1979 Porsche 935/80
Black and Gold Period Livery
Porsche’s 935 is likely not only the fastest production-based racing car of all time but one of Zuffenhausen’s most successful competition models. Porsche’s introduction of the 930 Turbo for its 1976 model year was paralleled by a racing version, the Type 934, for Group 4, with three liters of displacement and a single turbocharger that helped the race car produce something in the neighborhood of 485 horsepower. While very fast, its chassis wasn’t up to the task of handling all that power. Its replacement, the Type 935, resolved that issue. Utilizing some of the technology gleaned from the 911RSR 2.1 Turbo of 1974, the 935 was built for Group 5, which was now separated from the true prototypes. While it appeared to be a slope-nosed 911 with wide fenders and an oversized “whale tail” from the outside, it was in fact a purpose-built silhouette racer. Its suspension was changed from torsion bars to the 917’s coil springs, and a driver-controlled rear anti-roll bar was utilized. 917 brakes were installed, and special, new, larger tires on 19-inch diameter rear wheels were produced. The front wheels remained 16-inch diameter. After careful calculations, Porsche’s engineers settled on a 2.8 liter engine displacement (92mm bore, 70.4mm stroke), using titanium connecting rods, a flat cooling fan, dual ignition, and Bosch fuel injection. With a single intercooled KKK turbocharger offering 23 psi maximum boost, this motor was capable of 630hp at 7000 rpm. But for the roof, the 935’s body skin was entirely fiberglass. Porsche took advantage of regulations allowing free shape of the fenders, creating a new, more aerodynamic front end, and radically-widened and vented rear fenders. The broad front valance contained the headlamps, an oil cooler, and air ducting for the huge front brakes. The air-to-water intercooler and related manifolding were mounted beneath the rear wing assembly.
Porsche’s clever rules interpretation drove the Commission Sportive International mad, but finally the 935’s specifications were accepted. The 935 won four of seven races in the 1976 World Makes Championship. The following season, Porsche began making cars available to customer teams such as Joest and Kremer, as well as other privateers.
The example presented here is chassis 000-0029, sold as a pre-mounted shell by Porsche in 1982 to Alan Hamilton of Porsche Cars Australia. Hamilton then sold 0029 to its current owner, Rusty French, who was racing a different 935, chassis 000-0022 at the time. The pre-mounted shell of 0029 sat as delivered during 1983 until being updated by Porsche Cars Australia for the 1984 season with Kremer K3 components. The titanium coil spring suspension with Bilstein shocks, gearbox, and engine pieces are all proper 935 components which came out of French’s previous car, the ex-GELO/Bob Wollek/Alan Jones chassis 000-0022. Upon completion of 0029, Australian log book V5767 was issued to John Sands Racing on April 12th, 1984, and the finished car was subsequently tested by Alan Jones at Winton Raceway.
French campaigned the car in Australia from 1984 to 1987, and then in England, winning three consecutive races and setting a lap record at Phoenix Park. With the success at Phoenix Park combined with victories at Silverstone and Oulton Park, French captured the 1989 British GT Championship. Returning to Australia, French and 0029 won the Gold Coast Indy Sports Sedan/GT race in 1991 and was 4th in 1992. The car was then retired from active competition.
In 2004, 0029 received a complete restoration with an eye towards competing in historic events, and in 2005 it was issued Historic Vehicle log-book H1632 by CAMS, the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. 2005 then saw 0029 travel to Japan for Le Mans Classic, where it returned to the winner’s circle.
More recently, French was invited to bring 0029 to the Monterey Historic Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Racing on a circuit that he had never seen before, French won the IMSA GT class in 2008 and repeated his win in 2009, thrilling spectators as he showed his heels to a host of other well-driven 935s, BMWs, Greenwood Corvettes, and V8 Dekon Monzas.
Still fitted with K3 bodywork, a correct 3.2 liter turbocharged engine with Kugelfischer injection pump, four-speed manual “upside down” gearbox, and weighing just 2200 lbs fueled and ready to race, 0029 is a fine example of a well-prepared 935 capable of running up front in any vintage racing event. Adding to its cache, 0029 has been accepted to the October 2011 Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca, with Porsche racing legend Jürgen Barth as the listed driver.
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