Le Mans 1988, nothing will ever match the Porsche 962

Porsche 962 Group C Racer
Porsche 962 Group C Racer

I was stood next to this car in June 2008, at its spititual home; Le Mans; if only I had appreciated just how important a Porsche it was – and respected what it had been doing 20 years before, in the hands of Derek Bell in the very same spot.

3 litres of fire-breathing 880bhp
3 litres of fire-breathing 880bhp

Porsche 962C-010 Works, to give it it’s full name, was the last 962 car built by the Porsche factory in 1988, driven by Derek Bell, Hans Stuck and Klaus Ludwig, the number #17 Shell Dunlop machine was build specifically to win Le Mans in 1988

Qualifying in pole position, with a special high-boost engine delivering 880bhp and piloted by the three best drivers Porsche had on their books, this car went on to lead for large parts of the race, setting the fastest lap before eventally coming second overall to a Jaguar.

What a shame.

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Watching this car being worked on and fired up at close quarters, 20 years later was one of my all time Le Mans highlights

those pesky Jag's
those pesky Jag’s

 

The 1988 race marked the end of 7 years of Porsche domination – with 8 of the top 10 places filled by the mighty Porsche 962, with Jaguar overall winner, and 4th; of course many say they only won because the #17 Porsche pictured here, ran out of fuel near the end of the race and had to complete half a lap on the starter motor, I think that is only part of the story.

Full result below courtesy of Wikipedia

Pos Class No Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps
Engine
1 C1 2 United Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar
United Kingdom Tom Walkinshaw Racing
Netherlands Jan Lammers
United Kingdom Johnny Dumfries
United Kingdom Andy Wallace
Jaguar XJR-9LM D 394
Jaguar 7.0L V12
2 C1 17 Germany Porsche AG Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck
Germany Klaus Ludwig
United Kingdom Derek Bell
Porsche 962C D 394
Porsche Type-935 3.0L Turbo Flat-6
3 C1 8 Germany Blaupunkt Joest Racing Germany Frank Jelinski
Germany Louis Krages
Sweden Stanley Dickens
Porsche 962C G 385
Porsche Type-935 2.8L Turbo Flat-6

Anyhow, there is a lot more where this came from, as I sift through more Le Mans memories, until then lets be grateful for that Group C exhibition race in 2008 and the chance to get so close to these amazing cars.

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