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Tackling the Targa Florio in a Porsche 718 RS 60 with Derek Bell

Submitted by on June 24, 2016

Porsche 718 RS 60

Meet up with Derek Bell and head to Sicily to retrace the Targa Florio circuit in the Porsche 718 RS 60 that won the race in 1960.

“I don’t think we all appreciate just what the Targa Florio means in the history of motorsport. Probably the greatest, hardest, most tortuous race ever held in the world.”

This video, from Petrolicious, is a stunner. It puts Derek Bell into the 1960 Targa Folorio-winning Porsche 718 RS 60 and sets them loose on the streets of the Targa Florio.

Vincenzo Florio created the Targa Florio over a century ago in 1906. Back then it ran three laps of a 93-mile circuit. That first race was won by Alessandro Cagno, who covered the 277 miles in a healthy nine hours.

“I’d never gone through so many hairpin bends in my life.”

Thanks to the insane circuit, high speeds and impossible safety concerns, it became one of the most dangerous races in all of motorsport. It ran until the late ’70s, with the 1973 race being its last as a World Sportscar Championship race.

Derek Bell’s career was just picking up at that time. He’d raced successfully in Formula Two, picked up a few Formula 1 drives and secured a drive with Ferrari’s works team for the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. It would be nearly a decade before his longstanding relationship with Porsche kicked off in earnest, and so the Targa Florio never made it onto his resume.

“It’s only 1600cc, 170 horsepower – what’s that! Once you get it on song, you get it up to 7000 plus revs, it was absolutely amazing. And the fact that you could brake so perfectly, flick it into a corner, put the power on. It just wanted to have the hell driven out of it.”

This video sees him on those achingly beautiful roads for the first time – and what a car to do it in! Driven to victory in the 1960 Targa Florio by Jo Bonnier and Hans Herrmann, the Porsche 718 RS 60 is a perfectly balanced corner crushing weapon.

Nestled in its midsections is a 1600cc naturally aspirated aircooled four cylinder that puts out 170 horsepower. It’s a far cry from the 600-plus horsepower turbocharged flat sixes in the 956s and 962s that Bell raced so successfully in the mid ’80s, but no less potent.

Settle in, relax and enjoy! And scroll down a little for some bonus footage which strips away all of the extras and lets Derek Bell and the 718 sing with pure sounds and vision of the pair hillclimbing a section of spectacular Sicilian  road.

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