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12 Hours of Sebring 1986 – Things go better with Coke

Porsche 962
Hans Stuck at the wheel on the way to winning Sebring in 1986. His co-drivers were Jo Gartner and Bob Akin. (Porsche 962 chassis #962-113)

The 2.6-litre Porsche 956 which raced in the 1982/1983 seasons in Europe, was not accepted for racing in the USA, and so the 962 was developed by the factory. The sticking point was that the pedal box of the 956 sat just ahead of the front axle centre line, and so Porsche was forced to move the front axle forward by 4¾ in/120mm. The 962 was also not permitted to run twin turbochargers, and so the 2.85-litre engine with a single turbo was fitted. The 962’s first race in the USA was therefore the Daytona 24 Hours on 4/5 February 1984. (Editor)

Bob Akin had been one of the first Porsche customers in the USA to get the 962. He got chassis #102 in May of 1984, and raced in IMSA in 1984 and 1985 with a variety of co-drivers, such as John O’Steen and Jim Mullen in 1985. He had various good finishes, but no victories. Chassis #102 was damaged in a crash and ultimately replaced with chassis #113 in 1985. In early 1985, after Daytona, he moved his team from Atlanta where it was run by John Eversley, to his home town of Ossining NY. John was not moving, so Bob was forced to find another team manager and picked John Bright. John Bright was an Englishman, who had been working at Lola Cars in England where he had been the chief mechanic for Brian Redman on the Lola T600 in 1981. He had also spent time constructing cars at Lola, specifically building monocoques, so he was an excellent guy to have running a team. He was also an excellent driver in his own right, having finished second to Nelson Piquet in the British F3 championship in the late ‘70s.

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