The Greatest Le Mans Car Ever
I love Group C. I love the shape of the cars, the ridiculous noise they make, the awesome, and now awesomely retro, advertising they’re plastered in. I love the speed. Speed that Stefan Bellof mastered to set a qualifying time of 6:11 around the 20km Nordschleife for the 1983 1000km of Nürburgring - a record which still stands. He did it in a Porsche 956, which, along with the 962, is one of the greatest and most successful racing cars ever built.
The 956 was built by Porsche to compete in Group C in 1982, running a turbocharged flat six, dual clutch gearbox, and, for the first time in a Porsche, featuring an aluminium monocoque chassis. It was fast. First, second, and third in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans fast. A year later the top six spots were occupied by a 956, and a 956 or 962 won the next four, just for good measure. It did pretty well at Sebring, Daytona, and the Nürburgring as well.
The 956 was modified to meet the regulations of the International Motor Sports Association’s GT Prototype Series, taking on a longer wheelbase and different power-plant to become the 962.
There were a great many 956/962s built and raced throughout the 80s and early 90s, and they have recently been brought together for the first time during the 2011 Salon Prive event in London.
Enjoy the video, from Porsche.