Dauer 962 Le Mans
|Dauer 962 Le Mans|
|Designer||Porsche / Achim Storz|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive|
DP Motorsports DP962
twin turbocharged Flat 6
|Length||4650 mm (183.1 in)|
|Width||1985 mm (78.1 in)|
|Height||1050 mm (41.3 in)|
|Curb weight||1080 kg (2381 lb)|
The Dauer 962 Le Mans is a sports car based on the Porsche 962 racing car. Built by German Jochen Dauer's Dauer Racing, a racing version of this car went on to win the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans with the support of Porsche through the use of regulation loopholes.
Dauer Racing (now Dauer Sportwagen) produced the 962 Le Mans from Porsche 962 chassis stripped down for modification. Components of the bodywork were replaced with slightly revised carbon fibre and kevlar panels. The under tray was replaced with a flat version for better stability at high speeds. A second seat and leather upholstery were installed in the cramped cockpit, as well as a video screen for DVD playback in later years. A small compartment was added to the front of the car to carry luggage. A hydraulic suspension system was also added to meet German ride height requirements for street cars.
The 962 Le Mans uses nearly the same engine as the racing 962: Porsche's water-cooled Type-935 2994 cc Flat-6 with two Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch AG turbochargers. Since the road car did not have to meet racing regulations, the air restrictor was removed allowing for an output of approximately 730 hp (544 kW). The 5-speed racing gearbox was also retained.
The first production car debuted at the 1993 Frankfurt Auto Show. While orders for the cars were taken, Dauer worked with Porsche to develop the two racing cars for the following years' 24 Hours of Le Mans. After Dauer's victory, attention returned to the road cars with at least twelve more examples built over the years.
Following rule changes in the World Sportscar Championship in 1992 which saw Porsche 962 numbers dwindle in Europe, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche was looking for ways to continue their sports car efforts. Although 962s were still legal at Le Mans, the cars were no longer competitive against the top entrants in its class.
With the re-introduction of production-based grand tourer-style cars in 1993, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) had created a loophole as no specific number of road-going examples was established within 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--the requirement that production-based cars have storage space for a typical suitcase had already been fulfilled, as the Dauer road car was able to carry luggage. The flat bottom of the 962 Le Mans also fit with GT rules. Three more modifications were necessary to fully comply: Narrower tires than the 962 had run in Group C, a larger fuel tank (now up to 120 litres), and the reinstallation of a restrictor for the engine, although this one would be larger than the one they had run in Group C.
The flat bottom and narrow tires of the 962 Le Mans would hinder the performance of the car over the long laps at Le Mans even with the increased power from the GT-class air restrictor. However Porsche believed that the larger fuel tank they were allowed in the GT-class would allow them to overcome this lack of speed by spending less time in the pits than the Group C cars, something which is key for an endurance race.
A total of two Dauer 962 Le Mans racing cars were built. Arriving at Le Mans with the support of Porsche's factory racing team, Joest Racing, 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 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 woes. In the end, only a lone Toyota 94C-V in the Group C class could contend with the Dauers, taking second place overall. The Dauer 962 Le Mans of Yannick Dalmas, Hurley Haywood, and Mauro Baldi 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.
- QV500.com: Dauer 962 LM sport
- QV500.com: Dauer 962 LM
- Dauer 962 official press release (962LM.com)
- Porsche USA - 1994 Dauer 962