It is a well-known fact that the Porsche 956 & 962 derivatives were together the most successful sports prototypes that have ever turned a wheel. So totally dominant were these cars during the Group C era (1982-1992), that a driver needed to ask himself a simple question – do I want to win or not? If the answer was ‘yes’ then he needed to get himself behind the wheel of a 956 or a 962. Of course, there were some races where Porsche did not win, but during the first half of the Group C decade, the 956 and 962 cars were almost always on the podium, it was just a question of which step they were on and whether it was a works car or a privately entered car.
Having written a fair few of these Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manuals myself, I can say that although they are perhaps slightly shorter than your average coffee table book on a similar subject, they are no less jammed with information. The amount of research that goes into one of these Owners’ Workshop Manuals, is equal to that which you would do for any other book, almost regardless of length. You still have to interview all the engineers you can get hold of, all the drivers that you can possibly get in contact with, photograph a lot of the components that need explaining in the book, and much more.
The problem with the Owners’ Workshop Manuals is that the market thinks these books are only for folk who own a 956 or 962 race car. If you are lucky enough to own such a race car, you would probably have a small army of technicians looking after it for you. The content of these aspirational manuals would not help you to change the spark plugs or a radiator hose on your 956 or 962. No, the real reason behind buying an Owners’ Workshop Manual, is for the enthusiast to learn more about these cars and to find out what makes them tick.
With this in mind, the reader will find out within the pages of the Porsche 956 & 962 Owners’ Workshop Manual just how the 956/962 was made, tested and developed for the track. Here, author Nick Garton, has interviewed engineers and scoured the Porsche Archives for information on others. An entire section has been devoted to some of those very special races, where victory was notable against the odds, including famous races both in the UK/Europe, and in the USA. This section includes the 1994 Le Mans victory in the Dauer Porsche 962, as that car was based on the 962 as developed by Porsche.
The author has included profiles on many of the top drivers who were lucky enough to drive these cars in period including: Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Vern Schuppan, Stefan Bellof, Hans Stuck, Al Holbert and Bob Wollek. There are, of course, bits of information and quotes on other drivers throughout the book.
The writer also delves into the Anatomy of the race car in question. This means that the author gives an in-depth analysis of key components within the car, such as the engine and gearbox, brakes, aerodynamics, suspension, cockpit, the wheels and so on. Every major component is detailed and explained, and where alternative components were tried, they too are given space.
Where certain individual cars stood out above others insofar as victories was concerned, the author has provided the reader with a table of the number of seasons those cars competed in, the number of races, wins, pole positions and podiums. Another interesting section covered by this Owners’ Workshop Manual contains the views of those who worked on the cars in period, providing valuable information from the pit garage and workshop. This will include stories and anecdotes by mechanics and team principals, and others connected with the team. There is even a section devoted to interesting stories about some of the teams, where their sponsorship money came from et cetera.
Sports prototype racing in the 1980s was a very colourful and exciting series, and with the avalanche of sponsorship money that flowed into Group C, the sport was awash with innovation and entertainment. Motorsport couldn’t get any more exciting than it was during the Group C years, and Porsche was at the top of this pyramid with the 956 and 962. The final section of the book lists the extraordinary achievements and results of the 956 and 962 models, from around the world.
The Porsche 956 & 962 Owners’ Workshop Manual is another title in Haynes’ aspirational Owners’ Workshop Manual series, and contains valuable insights from owners, mechanics, team personnel and drivers. As such, the aspirational Owners’ Workshop Manual is typically a power-packed book containing far more information than the reader might at first think. The content, though, is in the style of any other normal book on the subject and as such it would provide useful and often previously unpublished facts and stories about your favourite race cars.
With this in mind, the Porsche 956 & 962 Owners’ Workshop Manual, is a very informative book at a very reasonable price. This particular title provides a wealth of knowledge about some of the technical aspects that made these sports prototypes so successful. Adding this title to your bookshelf is a no-brainer, so get your copy now.