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Why was 1983 a good year in Group C?

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1983 Porsche 956 chassis #110
1983 Porsche 956 chassis #110 – Matthew Howell © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 1983 Group C World Endurance Championship was arguably one of the most exciting and competitive racing seasons in years. So, why was 1983 a good year in Group C? Well, this was the first year in which Porsche released the new 956 race car to its approved customer teams, and this resulted in increased competition, and packed grids. All good stuff for both the spectator and the sport.

1983 Porsche 956 chassis #110
1983 Porsche 956 chassis #110 – Matthew Howell © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In 1982, a new racing class, Group C, was introduced that would keep sports car racing fans spellbound for a decade. The new class of cars eligible for Group C would reach speeds previously not thought possible on the circuits of Europe, the UK and Japan. Porsche’s entrant in this class was the Type 956, a full ground-effects Group C prototype race car.
The 956, produced between 1982-1985, was powered by a 2649 cc twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder boxer engine. Developing around 620 bhp and with a top speed of around 360 km/h, Porsche’s big advantage came in the form of its reliability. The boxer engine had proven itself over and over again in the production arena as well as in countless motorsport applications. The engine featured water-cooled heads and air-cooled cylinders, and was in principle the same as that engine that had powered the 936/81 to victory at Le Mans in 1981.

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