Tuesday, 25 January 2011
The Porsche 935/78 was a one off vehicle built to win the 1978 Le Mans 24 hours and was the ultimate works development of the, then 15 year old, 911 which would not be topped until the advent of the 911 GT1 built in the late 1990's. Notice that in preparation for Le Mans the drivers seat was placed on the right hand side optimising weight distribution for a race run on a clockwise track.
Thanks to a rule made at the request of arch enemy BMW the body was lowered 10cm 3.9 inches over the standard 911 by cutting out the standard floor plan with the engine like wise now lowered the gearbox was inverted to raise the drive shafts closer to their original height. Apart of from the front windscreen almost every body panel was optimised to maximise the top speed on the 4 mile Mulsanne straight where 235 mph was eventually achieved.
The 935/78 was equipped with a 750 hp 3.2 litre 195 cui flat 6 with 4 valves per cylinder in water cooled cylinder heads, a first for Porsche who had always raced air/oil cooled motors up until this time.
The car seen here driven Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass at the 1978 Silverstone 6 hour race, a warm up for the Le Mans 24 hours, romped away from the opposition, mostly private Porsche's with a single works BMW driven by Ronnie Peterson and Hans Joachim Stuck, finished a ridiculous 7 laps ahead of the rest of the field.
Stommelen/Schurti qualified 'Moby Dick', as the 935/78 was known, third on the grid at Le Mans however a silly stunt in which the car was driven on the road from Porsches garage outside the circuit to the circuit on race day went horribly wrong when predictably the car got caught in race day traffic causing the engine to over heat which created an oil leak. The subsequent loss of performance meant the car could only finish 8th.
935/78 #006 appeared twice more in 1978 but disgraced itself with two retirements and has since been consigned to the Porsche Museum. Joest Racing built two further 935/78's from factory drawings in 1981.
Hope you have enjoyed today's 235 mph edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again for another turbo charged blog tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !