1986 Porsche 962C Pilots: D. Bell, J. Stuck, A.Holbert Team: Porsche AG / Rothmans Race: 1st overall (C1) at Le Mans in 1986 Spark - MAP02028613 (resin)
The 1980s was without a doubt the “Porsche Decade” at Le Mans. From 1981 to 1987 there was always a P car in first place. And of these victories, four were by the 956 or 956B – a bonafide winning machine. However, though dominating in Europe, the 956 couldn’t race in North America. Namely, in the GTP class of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) championship. Just because of the 956’s pedals. Well, not only because of that, but the pedals, in front of the front axle, were illegal. In IMSA the driver’s feet had to be located behind the front axle for safety reasons. On the 956/956B the pedals were ahead of the axle, and Porsche could not change that. So if you can’t change the placing of the pedals, what do you do? You build a new car, of course. So here begins the story of the 962.
In spite of the pedals, the 956 worked. So in 1984 Norbert Singer, Porsche’s chief engineer, designed a new car. The big difference was the longer chassis, with the pedals sitting behind the front axle. This new (aluminum) chassis also had an integrated steel roll cage. For an engine, Singer once again used the Typ 935, but highly modified. The new engine was an all-aluminum flat-6 displacing 2994 cm³, with 24 valves and DOHC. A big difference was the turbo system, because the IMSA rules did not allow twin-turbos. So instead, he used a single Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch (KKK) AG K36 turbocharger, with an air-cooler. However, to comply with the class C WSC (World Sportscar Championship) regulations, the new car used the 956B engine. It was the same engine but displacing 2650 cm³ and twin KKK K27 turbochargers. The cars with this “WSC engine” were the 962C.
The 962 started it’s racing career in 1984, and the car did very well in the IMSA that year. At La Sarthe, there was one 962 in the GTP class and one 962C in the C1 class, but both (privateers) abandoned. The following year there was no GTP class and Porsche had three 962C in their Rothmans works team. Yet, they didn’t fare very well and a 956B won again. In 1986 the Porsche Rothmans team was back, and this time in winning form. Conducted by the highly experienced trio of Bell, Stuck and Holbert, 962C #1 (chassis #962-003) finished in first place overall.
Like the real deal, in scale the car is a winner. Spark (as always) sends the necessary decals to complete the livery. And in just five minutes the model is perfect. However, the front decals demanded the use of Micro Sol to get the Rothmans badge to fit properly.
Though a fantastic model as it is, I think it won’t be a must buy for the majority of collectors. It looks too much like the 1987 winner. And let’s be frank, it’s also VERY similar to the 956 Rothmans cars…🤨 So unless you’re a Le Mans nut you’re excused from getting all the Rothmans winners.
Yeah, yeah, as you can see, I am a Le Mans nut 😁.