Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tale of a Great Car

Over at SpeedTV.com, they've been doing an occasional series (along with Ultimate Car Page) on classic race cars. Today's entry is as classic as it gets, the Porsche 956. The 956 was Porsche's entry into the Group C series for sports prototypes back in 1980s. Here's a sample of the 956 in its element, at Le Mans, where it won four times:

The 956 gave way to the 962 for the IMSA GTP series (required because of different safety regulations) and then the 962C for Group C. The 962C, in various versions, notched three Le Mans victories.

What makes the dominance of the 956/962 all the more impressive is that it was done while building a lot of cars:

Key to the success of the 956 was the large fleet of customer entered example, backing up the works entries. A total of 10 works and 17 customer cars were constructed.
Compare that to the dominant Audis of recent years, which were rare in number and jealously guarded by the factory. Porsche would sell to anyone who could pay. Sports car racing would be in better shape if somebody did something similar today.

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