Most younger readers won’t immediately think any of the German marques were well established in single seaters prior to recent Mercedes-Benz domination in Formula 1. And to be fair, as individual manufacturers that is nearly the case, although Porsche did develop a pretty impressive single race winner in the flat-8 804 of 1962. And, let’s not forget that it was both Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union that had really spurred the development of modern single-seat racing in the pre-War Silver Arrows. But far more prevalent has been German participation in single-seater construction as engine providers. From Volkswagen’s spec racers right through the mighty screaming Williams BMW V10s, there’s a long and storied history of German power. But oval racing? That’s another story, right? Well, actually the Germans have been there right along, too – with Mercedes-Benz taking part in the inaugural Indy 500 through the mega-dominant Ilmore Penske PC-23. Porsche, too, has been tied with the Indy 500, running turbocharged V8s in March chassis in the late 1980s. But the more interesting story was the car that never ran – the 935-powered Parnelli/Interscope Racing entry from 1980:
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