There is competition for which Porsche has a special predilection: 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first time the checkered flag was waved on the French track it was in 1923 and the German brand began its journey in 1951; Since then, it has been the only manufacturer that has participated continuously in this endurance race. An event that has left its mark on the history of Porsche: there we find the reason why your models have the key to the left of the steering wheel.
There are many Porsche models that have details with which the brand remembers its racing career, but there is one that is common to all its cars and that has become a distinctive sign of the Stuttgart models: the bowler hat where it is insert the key to start this on the left side of the steering wheel and not on the right. Why? The answer is in Le Mans.
The ‘Le Mans start’
And more specifically in the ‘Le Mans start’, a style that lasted until 1969 in the famous endurance race. The cars that participated in the competition were parked at one end of the finish line and the drivers were in front: when the start was given, they had to run on the asphalt up to your car to get it started before anyone else and hit the gas.
Porsche engineers knew the scenario well and found a practical solution to gain a few seconds that, in the end, would be vital on the asphalt. As you can imagine it was related to the position of the ignition key: if they placed it to the left of the steering wheel, it would not be necessary for the pilot to sit down first and start later. When he arrived in the race, he could insert the key into the ignition with his left hand while he entered the vehicle, they released the handbrake and put in first with his right.
That idea worked and was transferred to all the cars manufactured by Porsche, which, today, maintain that detail related to the sports tradition of the brand. Even the Porsche Taycan maintains a start button to the left of the steering wheel that is not necessary to start the engine, but with which they intend to perpetrate that nod to competition. Of course, there are four models that have become an exception: 914, 924, 944 and 968 They were manufactured in collaboration with other brands and do not have this detail.