1984 Porsche 956B Pilots: H. Pescarolo, K. Ludwig Team: Joest Racing Race: 1st overall (C1) at Le Mans in 1984 Spark - MAP02028413 (resin)
In August 1981 FIA terminated Group 6 and introduced a new sports car prototype class, Group C. This new class for the World Sportscar Championship (WSC) started in 1982 and the new regulations mainly concerned fuel consumption. For this reason, the 936 went into retirement and Porsche started to work on a brand new prototype, the 956. Coordinated by Norbert Singer, Porsche’s engineering department used for the first time the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe. The PDK was an innovative double clutch gearbox that highly enhanced gearshifts. The engine of the new car was the same Typ 935 from the retired 936/81. It was a 2649 cm³ turbo-charged flat-6 that with a progressive fuel injection system produced 620 hp. The end result was a 1-2-3 finish at La Sarthe in 1982 and a 1-2 finish in 1983.
The new car was a tremendous success in the WSC. The 956 not only brought Porsche the manufacturer’s but also the driver’s championship in 1982 and 1983. It was such a dominant force that for 1984 Porsche released it to privateers also. However, for 1984 Porsche developed the car further into the 956B. The principal difference between the customer 956 and the works 956B was the Bosch Motronic engine management. The new Bosch system allowed a more precise ignition and fuel injection. That being so, the same Typ 935 engine was now more powerful, and just as important, more fuel efficient.
In the 24 Heures du Mans Porsche didn’t have an official works team. But some of the top privateers received the 956B and full factory support. In the end, the 1984 race was another crushing victory for Porsche. The 956 (old and new B versions) finished in the top seven (!) places 😲. Joest Racing was one of the elected teams that received the new 956B for that race. But to double their chances they also had an older 956 in the team. Though their 956 #8 abandoned on lap 170 with the engine overheating, 956B #7 finished in first.
The 956 dominated Le Mans from 1982 to 1985, therefore it’s a must have for any Le Mans collector like me. To the point that 956B #7 here was the first 956 winner that I bought back in early 2017. However, I was misled by the seller and while I thought I was getting an Ixo, I got an Altaya instead 🤐. And ever since that model pissed me off. But finally I got a good replacement. Now I feel kind of vindicated, because this one is from Spark, and it’s a fantastic model.