It’s hard to think of a time where Porsche was not dominating motorsport around the globe. With honours in pretty every class or championship, the 911 and its derivatives have left a mark on the history books that will not be erased. Over the last 50 years, there have been some standouts however. Following much discussion behind the scenes, and an argument or seven, we’ve compiled a list of what we think to be the ten best 911 or 911 based race cars. Now, the decision is yours…
1974 Porsche 911 Turbo RSR
Where it all began for turbo Porsche production cars. The groundbreaking ’74 Turbo RSR was the beginning of a special period in Group 5 for Porsche. 750kg, 500hp.
1976 Porsche 935/76
Building on lessons learned from the ’74 Turbo RSR, the 935/76 set the standard for things to come. On its debut at Mugello, along with the next race at Vallelunga, Ickx & Mass brought the 935/76 to back-to-back victories and set in motion a series of successes that would make the 935 one of the most successful production based racing cars of the era.
1978 Porsche 935/78
Perhaps the most recognisable of all the 935s. ‘Moby Dick’, its named inspired by its large body courtesy of Group 5 regulations, the car would only win at the Six Hours of Silverstone in 1978. Capable of 366km/h (227mph) on the Mulsanne, Moby Dick was the basis for a lot of Porsche’s successes to come in sports car racing.
1979 Kremer K3
Perfecting what Porsche started, the Kremer brothers took their K3 – based on the 935 – to unprecedented levels of success. Utilising carbon/Kevlar in the bodywork, the cars were capable of a reliable 700hp+. At Le Mans in ’79, the K3 took first and third overall.
1979 Brumos Racing Porsche 935
Whilst the K3 was running riot in Europe, in the USA, the famous #59 935 of Peter Gregg was setting records that have yet to be beaten today. Eight victories and eight pole positions in a row, with the car never finishing outside the top 10 of any race. Domination.
1981/2 Porsche 935 JLP3
Still on the same side of the Atlantic, the father/son team of John L. Paul Senior and Junior and their custom built JLP3, which is believed to be the most successful 935 ever built. The only car to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in the same year (1982, although it’s the 1981 car pictured above). In just two years and 27 races, it amassed nine wins and 16 podiums.
1983/4 Porsche 935L
Another of the successful US variants, 935L was piloted to victory at the 1983 24 Hours of Daytona and to second place the following season at the same race. Both times against stiff competition from prototype rivals, beaten by the March-Porsche 83G in 1984.
1986 Porsche 959 Paris Dakar
Yes, it was a multiple winner of the most gruelling race on earth, the Paris Dakar Rally. But what you really need to know is that in 1986, an engineer driving a support 959 which was not competing, finished sixth overall. That’s how good the 959 Paris Dakar was.
1996 Porsche 911 GT1
When Porsche decided to return to top level GT racing, it did it with style. The 911 GT1 was a bespoke race car that took full advantage of the rulebook of the era. Although more 911 in name than nature – it was mid-engined rather than rear-engined – it did leave a lasting legacy.
2011 Manthey Racing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR
Winning the 24 Hours of Nürburgring once is an accomplishment. Winning it four out of five times between 2007 and 2011 is a feat which looks unlikely to be repeated. Manthey have certainly left their mark on the event, it’s now up to others to try and catch up.
Images by Porsche Archive, Rod Chong, Theo Badri, Mark Windecker & Paddy McGrath
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