Spotted this great pic online the other day of Ferry Porsche with Brian Redman: both smiling, both relaxed and clearly having fun. The spirit of it sat well with me, so I saved it to my iPhone.
I spent hours writing last night, struggling with a piece, and eventually finishing at 4am. Over a cup of tea before bed, I put the pic on the Cult of Porsche/Ferdinand Magazine Instagram feed as a minor sigh of relief, and someone there asked me what it was all about. I wasn’t too sure, so I emailed Camp Redman.
“Hi John, nice photo! Christmas Party in Stuttgart, 1969!” said Brian. I could see they were swapping a con rod, so I asked if one had broken that season, costing Brian a win, and this one was in recompense. “Just a simple Christmas gift!” came the reply. “No doubt they had plenty of them!”
For those of us obsessed by classic Porsche, Redman is a racing legend for many reasons, but one big one: Targa Florio 1970. For the 1970 Targa, Porsche released the all-new 908/03: perfectly suited to Sicily’s twisty Targa and its 700 bends in 72 kilometres/44 miles. Paired with Jo Siffert in the Gulf-coloured Wyer car, the pair set pole and went on to win the eleven-lap race: extended after practice by one lap to meet six-hour/1,o00-kilometre championship requirements, because the 908s had been so quick.
The superlight 908 was the class of the field, but the win did not come easy. The grid was Siffert/Redman followed by Elford/Hermann in the “works” 908 (reality was all the cars were works: Wyer was works supported). Then came the Ferrari of Vaccarella/Giunti and the Alfa of Piers Courage/De Adamich. Fifth position was Leo Kinnunen and Pedro Rodriguez in another Gulf 908.
On the morning of the race, Pedro fell ill, so Kinnunen took the first stint, passing Siffert and nabbing the lead. Redman went out against Rodriguez, regaining the lead on lap seven. On the final go around, Kinunen set the fastest-ever lap of Sicily’s Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie at a stunning 33:36.0, finishing second to Siffert & Redman by just 72 seconds! Gijs and Hans Laine came fourth in a 908/02 while fifth went to none other than our Safari hero, Björn Waldegåard, driving the third Wyer car, alongside Richard Attwood.
That epic win on the last true road course in world endurance racing remains a high point in Porsche heritage. Targa Florio and Siffert/Redman Gulf 908 is the car I always come back to when people ask me to sum up what Cult of Porsche is all about: see inside my head for its influence.
Brian and James Redman obviously cherish the Targa Florio connection: their speed-loving track day organisation is called Targa ’66 – not because of 1966, but for Brian’s number 66 Chaparral that took him to three Formula 5000 championships in a row.
If you want to know what mad is, go and watch an F5000 race! Me, I’ll stick to memories of watching Brian race the 908 at Rennsport IV in Laguna Seca (my pic above), and watching him speed through the bottom of the Corkscrew in a blue and orange Porsche.