracing for the giant wing that touts the L&M logo in black and red. There are tiny red brake lights in back too.
I like the cockpit with its twin black textured seats, with only the driver’s seat having a racing harness with molded plastic buckles. But there are twin yellow decals with the Repa brand name on the shoulder belts. Decals detail the dash with its wide variety of lights, switches and gauges represented, and there’s a black 3-spoke steering wheel with silver hub. A white cue-ball shifter rests to the right of the driver’s seat.
The bevy of cooling slots above each front wheel and the big nose opening with black radiator covering gives the nose a racy look. There also are two large black mirrors on white arms rising above each of the front fenders.
All markings look authentic to that race day, which you can see by looking up the Mosport race on YouTube. There are plenty of photos online too.
This is a sharp Can-Am car and a good fit for collectors that may already have all the McLarens from that period. It’s also nice to see such a nice piece in metal.
Stock No.: 153726506