Porsche 962-008 Works

Last works Rothmans Porsche built, ran as Number 17 driven by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck and finished on the podium in every race entered.

Introduction

History

1987

1988

1989

1990

An interesting car, even by works Group C Porsche standards. Not only was it the last 962 to be built to race in Rothmans colours, it was also one of relatively few 962s to race with a PDK, double-clutch transmission. The double-clutch gearbox is a common item these days but even in the rarefied world of racing in the late 1980s, it was an unknown, untried and therefore unproven concept. The appeal was easy to see, particularly for racing Porsches that had long been hampered by the factory’s insistence on using synchromesh transmissions that were slow but far harder for drivers to damage. PDK would allow much quicker upshifts and continuous power delivery, so eliminating turbo lag between gears. On the way down through the gears the car would not be able to be destabilised by a hamfisted gear change from an exhausted driver. On the downside, PDK was heavy and not always blessed with Porsche-style reliability.

In its first season, as the other of two new lightweight-spec cars built to take on Jaguar, 008 took Derek Bell and Hans Stuck to the podium of every race it finished, and it finished them all up until Le Mans. Here the car was handed to Mass, Wollek and Schuppan and promptly earned itself pole position. But it was not to be: within 16 laps, suspect poor fuel had made the engine run lean, burning a piston.

Rebuilt to the new MP1.7-spec of the 1988 works Le Mans team entry and repainted in Shell Dunlop colours, it became the car in which Mario, Michael and Jeff Andretti tried to become the first family affair to win the race. Had they done so, Mario would have also joined Graham Hill as the only person to have claimed racing’s holy trinity: the F1 world championship, the Indy 500 and Le Mans. In the end, after running as high as second place, sixth was the final result.

It was shipped to Japan at the end of the season to tackle the 1000km of Fuji, where it came second. Despite Omron sponsorship this was still a works entry and, as it would transpire, the final works entry of the Group C era. Vern Schuppan bought the car at the season’s end and raced it in Japan throughout 1989, winning the Fuji 1000km and achieving second and third places at Fuji, too. 008 was also entered at Le Mans, its third visit there. Driven by Schuppan, it ran as number 55 in Omron colours.

The race was going well and the car was up to fourth place overall, behind the two Mercedes C9s and ahead of all the Jaguars by eight o’clock in the morning. It held this position for the next four hours, when Vern became too concerned about some fuel fires to other 962s in the race, and called 008 in to renew all the fuel lines, being totally sympathetic – even then – as to how special this car’s history was. Losing almost two hours in the pit stop, it returned to the race with 3.5 hours remaining and claimed tenth in Group C. The following year, the last the of the traditional Group C formula, it was less successful and the car was sold to an American collector before being returned to the Shell Dunlop livery it wears today, complete with 1988 Le Mans body.

History & Results

Car No.YearColoursHistory & Results
962-0081987ROTHMANS # 17Last works World championship / Rothmans car built. Bell / Stuck 2nd at Jarama & Monza, 3rd Jerez & Silverstone
 1987ROTHMANS # 18Le Mans - POLE and led Le Mans. Last works world championship race - 2nd at Fuji, OMRON sponsored for factory
 1988SHELL DUNLOP # 19Le Mans - Three ANDRETTI's. Ran in 2nd / 3rd for 8 hrs. Finished 6th. Sold to Vern Schuppan
 1989OMRON # 55Raced by Vern Schuppan in JAPAN. 1st - Fuji 1,000 km's - Le Mans running in 4th until fuel lines renewed
 1990OMRON # 55Raced by Vern Schuppan in JAPAN. 4th - Fuji 1,000 km's
 1990 Restored back to 88 works Le Mans spec and sold to collector in USA

1987 Season

PDK Transmission, Kevlar bodywork.

Race DateRaceDriversCar No.Result
22/03/1987JaramaD. Bell / H-J. Stuck#172nd
29/03/19871000Km JerezD. Bell / H-J. Stuck#173rd
12/04/19871000Km MonzaD. Bell / H-J. Stuck#172nd
10/05/19871000Km SilverstoneD. Bell / H-J. Stuck#173rd
13 - 14/06/198724 Hours Le MansJ. Mass / B. Wollek / V. Schuppan#18DNF

 

1988 Season - Shell Dunlop

Rebuilt to Bosch MP 1.7 spec

Race DateRaceColoursDriversCar No.Result
11 - 12/06/198824 Hours Le MansShell DunlopM / M / J. Andretti#196th
26/06/1988200 MeilenShell DunlopH-J. Stuck#12nd
07/08/1988ADAC DiepholzShell DunlopK. Ludwig#265th
09/10/19881000Kms FujiOmronLudwig / P.Cobb#172nd

10/9: Sold to Vern Schuppan.

1989 Season - Omron

Race DateRaceDriversCar No.Result
12/03/1989500 Km FujiV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#552nd
09/04/1989480Km SuzukaV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#558th
30/04/19891000Km FujiV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#551st
23/07/1989500 Miles FujiV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#55DNF
28/08/19891000 Km SuzukaV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#553rd
10 - 11/06/198924 Hours Le MansV. Schuppan / E. Elgh / G. Brabham#5513th
09/04/1989480KM SuzukaV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#5512th
12/03/19891000Km SuzukaV. Schuppan / E. Elgh#55DNF

 

1990 Season

Race DateRaceDriversCar No.Result
30/04/19901000Km Fuji E. Elgh / T. Mezera #55 4th
26/08/19901000 Km SuzukaV. Schuppan / E. Elgh / T. Mezera#5511th
16/09/1990500Km SugoE. Elgh / T. Mezera#559th