Between 1984 and 1991, Porsche built a total of 91 962s, with 16 raced by the factory team, and the remaining 75 sold to private teams. The 962 won Le Mans 3 times, including a heavily modified Dauer 962 Le Mans that took the race in 1994. By comparison, the 962's predecessor, the 956, won Le Mans 4 consecutive times, but Porsche and the 962 faced significant competition in the late 1980s from Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw Racing.
This car, the 22nd built by Porsche for private racing teams, was delivered to Dyson Racing of Poughkeepsie New York in 1986, and was damaged in its first outing on Wakins Glen on July 6. With little time left to repair it before other races, Dyson obtained a non-factory chassis, but kept the original chassis as a spare. In 1989 it was sold to Kevin Jeannette of Gunnar Racing in West Palm Beach who repaired it and sold it to its current own in 1992. In the mid-2000s, it went through an exacting restoration.
This car was auctioned by Mecum Auctions in Monterey, California on August 18-20, 2016.
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There are few if any better cars in the world for big-league vintage sports car racing than this 1986 Porsche 962 originally campaigned in the IMSA GTP racing series by Dyson Racing of Poughkeepsie, New York, one of America’s longest-running and most successful racing teams. If that seems overly presumptuous, consider that the Porsche 962 and its 956 predecessor dominated their respective racing series for a full decade into the mid-‘90s. The assertion is reinforced by the fact that this example was expertly restored and prepared specifically to compete in IMSA GTP vintage racing. Further, 956/962 Porsches are still well supported by both Porsche and a well-established network of factory-approved specialists, giving owners an advantage in maintaining their competitiveness.
The 962 saga actually began in earnest with the 1982 1,000 km endurance race at Silverstone, where the first works 956 shattered the track record in qualifying and finished second the first time out. Rules affecting driver placement and engine specifications prevented Porsche from entering the 956 in the North American IMSA GTP racing series until 1985, when Porsche extended the car’s wheelbase to move the front axle line ahead of the pedal box and integrated an approved steel roll cage into the aluminum tub. The new longer-wheelbase 962 also allowed the larger 31.7-gallon fuel tank permitted by IMSA. Because IMSA rules also prohibited the use of the 956’s 2.65 L water-cooled twin turbo flat-6, the 962 was powered by an air-cooled unit derived from the Type 935 using a single cam per cylinder bank and a single KKK turbocharger.
Chassis number 962-122, this 962 is the 22nd of 77 built by the Porsche factory for its racing customers. It was delivered new to Dyson Racing in June 1986 and immediately prepared for the Watkins Glen IMSA GTP Camel Continental 500 race scheduled for July 6. Driver Drake Olson qualified 122 4th on the grid. Pursuing the leader on lap 25, Olson attempted to pass a slower competitor and was forced off course, resulting in damage to the left front suspension and body parts and ending its first outing. With the next race fast approaching and insufficient parts and time for repairs, Dyson decided to retain a non-factory chassis, with supplied parts made available thereafter. Dyson retained ownership of the 962-122 chassis as a potential spare until the factory supplied enough new units that it was no longer needed, and in 1989 it was sold to Kevin Jeanette, owner of Gunnar Racing in West Palm Beach, Florida, and one of the world’s pre-eminent racing Porsche restorers. The chassis along with subsequent parts remained untouched in Jeanette’s care until 1991, when the current owner contacted Jeanette to inquire about purchasing a 962. The two agreed that Jeanette would repair 962-122 and then sell it to the current owner, who officially purchased it on June 25, 1992.
It was not until the mid 2000s that the current owner commissioned an exacting restoration of 962-122, a nut-and-bolt operation that took four years to complete. Regarded as one of the most complete and period specific ever performed on a 962, the restoration stands as a masterpiece of uncompromising quality, built to factory standards and thoroughly prepared for vintage racing applications. Originality was critical to the lengthy ground up restoration and race ready commitment. Porsche Motorsports played a key role in releasing OEM parts, insuring period correct completion. Each individual part of 122 went through a thorough inspection process, down to original BBS 17-inch wheels. Significant to the reliability and performance capability, 122 received an upgrade to the Motec engine management system, as original Bosch Motronic system parts are not longer available and quite dated in comparison. 962-122 is one of the best-prepared and original 962s available today. The provenance of 122 became formally certified by the FIA, via a rigorous hands-on inspection in order to document its originality and race-ready preparation.
The completed 962-122 was first presented to the public at the 2007 Rennsport Reunion at Daytona, Florida, and again in 2011 at Rennsport Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California. Today, it is fully prepared to be highly competitive in a wide array of vintage events in venues around the world, from the Monterey Motorsports Reunion to the Le Mans 24 Classic. Its provenance as having the factory-built 962-122 chassis, with a Porsche factory original 962 engine and original ownership by the historically successful Dyson Racing organization is unique.
After appearing at the Daytona 24 Classic in late 2015, 962-122 was delivered at Porsche’s invitation to its all-new $100 million Porsche Experience Center (PEC) and headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, where it takes pride of place among several of the finest factory prototypes on display. Driven only test miles since the restoration, the car is in fabulous pristine condition, a marvelous example of the most successful Porsche endurance racer in the company’s glorious history.