This Porsche 935 shown is one of the most successful of all the Porsche 935 racers. John L. Paul Sr. and Jr. commissioned Graham Bartrills' GAACO company to construct a 935 suitable for endurance competition. A donor 1972 Porsche 911T was used and a tube frame and fiberglass bodywork was constructed. The engine, transmission, windshield pillars, roof, door frames, and cowl were the only items used from the donor car. The suspension and aerodynamics were unique to this car and designed for high speed, endurance racing.
In 1982, this car won the Sebring 12 Hours and the Daytona 24 Hours; it is the only car to ever win both of these races. From September of 1981 through May of 1982, it captured first place seven times. Of the twenty-seven races in which it competed, it won nine times and provided podium finishes sixteen times.
This car has been piloted by Derek Bell, Mauricio de Narvaez and Rolf Stommelen.
Power comes from a IMSA-spec 3.2-liter engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection. There are twin-turbochargers that help produces over 750 horsepower. There is a four-speed transaxle and four-wheel disc brakes. It was recently entered in the 2005 Monterey Historics.
This car was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida where it was estimated to sell between $750,000 - $950,000. This historically significant racer did well at stirring interest at the auction, though bidding fell short of the estimated value and the car was left unsold. A high bid of $680,000 was not enough to satisfy the reserve.Also photographed at :
When it was all said and done, the Porsche 935 would become one of the fastest and most successful of all the production-based circuit racers. Throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the Porsche 935 came to define its class and would make for some truly memorable sights with its turbo lag and famous fireball spitting from the exhaust.
The FIA had had enough of the prototypes in sportscar endurance racing. And, starting with the 1976 season, would change the regulations creating a new Group 5 for 'Silhouette' race cars. These cars would be based upon those models that qualified for Groups 1 through 4. Such regulations perfectly suited Porsche at the time.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1973, Porsche would unveil the 930 Turbo Porsche. The turbo technology in the car had drawn from the experience the factory had gained with the 917. Then, using a 930/911 body structure and suspension, Porsche would develop its Turbo Carrera Group 4 competition car.
The Turbo Carrera would make use of an engine of just over 2.1-liters. However, with the turbocharging, the dual ignition and Bosch Fuel Injection the car would produce more than 500 bhp. This would be more power than that produced by the 4.5-liter flat twelve engines that powered the 917 just a few years prior.
But then there was the new Group 5 and the 'silhouette' race cars. In its battle against the prototype, the Group 5 rules would make for a production-based car that could be modified, but would still need to be based off a car qualifying for Groups 1 through 4. Those of the new Group 5 category would then be competing in the World Championship for Makes in the IMSA GT Championship and the German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft.
Porsche's answer to this new Group 5 category would be an evolution of the Carrera RSR first introduced in 1974. Under 'silhouette' rules a number of significant modifications would be allowed. These would include modifications to the car's bodywork and would also include the use of larger wings, wider axles and even water cooling. Minimum weight for the category was set at 970 kg. Porsche's answer would be the 935. And when empty, the car only weighed in at 900kg. This would create an advantage for the car as the additional 70kg needed to make the car legal according to the regulations could be positioned wherever it best helped with the stability and handling of the car.
The other advantage the 935 had was in its engine and turbo technology. The FIA, SCCA and IMSA would all follow their own rules and would evolve them over the years, which would make things difficult. However, at one point in the 935's history its flat-six was noted to produce in excess of 800 bhp! This would make the 935 one of the most powerful race cars in Porsche's race history.
While initially the Group 5 cars shared a good deal in common with the production-based brethren of Groups 1 through 4, later models, especially of the 935, would share only the very basic elements, especially those mandated by the rules, with its production-based relation. Some of the most famous of these, those that would become referred to as 'Moby Dick' because of their long tails, would take the regulations to the absolute limit and would become a matter of interpretation more than a strict adherence to the letter of the law.
The Porsche 935 would enjoy a period of dominance unheard of. This would be mostly due to the fact that Porsche not only entered factory 935s but also made the car available to a number of customers. Therefore, it was not at all surprising to find more than a handful of 935s entered in every single endurance race. Therefore, odds were in its favor even before the start of a race. However, by the early 1980s, Porsche was beginning to switch its focus back to prototypes with the 956 and 962. This meant the majority of the 935 customers would be left looking elsewhere to have their cars built. So, in many ways, the customer 935s would become particularly identifiable with particular teams because of the fact there 935 had been custom-built by smaller shops in which the teams had a relationship. One such privately-built 935 would be JLP-3.
At the 2012 RM Auctions event held in Monterey the 1981 Porsche 935 known as JLP-3 would become available for purchase. This would give a blessed person the opportunity to own a truly successful and historic 935.
Throughout motor racing, especially sportscar endurance racing, there have been more than a few successful father/son partnerships. Toward the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of those successful father/son combinations would be John L. Paul Sr. and Jr. And, in 1981, the pair would turn to Graham 'Rabbit' Bartrills and his GAACO company of Norcross, Georgia to build their own special Porsche 935.
Bartrills would push the boundaries of the regulations at the time and would come to use just the cowl, windshield pillars, roof and door frames of a 1972 911 T. The rest of the car, however, would be anything but stock.
Bartrills would then build a high-tech tube frame and would custom build the race car using lightweight fiberglass bodywork and would feature the latest in suspension technology and aerodynamics. The result would be, arguably, the most successful of all the Porsche 935 race cars.
JLP-3 would take part in the 1982 24 Hours of Daytona and would bring home the overall victory in that event. That success would then be followed up with an overall victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring, also in 1982. This would make JLP-3 the only car to achieve the feat of winning the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring all in the same year.
But the car's success wouldn't end there. In fact, the car would go on to score an unprecedented run of seven consecutive race victories, from Pocono in 1981 through to Charlotte in May of 1982. Out of a total of 27 races, JLP-3 would record a total of 9 wins and would end up on the podium no less than 16 times. What that translated into was a victory in every three races it entered and a remarkable 60 percent rate of finishing on the podium.
In addition to being driven by the Pauls, the car would be driven by the great Derek Bell, Mauricio de Narvaez and Rolf Stommelen. And it would be the performance of the car and the ability of its drivers that would lead to John Paul Jr. scoring the 1982 Camel GT Championship and his father earning the 1982 International Triple Crown of Endurance Championship.
Some years ago, JLP-3 would be restored by the Porsche specialists at Gunnar Racing and has since been maintained by them and Canepa Design. While in the possession of its current owner, the Porsche 935 has undergone an exhaustive and painstaking race preparation. Part of the process would include a rebuild of the car's twin-turbos, 3.2-liter engine, four-speed transaxle, suspension and brakes.
Considered the 'definitive Porsche 935', Bartrill's creation would perfectly maximize handling, balance and performance. The work would lead to a veteran 935 racer who had the opportunity to drive JLP-3 to say the car was, 'well balanced and easy to throw around, not like most 935s.' Additionally, the 935 veteran would remark, 'It is fast, fast, fast.'
Given its remarkable racing history, list of drivers to have driven it and its performance in its restored state, catching a glimpse of JLP-3 would be nothing short of one of the most memorable moments in motor sports history. And, given that it is considered to be the most dominant of all 935s, the car certainly deserves a prominent and proud place in any collection.
Estimated to draw between $1,300,000 and $1,800,000 heading into auction, JLP-3 certainly deserves a handsome sum, just out of honor for all the car has managed to achieve throughout its short racing history.
Sources: 'Lot No. 216: 1981 Porsche 935 JLP-3 IMSA Racing Car', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=mo12&CarID=r219). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=mo12&CarID=r219. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
'Lot 450: 1980 Porsche 935 IMSA Racing Coupe', (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20322/lot/450/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20322/lot/450/. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 935', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 December 2012, 09:51 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_935&oldid=530120739 accessed 3 January 2013