Auctions & Sales Motorsports Porsche

Porsche 956 for sale, only driven on Sundays

Le Mans winning Porsche 956.003

This Porsche 956 is up for sale at the forthcoming Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction (15–16 August). It’s chassis 956.003, the car that spectacularly won the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Astute readers will know there’s a strong Australian connection with this car as 1983 was the year Vern Schuppan won Le Mans, alongside American duo Hurley Haywood and Al Holbert. The car famously crossed the line with smoke pouring from its left side and stopped after crossing the finish line. There’s a brief video after the break showcasing the car’s crowning glory.

Chassis 956.003 holds an impressive record and is one of Porsche’s most successful racecars. In addition to its Le Mans victory it finished second at Le Mans in 1982. Over its competitive life the car racked up 1000km race wins at Spa, Fuji and Imola, as well as winning the 9 Hours of Kyalami.

And, according to the Gooding & Company price guide, it can be all yours for somewhere between US$7–9 million. It really is a car that Porsche should have in its own museum.

[Source: Gooding & Company]

UPDATE 18 August: The car sold for US$10,120,000!

Motorsports Porsche Video

“We race because it’s our tradition”

Porsche 917

Porsche has won Le Mans a record 16 times. It’s return to the LMP1 category in 2014 brought with it a wave of nostalgia. Xcar ran with that and made this 25 minute video which they have declared is “the definitive history” of Porsche at Le Mans.

[Thanks to John for the tip]


Derek Bell drives the Porsche 956 at the Nürburgring

Derek Bell drives the Porsche 956 at the Nurburgring

Earlier this year the memory of Stefan Bellof was honoured with the renaming of Pflantzgarten II to the Stefan-Bellof-S at the Nürburgring. During qualifying for the 1983 1000km race Bellof clocked a lap time of 6:11.13. More than 30 years later, it’s still the fastest ever lap recorded on the Nordschleife and the only lap to average over 200km/h.

To mark the naming of the Stefan-Bellof-S, Porsche wheeled out its 956.007, the very car Bellof drove in the 1983 1000km race at the Ring. On hand for driving duties was Porsche legend and all round nice guy Derek Bell.

After the break you can ride with Bell on a bridge to gantry lap of the Ring. It’s a comparatively sedate ride, although Bell still gets around at a pretty respectable pace. Your day will be better for watching this!


Derek Bell reunites with a Porsche 956 at the Ring

Derek Bell at the wheel of a Porsche 956 on the Nurburgring

As part of the formalities for the naming of the Stefan-Bellof-S corner at the Nürburgring, Porsche legend Derek Bell was on hand to drive the 956.007 around the Nordschelife. A teaser video has been posted to Facebook, with the promise of more to come.

In the meantime, why not check out the video after the break where Bell talks us through a lap of the Nordschleife filmed during practice for the 1983 1000km race. Incidentally, the lap time from Bell was 6:37, some time off Bellof’s 6:11 record, but it is believed to be the fastest full lap recorded on camera.

[Pic: Frozenspeed]

UPDATE: A number of amateur videos of Derek Bell’s Porsche 956 drive at the Nürburgring have been added below.

Motorsports Porsche

Porsche at Le Mans: The 1980s

Porsche at Le Mans, the 1980s

Porsche continues its return to Le Mans series with a look back at the 1980s. Perhaps the best Le Mans racecars of all time, the 956 and 962, enjoyed unprecedented success during the decade. The 936 started it all, winning the race in 1981 and starting a sequence of victories for Porsche that lasted until 1987 (four wins for the 956, two for the 962).

Legendary driver Derek Bell says it best, “This car [956] set the bar for Porsche forever and they have to come back with something like this… they have to come back and do the same. People only talk about outright winners.”

It’s just a shame that Porsche is doing all this talking now and we have to wait until 2014 to see if they can deliver on their promises.


Racing Legends: Porsche 956 and 962

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had a bit of Porsche 956 content. Raced during the legendary Group C era of the 1980s, it’s a car that’s been described as “the greatest Le Mans car ever.” The 956/962 won the 24 hour race six times in a row from 1982–1987.

But it was more than that, the 956 dominated sportscar racing. At the hands of Stefan Bellof in 1983 the 956 lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 6 minutes 11 seconds; still the fastest recorded lap at the Ring.

To help you get a better understanding of the 956 and the subsequent 962 here’s a short video from Porsche which was filmed at Salon Privé in London earlier this year.

One man synonymous with the 956 is Derek Bell. He won Le Mans five times and in 1982 was the first to do so in a 956. Today is Derek Bell’s 70th birthday, so it’s nice that we get to hear from him in the video too.

In 1983 Australian Vern Schuppan formed part of the winning 956 team at Le Mans. It was the spark for Schuppan to later try and produce a 962-based road car; the 962CR. Ultimately, high production costs and an extreme purchase price, at the time reported to be US$1.5 million, quickly saw its demise after only a handful were built. Although, we can’t think of too many people that would knock back 600hp in package weighing less than 1100kg.

BMW Ferrari Porsche

Ferrari 599XX v BMW Z4 GT3 v Porsche 956

Ferrari 599XXBMW Z4 GT3Porsche 956

So, Ferrari say their 599XX was the first “production-derived” sportscar to break the 7 minute barrier around the 20.832km Nürburgring Nordschleife. But, what does that term “production-derived” actually mean?

Who cares if the car is based off the 599 GTB Fiorano, the 599XX cannot be driven on public roads and it comes delivered with racing slicks. It’s a racing car, who is Ferrari kidding? Hang on a sec, don’t Ferrari say the 599XX cannot be entered in any sanctioned race events. So, what is it then?

Well, semantics aside, it’s pretty clear the 599XX holds a closer relationship to a racing car than it does a road car, despite it’s road-car origins. So, then, for no other reason than to watch three superb pieces of in-car Nürburgring footage lets compare the 599XX to two other racing cars. The first, new and production-derived, the BMW Z4 GT3, and the other, an all time motor racing legend from the early 1980s, the Porsche 956.

Sure the 956 never had any pretensions to road use—Vern Schuppan’s 962CR side-project aside—but we’re talking the peak of sportscar racing more than 25 years ago. Surely the Ferrari can hold off the great Derek Bell with its latest electronic and mechanical masterpiece.

After the jump are three clips to help us find out. Now, I must stress this is not a very scientific comparison, all three clips start from a different part of the track. In fact, the Derek Bell lap was filmed in 1983, the year before the current Nürburgring GP track was built. He starts his lap from the old pit area, which is now the T13 complex.

The lap with the BMW does include the GP track and, oddly, the footage starts at the Pflantzgarten jump and finishes just before. That means we need to take out around 2 minutes for the GP track, then add a few seconds for the T13 section and again at the end to reach the original starting point. As I said, it’s not terribly scientific or deadly accurate.

Just take this comparo for what it is, an appreciation of three cracking cars getting thrashed around one of the world’s most demanding pieces of tarmac.