Ask Hans Caught to call the favorite iteration of the Porsche 956 or 962 he raced, and he doesn’t go for one of many manufacturing facility chassis during which he notched up his two Le Mans 24 Hours victories in 1986 and 1987. Nor one of many two IMSA GTP vehicles during which he scored back-to-back triumphs on the Sebring 12 Hours in 1987 and 1988.
Moderately he plumps for a extra obscure machine during which he loved appreciable success, one largely neglected by the historical past books. And it’s this obscurity that explains why the chassis in query has been restored to its former glory by the German producer for the fortieth anniversary of Group C and the launch of the 956.
Caught picks the automobile he raced within the 1987 and 1988 editions of the ADAC Supercup, Germany’s very personal Group C dash sequence. He received the championship in Porsche 962C #009 within the first of these years and claimed an additional race victory within the second on the best way to 3rd place within the factors. He selected the ultimate win aboard #009 as his Race of My Life in Autosport a few years again.
Porsche’s successes with the manufacturing facility crew and its prospects within the short-lived Supercup, which was successfully a substitute for the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft and ran from 1986-89, haven’t been celebrated by the German marque over time. Not, it may be mentioned, in fairly the identical manner as its achievements with the 956/962 on this planet championship, at Le Mans and within the North American IMSA sequence and its large enduros at Daytona and Sebring.
The fleet of Group C and IMSA GTP racers maintained as runners by Porsche had a niche in it, and it was one which Armin Burger, motorsport coordinator on the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, got down to redress as the massive 4-0 approached for Group C and the 956/962.
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The concept arose, partly at the least, by chance. Chassis #009 had lengthy since been a part of the museum’s assortment, and like a lot of its vehicles was a runner, too. Lengthy-time Porsche manufacturing facility driver Pat Lengthy raced it – “fairly laborious”, he says – as lately as 2015 on the Rennsport Reunion Porsche extravaganza at Laguna Seca. Nevertheless it wasn’t recognisable because the automobile with which Caught notched up three wins from 9 begins over its two seasons within the Supercup.
“We had this automobile in storage however I didn’t know its historical past,” says Burger, who’s the bridge between the Porsche museum and Porsche Motorsport on the marque’s Weissach analysis and improvement centre. “So I seemed on the file – we are saying ordner or folder – that Porsche retains for every automobile and checked out its document. I assumed, ‘Wow, that is the Supercup-winning automobile from 1987.’
Caught received back-to-back titles within the Supercup dash sequence aboard the 962, pictured in motion on the Norisring
Photograph by: Porsche
“In our assortment we now have Le Mans-winning vehicles, world championship-winning vehicles and vehicles that have been profitable in IMSA, however we didn’t have something from the Supercup. I spoke to my bosses and did just a little presentation saying that we should always restore this automobile.” Put merely, Burger wished to finish the 956/962 set: “The Supercup was a little bit of our historical past that was lacking.”
The explanation that Burger and his crew had neglected the importance of #009 within the 962 story was the shape during which it existed on being handed to the museum. It was used to check out the later aero spec with a centre-post rear wing launched on the 962C for 1990 as Porsche took an interest within the automobile once more after Joest Racing’s victory on the Dijon World Sports activities-Prototype Championship in Might of the earlier yr. It was retained on this spec as a sort of reference automobile after its switch to the museum.
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This explicit 962C had led a peripatetic existence after its Supercup campaigns. It was loaned to Busby Racing for the second half of the 1989 IMSA Camel GT Championship, operating with the crew’s personal bodywork from the pen of former Eagle Indycar designer Roman Slobodynskyj. It then turned a improvement mule on the manufacturing facility. It was used for aero and tyre testing – forward of Joest’s change from Goodyear to Michelin tyres in 1990 – and even to check out a four-wheel-steering system that by no means made it into competitors.
Caught takes credit score for the thought for shifting the controls for up and downshifts to the steering wheel. The primary iterations of the system had a sequential-style lever that was pushed ahead for upshifts and pulled again for downshifts
Returning #009 to the shape during which it received the Supercup with ‘Stuckie’ turned out to be an even bigger job than anticipated for Burger and his colleagues. The automobile’s use as a improvement mule in its ultimate energetic years ensured it had ended up a great distance from its Supercup specification.
“We thought it might be comparatively simple and that we may pull components out of the shops,” says Burger, whose Porsche credit embody engaged on the 911 GT1 and 911 GT1-98 programmes and operating the VIP vehicles within the one-make Supercup on the System 1 invoice earlier than becoming a member of the museum workers in 2008. “The automobile wanted a brand new nostril and tail and the ducting for the cooling system was completely totally different; so too was the ground and we didn’t have considered one of them anymore. It took one yr simply to do the bodywork.”
A brand new engine was required as properly. The later 3.2-litre unit was changed with a new-build three-litre model of the totally water-cooled flat six: Porsche had a brief run of latest blocks solid and #009 took the primary of the batch.
Key members of the 962 programme have been invited to supply their recommendation and recollections. Norbert Singer, who led improvement of the 956 and 962 and was in control of the aerodynamics, was amongst them. So too was Rob Powell, who designed the automobile’s Shell/Dunlop livery in interval. (He was additionally liable for the Rothmans color scheme of the world championship 956s and 962Cs of 1982-87, it needs to be identified.)
Key figures within the 962’s story have been concerned within the restoration, together with its unique improvement engineer Norbert Singer, and livery designer Rob Powell (left)
Photograph by: Porsche
Restoration of the automobile was accomplished in late 2021 and Caught was reunited together with his championship winner – and a set of the interval overalls into which he may nonetheless match. The automobile is now just about because it raced within the Supercup over 30 years in the past, with one exception. It’s not operating the PDK racing gearbox that paved the best way for the introduction of the semi-auto transmission into Porsche’s highway automobile vary in 2008 on the ‘997.2’-shape 911 Carrera. At present PDK is out there on each Porsche mannequin on sale.
It proved not possible to place collectively an genuine late-Nineteen Eighties Porsche PDK system. As an alternative, the flat-six now drives by means of a interval five-speed synchromesh racing gearbox.
“The issue is that we don’t have the components and the finances could be too excessive to remake them,” explains Burger. “We went into the shops with guys who labored on the automobile on the time as a result of they knew what they have been on the lookout for. However there have been no components.”
Porsche did have one instance of the digital management field from the system. The one downside was that it had been minimize in half to point out its innards for show functions within the museum!
Stuckie was an enormous fan of the PDK semi-automatic transmission from the primary time he examined it at Porsche’s take a look at monitor at its Weissach analysis and improvement facility. He may see the benefits of the automobile from the get-go: “Staying on the throttle throughout upshifting gave you a bonus and there was no probability of a mis-shift.”
He takes credit score for the thought for shifting the controls for up and downshifts to the steering wheel. The primary iterations of the system had a sequential-style lever that was pushed ahead for upshifts and pulled again for downshifts.
“After a day’s testing at Weissach, I mentioned to Norbert within the night, ‘Why don’t we now have two buttons on the wheel?’” he remembers. “That manner, I assumed, you might maintain each palms on the steering wheel throughout shifting. That was incredible for the driving force.”
Sourcing a interval PDK gearbox proved not possible, however the automobile was meticulously ready to be as shut as doable to unique spec
Photograph by: Deniz Calagan
However Caught’s love affair with 962C #009 went past the trick transmission. For a begin he received to drive it alone.
“It was solely my automobile,” he says. Nevertheless it was additionally constructed particularly for the Supercup sprints. “As a result of they weren’t enduros there have been every kind of developments on that automobile, lots of of issues that made it that little bit additional particular to drive.”
The Porsche manufacturing facility squad sought to take weight out of the automobile. It was clothed in full carbonfibre bodywork and in addition included a carbon entrance anti-roll bar. “It was stiffer, but additionally lighter,” says Caught of the suspension tweak.
Porsche received the automobile proper down onto the load restrict. On the opening race of the 1987 Supercup on the Nurburgring it handed by means of scrutineering simply a few kilograms above the 850kg minimal. That was 30kg or so lower than the automobile, additionally outfitted with the PDK system, during which Caught had received the inaugural Supercup title with the manufacturing facility in 1986.
“[Helmuth Bott] thought that the [PDK] improvement within the gearbox division was taking too lengthy, so he determined to place it within the racing division” Norbert Singer
Caught’s ultimate outing in #009 was an emotive one. He took victory on the 1988 championship curtain-closer on the Nurburgring in September on what was the final outing in Europe for the in-house manufacturing facility Porsche squad with the 962, at the least till its one-off success with the Dauer 962 LM Porsche at Le Mans six years later. He describes the finale as “a hard-fought race” with the Joest Porsche pushed by Bob Wollek. His margin of victory after an hour and 20 minutes of racing was lower than two seconds.
The 962Cs pushed by Caught and team-mate Klaus Ludwig bore little black flags on their radio masts that day on the ’Ring to mark the closure of the manufacturing facility crew. The main focus inside Porsche’s motorsport division was as a substitute turning to the in the end unsuccessful Indycar marketing campaign in CART.
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Caught received an opportunity to rekindle the recollections from what he regards as the best interval of his lengthy and profitable profession when he returned to the cockpit of #009 at Weissach on the completion of its restoration. In his favorite Porsche Group C automobile.
Caught made small cockpit modifications to make the automobile completely suited to his wants
Photograph by: Porsche
How racing pushed the PDK ahead
The wartime footing on which a race crew operates lies behind the historical past of the usage of the PDK, or Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe to provide the system its full title, in sportscar racing. It was the pet challenge of Porsche analysis and improvement boss Helmuth Bott, and had been a part of a sequence of advances proven on the 995 idea automobile on the tail finish of the Nineteen Seventies.
“He thought that the event within the gearbox division was taking too lengthy, so he determined to place it within the racing division,” remembers Norbert Singer. “He mentioned, ‘Within the race crew, the event will occur a lot quicker.’ He was proper, after all.”
The PDK system permits for flat, clutchless gearchanges courtesy of the dual-clutch association.
“You could have two shafts and a clutch on every and one gear is all the time engaged,” explains Singer. “The following gear is already chosen earlier than altering, after which one clutch is opening and the opposite is closing, so the driving force may keep on throttle.”
Preliminary calculations by the racing division urged that the PDK system ought to have been value as much as half a second per lap at Paul Ricard, considered one of its take a look at haunts. When Porsche ran a back-to-back take a look at of a PDK-equipped 956 with one driving by means of its common synchromesh five-speed gearbox in March 1984, the PDK automobile was two seconds slower…
Two years later, that deficit was down to 6 tenths. Twelve months after that, forward of Hans Caught’s ADAC Supercup marketing campaign in 962C #009, the Porsche operating the PDK system was eight tenths faster.
“On the lengthy Mistral Straight it was perhaps two kilometres per hour quicker, however on the shorter entrance straight it was seven or eight,” remembers Singer. “That confirmed the benefit of the PDK in acceleration out of a sluggish nook.”
Caught was delighted to be reacquainted together with his 1987 Supercup-winning 962 for the fortieth anniversary of the automobile’s debut
Photograph by: Porsche
Growth included a deal with lowering weight – a magnesium fairly than aluminium casing saved 15kg – and the losses contained in the gearbox on account of the extra hydraulics. Porsche had discovered when it took one PDK automobile to Le Mans in 1986 that it was down on straightline velocity on account of the additional friction within the ’field.
The PDK system first appeared at a race assembly on the Kyalami spherical of the World Endurance Championship on the finish of 1983, though it was solely utilized in follow. 9 months later at Spa the next season it was raced for the primary time within the palms of Jacky Ickx and John Watson. Or fairly simply Ickx. It encountered issues on the opening lap and accomplished just one extra within the Belgian’s palms after a protracted pitstop.
The primary win for the automobile got here at Monza initially of 1986 with Caught and Derek Bell. That will stand as the one world championship victory for a PDK-equipped 962C. Its subsequent victories at Le Mans that yr and in 1987 got here with the common synchro ’field. Singer concedes at the moment that Porsche wasn’t able to compromise its possibilities on the ‘Large One’ with the experimental transmission.
PDK gearbox was developed by means of racing and is now ubiquitous in Porsche highway fashions
Photograph by: Porsche
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