The 917/30 was the next step in the evolution of the 917. It had a longer wheelbase and improved aerodynamics. Also it had a stronger 5.4 liter 12 cylinder twin-turbocharged engine that could produce 1,580 bhp in qualifying tune, running full boost, 39 psi. Normally it raced with around 1,100 bhp at 7,800 rpm to preserve the engine. The 917/30 was the most powerful sports car racer that competed.
Weighing just 1,800 lbs the 917/30 could go from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 mph (160 km/h) in 3.9 seconds, 0-200 mph (320 km/h) in 10.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of more than 260 mph (420 km/h).
The 917/30 dominated the Can-Am series during the 1973 season winning all races but one with Mark Donohue driving. McLaren left the series to concentrate on the Indy 500 and F1 since they were unable to compete against the 917 turbos.
In 1974 the SCCA to introduced a 3 miles per US gallon maximum fuel consumption rule and due to this change, the Penske 917/30 only competed in one race in 1974. The 917/30 has been cited as the car that killed Can-Am racing due to the high-level of performance and fuel consumption, and the high level of risk.