15/02/2013 From Inside Out: Restoring the 1966 Daytona 24 Hrs Porsche 906 Prototype
After a hard life testing on winter roads, racing at Daytona and acting as a training car for the Targa Florio, Porsche 906-017 has found its way back to Germany for total restoration.
The car was one of two used to develop Porsche’s successor to the 904. Like its predecessor, the ‘906 Carrera 6’ was intended to be a customer racing car in the under-2,000cc GT class. That did not stop Porsche entering a variety of factory cars in 1966 and '67, though, with special bodywork and fuel-injected six- or eight-cylinder engines.
In the winter of 1965/66, chassis 906-017 was evaluated in the Technical University of Stuttgart wind tunnel. The result of the aerodynamic tests showed some improvements on the 1/5th scale model previously used, and these found their way into production.
Road-testing the car in wintry conditions during December 1965 and January 1966 (the cars were also rallied, don’t forget) revealed more faults that needed attention prior to an early season entry at Daytona in February 1966. Driven by factory regulars Hans Herrmann and Herbert Linge, the small car finished sixth overall, averaging 99.29mph and winning its class.
After the race, 906-017 was totally stripped down and the spidery tubular chassis tested for cracks. Suitably reinforced, with yet more lessons learned, it was sent to Sicily as a training car for the forthcoming Targa Florio. This proved to be very tough, as the factory drivers pounded round and round the tough Sicilian road course… which was not closed to the public.
These practice laps - at one point, driving one of Porsche’s T cars, Dieter Glemser hit and killed an errant sheep – were particularly tough. They were intended to give drivers time on the circuit as well as testing the model’s components to the limit, without wearing out the race cars. As a result, poor 906-017 suffered two accidents and major breakages to the frame, particularly of the cross-tube under the gearbox. This part was then modified for all future race cars. Between it and its sister car, 907-017 covered thousands of miles of testing and racing, and the two were responsible for over a hundred modifications to the production 906s.
Post-Targa, and now out of regular factory employment, the car was broken up and sold for parts. In the early 1970s it arrived in Southern California. It then spent some time in Mexico, before being returned to California. In 2009, the frame and a selection of original parts ended up with German Porsche specialist Freisinger Motorsport.
After careful restoration, the car is back in the configuration it sported at Daytona in 1966. It is now for sale.
The 1965 Porsche 906 Prototype is for sale from Freisinger Motorsport. You can read more about it in the Classic Driver Marketplace