1984 Porsche 956

956B Group C - Norisring trophy-winning and twice Le Mans 24hr


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    630 BHP / 639 PS / 470 kW
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The 1984 Norisring trophy-winning and twice Le Mans 24hr
1984 Porsche 956B Group C
Chassis #956-115

We are thrilled to announce for sale another very significant Porsche 956 Group C racing car.

One of the rare and original Porsche 956Bs - supplied new for the 1984 F.I.A. World Endurance Championship - finishing sixth overall at Le Mans on its debut and following with a win at the Norisring in the hands of Manfred Winklehock.

Group C - Porsche
Regarded by many as a modern ‘golden age’ of sports car racing, the FIA’s new Group C category for prototypes lasted from 1982 to 1993. It was designed to replace both Group 5 (closed touring prototypes like the 935) and Group 6 (open sports car prototypes like the 936). As interest in Group C grew, the world’s major motor manufacturers joined the fray with Porsche, Jaguar, Ford, Aston Martin, Lancia, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota all fielding works entries and attracting major sponsorship from big brand companies whose liveries became famous on these highly effective and attractive racing cars.

Rather than being based predominantly on engine capacity and weight, the traditional parameters of motor racing formulae, Group C placed a limit on the amount of fuel permitted but otherwise allowed constructors virtually a free hand in design. Porsche responded immediately to the challenge and in just nine months, Norbert Singer oversaw an engineering team at the Porsche motorsport department in Weissach, to design, construct and develop the Porsche 956.

The 956 was the first Porsche ever to utilize an aluminium, monocoque chassis, which increased rigidity over the traditional tubular space-frame construction and in conjunction with state-of-the-art chassis tunnels and a closed-cockpit bodywork design which, tested and developed in the wind tunnel, created a ground-effect racing car able to produce significant down force at high speeds.

Power for the 956 was derived from a version of the tried-and-tested Porsche twin-turbocharged flat-six engine, which had previously powered the 1981 Le Mans-winning Porsche 936. Designated the Type 935/76, it had water-cooled cylinder heads and air-cooled cylinders. Air fed into a Naca duct in the roof, which channeled down to the engine and then emerged from under the car through openings in the lower bodywork, which slightly upset the ground-effect. The exhaust exits were located on either side of the bodywork, just in front or the rear wheels so as not to upset the air flow any further. The 2,650cc KKK-turbocharged unit was estimated to develop 630bhp at 8,200rpm and have a top speed of circa 240mph.

In total, Porsche built just 11 examples of the customer 956, which were sold as turn-key racing cars and which were fully-supported by the factory. Porschesport customer racing services AvD undertook engine preparation and a comprehensive 956 parts catalogue was produced and a large parts-service truck was taken to each Group C race, providing everything needed for running a 956 chassis.

The 956B development
Released for the 1984 season, the 956B was the ultimate development of the 956, designed and built to the 1983 works Rothmans specification; featuring Motronic fuel injection, modified suspension and a one-piece underbody. The Motronic fully electronic and integrated ignition and injection system made much closer control of the combustion process possible, providing more power, better fuel consumption and a more progressive throttle response. Combined with Norbert Singer’s aero development to the underbody, the 956B was the ultimate specification of the 956. Just four 956Bs were originally built for the leading 1984 World Championship privateer teams - one of which is the double Le Mans winning Joest - Newman car (956-117). Today just three of these cars survive.

Chassis 956-115
Delivered new on 8th May 1984 to Porsche-Kremer-Racing, 956-115 was entered for its inaugural race in June at the 1984 Le Mans 24hrs. As the works Rothmans Porsche team had boycotted the 1984 race due to a disagreement with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) over fuel regulations, the 1983 co-winning Rothmans Porsche driver, Vern Schuppan, was eagerly snapped up by the Kremer Team to drive 956-115, paired with fellow Australian, 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones, and the equally experienced Jean-Pierre Jarrier who had completed an eleven season career in Formula One. Schuppan led the race by lap 4 and maintained 1st place until the end of the first hour. Alan Jones took over from Schuppan and topped the timing sheets for an extraordinary three hours. Later in the race, with Schuppan back in the car, Roger Dorchy’s WM P83B spun and collected the Kenwood liveried #115 with it. The initial cosmetic repairs cost almost 10 minutes, with further tidying during pit stops contributing to the car now running in 8th place. By Sunday morning #115 was fighting for a podium position again, but in the early afternoon lost a cylinder and Alan Jones came into the pits. The team was able to get the car back on track in the final hour, with Schuppan then able to take the chequered flag in sixth place.

For the Norisring races during the following month, 956-115 had a new Liqui Moly livery and a new driver in the shape of Manfred Winklehock, who would go onto drive #115 on numerous occasions for the rest of the season. The German qualified the car in 6th position for the morning DRM race, finishing 2nd. The top-10 finishers in the DRM race were automatically entered into an 8-lap qualifying race, the outcome of which would decide the first five rows of the grid for the main race of the weekend: The Norisring Trophäe or the “Gold” or Money Race – so called for the large purse awarded to the winning driver. As #115 had finished 2nd in the DRM race it took its place on the grid for the qualifying race. Winklehock was nursing a brand new first gear, which wasn’t immediately easy to engage and as such finished 9th, not wanting to force the ‘box and cause any damage before the main 200-mile trophy race in the afternoon.
Manfred therefore started the Norisring Trophäe race from the 5th row of the grid but made a stunning start into the first corner in 4th place. By lap 26 of the 66-lap race Winklehock had ascended to the podium positions and was trading the lead with Bellof’s Brun-entered 956. By lap 59, Winklehock had taken the lead for good and went onto to win the action packed Norisring Trophäe in front of a crowd of 80,000 and trouser the 37 350 DM awarded to the victor!

Racing history: 956-115
1983-1986: 21 races - 1 win

Season: 1984 (FIA World Endurance Championship)
Porsche Kremer Racing

Date / Race / Driver / No. / Position / Sponsor

16-17/06/1984 / Le Mans 24 hrs / V Schuppan/A Jones/J-P Jarier / 11 / 6th / Kenwood/Elkron
01/07/1984 / Nourishing Trophy / Manfred Winklehock / 10 / 1st / Liqui Moly
15/07/1984 / Nürburgring 1000 kms / M. Winklehock/M Surer / 10 / 5th / Kremer
16/09/1984 / Imola 1000 kms / W. Brunn/G. Fouché/Leopold von Bayern / 10 / 4th / Warsteiner
02/12/1984 / Sandown Park 1000 kms / M. Winklehock/Rusty French / 11 / 5th / Sega

Season: 1985 (FIA World Endurance Championship and JSPC)
Porsche Kremer Racing / Alpha Cubic Racing Team

Date / Race / Driver / No. / Position / Sponsor

14/04/1985 / Mugello 1000 kms / K. Ludwig/G. Fouché/G Mussato / 11 / 5th / Protea
28/04/1985 / Monza 1000 kms / G. Fouché/S. van der Merwe/B. Giacomelli / 11 / 8th / Southern Sun Hotels
12/05/1985 / Silverstone 1000 kms / G. Fouché/S. van der Merwe/A. Coppelli / 11 / 8th / Southern Sun Hotels
15-16/07/1985 / Le Mans 24 hrs / G. Fouché/S. van der Merwe/Mark Hytten / 10 / 5th / Barclay/Pretoria
28/07/1985 / Fuji 500 mms / T. Suzuki/N. Takahra/C. Totani / 2 / 5th / Renoma
25/08/1985 / Suzuka 1000 kms / T. Suzuki/N. Takahra/C. Totani / 2 / 8th / Renoma
06/10/1985 / Fuji 1000 kms / N. Takahra/C. Totani / 48 / Withdrawn / Renoma
24/11/1985 / Fuji 1000 kms / T. Suzuki/N. Takahra/C. Totani / 2 / 3rd / Renoma

Season: 1986 (JSPC and FIA WEC)
Alpha Cubic Racing Team

Date / Race / Driver / No. / Position / Sponsor

06/04/1986 / Suzuka 500 kms / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 2 / 8th / Renoma
04/05/1986 / Fuji 1000 kms / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 2 / 7th / Renoma
20/07/1986 / Fuji 500 mls / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 2 / 3rd / Renoma
24/08/1986 / Suzuka 1000 kms / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 2 / 3rd / Renoma
05/10/1986 / Fuji 1000 kms (FIA) / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 48 / 12th / Renoma
23/11/1986 / Fuji 500 kms / K. Tohira/N. Takahara/C. Totani / 2 / 7th / Renoma

Ownership Provenance
1984: Supplied new by Porsche to Porsche-Kremer-Racing (Köln, Germany) -
1985: Sold to Nova Engineering (Renoma Racing) (Japan) -
1987: Sold to Porsche-Kremer-Racing (Germany) -
1998: Sold to Tony O’Neil (UK) -
2002: Sold to Henry Pearman (UK) -
2017: For sale via Maxted-Page Ltd (UK)

This super rare and genuine 956B has a continuous ownership provenance from new and retains its original Wagen Pass from time of delivery by Porsche to Kremer in 1984. It was sold by Kremer after entering its second Le Mans in 1985 to Nova Engineering in Japan. It was then later sold back to Kremer by Nova after the 1986 season when the 962 model was introduced.

Kremer retained the car for the next twelve years - In 1988 they re-purchased from Porsche its original engine (no: 123), rebuilt at the factory with accompanying dyno sheets recording 705 bhp!. They also restored the car back to its Norisring-winning, Liqui Moly livery. It was then driven by Jüurgen Barth at a Kremer test day in 1992 and later entered by Kremer and driven by Christophe Bouchet, to win the 1996 Nurburgring AvD-Oldtimer Grand Prix.

In 1998 UK collector, Tony O‘Neil purchased 956-115 from Kremer and in turn sold it, in 2002, to Henry Pearman’s Historic Porsche Collection, where it has been maintained ever since.

Offered today in its Norisring-winning sprint bodywork configuration and fitted with the Motronic 2.65-litre engine unit, 956-115 has recently undergone a mechanical re-fresh, including newly certified suspension crack-testing and fitment of a newly certified fuel bladder to FIA spec.

The recent amalgamation of the Peter Auto-Group C Racing series, including a new Le Mans Classic Group C grid, makes this a more exciting time than ever for the serious Porsche collector or historic racer to acquire one of the finest examples of this user-friendly yet most successful sports-racing Porsche in history.

Book references:
Porsche 956 - Reynald Hézard & David Legangneux
Der Porsche 956/962 – Lothar Boschen/ Gustav Büsing
Porsche 956 & 962 – Ludvigsen Library
Le Mans 24 Heures Du Mans 1 – Doodson

1984 Le Mans 24 hours Porsche 956’s on the Mulsanne - by Nicolas Watts