These 3 volumes of extraordinarily detailed scholarship must rank as the ultimate study of Porsches 956 and 962, and their variations, that raced between 1982 and 1999. The sense of erudition and level of detail reflects the author, Serge Vanbockryck’s decades-long research into this iconic race car. The three-volume book does expect its readers to have a certain degree of car knowledge, but the writing is accessible enough for anyone with an interest in cars to enjoy it – and learn a lot.
There is fascinating detail of Norbert Singer’s designs, and also that of Robert Powell, who created Porsche’s iconic livery. Accompanying the deep dive into the Porsche 956/962’s design and development are a series of never before published photographs of tests and original design drawings.
Punctuating the more technical parts are some dramatic tales, such as the 1990 Porsche Pit Fire, where Norbert Singer was one of six Porsche crew airlifted to hospital. Vanbockryck writes in exciting detail about the most iconic races of this period, revealing the strategies and technical advancements that led to celebrated victories, as well as the big rivalry between Porsche and Jaguar. There is also an entertaining insight into race car “espionage” – how engineers from rival manufacturers wore civilian clothes at race events to get as close as possible to competitors’ latest car models to see if they could replicate a good design.
Volume three goes into more granular detail about design (specifically the 16 Porsche 962s and three Dauer 962 LM GTs), but also includes some fascinating biographies of two key engineers and the drivers who raced the cars – from Bob Wollek who left competitive skiing for motorsport to cab driver turned World Series winner, Danny Sullivan.
The exclusive photos and exhaustive technical detail really do make you feel like you’re being let in on the secrets to Porsche’s global success story. This impressively scholarly book would make for a stand-out item on any car lover’s bookshelf.
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