The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era
Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other
No car won the Le Mans 24 Hours more times than Porsche's 956 and its long-wheelbase sister, the 962. And no car won more world championship sportscar races, or championships for that matter. The career statistics of the Group C and IMSA GTP coupe give the machine a pretty much irrefutable claim to the title of greatest sportscar of the past 70 years. But the 956/962 deserves this unofficial crown for many more reasons.
Longevity is one of them. Porsche's prototype won on its debut at Le Mans in 1982 in 956 guise, and claimed a sixth in a row in 1987 as the 962C. Its days were far from over in the Group C arena, however. It would almost certainly have won the 24 Hours in 1988 but for either one of two separate and distinct fuel issues, but it still had another victory at the French enduro in the tank as a GT car: the Dauer 962 Le Mans Porsche to give it its full name, in 1994.
The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...
The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why
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Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes
Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...
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