The cars that raced Le Mans in the late 1960s and early 1970s were true monsters. Machines like the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 S produced big power from their 5.0-liter, 12-cylinder engines, but virtually no downforce and not much thought put into crash safety. And yet, these cars, things like the V8-powered Lola T70 were raced hard for hours at a stretch.
IndyCar legend Dario Franchitti got to find out what this Holy Trinity feels like today in . His conclusion? They're a bit scary.
These three cars pitch and roll much more than modern race cars, so absolute precision with inputs is necessary. Franchitti says the 917 feels like a speedboat under hard acceleration, which seems terrifying in a car that was taken well beyond 200 mph at Le Mans.
"You could really change the balance of the car a lot more because of the pitch, because of the movement on the brakes, because of the movement on acceleration," Franchitti said of the trio. "You can really, sort of, play with the car a bit more and have more of an impact on what it's doing."
He notes that the mass of their big, heavy engines can be an issue, too. "When you maybe go into the corner and you carry too much brake in, you really feel that big lump trying to overtake the car."
It's hard to imagine racing cars like these flat-out, even for a three-time Indy 500 champ like Franchitti. "The courage required to keep this thing nailed through the Mulsanne kink or over some of those jumps at Nürburgring would've been something quite special."
Franchitti is the perfect man to test cars like these, so watch the full video for all of his insights. Us? We're going to go watch .