The Porsche 962 of IMSA; an incredible machine…

With the pending 50th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Daytona Endurance race set to coincide with Saturdays start of this years 24 Hours race, I thought it would be an appropriate time to take a look back at a cross-section of Porsche 962’s that competed in IMSA from 1984 through 1988, and contributed to its numerous victories.

Bob Akin #5 Coca Cola Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86

The late Bob Akin_Coca Cola Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86

The late Bob Akin_Coca Cola Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86

For those unfamiliar with the Porsche 962 and its lineage, I offer up this brief overview; The 962 was designed as a clone of Porsches already successful type 956 (see photos  directly below), but included a few minor modifications in order to conform to IMSA specifications. Most notably, the design of a revised front suspensions and slightly stretched wheelbase, in order to place the drivers feet behind the centerline of the front wheel hubs for greater safety and driver protection. This safety criteria would subsequently be adopted within Europe and impact the further success of the 956. Ironically, the 962 was later used as a springboard by Porsche for the development of their “962 C” model. This update allowed owners of existing, non-compliant Porsche 956 “Group C” cars to covert their car over to 962 C specifications, by replacing their existing 956 tub with a new factory built “962 C” tub that incorporated the revised pedal box configuration.

Porsche 956's_Monterey Historics_Laguna Seca Raceway_Jul90

1983 Rothmans Porsche 956_Monterey Historics_Jul90

With the Porsche 962’s debut at the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona race, and up until 1991 when production ceased ( Porsche produced a total of 77 962 race cars, including the Works cars), the 962 went on to amass an incredible number of victories, dominating the sports prototype classes both here and abroad. This was clearly demonstrated by the results posted from the 1987 Daytona 24 hour race; by the end, Porsche 962’s had captured the top 6 places, led by the #14 Lowenbrau car, piloted by Al Holbert, Derek Bell, Chip Robinson and Al Unser Jr.

Al Holbert #14_Lowenbrau Porsche 962_10.1C_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87

The following photos are but a small collection of images taken during the 1986 /1987 IMSA season, showcasing the culmination of several years of refinement, and applied to each Porsche 962 by the teams campaigning them, since making its racing debut in 1984…

Bruce Levan #86_Bayside Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Bruce Levan #86_Bayside Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Bruce Levan #86_Bayside Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Dyson Racing #16_ Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Dyson Racing #16_ Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Dyson Racing #16_ Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87

Al Holbert #14 Lowenbrau Porsche 962_riverside Raceway_Apr 86

Derek Bell_#14 Lowenbrau Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86Derek Bell, crew chief Kevin Doran, and the late Al Holbert_#14 Lowenbrau Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86

Al Holbert #14_Lowenbrau Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Al Holbert #14_Lowenbrau Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Al Holbert #14 Lowenbrau Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Jim Busby Racing #67_BFG Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87

Jim Busby_BFG #67 Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 86

Jim Busby Racing #67_BFG Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87Jim Busby Racing #67_BFG Porsche 962_Riverside Raceway_Apr 87

Good luck to all of the Porsche teams currently assembled in Florida, anxiously awaiting the start of this weekends 50th anniversary celebration and the running of this years  “24 Hours of Daytona”…

(All photos by the author)

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2 thoughts on “The Porsche 962 of IMSA; an incredible machine…

  1. Dear Chris, I’m currently finalising a new book on the 956/962 and would really value the chance to use some of your images of the IMSA cars if at all possible. Hope to hear from you.

    • Thank you for your email.
      I would be interested in hearing more about your book, and which of my photos you are interested in.
      I do have a good collection of Porsche 962 photos that I shot from 1985 through 1987 of the top teams competing in the IMSA series.
      I look forward to hearing more about your project.
      Regards,
      Chris
      Crflorin86@yahoo.com

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