Race & Rally Parts
1971 Porsche 911 2.3L ST Le Mans - SOLD
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Porsche 911 2.3L ST Le Mans
Auction estimate: €500,000 - €1,000,000.
CHASSIS N° 9111301270- PRODUCTION N° 1013973 - ENGINE N° 911/21-6318011
COMPETITION CAR WITHOUT REGISTRATION TITLE
Extremely rare and ready to race
Extremely rare 911 version 2.3 ST Competition Le Mans with a "prototype" engine
Finished 12th at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971 with the Vestey/Bonb crew
Took 2nd place in the 1974 French Mountain Championship in Group 4 category
Fully restored to original specifications
Complete history traced by Jürgen Barth
The Porsche 911 was approved for the Grand Touring category just a few months after its production began, starting from January 1st, 1965. Immediately, the car, which was equipped with the famous air-cooled flat-six engine in its initial 2.0L displacement version, achieved a series of victories, mainly in endurance races and rallies.
This proven sporting potential led the brand to develop, at the end of 1967, a small series of competition cars, known as the 911 R. However, this model remained in the background, as it was mostly production cars or slightly modified versions that continued to participate in races and rallies. The 911 T and L (and later E), with respective power outputs of 110 and 130 horsepower, entered in the Touring category, as well as the 160-horsepower S version approved in Grand Touring, indeed achieved impressive success in competitions between 1968 and 1970. Furthermore, the increase in the displacement of the 911 during these years enabled a considerable power boost, beneficial to the performance and sporting career of the brand’s flagship.
From 1970 onwards, the Porsche 911 2.2L S was predominantly entered by the factory in races and rallies, but unlike what had been done previously, it was extensively modified compared to the production model. This new racing version, the 911 2.2L S, confidentially known as «ST,» has very specific characteristics that clearly demonstrate Porsche’s intention at the time to make it a car exclusively dedicated to competition.
There are two variants: the 911 2.2L ST designed for rallying and the 911 2.3L ST reserved for circuit racing. In both cases, the body weight of the 911 ST was cut down to a minimum, this was achieved by using the thinnest possible paint and selecting thinner sheets of metal for the roof panel and the entire rear section of the cockpit. The interior was also simplified to the maximum by removing seat adjustments, safety belt anchor points, heating ducts, ashtrays, glove box lids, passenger sun visor, central tunnel grille, as well as the hood openings, which, without locks, could be opened directly from the outside. The bumpers were devoid of protective strips, and the decorative moldings on the doors were also removed. Fog light covers, badges, and the fuel filler flap were also done away with.
Customers wishing to further reduce the weight of the car could opt for composite elements for the front hoods and bumpers, as well widened front fenders, it was also possible to opt for aluminum doors and plexiglass windows (except for the windshield).
windows (except for the windshield). An accessory program was also available to customize the 911 ST, as a «customer racing» vehicle, according to its intended use. For example, it was possible to add ventilation or
an aluminum roll cage and safety harnesses to the 911 ST, as well as steel fender flares.
The equipment of the 911 ST is also specific, featuring a strut brace between the two front fenders to stiffen the car and a special fuel tank. However, the equipment differed between the Rally and Race versions, particularly in terms of the mechanical components.
The 911 ST Rally inherited the standard 911 2.2L S engine as-is, which is the 2 195 cc engine producing 180 horsepower at 6 500 rpm. On the other hand, the 911 ST Race/Competition version was equipped with a slightly enlarged variant, with a displacement of 2 247 cc and revised compression ratio, capable of developing 240 horsepower at 7 800 rpm. This latter engine, referred to as the «2.3L» to differentiate it from its counterpart, featured a magnesium crankcase, aluminum cylinder heads and cylinders, as well as an eight-bearing forged steel crankshaft and steel connecting rods, lubricated by a dry sump system. The mechanical fuel injection of this dual-ignition engine was provided by a Bosch pump with 6 pistons.
Regarding transmission, it was equipped with a 5-speed gearbox, a limited-slip differential, and a reinforced dry single-disc clutch. The suspension, although similar to that of the production car, was also modified on the 911 ST. The Rally version had 6 or 7-inch wide wheels, while the Race version had 7 or 9-inch wide wheels. On the 911 2.3L ST, the front torsion bar was the same, but the settings are different. In the rear, the torsion bars and stabilizer were reinforced. Additionally, the car was equipped with Koni shock absorbers, aluminum brake calipers, and rear wheel hubs with longer studs.
In order to remain competitive within the limits of sports regulations, the 911 ST evolved into the 911 2.5L ST in 1972, with no other major modifications except for the increase in displacement following the base model (911 2.4L S).
Designed in this way, the 911 ST was born ready to compete and achieved remarkable success in numerous international events between 1970 and 1973, including winning its GT class at the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans and finishing 13th overall. In 1973, the iconic Carrera RS and the highly exclusive RSR replaced the 911 ST, which had paved the way for them and justified Porsche’s strategy in the GT category by its success. The 911 ST thus became an essential milestone in Porsche’s development process to win everything on the circuit, whether in Prototype, GT, or Rally classes. As a vehicle that was more easily accessible to enthusiasts compared to a race prototype, the ST also embodied the sporty image of the brand, contributing to the sales of road-going 911s and enhancing Porsche’s reputation.
What we are offering today is another piece of the manufacturer’s glorious history, particularly rare as only around fifty units of the 911 ST were produced across all versions. The 911 ST in the exceptional collection of competition Porsches presented at auction in this sale is the racing model of the 2.3L ST.
It bears the chassis number 9111301270 and was manufactured and prepared by the Porsche Competition Department in 1971. According to a report by Jürgen Barth, an eminent Porsche specialist. In the brand’s production register, it is listed under the production number 1013973, associated with engine number 6318011 and gearbox number 7319411. It is identified as a racing model and as having been equipped with a roll cage and finished in «Irish Green» color. It was delivered directly to the end customer on May 1, 1971.
The first owner of the car is said to be the well-known British gentleman driver Paul Vestey. After driving some of the most beautiful competition cars such as the Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari 275 GTB/C, 250 LM, 275 LM, Ford GT40, and even the Porsche 910 during the 1960s and early 1970s, competing against circuit legends like Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell, he retired from racing and assembled a fabulous collection that includes among other cars a Ferrari 250 GTO.
Just a month after its delivery, the 911 2.3L ST #1270 was entered in the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans by the Paul Watson Race Organisation team, with Paul Vestey and Richard Bond as its drivers, racing under the number 44.
Despite facing more powerful cars, the vehicle achieved the feat of finishing the race in 12th place overall and 6th in its GTS (Grand Tourisme Special) class for 2001 cc to 2500 cc cars. With an average speed of 160.407 km/h over 24 hours, it also ranked 10th in the performance index and 12th in energy efficiency, marking a more than honorable performance.
Following its participation in this legendary event, in 1972, the car changed hands and was acquired by Dominique Thiry, the winner of the 1971 Tour Auto. In 1973, another driver from Alsace, Hugues Kirschoffer, who later raced an RSR for the Meznarie team, became the car’s new owner. In 1974, Kirschoffer sold it to Valentin Bertapelle (also from Alsace), who, at the end of the racing season with the Alsace team, finished 2nd in the 1974 French Mountain Championship in the Group 4 category with the car before selling it.
In 1975, the 911 2.3L ST #1270 was purchased by Bertrand Pierrat, a Vosges-born insurance expert and racing driver. Pierrat, who was sponsored at one time by Christine Laure, entered the car in the 1977 Tour de France, under number 152, but was forced to retire. He participated in multiple races with the car until 1981. The car then passed through the hands of various French owners (5) located in the west, south, and north of France, before ending up in the Pas-de-Calais in the early 2 000s where it stayed until 2011 before being purchased by a collector from Monaco. The Monaco-based collector, a passionate enthusiast of competition Porsches, undertook a complete restoration of the car over several years. Once the restoration was completed, the car participated in the 2017 Tour Auto, under number 278, after obtaining a Historic Technical Passport (PTH), the application for which is included in the car’s file.
The current owner acquired the fully restored 911 2.3L ST #1270 from this recognized enthusiast in 2018. The condition of the car before the restoration and the extent of the work carried out are documented in a photo album included in the file, showcasing the nature of the extensive restoration operations. The body was completely stripped, sandblasted, primed, and repainted. The interior was refurbished while retaining certain original elements. The mechanics were completely overhauled, and so on.
After this complete restoration, the car is now returned to its factory configuration, matching the one it had during the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The body, including the fenders, front hood, and bumpers, are made of fiberglass, while the rear fenders are made of steel and the rear hood is made of aluminum, as are the doors. It has been restored to its original green color and adorned with period-correct decorations from its Le Mans race. The engine, bearing the number 6318011, is a 911/21 type engine. It is a rare engine with a unique displacement of 2 380 cc, sometimes referred to as a «prototype» in certain publications. This type of engine was used in the 1971 racing season for the 911 2.3L ST Competition before the transition to the 911 2.5L ST, which featured the 2 341 cc engine from the 911 2.4L S bored out to 2 492 cc. This technical uniqueness further enhances the appeal of this already highly exclusive 911 2.3L ST #1270. The gearbox number is no longer legible. Nevertheless, it corresponds to a 915/02 type gearbox, consistent with the original equipment. The car still retains its long-range headlights, rubber hood fasteners, stunning 15-inch aluminum Minilite wheels and the «Hockey puck» steering wheel center, as per its original specifications. This is evidence that the restoration was carried out with meticulous research and attention to detail.
Today, this 911 2.3L ST, with less than 92,150 km on the odometer, is presented in an extremely desirable condition, a testament to the quality of the work done during the complete refurbishment of the car about a decade ago. This, as well as it’s extensive racing history goes a long way to explaining why it was selected to participate in the retrospective exhibition titled «Porsche at Le Mans» at the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the Porsche Museum Stuttgart, celebrating the German brand’s 70th anniversary in 2018. As part of this event, 911 2.3L ST #1270 was exhibited for several months at the musée des 24 Heures between 2018 and 2019. This recognition highlights the significance of this model in Porsche’s competition history, particularly as a client car,and emphasizes the interest in this confidential special edition, which appears exceptionally rare and sought after. This is a beautiful, intriguing, and high-performing car that appeals to the most discerning enthusiasts, whether competitors or not, serving as a talisman embodying all the virtues of the queen of the tracks, the 911.