Deep into the glory days of GT racing (grand touring, where cars compete over a set number of laps or a duration of time) in the 1980s, teams fielded a group of wicked, turbocharged, and aerodynamic prototype cars. This formed Group C racing in Europe, and IMSA GTP in North America.
Auto racing was focused on technology and innovation at this time, and these subsequent series became showcases for different vehicle categories, from modified road cars to purpose built wedge shaped machines, slicing the air at speeds nearing 200 miles an hour.
Of the great machines that made this era special, I’ve grown a strong affinity towards Porsche’s entry, the formidable Porsche 962 that hit the track for the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona.
Following in the footsteps of the successful 956 from 1982, Porsche altered their ultra-lightweight aluminum chassis, as the existing layout meant that the driver’s feet rested in front of the front axle, rather than behind it.
Another change that allowed the 962’s stateside debut; a single turbo rather than the twins featured on the European models, which came to be designated as 962Cs.
Quickly, these cars became a powerful force in motorsports. Notable victories include the prestigious 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans, consecutive wins in IMSA GT from 1985-1988, and the 1985-1986 World Sportscar Championship.
By the time that production ended in 1991, a total of 91 chassis were built by Porsche. In addition, Kremer Racing, Richard Lloyd Racing, and Vern Schuppan privately built examples
After admiring these cars online and virtually via video games, my chance finally came to see one in person during the 2018 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Fielded by Dyson Racing and their driver Price Cobb, this survivor in its original RC Cola livery is chassis 962-122, which spent 15 years of its life in storage before a full restoration that was completed in 2011.
Best of all, while restored as an authentic piece of racing history, the former Dyson #116 still spends some time on a race circuit, opposed to gathering dust in a large collection. These include the all-Porsche Rennsport Reunion and California’s Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a gathering of vintage racing machines during the city’s prestigious Car Week.
For the future, it appears that this 962, and the other survivors of its kind are certainly appreciated and revered, with the auction house RM Sotheby’s delivering an estimated value for the car between $900,000 and $1 million in their August 2021 Monterey auction.