Any racing fan that lived in Southern California in the early 70s knew of the late, great Riverside International Raceway (RIR).  And if you followed top-level Porsche racing during the same period, no matter where you’re from, likely knew of the International Race of Champions (IROC), and that for its first, and then-one-season only, was contested with a special batch of Carrera RSR 3.0s developed and produced by the Porsche factory for the IROC spec series.

A foundational element of this series’ magic is the dozen truly international champions that contested Season 1; (B)Allison, Donohue, Fittipaldi, Foyt, Follmer, Hulme, Johncock, McCluskey, Pearson, (R)Petty, Revson, and (B)Unser.  F1, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Champ Car, Indy500 season championship, and race winners all. 

International champions
Penske, Donohue and Richter at the Daytona IROC

Imagine today putting together a field of this accomplished caliber for a special series of four races in a purpose spec’d and built a roster of racing 911s from among today’s drivers of similar credentials – it would cost a billion dollars.

IROC was the brainchild of the incomparable Roger Penske, TV and marketing wiz Mike Phelps, and former LA Rams Linebacker and later RIR track president Les Richter. 

International Race of Champions promotion

ABC’s Wide World of Sports was the exclusive broadcast partner – thus it was critical that the cars look great, and be recognizable on TV. 

The idea of the series was, of course, to match up champions from a wide spectrum of racing series, run them in identical, matched racing cars, in an attempt to divine who and/or what types of racing drivers were really best (by removing the variables of differences in cars, testing and development money, the proficiency of engineers, mechanics, and crew chiefs). 

Donohue in Porsche Carrera RSR

Penske Racing was primarily responsible for the development and

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By: Matt Stone
Title: The International Race of Champions Porsches and the Dozen Great Drivers who Raced Them
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Published Date: Sun, 09 May 2021 05:20:06 +0000

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