The 919 Evo yesterday was spellbinding. But it's only the latest in a long line of remarkable Porsche sports prototypes...
There are two components to these videos. First, clearly, there is the Porsche 956, the Group C sports prototype car famous for holding the near unassailable Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record of 6:11.13. Second, there is Derek Bell, simultaneously handling the duties of driving and commentating. Tricky, you might think, in a race car which combined a 635hp turbocharged flat-six with a manual gearbox and nascent ground effect technology, but the five-time Le Mans winner somehow manages to sound like Michael Portillo narrating a train journey.
In light of the 919 Evo's spectacular lap of Spa yesterday, it feels like a good time to draw your attention to both. Just as its descendant looked otherworldly in its cornering speed so the 956 appears bafflingly fast, even with Bell taking it (relatively-speaking) quite easy. Like Spa, Fuji and Brands provide the perfect backdrop for the savage wail/hiss of Porsche's Type-935 2.65-litre engine and the unflappable English monotone of the narrative. We can only hope the onboard 919 footage - assuming some appears - is equally spellbinding.
Bell, of course, wasn't aboard for the 956's most famous lap. That inconceivable six-and-a-bit minutes of history was recorded by Stefan Bellof, his 25-year-old German colleague. The time delivered him pole at the 1000km of Nurburgring in 1983, and he won the World Sportscar Championship outright in 1984. Formula 1 beckoned, specifically with Tyrell - but it was while racing a 956 at the 1000km of Spa that Bellof was killed after making contact with Jacky Ickx's car and hitting the barrier. The 956 was retired a year later.