Porsche Reunites Group C Legends With The Winning 956/962s In Leipzig


Race cars, especially today, are often likened to thoroughbred horses, and for good reason. They’re high-strung, require a lot of attention, and may even be dangerous to the average person. According to the people who drove the Porsche 956/962 in its heyday, though, the car was a rare example of a truly driveable race car.

“You know want to know something? It’s just fantastic!” shouted Hans-Joachim Stuck at a recent event held by Porsche at its Leipzig Experience Center, leaning jauntily on the car he drove in the ‘80s. The event reunited the legendary Group C cars with the people who actually drove them towards their eventual status as the most successful Porsche race car of all time.

On-hand for this event were Stuck, Jochen Mass, Bernd Schneider, and Derek Bell, who all raced the car in its prime. They were joined by the 956 chassis number 002 which won Le Mans in 1982, 956-005 which won the 1,000 km races at Spa and the Nürburgring, as well as the IMSA-spec 962 that qualified in pole position for the 1984 24-hour race in Daytona, the 962 C that won the Supercup in 1984, and the 1987 962 C that won Le Mans, among others.

More: Porsche Spent A Year And A Half Restoring This Championship-Winning 962C Back To Original Condition

“It is great to be back in this car and to drive while the tires are warm. It’s just – I’m so happy, I can’t tell you,” said the ebullient Stuck. “It’s encouraging you. The warmer the tires get, the faster you get, you have more downforce and everything. Oh, it’s so much fun. Because you can’t imagine how good this car is. I mentioned how old I am, and it instantly works. It is just absolutely great!”

That joy is something that the Porsche Museum thinks it’s important to maintain. As Porsche’s mechanics explain, the team works to ensure that these classic race cars, even after 40 years, can still be driven, heard, and smelled the way they were in their prime. And that means a lot of work.

Not only must fuel lines, oil lines, rubber all be maintained and replaced, the team has to ensure that nothing is getting hot and putting the cars at risk of catching fire. Meanwhile, the in-car computers must be worked with classic laptops from the ‘80s that are also very hard to replace.

Fortunately, Porsche has help from Helmut Schmid, who was a test engineer when the 962 and 956 were racing. And the cars are worth preserving because together, they combined to win five manufacturers’ and team titles, 43 individual wins at WEC races, five WEC drivers’ titles, seven overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, four IMSA titles, plus 52 wins in that series, and five overall victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona. It’s not hard, then, to see why the drivers remember them fondly.


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