Interestingly, Porsche decided not to sell the 936 to private teams, wanting them instead to use the 935 and updated 908 cars. In 1977 the only goal for the German manufacturer was to score another win at Le Mans and again fielded two cars. The #4 car driven by Jurgen Barth, Hurley Haywood, and Jacky Ickx, who joined them after his and Henri Pescarolo’s Porsche #3 was pulled out at the early stage of the race. It was another marvelous victory after the margin to the 2nd-placed Renault was 11 laps mainly thanks to Ickx’s phenomenal driving.
The 1977 model had a much sleeker low-drag body, frontal area was decreased, and the turbocharged engine was equipped with two smaller turbochargers for better throttle response.
The Porsche 936 wasn’t able to win for the third consecutive time in 1978, even after being dominant in qualifying. However, two cars finished 2nd and 3rd respectively, with Bob Wollek, Jurgen Barth, and Jacky Ickx in the car #6, and Reinhold Joest, Hurley Haywood, Peter Gregg in the Porsche #7. The third Porsche #5 of Jacky Ickx, Henri Pescarolo, and Jochen Mass retired on lap 255.
After a disappointing appearance in 1979 when both cars retired from the race, the three Porsche 936 were retired and placed in the factory museum. An experimental attempt in 1980 when Joest Racing built a Porsche around 936-004 chassis was relatively good after the car driven by Jacky Ickx and Reinhold Joest finished 2nd in the race. However, that wasn’t an original Porsche 936.
One Last Hurrah for 1981
A bit surprisingly, two Porsche 936 were pulled out of retirement for the 1981 Le Mans 24h. Instead of building a new Group 6 car, what was illogical because of major rule changes announced for 1982 the modified 936s equipped with a new 24-valve IndyCar engines were entered and that was a bingo. The #11 Porsche 936 driven by Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx won the race, while the #12 Porsche of Jochen Mass, Hurley Haywood, and Vern Schuppan was 2nd in the class.
That definitely was the end of Porsche 936’s long and fruitful racing career. In the following year the legendary car was replaced with Porsche 956 which had a brand new chassis and body, but carried the same turbocharged six-cylinder engine like the 1981 Le Mans winner.