From the 956 to the 962 C – non-stop victories and titles
In 1984, the Porsche 962 and 962 C were created as further developments of the 956. The 962 also had to comply with the regulations of the North American IMSA racing series. There were two particular points that Porsche had to modify on the 956 in order to comply with the American rules. Porsche had to extend the wheelbase by 12 cm, as the IMSA regulations required the pedals to be located behind the front axle for safety reasons, and the aluminium monocoque had to be fitted with a roll cage made of steel, instead of aluminium. Due to the IMSA cost limitation, the four-valve-per-cylinder biturbo engine of the 956 had to be replaced by the tried-and-tested air-cooled, 2.86-litre, two-valve-per-cylinder, single-turbo engine that came from the Porsche 935. For the 1985 season, this engine's displacement was increased to 3.16 litres by installing a crankshaft with a four-millimetre-longer stroke.
The 962 C was specially developed for the World Sportscar Championship and, in particular, for Le Mans. Initially equipped with a 2.65-litre, four-valve-per-cylinder biturbo engine, during practice at Le Mans in 1985 the 962 C was powered for the first time by a fully water-cooled, three-litre, four-valve-per-cylinder biturbo engine with up to 515 kW (700 PS) of power. Until this point, only the cylinder heads of the 956 had been water-cooled, while the cylinders were cooled by a fan. The 956 was unbeaten at Le Mans from 1982 to 1985, and this success was seamlessly continued in this series by its successor, the 962 C, as it won the 24-hour race at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 1986 and 1987.
Between 1982 and 1986, Porsche celebrated victories with the 956 and 962 C at a total of five Drivers' World Championships and three World Endurance Championships. On 13 and 14 June 1987, Stuck, Bell and Holbert drove the 962 C with the chassis number 962.006 and bearing the starting number 17 – which will be driven this weekend at Goodwood – to victory at the famous French 24-hour race. The following year, this car served as a training car for Mario, Michael, and John Andretti at Le Mans before being taken into the Porsche Museum.