Porsche's golden era cars come together for a 40-year reunion.
In the 80s, Group C sports car racing was at its peak. Don't think that "sports car racing" means something like certain GT class racing today, where competitors duke it out in modified versions of factory cars, like the Porsche 911.
Instead, teams competed in factory-built-and-backed racers, and Porsche was king.
At its peak in the late 80s, Group C fielded ex-F1 talent like Jochen Mass, and the sport's popularity rivaled that of the pinnacle of motorsport. Given its dominance in the era, Porsche put together a little reunion, including both the cars and the drivers of the day.
Drivers Bernd Schneider, Timo Bernhard, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Derek Bell, and Jochen Mass were all in attendance at the Porsche Experience Center in Leipzig.
Bernhard is not of the Group C era, having won Le Mans with Audi in 2010. He is a Porsche ambassador, however.
Porsche brought a handful of cars, including the Le Mans-winning Porsche 956 chassis 002. If you're curious about values, a 956 traded hands about eight years ago for a hefty $9 million.
Another chassis, 956-005, won 1,000 KM races at the Nurburgring and Spa. This one was restored by the Porsche Museum, including its 1983 livery. During this era, Porsche fielded a car in IMSA, a 962 from 1984, which was also in attendance. This one won the Supercup in 1987 and has been fully restored.
The number 17 Porsche 962 C also won Le Mans in 1987.
The Stuttgart brand also brought a fourth-place Le Mans finisher from 1990, a 962 C with chassis number 962-015. Other notable Porsche folks in attendance included the project manager of the brand's Group C efforts- Norbert Singer, and test engineer Helmut Schmid.
"The 956 is the most successful racing car in the history of Porsche. It dominated everyone. And it remained a winner for an unbelievable 12 years," said Bernhard. The 956 was a truly dominant race car by any means, remaining undefeated at Le Mans from 1982 to 1985. For two years after, Porsche's 962 C was the winner, resulting in a five-year span of dominance, something even Toyota hasn't managed to pull off at Le Mans.
The other cars were just as dominant in their day.
Between them, the German Group C cars share five manufacturer's and team titles, 43 individual race wins, five WEC driver's championships, seven overall wins at Le Mans, and four IMSA titles with 52 wins, four of which were at Daytona.
With the Le Mans hypercar series in full swing next year, we could be approaching another era of Porsche dominance in WEC. We'll see if Porsche can make another run of it soon.