Porsche 914-6 IMSA Challenge

Text & Photos by Harry Kennison

Walt Mass takes his 914-6 to a second place finish in the GTU (under 2-liter) category behind Sam Posey in a Datsun 260Z at the 1977 Mid-Ohio round of the IMSA GT championship.  Mass would go on to become the GTU champion for 1977.

Back in the early 70’s a new racing series was created in the U. S. for sports cars who up until then had limited opportunity to run in the World Endurance Championship that only made a few stops in the United States at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.  Created by John Bishop, it was called IMSA (International Motor Sports Association).  From the beginning, the IMSA GT series provided a battleground for European and Japanese manufacturers to pit their light-weight, high-performance, racers against the American muscle of Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs.

John Hullen has his 914-6 mirrors full of two of the fastest drivers in the series, Al Holbert in the blue # 14 Porsche Carrera RSR and Peter Gregg in his familiar red, white and blue #59 Carrera RSR, during the 1975 IMSA GT race at Mid-Ohio.  Holbert would go on to win the race besting the BMW of Sam Posey.

In fact, the very first IMSA GT race was held back in 1971 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).  And the very first car to make it to victory lane was none other than a Porsche 914-6 driven by a couple of relative unknowns at the time, Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood.  An interesting fact, according to Nick England, who’s articles appear on the IMSA Blog website, was that Hurley Haywood was actually in the U. S. Army at the time, and got a weekend pass to participate in that first IMSA race!  Although there was a big block 7-liter Corvette on the pole, it needed twice as many stops for fuel as the slick little 914-6.  With just a few laps to go the Corvette was closing on the Porsche, but went off the road giving the win to Gregg and Haywood.  Hurley retired from racing following last year’s Rolex 24-Hours of Daytona after nearly 40 years as one of the premier road racers in the world.

The 914-6 would continue to be a prominent factor in the IMSA GT series, winning the GTU championship for sports cars under 2 liters in 1977 in the capable hands of Walt Mass, a long-time Porsche pilot.