Porsche is one of my two favorite automobile manufacturers for many reasons but did you know that the Dauer 962 Le Mans is a sports car based upon the Porsche 962 race car? The 962 Le Mans was created by the German Dauer Racing Team. Dauer Racing (now known as Dauer Sportwagen) produced the 962 Le Mans from stripped down Porsche 962 bodies to be modified for the street.
Components of the bodywork were replaced with slightly revised carbon fiber and Kevlar panels. The underside/diffusion area was replaced with a flat version for better stability at high speeds. There was also a second seat and leather upholstery installed in the extremely small cockpit, as well as a video screen for DVD playback. A small compartment was added to the front of the car to carry luggage (more like an overnight bag) and a hydraulic suspension system was also added to meet German ride height requirements for street cars of that time period.
The 962 Le Mans used nearly the same engine as the racing version of the Porsche 962 which was Porsche’s water-cooled Type-935 2994 cc Flat-6 with two turbochargers. The nice thing here is that the road version of the car did not have to meet racing regulations and, because of that, the air restriction/resonator was removed which permitted an output of approximately 730 horsepower. Lastly, the 5-speed racing gearbox as well as the rear wheel drive drive-train remained the same.
Now, for my favorite thing about this car, which is a top speed of 251 MPH that was independently measured along with other performance figures that included 0-62 MPH in 2.8 seconds and 0-124 MPH in 7.3 seconds. Can someone say – HOLD ON TIGHT BABY!
The Dauer 962 was referred to as the fastest street-legal production car in the world until it was succeeded by the Bugatti Veyron which reached 253 MPH in 2007.
Now, to wrap things up with a little racing history about this car. There were rule changes in the World Sportscar Championship in 1992 which ultimately negatively affected the Porsche 962 statistics in Europe. It also had similar results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Because of those changes Porsche was looking for ways to continue their sports car efforts. With the re-introduction of production-based grand tourer style cars in 1993 the powers that be (ACO) actually created a loophole because there was no mention of a specific number of road-going examples to meet its homologation requirements. With Dauer’s success in modifying a Porsche 962 into a street-legal car in 1993, Porsche saw an opportunity to bring the 962 back into competition.
With the first production car shown to the public in 1993, Porsche had only to meet certain design criteria which was that production-based cars have storage space for a suitcase (as previously mentioned). The flat bottom of the 962 Le Mans also fit with GT rules. Three more modifications were necessary to fully comply and that included narrower tires than the 962 ran in Group C, along with a larger fuel tank and the re-installation of a restrictor for the engine, although this one would be larger than the one they previously ran in Group C.
There were only two Dauer 962 Le Mans racing cars ever built. Both arrived at Le Mans with the support of Porsche’s factory racing team. Dauer’s two cars showed that they lacked the overall pace of the top Group C cars by qualifying fifth and seventh, however, their pace in their class was shattering as the next closest GT1-class car could only muster 12th. The race saw Porsche’s plan pan out, as the Dauer 962 Le Mans cars were able to gradually make their way to the top of the standings while their competitors spent time in the pits or succumbed to mechanical concerns. In the end, the Dauer 962 Le Mans would take the overall win while the second team car would finish one lap behind in third place overall.
Soon after this event the ACO attempted to fix the loophole in the GT regulations by setting a minimum requirement for production cars to meet homologation standards. With this, the Dauer 962s would never race again, nor would the normal Porsche 962s as the Group C class was finally abandoned.
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