You are currently viewing The incredible story of the Porsche 962C Group C race car

The incredible story of the Porsche 962C Group C race car

With 19 wins in whole, Porsche holds the document for probably the most wins on the well-known 24 Hours of Le Mans, the longest lively 24 hour endurance race. The producer’s historical past dates again to 1951, with the Porsche 356 SL Coupe entered within the S1.1 class, a category with automobiles powered by 1100cc sized engines, or much less. Porsche additionally holds the document for many consecutive entries because it has fielded at the least one automobile yearly since collaborating for the very first time. It turned profitable each as a works workforce, but in addition via a number of extraordinarily succesful privateer-teams. Illustrious names like Kremer or Joest all share historical past with Porsche at Le Mans. And that shared historical past result in one very fascinating 12 months the place Porsche, as soon as extra, took house the large trophy.

The well-known Rothmans-sponsored Porsche 962 –

In direction of the tip of the legendary Group C period in endurance racing. Porsche was nonetheless competing with the Porsche 962C, a automobile that seemed very very like its predecessor, the 956. Each automobiles introduced house a number of wins for Porsche, within the 24 Hours of Le Mans and different long-distance occasions. The Porsche 956 was meant for the World SportsCar Championship and the ISA GTP Championship however was unable to compete within the latter on account of not assembly the protection restrictions. To make the 956 eligible for competitors, the wheelbase was lengthened and the engine structure was modified, and the 962 was born. Right here’s Porsche-legend Derek Bell’s onboard footage from Le Mans 1983 driving a 956:

Each prototype racers made monstrous quantities of energy and have been extraordinarily dominant in endurance racing. The Porsche 956 shares the document for many consecutive wins by a single automobile with Alfa Romeo, Ford and Audi, successful in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985. The automobile was so dominant that within the 1983 race, solely a single automobile within the prime 10 classifications was not a Porsche 956.

The Porsche 962 wasn’t a lot totally different because it shared the backbones of the 956. It was a bit longer, because the entrance axle moved in entrance of the pedal field and the engine was a 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged flat-6 with about 620bhp, as an alternative of the two.65 litres turbocharged flat-6 that produced 635bhp. It additionally included a metal roll-cage within the aluminium tubular body, a direct consequence of the IMSA GTP rules. The Porsche 962 was campaigned between 1985 and 1994 however managed to provide Porsche solely three total wins, because the competitors had grown a lot stronger in these years. Goodwood Street & Racing put collectively this wonderful clip of a 962C:

The ultimate win for the Porsche Group C categorized 962 got here as late as 1994, a full decade after it made its debut on the 24 Hours of Daytona. By then, the ACO had moved on from Group C prototype racing and was able to launch the brand new GT classes. This stipulated that so as to be eligible to compete, numerous road-legal variants of the racing automobile must construct. For GT1, the highest tier class was set at 25 automobiles, with 200 because the minimal for the GT2 class. And this gave the Porsche 962 an prolonged lease on life.

In direction of the tip of its aggressive life, the Porsche 962 was transformed to a highway automobile by a number of privateer groups, together with Koenig, Dauer and Schuppan. These firms took one of many 91 formidable racers, and fitted the requirements to it, so as to cross laws and slap on a license plate. A type of Porsche 962 conversions is the Dauer 962 Le Mans, constructed by Jochen Dauer’s automotive firm, Dauer Racing. The conversion included putting in a leather-clad inside with a second seat, a small baggage compartment, a hydraulic suspension system and different elements. Right here’s interval footage of the Dauer 962 Le Mans being introduced in 1993:

Beneath the newly restyled physique, hides the Porsche 962 engine, now free of its ACO regulatory air restrictor. The outcome? A rise in energy from 620bhp to 730bhp. This was mated to a 5-speed guide gearbox taken from the race automobile and despatched energy to the rear wheels. The efficiency was blistering, as the highest pace was rated at 404,6kph with a zero-to-100kph under 3 seconds.

In a shock twist of religion, and exploiting a nifty little loophole within the course of, the Dauer 962 Le Mans could be the premise for conversion to GT1 specs. So, in essence, it began as a race automobile, was transformed right into a highway automobile, after which was a race automobile once more! This was completely fantastic in response to the foundations, and better of all gave Porsche and its 962 one other Le Mans victory!

This was achieved with the assistance of Porsche themselves by the way in which, who noticed the potential within the transformed Dauer 962 Le Mans. The fascinating factor is, the ACO issued {that a} deliberate manufacturing of 25 or extra would suffice. A single prototype could be green-lighted to compete if the intention and fundamental planning to construct the required quantity of highway automobiles was there. Not solely Porsche, but in addition Toyota picked up on this, and likewise dusted off a former Group C prototype.

Porsche and Dauer constructed two chassis primarily based on the roadgoing Dauer 962 Le Mans, which was primarily based on the track-only Porsche 962. Nonetheless with me on this? Solely small modifications needed to be made because the Dauer 962 Le Mans was authorized to be pushed on public roads, which meant it already met a lot of the GT1 standards. Narrower tires, a bigger gas tank and the eliminated air restrictor needed to be put again in place, and that’s principally all it took. Now technically, Group C automobiles have been nonetheless allowed to race however with much less energy and downforce as earlier than. As such the GT1-classed Dauer 962 confronted stiff competitors. Nevertheless, because the bigger gas tank means the automobile needed to spend much less time within the pits, through the race it regularly moved as much as the entrance of the pack. It may be seen in motion on this video masking the highlights of the 1994 race:

It wasn’t plain crusing and seeing everyone else retire on account of crashes or mechanical failure for Porsche and the Dauer 962. The automobiles have been nursing driveshaft points within the closing levels of the race. However regardless of this, and with a few of the fiercest rivals grinding to a halt within the closing few hours, the #36 Dauer 962 got here in first (Mauro Baldi, Hurley Haywood, Yannick Dalmas) with the #35 automobile coming in third (Hans-Joachim Caught, Danny Sullivan, Thierry Boutsen). The automobiles have been break up by the Toyota 94C-V, a former Group C race automobile. The loophole was shut down by the ACO shortly after the race so the excessive was short-lived. It did end in 13 highway automobiles being constructed and offered by Dauer within the months that adopted.

However does the story finish there? Properly, probably not. All this led to a really shut rivalry between McLaren, Mercedes, and Porsche battling it out over GT1 domination. Porsche constructed the bonkers 911 GT1 model, and the roadgoing 911 GT1 Straβenversion as a homologation particular, to take victory at Le Mans in 1998. And principally, that was half 911, and half 962! However is likely to be a subject for a future instalment of the Petrolhead Nook.

Editorial Observe: The pictures portrayed on this article are sourced from (Dauer highway automobiles), (1994 Dauer 962 LM automobiles) and (Rothmans Porsche 962).