The 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 38th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on 13 and 14 June 1970. It was the eighth round of the 1970 World Sportscar Championship season. As the race saw the factory teams entering four Ferrari 512S and five Porsche 917K, plus another nine of these 12-cylinder powered sports car entered by privateers, and provided the background for the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans, the 1970 Le Mans race is also called Battle of the Titans.
Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood in their red and white No. 23 Porsche Salzburg 917 K won while Gérard Larrousse and Willi Kauhsen finished second with the Hippie Car of Martini Racing. Martini also entered a pair of Porsche 908/02 LH, and the one driven by Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko finished 3rd, ahead of two Ferrari 512, a Porsche 914 and a Porsche 911 as the seventh and last car to be classified, as all others had either dropped out or not covered enough distance compared to the winner. Porsche had won all four classes that had finishers.
Hans Herrmann, a veteran at age 42 who had survived the dangerous Mille Miglia and Carrera Panamericana races of the 1950s, had driven for Mercedes and Porsche in F1 and won the Targa Florio plus many other major races for Porsche, had promised his wife to quit racing if he should finally win the big one at Le Mans, a success which he had missed narrowly in 1969. So he retired with immediate effect, much to the surprise of his Porsche Salzburg team and its boss Louise Piëch. His career with Porsche extended back to 1953, behind the wheel of Porsche’s first mid-engine car, the 550, and saw the evolution of Porsche’s racing effort from the shoestring operation it was in the 1950s to the world-beater it became in 1970.
After many class wins, Porsche had won Le Mans outright for the first time, the last and most sought after triumph for the former underdog which managed to win all others sports car races and titles during the 1960s. The next weekend, the two 917s were paraded across Stuttgart, from Zuffenhausen to the town hall square.
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