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50 years young: When Porsche met Concorde

50 years young: When Porsche met Concorde


Fifty years since they moved under their own power for the first time, two machines developed in the same era of ambitious, ground-breaking engineering met to celebrate a special anniversary: the Concorde 002 and the Porsche 917-001.

On 9 April 1969 - precisely 50 years ago - the first British made Concorde began its maiden flight from Filton Airfield, Bristol, England.

In the same month, the Porsche 917 - chassis 001 - was the first of a total of 25 vehicles required for type approval. Created by a small team of bold engineers, the 917 took an enormous leap in its highly innovative aerodynamics, its compact yet enormously powerful 12-cylinder powertrain and adoption of materials previously exclusively the realm of aircraft to set a new benchmark.

Meeting of two legends

In marking the special anniversary, the pair responsible for piloting their respective machines met for the first time – and took some time to guide each other around their charges. 

Richard Attwood won Le Mans at the wheel of a Porsche 917 in 1970 and knows the car better than almost any other driver. His contemporary, piloting the fastest passenger aircraft ever created, was Captain Tim Orchard who is joint World Record holder for the shortest time for the flight between New York and London – a distance covered in just two hours and 52 minutes.

Captain Tim Orchard commented: ‘It was fascinating to be shown the 917, which was very much a car of Concorde’s era and I think developed with the same devotion and focus. The brutality of the car - its simplicity - are striking, and from I hear it was quite a formidable machine to drive.’

Richard Attwood commented: ‘The 917 and Concorde seem so pure and simple from the outside, but both mask an array of engineering ingenuity that is still extremely impressive by today’s standards.’

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