Porsche has been successful in many branches of motorsport of which most have been in long distance races.
Despite their early involvement in motorsports being limited to supplying relatively small engines to racing underdogs up until the late 1960s, by the mid-1950s Porsche had already tasted moderate success in the realm of sports car racing, most notably in the Carrera Panamericana and Targa Florio, classic races which were later used in the naming of street cars. The Porsche 917 of 1969 turned them into a power house, winning in 1970 the first of over a dozen 24 Hours of Le Mans, more than any other company. With the 911 Carrera RS and the Porsche 935 Turbo, Porsche dominated the 1970s, and even has beaten sports prototypes, a category in which Porsche entered the successful 936, 956 and 962 models.
Porsche is currently the world’s largest race car manufacturer. In 2006, Porsche built 195 race cars for various international motor sports events, and in 2007 Porsche is expected to construct no less than 275 dedicated race cars (7 RS Spyder LMP2 prototypes, 37 GT2 spec 911 GT3-RSRs, and 231 911 GT3 Cup vehicles).
Porsche regards racing as an essential part of ongoing engineering development—it was traditionally very rare for factory-entered Porsche racing cars to appear at consecutive races in the same specification. Some aspect of the car almost invariably, was being developed, whether for the future race programs or as proof of concept for future road cars.