The second of two Luftgekühlt exhibits at the Petersen Automotive Museum has now opened and focuses on the history and legacies of two iconic prototypes, the Porsche 956 and 962 race cars.
The Porsche 956 was designed to meet the new Group C regulations of the 1982 FIA World Sportscar Championship (WSC), and it was the first racing car to incorporate an aluminum monocoque chassis with ground effect aerodynamic features. That year, factory 956s triumphed the 24 Hours of Le Mans, leading every lap and finishing first, second, and third.
In 1983, a Porsche 956 piloted by Stephen Bellof set the overall lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which lasted for 35 years until it was surpassed in 2018 by a modified Porsche 919 Hybrid. The 962 was designed to meet the new IMSA GTP requirements, with Group C competitors using the 962C nameplate.
“We are delighted to share our second Luftgekühlt exhibit, which features some of the most iconic 956s and 962s ever produced,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “This gallery will explore the rich history of these race cars and shed some more light on why they were so dominant on track.”
The 962 went on to become one of the most dominant race cars of all time, winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1985 and 1986, the IMSA GT championship from 1985 to 1988, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1986 and 1987, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994 (a modified customer car), and other racing series for ten years in a row.
Some of the cars on display are a white Porsche 956, a
driven by Bob Akin and Hans Stuck, the Copenhagen 962 driven by A.J. Foyt, the Miller High Life/BF Goodrich 962 that went on to win the 1989 Rolex Daytona 24.
There’s more, a three-time race-winning factory Rothmans 962C driven by Jack Ickx and Jochen Mass, a Leyton House 962C built by Kremer, and finally, the 0123/Art 962C driven by Hurley Hollywood.
Pretty much all these vehicles have competed in historic vintage races on a regular basis well after they withdrew from the highest levels of motorsport. This show finishes a two-part exhibit series organized by the Petersen Museum in collaboration with Porsche-themed automotive event producer Luftgekühlt.
If you are in and around L.A. and are a Porsche aficionado, then you should definitely go check out these rare Porsche prototypes at the Petersen Museum.
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