Words: Elliott Hughes | Photography: Porsche
Porsche’s Heritage and Museum division has unveiled a meticulously restored Porsche 962C at the marque’s famous Weissach Development Centre – the very place the racing car was originally built nearly 35 years ago.
German driver Hans-Joachim Stuck campaigned the 1987 machine to first place in the ADAC Würth Supercup, and he – alongside designer Rob Powell and Stuck’s former race engineer, Norbert Singer – were reunited with the car in an emotional ceremony.
“By arranging this reunion after more than three decades, we have not only surprised Hans-Joachim Stuck, we have also taken a little journey through time. The history of the motor sport story surrounding the 962C is unique,” says Achim Stejskal, head of Porsche Heritage and Museum.
Armin Burger and Traugott Brecht from Porsche Historic Motorsport are credited with the idea of returning the car to its former glory. “We kept passing this car in the warehouse… we decided to get it out of there, transfer it to Weissach and start working on it,” Burger explains.
With the decision made, one-and-a-half years of challenging work began. Burger and his team had to remanufacture many of the original components that were lost to time as the car lay dormant in storage. Fortunately, the restoration team managed to find almost everything they needed within a 30-metre radius thanks to the excellent co-operation of the marque’s other departments.
Singer and Powell were also invited into the workshop to offer invaluable insight into the Porsche’s design and build processes in period. “When you hear the right people talking about the vehicle, everything immediately becomes clear. We learned an incredible amount from two witnesses who were right there when it all happened,” Burger recalls.
With components sourced and research completed, the entire underbody of the car was rebuilt and changes were made to the radiators and bodywork. The accurate recreation of the car’s striking yellow, black and red Shell livery ran in period was the final obstacle the team had to overcome.
Rob Powell, who designed the car’s livery, retrieved stencils, sketches and tape used 35 years ago to complete the final piece of the puzzle. The livery was created by carefully forming a stencil with tape. “This is very important, for example, so that the painters can plan the cut-out correctly,” Powell explains. “I still think the colour combination of yellow and red looks modern.”
With the car completed, there was only one thing left to do: reunite Stuck with his original red race suit from the 1980s and get him back behind the wheel for the car’s first laps since 1987. “The 962C was one of the few cars I was allowed to drive on my own, without team-mates and with exactly the set-up I wanted. You never forget a car like that,” Stuck says.
Stuck was deeply involved in the car’s development, and his feedback helped to hone important innovations that the 962C introduced, notably Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK transmission and ground-effects aerodynamics. “He was always one of the drivers whose feedback I could interpret accurately, like the data from a sensor,” Singer recalls.
“I’m a big fan of the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission, and am proud that I was allowed to test it in the 962 back then. Being able to keep my hands on the steering wheel when changing gears at full throttle felt great right from the start,” Stuck says. Today, the PDK transmission is a Porsche staple, with the system offered in every car the Stuttgart-based marque currently produces.
Stuck’s running of the 962C on Porsche’s 1.5km test track follows its first public appearance at the Porsche Museum’s Digital Sound Night on September 18, 2021. Porsche says it will showcase the car in many more driving and presentation events in the coming year to mark the 40th anniversary of Group C. “In 2022, we’ll celebrate the 40th in style,” Stuck promises.
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