David Piper was a British racing driver who gained prominence in the 1960s and 70s. He competed in various endurance races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and became known for his involvement with the iconic Porsche 917.
Piper began his career in racing in the early 1950s, but it was not until the 1960s that he gained recognition as a capable driver. In 1968, he purchased a Porsche 917, one of the most successful sports racing cars at the time. He raced the car in various competitions, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it proved to be a formidable machine.
However, Piper's involvement with the Porsche 917 was not just limited to racing it on track. In 1970, he played a crucial role in testing and developing the car for Steve McQueen's film "Le Mans." Piper was one of the drivers who piloted the cars in the film, and his input and expertise helped to make the racing scenes as authentic as possible.
Despite his success with the Porsche 917, Piper suffered a devastating accident in 1970 during a race at Brands Hatch. He crashed his Ferrari 512 and lost his right leg as a result. However, Piper refused to let the injury slow him down, and he continued racing with a prosthetic leg.
Throughout the 1970s, Piper remained a prominent figure in the world of sports car racing, although his involvement with the Porsche 917 came to an end. The car had fallen out of favor as regulations changed, and it was eventually retired from competition.
Today, David Piper is remembered as one of the most influential drivers of his time, and his involvement with the Porsche 917 remains a defining moment in both his career and the history of motorsport.
Piper gave the Porsche 917 its international debut, alongside Frank Gardner, at the Nürburgring 1,000km in 1969, the year in which he mostly campaigned a Lola T70 Mk3B. The Porsche 917, powered by a Type 912 flat-12 engine, was introduced in 1969 and initially proved unwieldy on the race track. However, continuous development improved the handling, and it went on to dominate sports-car racing in 1970 and 1971.
Legendary sports car driver David Piper drove the Porsche 917 since its inception and recalls seeing it for the first time in 1969. In the '70s, Piper built up a Porsche 917 on an original 917 chassis which he managed to acquire from Zuffenhausen’sSportteilelager. After completion, he stamped the new car with a non-917 serial number to avoid future misunderstandings with 5-LT (LT for Long Tail).