Morning Symphony: The One And Only Porsche 961, The Factory Race 959!


Morning Symphony: The One And Only Porsche 961, The Factory Race 959!

In the late 1980s, two cars had truly earned their way onto posters, Trapper Keepers, and the imaginations of young and old: the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40. The Ferrari was, in the loosest terms possible, the final form of a project that had started with the 288 GTO and Ferrari’s ambitions to race in Group B. The Porsche 959 was the same line of thinking, just with a German bent to it. The F40 had developed from the program that had birthed the GTO and the 288 GTO Evoluzione and was to be a spartan, stripped, engine and shell kind of car that was meant to tingle your sense of self-preservation just as hard as it tingled other parts of your body. The 959, on the other hand, was a technological monster that brought in intelligent all wheel drive and adjustable ride-height suspension. But when Group B got canned, both manufacturers were left with cars that needed a place to go, and “to the street” didn’t work for every one.

Chassis 10016 is the only 1986 Porsche 961, a Type-935 flat-six powered machine with a six-speed manual that weighed in at a tick over 2,500 pounds and had 680 horsepower to play with. First appearing at the 1986 24 Hours of LeMans, the 961 proved to be as quick as C2 and C1 prototype cars, let alone anything in GTX (not enough 959s had been built at the time to qualify for Group B homologation). It ran in Camel GT at Daytona in GTP, where the car had issues with banked surfaces, and on it’s 1987 24 Hours of LeMans appearance, a gearbox issue caused driver Kees Nierop to crash, and caught fire after Nierop tried to return to the pits. Since then, the car was rebuilt and has resided in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.


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