Porsche 956

The Porsche 956 was a sports car prototype, from 1982 to 1984 all tracks in the FIA World Sportscar Championship won, both in the ratings for the driver as well as the brands.


In the course of motor racing, the rules were changed several times. A clear cut there was from 1982, when the previous groups were 1 reduced to only three categories of sports and touring cars of the FIA ​​to 6, the groups A ( large series touring cars ), B ( small- GTs ) and C ( sports car prototypes ). In the sports prototypes the previous two-seat open Group 6 sports cars, where the engine with 3 liters were (or 2.14 liter supercharged, a factor of 1.4 ) was limited, replaced by the group C. Here closed coupes were prescribed, similar to 1971, the Porsche 917, Ferrari 512S or Lola T70. As an innovation, the available fuel was limited while the engine design was subject to few restrictions, so that the most effective approach would prevail. For this new group as well as Ford C100, Lancia LC2 and other Porsche 956C has been developed.

Porsche factory was started up in 1978 in Le Mans with the Porsche 936 and Porsche had numerous otherwise sold by 935 Group 5 rules to customers. These vehicles had become a museum piece by the FIA decision. Only in the United States had different rules, which Porsche had to know beforehand several times. Based on the air-cooled six - cylinder boxer engine of the Porsche 935, the far made ​​in the factory car in 1978 with twin turbo or twin turbochargers, water-cooled four-valve heads and 3.2 liter capacity 700 hp, in 1979 for the Porsche Interscope project in accordance with the American rules, a 2.65 -liter engine for methanol fuel developed, but this was " held back " by changing the rule for the boost pressure before the 500 - mile race at Indianapolis in 1980. An engine should be inferred for the group C, which was designed back for gasoline. The 2649 cc was initially maintained. The engine (620 hp) 455 kW rendered at a speed of 8000 rpm, 1981 successfully tested in two Porsche 936 chassis, the 24- hour race at Le Mans, where special rules applied. It won Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell, the second car was twelfth.

The chassis for the 956 had the Porsche engineers, fully develop under the leadership of Norbert Singer, new, because the tubular frame previously used were not up to date. The system introduced by Lotus in the 1960s, lighter and stronger aluminum monocoque had long since become a standard and has just been replaced in Formula 1 through the more effective carbon fiber, also at Team McLaren for the Porsche developed the TAG V6 turbo engine. Porsche seized this chance of a transfer of technology in the coming years not and constructed for the first time an aluminum chassis in shell construction, which turned out to be the 956 as a weak point.

Also the aerodynamic properties compared to older racing cars of the 1960s and 1970s became increasingly important, for example, introduced by Lotus or the wing ground effect car, in which the curved underbody generates a lot of downforce. For this purpose, the broad Boxer engines had proven in Formula 1 as unsuitable, so the TAG engine was developed in V6 form, but when sports cars, Porsche still continue on the company's typical pancake. The outer skin, the underbody, the rear diffuser and the wings were optimized so that the car was sucked approach by the resulting vacuum downright to the road surface (floor effect). This could be achieved soared to cornering speeds. The top speed of 956 on the 5 km long straight at Le Mans was about 350 km / h over 30 km / h less than in 1971 with the similarly strong five-liter Porsche 917 with long tail.

Another problem proved to be the windscreen that should be curved like the previous 917 in two directions. The manufacturer had problems with it, they built unceremoniously only a cylindrically curved plate one that tops out regularly due to height was 100 cm (see Ford C100). Their straight profile also allowed to keep better with the wipers clean, an advantage when racing in the rain and at night. The rims have been developed together with Speedline.

Racing history

1982 Trailer

The first copy of the 956 has been tested on our own track in Weissach by Jürgen Barth from the end of March. The 1000 - km race at Monza in mid-April is still left out, the 956-001 debuted in mid-May during the 1982 six - hour race at Silverstone and sat there the pole position, favored by modern aerodynamics and the turbo engine concept. Since hardly Group C cars were available were considered transitional rules so that could continue to take trolley according to group 5 and 6 and the American IMSA GTX class. In the race, Ickx / Bell occupied second place behind an open Lancia LC1, which was not subject to fuel limit, but also had no right to brand championship points. The Nürburgring, the circuit characteristics promises little evidence for Le Mans, was omitted in favor of the development and the construction of three new chassis for the highlight of the season.

The 24 - hour race at Le Mans In 1982, two of the 956 comprehensive from the top of the 55 car starting field to off. Although 28 Group C were published, new designs or modifications as the Porsche 936C Joest or Kremer CK5, but only the Ford C100 was from a major manufacturer. Only 18 cars were counted at the end, including an Aston Martin Nimrod in 7th place and two Rondeau three Gr.C. The three used the factory 956 won by a wide margin a triple victory against older Porsche. Like last year, won Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. As last year's winner, they had start number 1 on the car, the other two works cars followed in order of their start numbers 2 and 3

The next World Championship race, the 1000 km Spa, the Factory 956 could hit just by Ickx / Mass and Bell / Schuppan Lancia. In the 1000 km Mugello lacked not only the Porsche factory. Lancia scored a double victory against only 17 opponents. In the 1000 km Fuji is Ickx / Mass prevailed before a Lancia, the numerous locals were, inter alia, in the Honda Civic and VW Golf GTI at the start. At the end of the season 1000 km Brands Hatch sent the work of only one 956 Ickx struck again just a Lancia and became sports car world champion. Third place went again to a Porsche 935 Gr. 5, the rest of the top 10 featured group C vehicles, led by two Ford C100.

1983 customers Cart

To customer teams in 1983, the first twelve 956 were delivered, which differed by the continuous chassis numbers from 956-101 by the works cars from 956-001. The Ford C100 did not return, the Lancia LC now also corresponded to the group - C rules and proved to be the only substantial foe, with second place at the end of the season just before Christmas in Kyalami. Otherwise always went at least the first four places on the Porsche 956, which accounted for the world championship race alone.

Bellof also orbited in 1983 with the factory 956 during practice for the 1000 km race at the Nürburgring 's legendary Nordschleife as the only person ever with an average speed of over 200 km / h In the race, however, raised his 956 on top of the " big jump hill " in the nursery and overturned. In Le Mans Porsche had the first ten slots are occupied, would not have a Sauber C7 with BMW engine ranking secured nine, which was commented by Porsche with " Nobody is perfect ". Unfortunately for the customer team 's work continued to be successfully active: Again won two factory cars at Le Mans, Ickx was again sports car drivers world champion. The Manufacturers' Championship was anyway since 1978 firmly in hand Porsche, since 1962 was at least a class title at Porsche.

1984 Introduction of 956B and 962

For the World Endurance Championship in 1984 it was announced that the amount of fuel would be reduced from 600 liters of fuel for 1000 km on 510 liters. Porsche replaced the mechanical fuel injection by an electronic Bosch. This evolution has been referred to as 956B; 1984 delivered to customers chassis numbers started 956B - 113. The engine with the more modern fuel injection system was economical and could set in engine performance anyway. Now at 8200/min was a power of 470 kW (640 hp). The Porsche 956, whose main opponent, the Lancia LC2 were gained usually at least double victories, with Kyalami was an exception again. Only a 956 went to South Africa at the start and was at the finish in ninth place even behind compact cars. At Le Mans, the work did not participate after dispute with the ACO. Best among the seven 956 on the first echelon was the 956B - 117 of the customer teams from Joest Racing. Stefan Bellof factory driver from casting was long distance world champion, so the first Federal German world champion on the track.

In the important U.S. market, the Porsche were in the IMSA series long after successful 935 GTX rules, however, there arose from competition from the 1981 Chevrolet driven by motors GTP prototype Lola and March, which could produce a lot more output. Pursuant to the requirements of the GTP class, which prescribed a tubular steel roll cage and pedals behind the front axle, inter alia, for safety reasons, a variant of the 956 long with 12 cm wheelbase was constructed and designated as Porsche 962. The 962, which first had to be equipped with the older but cheaper Porsche 935 engine, debuted in early 1984 at Daytona with qualifying time. From mid-season the delivered customer -962 IMSA race won. However, some also took part in World Cup races.

1985 962C

From 1985 chassis was the 962, but used with technology components according to group C rules, even in the World Cup and called the 962C. Since this variant was more versatile and safer, was built after 1984 no more 956. A total of 10 working chassis were built and delivered 17 customer cars - the successor should be built about 90 times. The Porsche 956 dominated the race in Group C from mid- 1982 to 1985, when the 956 again won by Joest, Le Mans.

Dangers was the race car of such well-known racers like Stefan Bellof, Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Hans -Joachim Stuck, Manfred Winkelhock and Vern Schuppan. Bellof died in 1985 at Spa- Francorchamps to one at the entrance of the Eau Rouge failed overtaking 956B -116, while opponents accident Jacky Ickx was uninjured in the newer plant - 962C at over 300 km / h in a privately entered Brun Porsche. Three weeks earlier, Manfred angle Hock died in the Canadian Mosport after his 962 collided with a wall.


The Porsche 956 was produced from 1982 to 1984 and used in the following models:

In addition, various body versions were used: all racing teams used on the aligned on top speed circuit of Le Mans, the so-called long-tail, on the other circuits, however, the short-tail ( only exception: the 1000- km race at Silverstone took Porsche Kremer Racing and Preston Henn T- Bird swap Shop each with a long-tail part ). Later - from 1984 to 1986 - also came racing versions with front wing to the course, especially when team Richard Lloyd Racing. Increasingly, the 956 was replaced by the 962C in 1987 ran in all the races of the World Sports Prototype Championship only successor models.