Premiere: May 14, 1978 Silverstone 6 hours
Engine: 3.2-litre 24-valve flat-6 bi-turbo
Only one 935/78 was built, wearing chassis number 935006, and used by Martini sponsored Porsche factory racing team. This article is not about the 935 customer cars built in 1978 (these were 935/76 in essence).
When the 935/78 was first shown, it didn't look exactly as it would once it's ready for racing. The prototype had very wide doors, a shape in the side that looked like a supersized NACA duct and a different rear wing.
The prototype was nicknamed "Moby Dick" after a big white whale in a famous novel and the name stuck with the car although it was never raced in full white.
The first race for the 935/78 was the 1978 Silverstone 6 hour race, which it easily won. The car was driven by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass. It remained the only podium place for the 935/78, though. The car's crazy look made it more famous than its single victory or its engine with water-cooled heads producing in the region of six hundred kilowatts.
Four weeks after the race at Silverstone came the 1978 Le Mans 24 hour endurance race for which the longtail 935 Group 5 car was built. It wasn't considered as the overall winner candidate, Porsche had 936 for that, but the 935/78 was third after qualification!
The 935/78 had enormous fuel consumption which forced additional fuel stops. Because of a few issues with the car, Rolf Stommelen and Manfred Schurti finished 8th, 43 laps down from the winning Alpine.
In September 1978, the 935-006 was entered in two more races, but without luck - the car didn't manage to finish the Vallelunga 6 hour and Norisring Trophy races because of different technical problems. The short career of the original 935/78 ended.
The 935/78 was taken to Porsche museum collection and fitted with number 1 like in its first race where it was victorious.
For the 1981 racing season Joest racing team created a clone of the "white whale". The car with chassis number JR-001 looked similar to 935/78 and in the first race on March 22, 1981 at Zolder in Belgium the car was painted white. While it was entered in more than 20 races between 1981-1983, it wasn't seen in white anymore. The car had some success in 1983 when it scored Road Atlanta 500 km 3rd, Riverside 6h 3rd and Pocono 500 Miles 2nd.
Another long-tail 935 was created by Andial. It was a successful racer scoring 1982 Riverside 6h 2nd, 1983 Daytona 24h 1st, 1984 Daytona 24h 2nd and 1984 Sebring 12h 3rd.
At some point in time, the museum car was decorated with number 43 that it wore at Le Mans.
Article © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
935/78 “Moby Dick”
- Vector drawing 594 mm x 420 mm (A2), B/W
- Format: PDF
- Author: Margus Holland
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