We have something very special for you in the next issue of Classic & Sports Car.
Known as ‘R7’, this is the 1973 Le Mans works team RSR, acknowledged as being one of Stuttgart’s most important competition cars.
Despite test track conditions verging on perilous, we had the opportunity to capture the essence of this legendary RSR, its semi-cut slicks struggling to clear standing water as, time after time, we relished the evocative sound of its near un-silenced flat-six at redline revs.
But it was worth it.
R7 was one of eight special ‘R-numbered’ RSRs built by Porsche, only four of which wore its famous Martini Racing livery.
Of those four, three survive, and R7 is the best-preserved and most-original example. No pressure, then…
Topping it all, R7 was the RSR that achieved arguably the greatest race finish of any Porsche 911 when it came fourth at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1973, only beaten by three, thinly disguised Formula One cars.
An incredible feat, giving the 911 road car a new lease of life a decade after its original launch.
Adding to the mystique of the works RSRs was a menu of upgrades that so clearly defined them from privateer cars that Porsche was forced to enter them in the prototype class, to avoid direct competition in the privateer category.
Perhaps the most visually significant of those was the ‘Mary Stuart’ rear spoiler (named after the ruff worn by Mary Queen of Scots), which gave these particular cars their nickname.
While we probably didn’t ask too much of ‘Mary’ during our test, as you’ll read in the October 2023 issue of Classic & Sports Car, we were able to make full-bore assaults in the 330bhp R7 up Goodwood’s famous hillclimb.
Appropriately enough, too, since it’s going under the hammer at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival Sale on 9 September, where it is expected to achieve £3.75-5.75m – find out more.
Images: Max Edleston
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