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PORSCHE AT LE MANS
THE STORY FROM THE FIRST START 1951 TO THE PRESENT DAY
FROM TYPE 356 SL TO THE 919 HYBRID
IN STORES AROUND EUROPE SINCE 06/06/2014
AND AVAILABLE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP
PORSCHE AT LE MANS
THE STORY FROM THE FIRST START 1951 TO THE PRESENT DAY – FROM TYPE 356 SL TO THE 919 HYBRID
A Porsche win was a certainty in 1979, but in this manner? With eight hours to go Stuttgart.s hopes and prayers were not based on their works cars anymore. No, they had to put trust in a Type 935 Group-5 racer. In addition, practicing the art of a drive belt-change would prove to be a rather important part of this story…
Two people guessed it right. To try to win Le Mans with a Group-5 car was a rather risky adventure in the face of the strong sports car competition that usually competed for top rankings. “I am convinced that it is possible to win Le Mans 1979 with a Porsche 935,” was the opinion of Georg Loos back in October 1978. He was right, even if this fact should taste bitter to him later.
MISSED BY METRES ONLY!
LE MANS 1969
Three days after the Nuerburgring, they decided at Porsche to start in Le Mans even though at this stage no CSI message clearly taking a stand on the movable flaps had been received. Principal Ferry Porsche cut the number of Le Mans cars to five. In the little country village of Teloch., about 8 kilometres from the Le Mans circuit, eight cars were unloaded from the transporters nonetheless. Four 917’s (one already in the ownership of wealthy amateur racing driver John Woolfe), three 908 long-tail Prototypes and a brand new streamlined 908 Spyder. The long-tail 908 destined for Mitter/Schuetz bore chassis number 30. Multiplied by the material cost of DM 200,000 each this yields a DM six million effort for the contingent of 3-litre 908 coupes alone, although the first 20 cars had been built for the 1968 season...
911 CARRERA RSR TURBO
LE MANS 1974
“Franco, do you remember the good old days when you were the Ferrari race director and I entered my Cobras? asks US racing-legend Carroll Shelby of the journalist Franco Lini, who is loaded down with camera equipment.
“Yes Carroll, both of us homologated one hundred sports cars on paper, but to be honest, I had only twenty-six of the GTOs standing ready on their wheels in our yard, whilst your Cobras were filling the streets en masse.” Carroll smiles: “But that was just because I despatched them via airplane all over the place – there were only nine cars in fact. But that’s nothing compared with the cheating record of Jaguar with its three racing cars.” And even they received a homologation!
DEVELOPMENT OF A LE MANS-WINNER
Wolfgang Berger, a Porsche engineer, was one of the insiders who developed the 936. Subsequently, he supervised it in action in the Endurance-Championship and at Le Mans. These are his recollections of the glory days. In the basic development stage, I was involved only marginally. The team consisted of engineers and staff from the 908 and 917 eras. The engine required no modifications, except some minor refinement of the inlets. Most of the modifications originated from practical try-outs. The mill itself was a good old friend - the 2.1 litre turbo, which Porsche used in 1974 in its 911 Carrera RSR Turbo prototypes. This air-cooled engine was cooled by a horizontally mounted fan. Its exhaust and inlet system was adapted for each of the cylinder rows of the six-cylinder in extensive tests. We were all placed in an open plan office and I sat at the same desk as the Project Manager, so the flow of information was rather good…
A DOUBLE WITH JOEST
THE OPEN TWR-JOEST WSC SPYDER
Buoyed by our success at the 1994 Le Mans, we started thinking about supporting the American market with a car for the IMSA championship. There were talks in September 1994 between our competitions boss Max Welti, our engine specialist Herbert Ampferer, and Alwin Springer, who was in charge of racing in America. Welti and Ampferer came back from America with the suggestion that we could make an agreement with Tom Walkinshaw Racing to put our turbo engines and transmissions into their TWR chassis, and prepare for the new World Sports car category, which would be starting at Daytona in January 1995...
about Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell and Le Mans 1974
about the first Porsche entry at Le Mans 1951
about the Le Mans-victory of the Kremer-Porsche 935 K3 1979
about Le Mans 1969 and Dr. Helmut Marko
about the Joest-WSC Spyder and 935/78 Moby Dick
about the Porsche 936
about the victorious Porsche 917
about his Le Mans-entries
- and many more!