Like many drivers of his era, Pedro Rodriguez died in a racing accident, doing what he loved until his life was cut short at age 31. Though he was behind the wheel of a Ferrari at the time, Rodriguez had just been crowned two-time world champion as a factory sports car driver with Porsche.
On the 50th anniversary of his untimely death, the German automaker revealed a custom one-off 911 Turbo S to commemorate his life and contributions to Porsche motorsports history.
Famous colors and custom features
True to the Porsche 917 prototypes that Rodriguez drove, this 911 tribute is finished in Gulf’s iconic racing livery. Bright blue paintwork is accented with the signature orange center stripe, and his racing number takes center stage on the front bonnet and doors. The gloss black alloy wheels were custom-made for the project and feature an aluminum center lock design.
Inside the vehicle, graphite blue leather is seemingly everywhere, with contrasting orange stitches to complement the exterior stripe. Special touches like Rodriguez’s signature and the national flag of Mexico can be found throughout the interior, while the headrests include a silhouette of his Porsche 917 race car.
“This car has unique elements that no other car in the world could have,” says Camilo San Martin, Director of Porsche Mexico. “This configuration, with these specific details and equipment, has been locked in the Porsche configurator, as well as in the production system, so that this car is literally unrepeatable.”
How did Pedro Rodriguez become a factory driver for Porsche?
Born in Mexico City, Rodriguez grew up racing bicycles and motorcycles but clearly had a knack for driving sports cars as well. His list of accomplishments includes 11 total wins in the World Championship of Makes (now known as the World Endurance Championship or WEC), along with two Formula One Grand Prix victories. Rodriguez was a four-time winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona and even won the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 in 1968.
Taming the beast
According to Motorsport.com, Rodriguez was a master of the notoriously unforgiving Porsche 917. With a flat-12 engine producing over 500 hp and streamlined bodywork, acceleration was generally not an issue. Maintaining high speeds without crashing a 917 was a significant challenge, however, due to unintended lift that plagued early variants. Porsche improved the car’s stability over time through aerodynamic revisions, thanks to brave drivers who did the research at over 200 miles per hour.
“Pedro Rodríguez continues to be the Latin American driver who has given Porsche the most triumphs and joy,” explained George Wills, President and CEO of Porsche Latin America. “With this unique car in the world we want to pay tribute to a unique, irreplaceable driver, an idol of the past and a legend of today.”
What is Porsche doing with the car?
The commemorative Pedro Rodriguez 911 Turbo S was revealed to the public on July 11th, 2021, at the Sportscar Together Day event in Toluca, Mexico. Porsche is planning to sell the car at auction later this year and then donate the proceeds to charity.