Return of an Endurance Racing Rivalry
What do you think of when you hear someone say Porsche 917 or Ferrari 512? Chances are that the names will remind you of what many think of as the golden age of sports car racing. You start thinking of the 70′s and the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 battling it out at the top level of Le Mans. You probably think of the great drivers such as Vic Elford and Mario Andretii just a couple of the great drivers that have made the 24 Hours of Le Mans what it is today.
At one time the rivalry between Porsche and Ferrari was all that mattered in the top level of endurance racing. At the time every other manufacture wanted to be either Porsche or Ferrari. In a way the battle between Porsche and Ferrari has always been what motorsport needs. You need this type of rivalry to keep a sport interesting. Think the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins or the L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics. These rivalries are part of what makes each sport worth watching. For endurance racing the greatest rivalry was Ferrari and Porsche.
In recent years Porsche and Ferrari have been battling it out in the lower GT Class at Le Mans, but not at the top level of Le Mans as they once did. You have probably heard that Porsche will be returning to the top level of competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but you may have missed that Ferrari will also be competing at the top level of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starting in 2014. With both marquees getting into the top level of Le Mans competition one of the greatest rivalries in motorsport history will once again be competing in the classic endurance race.
While we don’t know much about the actual cars that Porsche or Ferrari will be running in 2014, we may have a few clues. For Ferrari renderings of what is being currently called the Ferrari LMP1 have been going around the web. While we don’t know much about the car, it is rumored to use an alternative fuel. For Porsche we don’t really know what they will be driving. It is possible that it will be a racing version of the Porsche 918 Spyder, but this is pure speculation at this point.
No matter what cars Porsche and Ferrari enter in the top level of Le Mans competition, they will probably be fighting for first place. Having this classic rivalry back in endurance racing coupled with the merger of ALMS and Grand-AM, should make 2014 a great year for racing fans. So, get ready for a long night in 2014 as you’ll want to follow the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans to watch the return of this epic rivalry.
David Hurth is a guest contributor to 9 Magazine and Porsche enthusiast that writes more of his thoughts about Porsches at The Sports Car Guys.
Picture Sources: Porsche 917, Benutzer Bran; Ferrari 512, Lothar Spurzem