Not many cars have won Le Mans. In fact, in 83 races not even 83 individual cars have won the great race, as several repeated the feat.
So it is an incredibly rare occasion that one of these intrinsically astonishing machines comes up for auction. But the very Porsche 956 that won Le Mans in 1983 crosses the block at Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach sale in August.
Chassis 956-003 is the third of just 10 built for the factory Porsche team. It made its first appearance at Le Mans in 1982 in the hands of Jochen Mass and Vern Schuppan, finishing second in a 956 podium lock-out.
The car contested another four rounds of the World Sportscar Championship at Spa, Fuji, Kyalami and Brands Hatch, winning every time.
956-003 resurfaced for Le Mans in ’83, with Schuppan, Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood on driving duties. They won, just 63 seconds in front of Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell. It raced once more, retiring at Kyalami with ignition failure.
But we’ll gloss over that. 956-003 is probably the most successful 956 chassis Porsche built.
At some point in ’83, 956-003 was used to test Porsche’s new PDK dual-clutch gearbox. But it’s front-line career was effectively over after Le Mans. On retirement it was acquired from the factory by Vern Schuppan – he only won Le Mans the once – who had it for more than 10 years.
It passed through several other owners and has been fully restored. It also won the Porsche class in the Pebble Beach concours last year.
One of those owners tried to sell 956-003 at auction in 2007, but it failed to sell on a high bid of $2 million. Values of Group C cars have gone up generally since then, but this a particularly rare and special one. The estimate is set at $7 million to $9 million (around £4.5m to £7.25m).
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By Only Motors