still holds the record for fasted average lap time during a race!
260.843 km/h (162.080 mph) race speed
is still unbroken
1000 km SPA 1971
After 1970 the 14 km long Spa circuit was no longer used by Formula 1. The public roads without any security measures where judged unsafe and abandoned.
However, the sports cars and their drivers where still eager to show off their speed.
The race showed a race long unprecedented battle between Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodriguez. Both where the masters in taming the beast - the Porsche 917. Lap after lap, both stayed wheel to wheel at above 320 km/h (200 mph). Their co-drivers Derek Bell and Jackie Oliver where staring in awe from the pits where they spent more time than in the cars.
John Wyer's team principle David Yorke showed the "EZ" sign to his battling drivers, with litte effect. Jo kept chasing Pedro at a dramatic pace.
Yorke's only chance to tame both star drivers was by ordering Derek not to engage in a fight with Oliver and to keep positions.
Siffert wasn't pleased and was seen with a black board at the end of pit lane to signal Derek to go for it. Derek - having set the pole time with a new lap record - was clearly faster but followed the team orders.
After 4 hours an 1 minute the crossed they finish line separated by just 0.4 seconds. They where 4 laps ahead the rest which translated into 56 km or 15 minutes gap.
While Jo Siffert missed the win, he claimed the fastest lap with a jaw-dropping 3:14,6 (almost 2 seconds faster than the pole time and more than 10 seconds faster than F1). This translates into an average lap speed of an astonishing 260.843 km/h (162.080 mph).
Just image the circumstances around that time: no security measures, aluminium frames (see pic below) instead of kevlar, no electronic or computer support, no telemetric or team radio.
And remember: Under race and not under clinical qualifying conditions. Just you and your machine!
Jo Siffert's average lap speed record during a race still holds today!
Development of average lap speed record
The diagram depicts the development of average lap speed in Formula 1 and Sports Cars.
What is shows is that a huge acceleration was taking place during the sixties until 1971, especially by the Sports Cars.
It was Jo Siffert's amazing lap around the intimidating old 14.10 km Spa circuits that broke the 260 km/h mark the first time - during a race!
For 50 years now this record has still not been broken during any other race including Formula 1!
Rubens Barrichello on Ferrari F2004 holds the current Formula 1 record for the fastest average lap speed during a race with 257.321 km/h (159.891 mph) since the Italian Grand Prix 2004 in Monza.
Only during qualifying the mark of 260 km/h was broken only in 2004 by Juan Pablo Montoya in the 1st qualifying round with 263.145km/h (163.510 mph).
Currently Lewis Hamilton holds the qualifying record since Monza 2020 at 264.362km/h (164.267 mph).
Peter Morgan, Porsche 917: The Winning Formula, 1999
Janos Wimpffen, Time and Two Seats, 1999
Automobilsport Magazin #19, 2018 https://www.automobilsport-magazin.de/de/heftarchiv/ausgabe/articles/ausgabe-19.html