Porsche 936/77 #4 – Spark

1977 Porsche 936/77
Pilots: J. Ickx. H. Haywood, J. Barth
Team: Porsche System / Martini
Race: 1st overall (Gr. 6 class) at Le Mans in 1977
Spark - S1388 (resin)

Published 09/08/17

Porsche introduced the 936 as a Group 6 car in 1976. The basis of the car were the proven 908/03 and 917/10 designs. The result was an aluminum space frame (based on the 917) covered by a plastic body. Powering the car was a turbocharged 2142 cm³ flat-six with an output of around 520 hp, previously used in the 911 Carrera RSR Turbo 2.1. With the 936, Jacky Ickx was victorious at La Sarthe in 1976. Even with the proven success of the 936, for the following year Porsche further developed the car into the 936/77. The new car had a lower and longer body, producing better aerodynamics, and the engine was upgraded with two turbines instead of one, with an upgrade in output to 540 hp.

Spark almost at its finest…

This car is chassis #936/77-001, thus the first 936 produced in 1976 (in early 1977 it was upgraded to 936/77 specs), and it was the first car at Le Mans to be piloted by three pilots. Ickx entered the race piloting the 936/77 #3, along with Henri Pescarolo. But not even into the third hour of the race, while in third place, the #3 car had to abandon. The #4 car was having engine trouble and was back in 41st.

Night fell and Porsche decided to get Ickx in the #4 car, and he then did three stints in a row. He was absolutely impressive behind the wheel, despite the heavy rain and fog that was making the track treacherous, and by midnight #3 was in 6th place. The leading Renault started to have problems, and at sunrise Ickx was in third! He continued driving like a machine, and even with engine trouble on Sunday afternoon, #3 crossed the line in 1st place. And that was with only five cylinders running!

All three 936 winners: 936, 936/77 and 936/81.

All three versions of the 936 were piloted by Ickx, and were Le Mans winners. A true grail model for me, and a VERY nice one. For me it’s so special because according to Ickx (one of my great racing idols) that race was the best race of his career. A statement like that coming from the former “Mr. Le Mans” is no small potatoes, so this model was a must buy. Spark did a fine job on the car, and I’m very happy with it. BUT, maybe because it’s an older mold, it’s not exactly one of Spark’s most refined models – basically it’s as good as a very good Minichamps model. VERY nice, but Spark can do better.

And in the words of the master himself, from the book “Jacky Ickx”, by Pierre Van Vliet:

”It was the race of my life. Without a doubt the biggest moment of my career. I’ll never ever forget that night. Due to the early technical problems we had nothing to lose and could only go flat out. Without thinking or calculating. The circumstances were extreme; not only was it dark, it rained heavy and there was a lot of fog. But we took every possible risk. Every lap I drove on the limit, although the rev counter was broken and I had to concentrate even harder to change gears pure on hearing. And the higher we climbed in the ranking, the stronger we felt.

I remember that strange feeling I got when we again had prospects of a victory, when everything looked like a lost case a couple of hours earlier. None of us could believe it. That night I did go to the limits of my abilities. Did exactly what the team asked of me, drove on the limit constantly and made no mistakes. I put the pressure on the Renault boys so hard that they eventually broke their cars. That’s the magic of Le Mans: the race is only over when the checkered flag falls. And that’s only 24 hours after the start.”


God I love that race!

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