30 Aug 2013

No more Porsche golden days

A comment was made to me the other day that perhaps the new Porsche LMP1 sports racing car-see LMP1 below- will be sold to private teams and Porsche will again dominate the grids at Le Mans and sports car events just like the 956/962 did through the Porsche racing's golden days of the1980s-when they won the 24 hour race 7 times in the decade.Sadly it isn't going to happen.I'm sure Porsche won't be selling the car to privateers because it will be very costly,very complex and most importantly full of IP - intellectual property- aka trade secrets- which Porsche will not want others to access.
In the 956/962 era Porsche operated what today would be called a"open source" approach to the cars they sold to private teams.You could take them apart,modify them,improve them or whatever.There were no secrets.A private team could buy a 962 straight from the factory - employ some good drivers- and be confident of being competitive even standing a chance at winning Le Mans.It was a golden era and lots of succesful teams ran the 956/962s.It was the ultimate "turnkey racer".Sadly those days are gone.There may be private teams running the new car after a year or so-just as there are private teams running the Audi racers at Le Mans and elsewhere but the teams will be close friends of the factory and the cars will remain Porsche property under the control of the factory.
Anyway a couple of pictures of 962s being run by privateers in the 1980s-the Jagermeister car at the 1989 Spa WEC round and a Japanese entered 962 late in the race at Le Mans in 1989.Golden days.Both Leica M6 photos by me.

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