Porsche 908 Research Hub
This is your center for all things Porsche 908. The ultimate reference center.
Porsche was a big underdog during the 1967 World Championship. Despite using engines no larger than 2.2 liters, Porsche lost the World Championship of Makes by one single point in 1967. Porsche decided to up engine size and even the odds. The 908’s mid-mounted engine was essentially a larger version of that used by the 2.2-liter 907. The FIA’s new three-liter prototype (Group 6) and five-liter sports car (Group 4) regulations adopted for 1968 presented the right opportunity.
The 2.2-liter 907 started the 1968 season spectacularly with wins at Daytona, Sebring and the Targa Florio. The 908 followed shortly, enjoyed few victories, endured frustrating mechanical failures – and lost the 1968 championship to Ford’s GT-40. Porsche began development of a new eight-cylinder boxer motor. The new engine made its first appearance during Le Mans testing in April 1968, but the earliest versions of the engine were subject to severe vibration, an issue resolved by changing the firing order and using the 66-mm crankshaft. Meanwhile, Porsche was working on the Type 917, built hard on the heels of the 908, was ready for homologation in 1969, but typically was too green to spearhead the Porsche world championship attack. That chore fell to the trouble-plagued 908, which by now had received such major changes as an aluminum space frame, a newlydesigned crankshaft, 15-inch wheels and a new five-speed transaxle. With Bosch Kugelfischer indirect fuel-injection and 10.4:1 compression, the engine produced upwards of 350 hp at 8,500 rpm and 232 foot-pounds of torque at 6,600. Scaling barely more than 1,300 lbs., the 908 enjoyed a dazzling horsepower-to-weight ratio.
The 908 series caused a lot of headaches at Zuffenhausen. The new race car started out as a coupe in 1968 (908/1), lost it roof for the following season (908/2) and did well competitively. The powerful V12-powered Porsche 917 became the main car for Porsche in 1970, but the company decided to continue running 908 wanting to have specific cars for each type of a track. The 908 was a perfect car for twisty and slow tracks such were Nürburgring or Targa Florio. A new version, marked as 908/03, was developed based upon the lightweight and short Porsche 909, which was used in hillclimb races. The 908/03 was more powerful and shorter than the 908/02 and weighed incredible 545 kg. The 1971 version of the 908/03 was the last 908 built by the factory, but private racing teams continued to develop these cars further and in 1975 some of the cars got 2.1-litre turbo engines straight from Porsche's racing department. Porsche would build 31 examples of the 908 from 1968 to 1973 in both long-tail and short-tail coupe and Spyder configurations.