This Onboard Footage of a Porsche 908/3 Racing up a Mountain Pass Will Make Your Day

1970 Porsche 908/3 7 photos
Photo: Robbert Alblas/YouTube
1970 Porsche 908/31970 Porsche 908/31970 Porsche 908/31970 Porsche 908/31970 Porsche 908/31970 Porsche 908/3
What's the first car you think of when seeing a Porsche badge? If it's the 911, that's perfectly normal. Well, I usually think about race cars because Porsche built quite a few unforgettable track beasts.
I'm obviously talking about rigs like the 917, 936, and 956. Yes, I know these cars were built and raced decades ago, but they turned Porsche into the manufacturer to beat in various series. For instance, these three vehicles (plus the 962 evolution of the 956) won the 24 Hour of Le Mans 11 times in just 18 years.

But I'm not here to talk about the flat-12 917 or the turbo flat-6 956. This blurb is about the 908/3, one of the lightest and most radical race-spec Porsche ever built.

The 908 first surfaced in 1968. Designed by Helmuth Bott and powered by a flat-eight engine created by Hans Mezger, the 908 replaced a trio of Porsches: the 906, 910, and 907. The 908/1 won the 1000km of Nurburgring in 1968 but was unconvincing against the Ford GT40.

The upgraded 908/2 failed to win at Daytona and Sebring in 1969 but scored overwhelming successes at Brands Hatch, Monza, Targa Florio, Spa, and Nurburgring. These wins helped Porsche secure the International Championship for Makes as the 917 still struggled with reliability issues.

1970 saw the arrival of the third iteration of the 908. Designed to succeed where the 917K wasn't nimble enough, the 908/3 was based upon the extremely lightweight and short 909. Developed for hillclimb events, the 909 tipped the scales at only 384 kg (847 pounds). The 908/3 wasn't quite as light at 500 kg (1,102 pounds), but it was impressively feathery for a long-distance racer.

A whopping 340 kg (750 pounds) lighter than the Le Mans-winning 917K and powered by an upgraded flat-eight mill good for 370 horsepower, the 908/3 scored wins at Nurburgring and Targa Florio. And much like its predecessor, it helped Porsche win the International Champonship for Makes. The 908 remained competitive in private hands through the early 1980s.
Even though it's not the most famous Porsche race car out there, the 908 remains a great example of how to achieve success focusing on a lightweight construction. And because Porsche buit only 31 examples (of all body configurations), the 908 is a rare sight today. They do pop up at classic motorsport events from time to time, and they're a sight to behold when they do.

A Gulf-liveried 908/3 was recently spotted at a hillclimb event in Switzerland. The German race car was documented while tackling the Bernina mountain pass, basically doing what it knows best more than 50 years after it left the Porsche shop. The onboard footage and the amazing sound of the flat-eight engine make this two-minute video an entertaining experience. Crank up the volume and hit the play button below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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