When the original car came up for sale, litigation ensued, resulting in the replica being acknowledged for what it was, and the car we’re driving today has been authenticated by none other than Martini-Porsche’s 1973 team manager, Norbert Singer.
What Norbert would say about our on-track escapades today, I’m not sure.
He’d likely question why exactly we’re battling a sodden Goodwood hillclimb in this precious racer, rather than using the circuit just down the road.
But R7 is just too damned loud: it would melt the noise meters.
Porsche’s works racing cars used telescopic Bilstein dampers
Fortunately, there are no such restrictions on the Festival of Speed’s course, though the muddy slime left on its surface by service vehicles will keep us honest – especially since the rear tyres look more like cut slicks to me, and are of unknown provenance.
Nevertheless, approach the RSR from its rear three-quarter, and this has to be one of the most handsome (and compact) Le Mans titans ever conceived, evocative Martini stripes and all.
Neat features abound: twin fuel fillers – one for petrol, the other to release air pressure from the fuel cell during refills – are cut into the nose; metal clips retain the front and rear ’screens to avoid them popping out at speed; little chrome lights on each roundel illuminate R7’s race numbers; and, of course, the unfeasibly large but beautifully integrated ‘Mary Stuart’ wing, which provided such an essential downforce tool for the high-velocity circuits on which R7 raced.
The Porsche’s race-ready flat-six engine sounds great at any speed
There’s a vestige of production-911 dash ahead when you drop into the race bucket seat, pulling the door closed with a thin leather strap (that doubles as a pull-release).
Glance behind, and there’s former R7 pilot Gijs van Lennep’s signature on the central tunnel, from when he was reunited with the car at this year’s Le Mans Classic.
Otherwise, the cabin is as spartan as you like, right down to the worryingly slender diagonals of the rollcage bolted to the bare-metal floor.
‘This has to be one of the most handsome (and compact) Le Mans titans ever conceived, evocative Martini-Porsche stripes and all’