26 March 2018: The Porsche 956, and its mildly reworked sister the 962, dominated sports-car racing for over a decade from 1982 onwards – winning over 200 races, including no fewer than seven victories at Le Mans.
It was a car that broke new ground in terms of speed and energy efficiency – upwards of 240 mph was seen at Le Mans with fuel consumption almost as low as today’s hybrid-powered cars. They also encouraged contemporary Formula 1 drivers to join in the explosion of interest that came with pitched battles between the sleek and shapely Porsches and their rivals from Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Lancia, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot and Ford.
Now, almost 25 years since the Dauer 962 – the final racing derivative of the 956/962 series – took its final Le Mans victory in 1994, a new manual from publisher Haynes celebrates the incredible achievements of the 956 and 962 and provides a unique insight into the technical brilliance and personalities that made the cars arguably the most dominant force seen in any category of motor racing.
Packed with previously unpublished images, the Porsche 956 & 962 Owners’ Workshop Manual takes a look under the skin of the car in inimitable Haynes’ style, as well as looking at its history, racing, and ownership by collectors today.
The book features exclusive interviews with the cars’ past drivers, including former
Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti – who described it as “the most successful sportscar design in history” – plus fabled Le Mans winners and sports car World Champions Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx. It also features insights from Porsche team members, collectors and restorers.
Among the many intriguing stories uncovered in the book is the restoration of the Porsche 956 in which the charismatic F1 star Stefan Bellof set the all-time lap record around the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife. After crashing out of the lead on raceday, the Holy Grail car for petrolheads simply disappeared – until it was discovered after more than 20 years in the back of a museum and restored to its former glory.
The manual’s author, motorsport PR specialist and journalist Nick Garton, worked closely with Porsche USA and staff at the Porsche archive to gain insights and memories of the car and the races in which it competed.
Commenting on the record-breaking car, Nick said: “The sheer brilliance of the Porsche was such that it saw off challenges from almost every major motor manufacturer in Europe, Japan and North America to dominate endurance racing for 12 years. There is no other feat quite like it the history of motorsport – it’s easier to measure the car’s longevity against pop music trends than it is against other cars.”
As well as in-depth analysis of the seasons in which the 956 and 962 competed, a dedicated chapter focuses on the cars’ anatomy, taking a detailed look at the chassis, aerodynamics, cockpit, suspension, brakes, wheel and tyres, engine and gearbox that combined to deliver such breath-taking performance.
Moving away from the past and into modern-day classic racing car ownership, the manual provides a fascinating insight into the recommissioning, servicing and maintenance of a classic Group C car for existing and aspiring owners alike.
The Porsche 956 & 962 Owners’ Workshop Manual is priced at £25.00 and is available from www.haynes.com. The book number is H5796. The ISBN is 9780857337962. It is published in March 2018.
About the author
Born a stone’s throw from Silverstone, Nick Garton has spent seasons as an FIA-accredited F1 and WRC journalist and managed a UK Formula Ford Championship containing future stars such as Kimi Raikkonen, Danica Patrick, Marcos Ambrose and James Courtney. He has been PR man for the British Touring Car Championship, Skoda Motorsport, Ford Racing and the Bahrain International Circuit. He has published seven books, including the Ferrari 312T Owners’ Workshop manual and Cavallino Rampante for Haynes Publishing, which provided an inside story of the era of domination achieved by Scuderia Ferrari under Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn. He lives in Surrey.
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