Sometimes, a car’s history is so good that it is never lost track of. Such a vehicle’s every move is recorded, documented, and laid out for the world to see. It is never crashed, it has only a small number of owners, and its provenance is so well recorded that when, at last, it eventually comes on the market, it is held up to be one of the most desirable racing cars ever. When it comes to sports-racing cars, it’s as likely as not that such a car is a Porsche.
When, in 1982, Porsche introduced their 956, nobody could have predicted the effect it would have on sports-car racing. The first few photos of the original unkempt 956, tested at Weissach with Derek Bell at its controls, showed a scruffy prototype, its bodywork sporting assorted shades of grey-white primer, gelcoat and grime. It was an unprepossessing vehicle – but it was the first example of a whole new dynasty, a type of car which would become, unquestionably, the most successful sports-racing car the world has ever seen.
As with all other 956s, the history of 009, the subject of this review, has been easy to keep track of. On the bulkhead between the driver and the mid-mounted flat-six engine is glued a brass plate, etched with black numbers “956 009”, and carrying a stick-on brass Porsche badge. Take one look through the windscreen of a 956, and the chassis number plate will be staring back at you, unmistakable, easily recordable. Thus it came about that the history of the individual 956s, and their near-identical siblings the 962s, became the best recorded of any sports-racing cars ever built.
Derek Bell/Stefan Bellof 1984 World Championship Winner. Dominated the 1984 season – 5 wins from 7 starts. The most successful of all the Works Rothmans 956/962