Porsche 956 at Fuji: Time For Tea?


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.

 

 

[Image: LAT Photo]

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Comments (9) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DanG355 11 Apr 2018

    Taking it relatively easy - see the hands and steering wheel in the first video 3:35 to 3:55!

    amongst the greatest era in sports car racing IMO and a truly magnificent car. More of this please Pistonheads.

  • ben5575 11 Apr 2018

    You can't post In Car 956 videos without posting a link to the Le Mans one. Just in case there was any doubt about how fast the Mulsanne Straight is...:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSnG0Lg7wLc (about a minute in for the build up if you're impatient..)

  • sdiggle 12 Apr 2018

    ben5575 said:
    You can't post In Car 956 videos without posting a link to the Le Mans one. Just in case there was any doubt about how fast the Mulsanne Straight is...:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSnG0Lg7wLc (about a minute in for the build up if you're impatient..)
    E P I C ! ! ! ! !

  • The Brummie 12 Apr 2018

    That was insanely quick down the Mulsanne. And the 956 was rock steady!

    Truly were golden days of sports car racing.

    I just showed that video to my 13 y/o son. All he said was ‘Jesus that’s fast’.


  • sideways man 12 Apr 2018

    That Le Mans video took me right back to the 1980’s, sitting directly above the pit garages was special even then. Great times, even better racing.

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