The name Porsche is synonymous with success in racing, particularly in sports cars. But when Porsche tried its hand at Indycar in the late 1980s, just about everything that could go wrong did. Porsche’s North American motorsports chief (and super-successful IMSA owner/driver) Al Holbert perished in a 1988 plane crash, the year before the company’s first full season in CARTTeo Fabi bagged the win at Mid-Ohio that year, and it looked like everything was coming up roses for 1990. Porsche and its chassis builder, March, asked for and received permission from CART to construct the cockpit (or “tub”) entirely from carbon fiber, one year before it was scheduled to be allowed. Unhappily for Porsche, other teams (namely Penske, which made its own chassis) objected to its using a composite chassis and overturned the initial ruling. This forced March to perform an 11th hour redesign of the tub to make it a conventional, mostly aluminum construction. This delayed the whole testing program, meaning Fabi (and new hire John Andretti) basically had to use race weekends as test sessions. Suffice to say, the team went winless, and the plug was pulled at season’s end.

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