How to Win the Targa Florio

Porsche, Targa Florioi, John Wyer, klemcoll, Peter Coltrin

The 1970 Targa Florio would be held over 11 laps of the 45-mile Piccolo Madonie circuit in Sicily taking place on May 3rd. But before practice and the race the Porsche works cars were gathered for a special photo shoot. The works team of the rear three cars was entered by the eponymous JW Automotive Engineering, led by the famous ex-Aston Martin team manager John Wyer. Car n. 20 was the official Porsche entry. Wyer is in the black clothing in the center of the photo. The four cars are all Porsche 908/3 spyders with their flat eight cylinder three liter motors which produced at least 350 hp. The 908/3 had been developed for tighter circuits where the greater power of the 917K with its greater size and weight might not be as competitive. Three of these 908/3s were even more special, having used the shorter chassis of Porsche’s hillclimb car which placed the driver further forward.

Along with Wyer are Jo Siffert, standing in front of car n. 36 wearing his driving suit, who will drive car n. 12 with Brian Redman. Standing next to car n. 40 in the lighter-colored jacket would appear to be Vic Elford who will drive the car n. 20 with Hans Herrmann. Car n. 40 will be for Leo Kinnunen and Pedro Rodriguez while n. 36 will be driven by Björn Waldegård and Richard Attwood. The varying orange arrows on the blue team cars was done to assist in recognition. In addition to the works Porsches there were also two private 908/2s and a 907. Ferrari was present but could only enter a 512S for Targa specialist Nino Vaccarrela along with Ignazio Giunti. Scuderia Filipinetti also entered their Ferrari 512S for Herbert Müller and Mike Parkes.

Wyer’s planning and management would prove once again to be superbly effective. The team of Siffert/Redman set the fastest practice time which might not be truly indicative of their available pace as the road was not fully closed to everyday traffic until the race. Kinnunen, a superb rally driver, was also very quick as the Targa was like a huge rally stage where cars were started at set intervals and time was the determining factor rather than road position.

Siffert led initially, but Kinnunen took over the lead when Siffert pitted to refuel. Rodriguez was a lot slower than his co-driver which hurt their competitiveness versus the Siffert/Redman car. The Vaccarella/Giunti Ferrari was a real handful on the Targa circuit, but stayed up with the Porsches and actually blocked Siffert/Redman for a while until the positions were swapped by Porsche’s superior pitwork. At the end Siffert/Redman won with Kinnunen/Rodriguez second and the works Ferrari 512S third, having been passed by the Porsche late in the race. Waldegård/Attwood were fifth, the last unlapped car, behind one of the 908/2s, while Elford had crashed out in slippery conditions on the first lap in his 908/3.

Photo by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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