VIDEO: Pedro Rodriguez and taming the 917
Of all the top Sports Car racers in the late-60s / early-70s, there really is only one name that comes to mind when I see a photo of the fearsome widow-maker Porsche 917: Pedro Rodriguez.
Indulged with high-performance cars and racing motorcylces from an early age by his wealthy (Corrupt? He was Head of the Mexican Police Motorcycle division, go figure!) father, Pedro first came to the notice of the European racing fraternity in a Ferrari which he drove with his equally-talented brother Ricardo at Le Mans in 1960, where they almost won.
Pedro – who famously always carried a bottle of Tabasco sauce with him – went on to carve out fabulous career as a Sports Cars ace, and was considered the best driver of his era in the wet. In 1970 he joined the Wyer-Gulf-Porsche team and is now legendarily known as the tamer of the incredible Porsche 917 (which in early days would lift at over 200 km/h!), becoming two-time Sports Cars World Champion. Watch the YouTube clip below and enjoy classic footage of Pedro drifting the widow-maker 917 in the pouring rain at Brands Hatch in 1970. Pure magic!
Pedro developed into one of the sport’s greatest all-rounders, racing CanAm, NASCAR, rallies and even becoming North American Ice Racing champion in 1970. In his NASCAR career, he earned two top-tens, including a 5th in the 1965 World 600 race. How’s that for versatility? Could you ever see an F1 driver these days being so multi-talented? I guess that’s what Kimi was trying to prove with his 2-year foray in WRC.
Sadly, Pedro joined younger brother Ricardo in the great racetrack in the sky, when the Ferrari 512M he was racing in a sports prototype racing event in 1971 caught fire in an accident. Mexico grieved at the loss of another home-born hero, and the Mexico City racing circuit was named after them: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (“Rodríguez Brothers Racetrack”).
Watch the videos below, and wonder incredulously as Pedro makes the 917 dance. And enjoy more photos below the video.