During its lifetime, the Porsche 956 underwent some changes, such as an improved chassis with better fuel efficiency for the 1984 season.That car was named 956B. In total, Porsche built 28 cars from 1982 to 1984.
The 956’s Racing Success
The Porsche 956 was dominant from day one. Porsche not only won all of the FIA World Sportscar Championship titles between 1982 and 1984, it collected both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships on each occasion. In addition, Stefan Bellof drove a 956 (chassis no. 007) around the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring in a record-breaking time of 6 minutes 11.13 seconds, which remained a record for 35 years.
The Porsche 956 made its competitive debut at the 6 hours of Silverstone in May 1982, the second round of the World Endurance Championship, where they finished second. After missing the following round at the Nürburgring to allow further development of a car, Porsche went after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. It was a 1-2-3 victory for Porsche. That year Porsche secured both drivers’ title for Jacky Ickx and manufacturers’ title for Porsche. In 1983, Porsche 956 was a winning car in all seven races of the World Endurance Championship.
Since the Porsche 956 was a totally dominant car in the championship, the same situation happened at 1983 Le Mans 24-hour race. Porsche drivers occupied not only all podium spots but at the same time, Porsche 956 took the first eight places. In 1984, Porsche’s domination continued, with 10 wins in 11 races.
At the 1984 24 hours of Le Mans, Rothmans Porsche team boycotted the race due to a disagreement between Porsche and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) over the fuel regulations. Despite that, Porsche 956 clinched seven top positions with private teams. In 1985, Porsche was combining 956B and 962C cars, taking one more world’s title. Porsche won eight out of ten races. The season of 1986 was the last competitive year for this legendary car. The era of Porsche 962 already began and Porsche continued its domination in the world’s prototype racing.
When talking about the Porsche 956s racing success it is important to mention the privateer impact. After the 956s dominated the 1982 and 1983 seasons, it was offered to private teams. As Porsche was the only company selling prototype race cars, they were the car to buy and teams such as Joest, Kremer, John Fitzpatrick, Richard Lloyd, Brum Motorsports and Nova Engineering did just that. They added to the 956s success and in many cases developed the 956 further and won a lot of races.