The 959 took both first and second place in the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally. For 1986, the Dakar Porsches finally got all the upgrades from the 959 project, including the active four-wheel drive system offering four driving modes adjusted by the computers. This gave Porsche a 1-2 finish, with supporting 959 Dakar engineer Unger Kussmaul crossing the line at sixth. Once the champagne had dried up, Porsche deemed its Dakar program accomplished.
The Porsche 961 was the racing version of the 959 supercar. While the 959 rallye car was also internally called 961, publicly only the circuit racer was called 961. Only one 961 was built. It had 959 prototype chassis number which in turn was from the 1985 911 Turbo chassis number sequence: WP0ZZZ93ZFS010016. The 961 was entered at the 1986 Le Mans 24 hour race. Uncommonly, the 24 hour race was scheduled for May 31-June 1 that year, two weeks earlier of the typical Le Mans weekend in the middle of June.
The first prototype receiving those modifications was code named “F3”, and was destroyed in the first crash test. A total of 37 prototypes and pre-production cars were used for testing and press activities. Most of these prototypes were dismantled and discarded, but several managed to survive. In 1985, Porsche’s head of development Helmut Bott earmarked 29 930 Turbo chassis to be turned into 959 prototypes for testing.
The idea for 959 was born as early as 1983 when this so-called Guppe B prototype was displayed at Frankfurt Motor Show. While there were glimpses of the contemporary 911 in the Gruppe B – the wheelbase, the roofline, the windows and doors, much of the interior – in truth the new model had little in common with Porsche’s perennial sports car. The production 959 ended up being launched in 1987.