Chassis #: RLR 962-106B
Engine #: 956 348
Toward the end of 1984 Porsche would display its newest sports-prototype racing car. One year later, this new car would make its first official debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona with Mario and Michael Andretti behind the wheel. The car would go on to lead for more than 100 laps but would end up retiring with gearbox related. Despite its fruitless introduction to IMSA and GTP and Group C racing, the Porsche 962 would go on to become one of the most dominant cars in all of motor racing.
In 1982, Norbert Singer had designed and built the 956 for Porsche to compete in the FIA World Sportscar Championship. In its first attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 956 would be driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell to an overall win after having led the whole event.
The 956 would go on to score a number of important victories and would even be the type of car in which Stefan Bellof would use to set his all-time lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
However, by the end of the 1983 season it was obvious there was room for improvement. One important area many believed the 956 needed to be greatly improved was in the area of safety. Ironically it would be in a 956 that Stefan Bellof would come to die, and after having collided with Jacky Ickx in the new 962.
Because of the success of the 956, the new 962 originally was intended for the American markets and the IMSA GTP series. The 956 had been banned in the United States and the IMSA series because the car's design placed the driver's feet ahead of the car's front axle. This made the driver's legs as much a part of the crash structure as the structure itself. In addition to the issue of the positioning of the driver's legs, the 956 lacked a roll cage incorporated into the chassis. This only added to the safety concerns surrounding the 956. These factors would need to be take into consideration into a new car design.
Norbert Singer, the same man that created the 956, would set to work creating the 962. Very simply, Singer would take and extend the length of the wheelbase on the new car. He would also go an extra step and would incorporate the roll cage into the chassis of the car.
Twin-turbo systems were not allowed in the IMSA class at the time. Therefore, Singer would turn to a 2.8-liter flat-six that would use a single turbocharger. When the car would later be adapted for use in Group C twin-turbocharged engines would be allowed along with the 2.6-liter engine used in the 956. Later variants of the 962 would even use engines with sizes ranging from 2.8 up to 3.2-liters.
When Singer and his team were done they would create a car in which Derek Bell would exclaim was quite, 'a fabulous car…it was really quite easy to drive.' The car was so fabulous it would go on to score more than 180 victories; more than the 956 it was meant to replace.
Porsche, between 1984 and 1991, would go on to build 91 962 chassis. Of those 91, only 16 would be used by the factory team. The rest would be sold to customers like Richard Lloyd Racing. One of those 962s sold to Richard Lloyd Racing would be made available at this year's Bonhams Quail Lodge Sale in Carmel, California.
Chassis RLR 962-106B would be one of those 962s that would have the honor of adding to the car's legend while it was seen on the racetracks of the world.
The footbox placement issue made the 956 illegal for obvious safety reasons. Therefore, Richard Lloyd switched to the 962 for the upcoming 1986 season. Fully intending to take advantage of what the 962 had to offer, Lloyd's group would take the 962 and would make some very important tweaks.
At the time, Tom Walkinshaw Racing's Jaguars were becoming major players in the Group C field. The Jags, designed by Tony Southgate, would prove fast and quite capable. Therefore, Nigel Stroud would see if it could employ some of the same design features existing on the Jaguar into their 962.
When Stroud was finished, their 962 would bear a tremendous similarity to Walkinshaw's cats. The nose would be redesigned slightly and would appear to be an obvious blending of the 962's nose and aspects from the Jaguar. But the similarities wouldn't begin and end with the nose. Stroud would take another page from the Jaguar design and would apply wheel skirts to the rear wheels. This would help to make the car even more similar to the Jaguars. Chassis 962-106B would be one of those 'tweaked' Porsches.
The chassis would end up being driven by Mauro Baldi and Jonathan Palmer throughout the 1987 season. The changes made to the car would make an immediate impact. In spite of some retirements 962-106B would go on win at Norisring. In addition, the car would also go on to finish 2nd at the Brands Hatch 1000km. The car would even earn a well-deserved 5th place result at the 1000km of the Nurburgring. The success of the car was due, in most part, to the fact the tweaks made it blindingly quick. Its blazing speed would enable Jochen Mass to take the car and finish 1987 with a win at Kyalami in South Africa.
After a rather successful 1987 season, 962-106B would be purchased the Nisseki Trust team and would be headed off to Japan to take part in the Japan Sports Prototype Championship. While part of that series, 962-106B would be driven by George Fouche and Steven Andskar. In their hands the car would go on to earn a number of podium finishes.
As presented for auction, 962-106B comes in the livery it wore during the 1991 Japan Sports Prototype Championship. With its Porsche pedigree, its unique body-styling and proven success on the race track it was little wonder the car, much of which remains quite original, was expected to command between $500,000 and $600,000 at auction.Sources:
'Sale 193363: Lot No: 29: 1987 Porsche Type 962 Group C Racing Coupe', (http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19363/lot/29/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19363/lot/29/. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 962', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 June 2011, 03:55 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_962&oldid=434703515 accessed 7 September 2011
Wikipedia contributors, 'Porsche 956', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 July 2011, 03:48 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_956&oldid=437336536 accessed 7 September 2011
'Porsche 962C', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/754/Porsche-962C-.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/754/Porsche-962C-.html. Retrieved 7 September 2011.By Jeremy McMullen