Porsche is famed for its racing abilities, when the 956 was deemed not safe enough to be allowed to race at IMSA events, Porsche created the “American” version of the 956, called the 962. The 962 was introduced at the end of 1984, it quickly became popular with private owners while having a remarkably long-lived career, with some examples still proving competitive into the mid-1990s.
In total, Porsche produced 91 962s between 1984 and 1991. 16 were officially used by the factory team, while 75 were sold to customers. Due to the sheer numbers of 962s, some teams took it upon themselves to modify the car to remain competitive. These alterations included improved bodywork for better aerodynamic efficiency, while others changed mechanical elements.
During the early years of its career, the 962, became one of the most dominant cars in motorsport, and its efficiency and reliability led it to be a car much in demand among private teams. Amongst its numerous racing achievements, the 962 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1986 and 1987, with Derek Bell, Al Holbert and Hans-Joachim Stuck at the wheel on both occasions, as well as later winning under the Dauer 962 badge in 1994.
At the London Classic Car Show, Tiff Needell provided some fascinating insights into the 1987 Richard-Lloyd-Racing Rothmans Porsche 962C. Featuring an ultra-aerodynamic body and vast wing developed by British privateer Richard Lloyd, it won the Kyalami 500 with Jochen Mass behind the wheel.
This win was followed later in the year when Jonathan Palmer and Mauri Baldi piloted the car to victory at the Norisring ‘Money Race’. Out of Needell’s 14 Le Mans appearances, four were behind the wheel of a Porsche 962 and in 1990 he scored his best result of third at the famous event – the last time a Porsche 962 finished on the podium.