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962C

An Australian Racing Ace Reunites with a Special Porsche 962

Though not well known to American racing fans, Tomas Mezera is a celebrated name in Australian motorsports who’s raced most major styles of car over his long and storied career. After starting in Formula Fords, he quickly moved into touring cars, V8 Supercars, and even took a stab at sportscars/prototypes. Perhaps the two greatest accolades in his career were victory at the 1988 Bathurst 1000 and a shot at Le Mans 1990 in a Porsche 962C.

Now the chief driving instructor at the Porsche Sport Driving School on the Gold Coast, Mezera gets invited to plenty of high-profile Porsche events. At one of these events, some 21 years after driving the 962 at Le Mans, one kind soul at Porsche lent Mezera the production car-style key to one of the model’s most famous examples.

The Le Mans winner from 1987, this Rothmans-liveried 962 is one of the most iconic racing cars ever. It’s also a great memory jogger. Listen as Mezera—constantly grinning—regales us with stories from racing the 962; a car which left him « absolutely knackered » and bruised. Such was the speed of this car that, after moving from this monster to a V8-powered Holden Commodore, he felt as if he was driving in « slow motion. »

Considering the vast array of cars he’s tested, that’s high praise. Perhaps more than any other feature of the 962, it’s the power which stands out most to Mezera. The relentless, unrivaled acceleration of the 962 is something that leaves even the most seasoned veteran struggling for words. « I remember the car never stops accelerating, » he recounts with his heavy Czech-Australian accent—but his eyes, smile, and mannerisms say much more than that.

It’s a good video. Give it a watch.

It’s obvious the 962 leaves an indelible mark on those who experience its magic.

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Chris Harris Meets Norbert Singer and Tests a Le Mans-Winning 962

Decked out in the iconic Rothman’s livery, possessing 650 horsepower, and capable of 240 miles an hour, this gleaming Porsche 962 should give Chris Harris plenty of reason to grin. However, between sampling this Le Mans winner and talking to the man who helped create it, it’s not certain which Harris enjoys more. The affable, unassuming man sitting across from Harris is Norbert Singer, a motorsports genius who took some « large steps » toward developing downforce in the days when aerodynamics weren’t well understood.

The Product of Successful Experimentation

Singer was a critical element in the development of most major racing Porsches since the 917. But even compared to that incredible 917-30 and the outrageous power it possessed, the 962 stands above as it was a much more capable machine. In the early eighties, the understanding of downforce was limited, but a series of experiments conducted by Singer eventually led to the 962 producing twice the grip of the 917.

The sliding skirts which sealed the underbody of F1 cars in the early eighties weren’t applicable to the wider 962, and this drove Singer to try funneling air from the sides of the car into its venturi tunnels. Singer also experimented with a Gurney flap at the rear to learn that it had a positive influence on the front end! These discoveries revolutionized the downforce game in the eighties, and likely helped this Porsche enjoy the unrivaled success it had.

The Complete Package

Beyond producing power and grip, Porsche and Singer were obsessed with reliability. First, they sought to make the engine, stretched to a full 3.0-liter, run 24-hours without blowing. Then, making the syncro-mesh gearbox withstand the abuse of running at top-speed, for extended periods of time, in one gear, was another hurdle they had to cross. Yet, they made the gearbox withstand that relentless wave of torque that carried names like Stuck and Bell all the way to an 8,000-rpm redline for a complete day. 

To help harness that torque, they used a spool instead of a limited-slip differential, and yet, the Porsche doesn’t exhibit lots of understeer. Of course, tire technology of the time limited the amount of rear traction, and since going fast on the straights was the priority here, they aimed for maximizing corner-exit speeds. Compared to its rivals, the 962 possessed perhaps the best compromise of abilities for endurance racing.

While it wasn’t always the fastest car throughout its extended career, it could compensate with its breadth of ability. Not only was the 962 quick, it had the robustness to carry it the distance, a surprisingly friendly character, and a soundtrack to die for. Underneath all the popping and chirping and the baritone bellow of the flat-six, you can hear Harris giggling.

Perhaps the innovations associated with this 962 is what makes it shine, or perhaps it’s the turn-key usability. Maybe its those enviable good looks. Whatever the reason, it seems to have left all of those associated with it completely smitten.

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First Turbocharged Competition 911 to Race at 24 Hours of Le Mans is 1 of 3 Historic Porsches At Gooding’s Amelia Island Auction

Fans of forced induction or Porsche Motorsports History, rejoice. Up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction this March are three of the most influential turbocharged racing cars to ever grace the Porsche stable. Estimates are all in the seven figure-range, and each of these important Porsches carry with them a special air, an unmistakable power—these cars shaped the way Porsche went racing for nearly thirty years.

1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.1 Turbo (Estimate: $6,000,000-$8,000,000)

Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Mathieu Heurtault

The first, and most expensive of this group, is the ’74 Carrera RSR 2.1 Turbo. Not only was this the first production-based racing car from Porsche to sport a force-fed engine, but this particular car—R13—was the most successful of the RSR turbos. With superhuman drivers such as George Follmer, Gils Van Lennep, and Herbert Müller having steered the 911, as well as a second-overall finish at the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’s an impressive provenance that comes with this historic machine.

What’s most important about this mile-wide RSR is that it showed that turbochargers could make a real impact in production car racing. Prior to the the design of this Porsche, few racing cars utilized forced induction to fire around the road course, and none of them sported full bodywork, a roof, and closed wheels. Additionally, this Porsche revolutionized the way road car powerplants were conceived, and without it, it’s unlikely we would’ve had the road-going Porsche Turbo.

Its Martini livery, wide haunches, gaping maw, and enormous wing give it an unmistakable sense of style and purpose, and the future owner of this gate-opening icon should rest assured knowing they’re in possession of a machine that changed the course of Porsche Motorsport for the rest of the century.

1976 Porsche 934 (Estimate: $1,200,000-$1,600,000)

With its clean lines, mesh wheels, Light Yellow paint, this 934 is a head-turner wherever it goes. Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker.

The racing version of the Porsche 930 Turbo, the 934, was the natural evolution of the RSR 2.1 Turbo, but kept a much tighter link with its road-going sibling. On both sides of the Atlantic, the 934 was immensely successful; winning both the European GT championship and the Trans-Am championship. This particular Porsche managed to win on both sides of the pond, as owner Angelo Pallavinci was able to compete in a slew of European events before contesting the 1976 24 Hours of Daytona, where he clinched 10th place overall and 4th in the GTO class. Serving as the building block for the dominant 935, this car marked the point in history in which the rest of the marques started trying to match Porsche’s turbocharged prowess in the world of the sports car racing.

1990 Porsche 962C (Estimate: $1,500,000-$2,000,000)

Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Mike Maez.

The last of these featured gems might be the quintessential Porsche racer. If any one particular car defined the success Porsche Motorsport enjoyed with forced induction, it would have to be the 956/962. With its career spanning well over a decade, this Porsche enjoyed a lifetime of professional competition three times as long as most cars. Reliable, robust, immensely quick, and accessible to the gentleman racer as well as the seasoned pro, this car checked all the boxes and possessed a versatility that thoroughbred racing cars almost never have.

This particular 962, campaigned by Brun Motorsport GmbH, nearly won Le Mans in 1990; leading with several laps to go when the engine coughed its last. Considering the 962 was getting on in years then, it’s a testament to the Porsche’s incredible performance, especially at high speed, which kept it a formidable force even late in its life. Even today, the 962 manages to run with the best at any vintage racing meeting, and with those unmistakable lines and the mouth-watering Repsol livery, the combination is simply irresistible to anyone with a drop of motor oil in their veins.

The Amelia Island Auction
Date: Friday, March 9 at 11:00 AM EST
Location: Racquet Park, Omni Amelia Island Plantation
6800 First Coast Hwy
Amelia Island, FL 32034
Public preview: Thursday, March 8 through Friday, March 9
Auction catalogues: $75, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auction
General admission: $30, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auction
Live auction broadcast: www.goodingco.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GoodingandCompany
Twitter: @goodingandco #goodingamelia
Instagram: @goodingandcompany #goodingamelia
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/GoodingandCompany
Phone: 310.899.1960

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Onboard Video: Under The Lights With Daytona Classic Winning Porsche 962C “Leyton House”

This weekend marked the second Daytona Classic 24 « Group C/GTP » class victory for this 1987 No. 14 Porsche Kremer Racing/Leyton House 962C driven by Tommy Dreelan and Aaron Scott. Thanks to this awesome video from Racer.com, we’re given a bit of insight into what it’s like to drive one of these glorious beasts from yesteryear. At night. On the high banks of Daytona. This is such a surreal and supremely excellent video that I’ve now watched it a half-dozen times. With the roar of a turbocharged flat-six engine behind, and the headlights illuminating ahead, this video is just pure awesome. Suddenly, I have a desire to buy a vintage race car and run it at Daytona into the hours of darkness.

It’s almost other-worldly riding on board this Porsche-shaped spaceship. The light bounces off the track ahead from the high overhead lighting, spaced out in perfectly determined gaps. The skies ahead are as black as pitch, and the view of the banking ahead seems impossibly tilted. It messes with your head. You feel like you’re about to make the jump to hyperspace, and the universe is warping around you. In the movies, however, space ship engines are never this sonorous or audible, even. You know that the lap is always going to end at start/finish, just like it always does, but it feels like this time, possibly, you could end up on some distant faraway planet. This kind of speed just changes what feels like could be possible.

Most of us will never get to experience driving a wild prototype like a 962 on the banks of Daytona. The lucky few will get to drive their street cars at Daytona. There are a few wild GT-based race cars in this category that are massively more competitive at this track than any of our street cars could ever hope to be, and this 80s Group C hero simply walks right by them as though they’re standing still. A 962C is simply mega.

The post Onboard Video: Under The Lights With Daytona Classic Winning Porsche 962C “Leyton House” appeared first on FLATSIXES.

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