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​Porsche 962 Works Car (Chassis #007)

One of just two new lightweight Rothmans Works car built for 1987 and then updated to Shell Dunlop spec’ for Le Mans 1988.

Porsche 962-007 Works

One of just two new lightweight Rothmans Works car built for 1987 and then updated to Shell Dunlop spec’ for Le Mans 1988. Restored to its ‘87 Works Rothmans livery and sprint body spec’.
The first of the three famed Shell Dunlop cars that would in 1988 heroically try to extend Porsche’s dominance at Le Mans for one more year, against the rapidly advancing tide of carbon-fibre tubbed, far more frugal Jaguars. However its life had started the year before as one of two newly built ‘lightweight’ Rothmans factory team cars, uniquely equipped with the latest 3-litre engine which at last dispensed with air-cooling even for the cylinder block, making the 962 the first ever fully water cooled flat six Porsche.

Its job was as a replacement for Wollek and Mass, whose 004 car now belonged to Joest and after a sixth place finish at Monza and a fourth at Silverstone, it was to have headed to Le Mans. In the event its season was ended by a crash at Weissach whilst being shaken down before loading for the 24-hour race by Hans Stuck, who subsequently famously had to give up his own car as a result, and Stuck famously went on to win, with Derek Bell, in the team’s spare car. After Le Mans that year, Porsche withdrew from the world championship as a works team.

As Porsche was not contesting the 1988 championship either, Le Mans would be its only serious outing of the year. 007 was rebuilt and upgraded to the latest MP 1.7 specification, with more power and better fuel economy and was driven by 1983 LM winning driver Vern Schuppan, Bob Wollek and Sarel van de Merwe. 007 qualified on the front row, next to 962 010 and despite the onslaught of five works Jaguars, it would lead the race for six hours before eventually succumbing to engine failure at around 4 o’clock on Sunday morning.

The car was then sold to the Joest team, achieving a podium first time out, at the Nürburgring 1,000km and a second place at the final race in Kyalami that year, driven by Klaus Ludwig, this being the 1988 highlight for this car with Joest. For 1989,with Wollek and Jelinski at the wheel, there was another podium at the first championship round at Suzuka. It raced on through 1989 in lesser races, with second place at the Nürburgring round of the ADAC championship.

Its third attempt at Le Mans saw a start on the seventh row, co driven by Winter and Raphanel. All looked to be a possible repeat of the first part of 1988, with 007 being up to 4th place by the end of the first hour, third the next hour and then up to second place by the 6th hour, behind the leading sister car of Stuck and Wollek. Sadly, by the eighth hour a water leak forced retirement after such a promising start. However, there was a little consolation with a podium at the following 200 Meilen Norisring and then a couple of wins in an Interserie race with Louis Krages driving under the pseudonym ‘John Winter’ at the wheel.

After it’s final race at Del Mar, Joest performed a full rebuild back to 1988 Works Le Mans spec with the memorable Shell Dunlop livery and 007 remained with the Joest collection until 1995 before being sold to a collector in the USA. The car changed hands in November 2000 and in 2004 the trio of Shell Dunlop cars from that 1988 Le Mans effort (chassis 007, 008 and 010) were reunited at the second Rennsport Reunion event at Daytona. 007 was acquired almost 10 years ago from that second owner in November 2011 and joined the other two Shell Dunlop 962s as part of the Historic Porsche collection, where they have remained ever since. A full restoration at world-renowned 956 and 962 specialist Katana Ltd. was completed in 2019 and 007 has now been returned to its 1987 Works Rothmans livery and sprint body specification.

Text from Historic Porsche. For more information check out their full article and history here.