Catch the "Can-Am Killer" at WGI Opening Day

1974 Porsche 917/30-004 Never Competed in Can-Am Due To Rule Changes

1973 Porsch 917-30

The 1974 Porsche 917/30-004 that will be at Opening Day is almost identical to the 917/30 seen above.

Of the eight former Mark Donohue cars coming to Opening Day at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, April 26th, the1974 Porsche 917/30-004 is the only one he never drove in competition, but this does not make it any less famous or significant.  The 1974 version of the famed “Can-Am Killer” will be on display for fans to take pictures and will allow them to get up close and personal to probably the most famous Can-Am car never to race in the series.  Opening Day is also the last day to take advantage of the advance sale ticket prices for any 2009 racing event held at the racetrack this summer.

Coming off of a dominating 1973 Can-Am season during which Donohue won every race but one in his Porsche 917/30, Porsche began working on a new version for the 1974 season.  Not long after the car was completed, SCCA officials decided to make a rule change and imposed fuel limitations on all competitors in reaction to the Arab Oil Embargo on Western countries.  Porsche, Penske, and Donohue had put a great deal of effort into building the 917/30 and felt the new regulations would diminish the competiveness of the car.  The group had already begun considering other endeavors in motorsports due to their overwhelming success in Can-Am and this fact combined with the belief that they would no longer be as competitive, lead to the decision to leave the series.  So despite the fact that the new car was ready for competition, it would never see the track in Can-Am competition.

The timing of Penske’s decision to leave the series coupled with the demise of the series itself only a year later, lead to two incorrect assumptions.  The first being that Can-Am banned the Porsche 917/30 due to its dominance of the series during the 1973 season.  This theory was disproved by Brian Redman racing a 1973 Porsche 917/30 in one race during the 1974 season.  The demise of the series shortly after Donohue’s dominance caused many to name the 917/30 the “Can-Am Killer” but the cancelation of the series was largely due to other factors.  McLaren chose to leave the series at the same time as Penske and in 1974, other sponsors and supplies continued the exodus which resulted in the series being cancelled following that season.   

Opening Day at WGI will feature a full day of on-track activity and the official release of the new Mark Donohue biography titled Mark Donohue: Technical Excellence at Speed from David Bull Publishing authored by Michael Argetsinger with a foreword by legendary car owner Roger Penske.  Two versions of the new book will be available to purchase at the track, including the publisher’s edition for $99.95, and the regular edition for $39.95.  In addition to the “Can-Am Killer,” the seven other cars currently scheduled to appear are the rare 1973 Penske PC-1/003 Formula 1 car, 1973 Eagle-Offy Indy Car, 1967 Trans-Am Camaro, 1965 Shelby GT-350R, 1970 Elva Courier, and two Lola T70 Can-Am cars.

For only $20, fans can drive three laps around the same turns as Mark Donohue and many legends of Motorsports on Opening Day.  Gates will open at 9:00am with laps starting at 10:00am and ending at 3:00pm including a half hour break for the Mark Donohue Tribute Laps at noon.   Proceeds from Opening Day will benefit the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC). Additional information on the weekend’s activities can be found either at the Center’s website www.racingarchives.org or the Watkins Glen International website, www.TheGlen.com.

Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now!  For tickets and information, please contact the WGI ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can be all purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen, Open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, Closed Sunday; 607-535-2338.

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2009 Opening Day

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