The Porsche 935 was the Stuttgart manufacturer’s answer to the FIA’s Group 5 class regulations, making it eligible for the World Championship of Makes. The first Porsche car in this so-called ‘Silhouette’ series, was introduced for the start of the 1976 season. The factory entered 935s in both the World Championship of Makes and the World Sportscar Championship, winning both titles, the latter with almost three times the number of points as the second-placed manufacturer.
The factory 935/77 cars featured a twin turbo setup and boasted an extra 40 bhp, now up at 630 bhp. At the end of the 1977 season, Porsche decided to withdraw from the World Championship of Makes and to let its strong and capable band of privateer teams carry the company flag. The factory made one exception in ’78, and that was to run their very special 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ in the Le Mans 24 Hours that year.
In 1977, Porsche built and sold a small number of 935s to private teams, such as the Kremer Brothers and Georg Loos, these being similar to the 1976 cars. While the Georg Loos cars were essentially factory maintained, the Kremer Brothers did a lot of their own modifications, and became very successful in the process. In 1976, Kremer built the 935 K1, in 1977 they developed the K2, and the K3 was introduced at the start of the 1979 season. The 935 Kremer K3 went on to win the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours, with a factory-specification Porsche 935 finishing second.
The Porsche 935 won over 150 races worldwide, with more than 20 class victories. It won the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours outright, along with six victories at both the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours. It was undefeated in the German DRM Championship between 1977 and 1979 and claimed three Nürburgring 1000 km victories. The 935 also took victory in the FIA World Championship for Makes each year from 1976 to 1979. In its day, the Porsche 935 dominated endurance racing around the world, in a manner never before seen.
To those who feel that this era was all about Porsche’s domination of the racing scene, perhaps it would be appropriate to mention that as from as early as 1966, every newly developed Porsche race car was subjected to the most rigorous testing regime imaginable. In addition to the usual engine bench testing, each new race car was given a thorough workout on the test track at Weissach. As if that were not enough, it was customary for each new race car to survive a 1000 km assault on Weissach’s destruction track, which included a run through the pothole course, over humpbacks and the ramp which ensured that when the race car returned to the earth, any suspect components or manufacturing weak spot, would become immediately evident. Even the mighty Porsche 917 had to endure this punishing test, which was as mush a test for the car as it was for the drivers tasked with carrying out the test drive.
As a result, any race car that successfully completely this test regime, was very unlikely to fail on the race track. There were very few other manufacturers who could claim to have put their race cars through such a tortuous test. This, together with many thousands of kilometres of track testing around Paul Ricard, ensured that the 935 was immensely fast, ultra-reliable and as strong as a tank. It is perhaps therefore unsurprising that the 935 was so successful.
The 1977 season
While the 1976 season had been one of trials and testing various 935 components and setups, it didn’t stop Porsche winning both the World Championship of Makes as well as the World Sportscar Championship with the 935 that year.
For the first race of the ’77 season, the factory 935 was pretty much a 1976 car fitted with a single turbocharger. The Daytona 24 Hours was won by Hurley Haywood, John Graves and Dave Helmick in a 911 Carrera RSR, followed home by a pair of privateer 935s. At Mugello in March, a factory 935 was victorious, followed again by a pair of privateer 935s. The same pattern was repeated at the Silverstone 6 Hours in May, but the Nürburgring 1000 kms was almost embarrassing, depending on which camp your loyalties sat in. While the first two cars were indeed 935s, the top 19 finishers apart from third and 18th places which were filled by BMWs, the rest comprised Porsches consisting of a mix of 934s, 934/5s, Carrera RSRs and Carrera RSs.
At the Le Mans 24 Hours that year, a privately entered 935 finished third, while at the Watkins Glen 6 Hour, a factory 935/77 won followed by a Vasek Polak 935. At the Silverstone 6 Hours in September, the first four cars were again 935s. Hockenheim and Vallelunga rounded off the ’77 season with wins for the privateer Porsche 935s, little wonder that Porsche took the Marques’ Championship with 180 points to BMW’s 37 points.
The factory decided to withdraw from active participation in the championship at the end of the ’77 season, that is, apart from a brief but memorable assault with the famous ‘Moby Dick’ 935/78. That car wrote its own chapter in the history books, and even though the factory had withdrawn from officially competing, they did undertake to support the privateer teams who fielded the 935. But the purpose of this feature is not to examine the history and development of the Porsche 935, that would require a book, but this story instead charts the life and times of a specific 935, chassis #930 890 0021.
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