Dick Barbour went to Le Mans as an entrant for the first time in 1978. He entered two Porsche 935s at the classic French Enduro. He had started racing in IMSA in 1977 after having bought one of the original ten Porsche 934.5 models offered by the factory for IMSA racing in 1977. He ran some of the IMSA races with mixed success in 1977. Towards the end of the season, he and Bob Garretson made an agreement for the 1978 season, where Garretson Enterprises, an independent Porsche repair shop in Mountain View, California, would prepare Dick’s car(s) in 1978. They had already made a name for themselves in 1977 by preparing Walt Maas’ IMSA GTU championship winning Porsche 914/6. They had entered eleven races and won eight of them, and finished second, third and fourth in the others, winning the championship over the factory Datsun 240Z of Sam Posey run by Bob Sharp. They had also prepared the winning car at the famous Pikes Peak hill climb (Colorado USA) in 1976, a Porsche powered buggy driven by Rick Mears.
Dick was looking to expand in 1978, and he had ordered a new 935/78 (77A) for Daytona. His old 934.5 from 1977 would need some work and investment to update it to a 935. With Johnnie Rutherford and Manfred Schurti as co-drivers he had finished second overall at Daytona with the new car, after being delayed by a blown tyre in the Daytona banking which lost a lot of time for repairs. For Sebring, two cars were entered, and although Dick’s main car faltered when a shock broke and punctured an oil line, the second car driven by Bob Garretson, Brian Redman and Charles Mendez (the race promoter), won the race. That car was immediately sold to John Paul after Sebring.
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