We’re pleased to announce that the first demo at the 79th Goodwood Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport will be an awesome display of Porsche’s Group C domination, with the legendary 956 and 962 taking to the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
Celebrating 40 years since beginning of sportscar racing’s Group B era and the 956’s first Le Mans win, the demo will see 15-20 Porsche 956 and 962s running at Goodwood on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Group C era remains perhaps the high watermark for both the Le Mans 24 Hours and worldwide sportscar racing in general. At its height in the late 1980s manufacturers including Porsche, BMW, Lancia, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ford, Toyota, Mazda and more had entered cars into the class, racing against countless independent teams and manufacturers.
But despite the incredible variety of cars that Group C brought to Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship (later World Sports Prototype Championship), it was Porsche that emerged to achieve near total dominance. The Stuttgart-based marque sealed wins with its first car, the 956, in 1982, ’83, ’84 and ’85, and the follow-up 962 added victories in ’86 and ’87. They also secured victories in the World Championship, European Endurance Championship, Japanese Sports Prototype Championship and in America’s IMSA series.
Already one of history’s greatest racing cars the 956 underwent a gradual development as the 1980s wore on. Eventually this development was so great the 956 morphed into its almost imperceptibly different successor, the 962. It would continue that evolution, eventually racing in configurations that at times included features such as closed rear wheels, separated rear wings and more.
Almost as iconic as the cars themselves were the variety of teams that ran them and sponsor liveries they ran in. As the popularity of Group C grew Porsche sold 956s and 962s to teams including Kremer, Joest and Richard Lloyd. Some of these customers created their own updates and improvements for the cars, adding to the incredible variety that can be found.
Famous sponsors included the iconic Rothmans livery that the factory Porsches ran, but 956s and 962s were also seen with stunning paintjobs from Kenwood, Shell, Blaupunkt, FAT, Repsol, New Man and Jägermeister.
As well as its iconic victories at Le Mans, which included finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th,5th,6th,7th,8th and 10th in 1983 and locking out the top seven the following year, the 956 also holds the lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The time, an astonishing 6 minutes 25.91 seconds, set by Stefan Bellof in the 1983 Nürburgring 1,000km, is unlikely to ever be beaten in competition.
As if the sight of 20 Porsche Group C cars wasn’t enough to whet the appetite, the demo will recreate the iconic setting of La Sarthe by taking place as the sun sets on Saturday night. The second demo will take place in the daytime on the Sunday and we hope to ensure that some of the 177 different drivers who raced the 956 and 962 are at the event.