You might first want to read the story of the 1982-1984 Porsche 956

Porsche 962, 962 C (1984-1991)

Premiere: February 3, 1984, qualification for Daytona 24H

Le Mans winner 1986-1987-1994

© Porsche
962 (IMSA GTP)962 C (FISA Group C1)
Engines usedflat-6, aircooled, 2 valves per cyliner, single turbo 2.9/3.0/3.2 L
1991: watercooled heads, 4 valves per cylinder, twin-turbo 3.0/3.2
flat-6, water-cooled cylinder heads, air-cooled cylinders, 4 valves per cylinder, twin-turbo 2.6/2.8/3.0/3.2 L
Weight without fuel, without driver850 kg /~1900 lb 820 kg /~1800 lb
Fuel tank120 L99 L (allowed size 100 L)
Dimensionslength 4770 mm, wheelbase 2770 mm, width 1990 mmlength 4770 mm, wheelbase 2770 mm, width 1990 mm
Top speed350+ kph / 218+ mph350+ kph / 218+ mph
Complete cars built by Porscheapprox. 19approx. 54
Cars made by others using own and Porsche partsapprox. 16approx. 37 (including Dauer street and GT1-class cars)

The 956 was not safe enough to be allowed to race at IMSA events, so Porsche created the "American" version of the 956, called the 962. The wheelbase of the car was extended by 4.7"/12 cm for the driver's feet not to extend over the centerline of the front wheels. Other safety measures were carried out with the cockpit and a different engine was installed. The IMSA regulations didn't allow twin-turbo engines, so a single-turbo engine was used.

Aluminium roll-over bars in 956 were replaced with steel bars for 962© Porsche

The 956 and 962 are extremely identical in looks. Only a sharp eye can notice that the nose of the 956 is showel-shaped and a bit longer than the nose of the 962 that is wedge-shaped and a bit shorter. Private teams created their own modifications to the body or even complete new chassis and new body designs. By the Porsche tradition, the cars built for factory team, have the chassis numbers in the form of 9620xx and the cars built for customers in the form of 9621xx. The privately built cars that used 962 components with their own chassis, had their own chassis numbers.

Porsche debuted the 962 in February 1984 at the 24 Hours of Daytona with Mario and Michael Andretti driving the factory car. They started from the pole position and led the race until had to retire due to technical problems. This car, the 962-001, was the only IMSA-962 used by the factory team and was only used once. In additon to the factory team 962-001, in 1984 Porsche produced six 962s for American customers and one Group C1 car. Two private 962s were entered for the 1984 Le Mans. Unfortunately the Swap Shop IMSA-spec 962 (single turbo 2.9) had to retire because of the ignition system failure and the Skoal Bandit 962 C (twin-turbo 2.6) because of the accident. This was the first 962 C, chassis number 962-105. Luckily both teams had 956s, too, that would finish on podium.

962 starts winning the races: 1984 Watkins Glen 6H, Pocono 500 km, Daytona 3H, 1985 Daytona 24H, Miami 3H, Sebring 12H, Mugello 1000 km, Laguna Seca 300 km, Silverstone 1000 km, Charlotte 500 km, Lime Rock 2H, Mid-Ohio 500 km...

For the Le Mans practice sessions in 1985, Porsche ran the fully water-cooled 3-litre twin-turbo with around 515 kW. For the race, they opted for the proven water- and air-cooled 2.65-litre unit with around 470 kW. Despite the factory team participating with the 962 C cars, the 1985 Le Mans 24H was won again by the same team, same car and even one of the drivers as last year - the 956 of New-Man sponsored Joest Racing team. The best 962 scored third driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck/Derek Bell. The significance of the #2 car is really great because Stuck drove a qualification lap in 3:14.8 averaging 156.5 mph/251.815 kmh which is an absolute record at Le Mans. 962 was the fastest car for years and later chicanes were added to the main straight, so the record couldn't be broken anymore.

1985 Le Mans 3rd: 962 C (chassis 962-003, twin-turbo 2.6) #2 Hans-Joachim Stuck/Derek Bell. In the qualification Stuck drove a lap averaging 156.5 mph/251.815 km which is an absolute record at Le Mans. © Porsche

The 962 is victorious at 1985 Watkins Glen 3H, Hockenheim 1000 km, Sears Point 300 km, Mosport 1000 km, Road America 500 miles, Pocono 500 km, Brands Hatch 1000 km, Columbus 500 km, Daytona 3H, 1986 Daytona 24H, Sebring 12H...

1986 chart shows the relationship between drag coefficient (Widerstandsbeiwert), downforce (Abtriebsbeiwert), fuel consumption and lap time. Car (3) has the aerodynamics of 1978 (no ground-effect), car (2) is a typical Le Mans car, car (1) has too much downforce for the track as fast as Le Mans© Porsche

The Porsche DoppelKupplung (PDK) double clutch gearbox was first used for racing in 1984 in a 956. Following further tests, in 1986 the 962 C, chassis 962-003, was equipped with the PDK and was even able to chalk up a victory at the Monza 360 km race.

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Article © James Herne /

Continue to Porsche at Le Mans

Mar, 05 – 14th birthday of the Carrera GT (2003)
Mar, 06 – 5th birthday of the Boxster 981 (2012)
Mar, 12 – 48th birthday of the 917 (1969)
Mar, 13 – 56th birthday of Ferdinand Oliver Porsche (1961)
Mar, 16 – 40th birthday of the 928 (1977)