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Here’s Your Chance To Own A Le Mans Legend: Trust Racing Porsche 962 Up For Auction in London

This Thursday, a sparking example of a late-model 962 goes up for auction. At the RM Sotheby’s auction in Olympia Kingdom, Kensington, model 962-159 will make itself available to a lucky new owner—one who can probably recite the major players in Group C without much effort.

Perhaps better than any other version of he 962, this long-tail, high-downforce example demonstrates just how competitive the 962 was late into its career. This example raced only twice in its life—albeit both at Le Mans—which means 962-159 remains one of the most original and correct of all 962s. This car, sold to the Japanese Trust Racing team, added to the sizable 962 field at Le Mans during its debut—one of ten that year—and the quickest of the privateer 962s.

Impressively, this car qualified 11th—and the two 962s which out-qualified it were works-entered cars with more powerful 3.2-liter mills. Considering this car came with the customer-spec 3.0-liter engine, it demonstrated just how capable the 962 chassis was.

After a frantic race marred my mechanical attrition, the Trust car finished a commendable 13th. More importantly, it finished ahead of the second works Brun car—a car driven by superstars Jacques Laffitte and Henri Pescarolo. Considering that result from a privateer car with a less-than-punchy powerplant speaks to the level of competition in the midfield that year. Unfortunately, those impressive battles among the turbocharged entrants would be a thing of the past the following year.

Its return to Le Mans in 1991 wasn’t a massive success. After qualifying a promising 16th, it was relegated to start 21st due to the newly imposed rules against turbocharged cars. While it ran strongly throughout the race, its gearbox failed with a mere fifty minutes remaining. These new rules were the death knell for the turbocharged Group C entrants and the beginning of the end of the 962’s decade-long reign.

After its professional career came to a close, 962-159 was sold off to Bruce Canepa, former IMSA racer and renowned Porsche restorer. In the four years he owned it, Canepa subjected this car to an exacting restoration, which included a complete strip down to the bare tub and rebuilds of the engine, gearbox, brakes, and turbos. He installed new fuel, brake, and oil lines, and crack-tested all major load-bearing components. Without a doubt, it is ready for vintage racing.

In action at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 2012, this beauty was sold off to a Swiss consignor, who used it at several track days and kept it in his own private museum. A stunning car both inside and out, it would doubtless be welcomed in Historic Group C series, as well as at prestigious stand-alone events such as Le Mans Classic, Le Mans Legends, and the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona.

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Le Mans Champ Kevin Estre Gives Us a Wet Nurburgring Masterclass in a GT3 RS

Getting around the Green Hell with the sun shining overhead is hard enough. When the track is sodden, putting 520 horsepower to the pavement and not tapping a barrier is a Herculean challenge. For today’s demonstration, we have Kevin Estre as our guide around the 12.9-mile circuit. The thirty-year-old Frenchman is a Porsche Supercup, FIA WEC, and 24 Hours of Le Mans Champion, and his driving is defined by confident displays of opposite-locking, wheel-dropping, and curb-hopping. Simply put, his aggressive style helps him in wet and greasy conditions.

There’s more than just quick hands at work here. Estre shows us how to pick a line and apply the throttle when the surface isn’t much stickier than an ice rink. The fortunate sebastian vittel, a stellar driver in his own right, can only sit back in his Recaro P1300 carbon bucket and witness Estre’s brilliance from the passenger seat.

Tuned for the Track

From the start of this frenetic lap, the GT3 RS’ rear is obviously unwilling to put the power down most of the time. Though Manthey Racing filled the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires at to 2.2 bar in the rear to generate a little more temperature in the 51 °F conditions, the GT3 still slithers around a bit. Tire pressures were only one of the changes it made to suit the circuit—Manthey also added KW competition suspension designed specifically for the unique demands of the Nordschleife. Along with a new aero kit composed of a GT2 RS MR’s carbon wing, front canard, and GT3 R diffuser, there’s a little more grip on offer—which is a big plus in these greasy conditions.

Searching for Stick

For most of the run through the 12.9-mile circuit, Estre has to rely on a hybrid line and his quick hands to keep the car moving forward. When he does occasionally run over the dry line, like he does in the second half of Flugplatz (1:48), the car begins to slide at worrying speeds. Even the added downforce can’t help him as he runs over the typical out-in-out line, which is impregnated with rubber that provides grip in the dry, but does the opposite in the wet.

He avoids the apex entirely at Aremberg (2:19) for good reason. We see moments later just how asking too much of the car along the conventional line can cost dearly in these conditions—note how abruptly the rear steps out of line at Adenauer Forst (2:49). Quick hands and coordination can save a driver here at slower speeds, but these antics in quick corners probably result in contact with the barriers.

Only at these lower speeds can Estre get away with full-lock slides which require he take one hand off the wheel.

That said, he can get away with smaller shimmies and snaps at higher speeds as long as he keeps some of his wheels off the conventional line. When crests and elevation changes are thrown into the equation, he has to proceed even more cautiously. Look how he, even after turning gingerly into Wipperman (6:18), has to catch the slithering rear the second he places his inside tires on the conventional line. It’s almost as if he’s driving a rally car here! Only a pro of his stature can pull these stunts off while looking relaxed, but his driving is much more than courage and coordination—it requires circumspection, too.

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Advan/Coke-Liveried IMSA 962 Goes Up for Auction

Most sports prototypes last only a few years before they become obsolete, but the 962 enjoyed a successful run for over a decade. With a combination of unprecedented reliability and drivability, the 962 became dominant in the mid-1980s. Rather than rest on their laurels and grow conceited with their winning streak, Porsche remained honest enough to develop the 962 as technology advanced. To keep up with rapid progression of its rivals and their technology, the 962 received a slew of updates throughout its long and storied career.

It’s not often that a 962 comes up for sale, and if you were looking for one, this might be your chance.

This particular car utilized a mid-career update known as the Chapman chassis. The earlier cars utilized a monocoque tub that was made from riveted and bonded aluminum, but not this 962-C04. Jim Chapman, a former Lola engineer, designed this updated chassis which incorporates honeycomb aluminum panels and billet-aluminum bulkheads to make this car stiffer and better at deploying the power from the IMSA-spec turbo.

Over that stiffer chassis, the carbon-kevlar panels are covered in that iconic red and black Yokohama livery. Gold 18″ BBS wheels dot each corner, and a massive NACA duct behind the cockpit feeds the massive KKK K36 turbocharger. With this shape and color combination, it’s one of the best looking cars to ever grace the races of IMSA GTP.

Unfortunately, 962-C04 only contested three races throughout the 1987 season. Hurley Haywood, James Weaver, and Vern Schuppan successfully battled with this car at Road America, Columbus, and Del Mar; its highest finish being fifth at Road America. After retiring from professional racing, it’s been driven at historic events such as Rennsport, the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona, and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

A short racing career and a pampered life make it a great investment. Bob Akin, the original owner, held on to the car until 1991, when it was sold to a Michigan doctor. After that, a restoration was performed under subsequent ownership by Sean Creech Motorsports, who were again commissioned in 2014 to perform a mechanical overhaul following the current owner’s purchase in 2012. The turbocharged 3.2L flat-six was rebuilt in 2015 by Klaus Fischer of Amalfi Racing. It’s also been fitted with new gearing to suit Sebring, Laguna Seca, and Daytona. Long gears and nearly 600 horsepower should make it new owner a very happy person.

Now, the car is currently being auctioned by Fantasy Junction at a current bid of $670,000. For more pictures and information on one of the most gorgeous racing cars in existence, check out the full listing on Bring a Trailer—you won’t be wasting your time.

Photo credit: Ben Hsu, Conceptcarz.com, The Marshall Pruett Archives, Dennis Gray for Sports Car Digest, Motorsport.com, Micheal DiPleco for Sports Car Digest, UltimateCarPage.com, and Bring a Trailer.

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André Lotterer Joins the Porsche Formula E Team

Bringing more big-name appeal to the Formula E program, André Lotterer joins Neel Jani for Porsche’s maiden season in the growing category which starts later this year. His experience in Formula 1 and WEC prepared him well for the technical understanding and multitasking needed to excel in this highly complicated format. To turn quick laps while adjusting all manner of electric motor parameters is what’s required of a Formula E driver, and now he has a car to match his talent.

Lotterer is one of those versatile divers who manages to perform in whichever category they choose. A childhood of karting followed by an adolescence spent in formula cars earned him a role as an F1 test driver in 2002. He then left Europe to compete on Japanese soil in Super GT and Formula Nippon (now Super Formula), where he was immensely successful, then returned to race with Porsche in its WEC program in 2009. Since then, he’s won Le Mans thrice, Super GT twice, Formula Nippon twice, and a WEC title. That level of success in so many top-tier teams, as well as the ability to speak five languages, makes him a strong fit into any category.

Breaking into Formula E

He set his sights on a full season in Formula E in 2017. Techeetah gave him his first stab at the series that year, he achieved two podiums and placed eighth overall. He repeated the same performance for the 2018 season with DS Techeetah, and for the 2019 season, he’s moved into Porsche’s Formula E team.

With nearly two decades of professional racing experience, much of which he spent with Porsche, Lotterer will not have much difficulty adjusting to his new environment. With his ability to drive anything quickly, plenty of experience with complex cars, a bigger budget to play with, and four podiums in Formula E, his future in this series is bright.

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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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