The Petersen Automotive Museum has opened the second of two Luftgekühlt exhibits, Prototype Giants, which focuses on the history and legacy of the legendary Porsche 956 and 962 racecars.
The Porsche 956 was built to comply with the 1982 FIA World Sportscar Championship (WSC)’s new Group C regulations and was the first racing car to feature an aluminum monocoque chassis and ground effect aerodynamic elements. Factory 956s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, leading every lap and taking first, second and third place. In 1983, a 956 driven by Stephen Bellof set the overall lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which stood for 35 years until a modified Porsche 919 Hybrid eclipsed it in 2018.
The 962 was created to meet the updated IMSA GTP specifications, with the Group C entrants taking the 962C nameplate. The 962 became one of the most dominant race cars ever, winning the WSC in 1985 and 1986, the IMSA GT championship from 1985-88, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1986 and 87, the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans 1994 (a modified customer car), and other racing series for 10 years straight.
“We are delighted to share our second Luftgekühlt exhibit, which features some of the most iconic 956s and 962s ever produced,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “This gallery will explore the rich history of these race cars and shed some more light on why they were so dominant on track.”
Cars on display include a white Porsche 956, the Coca-Cola livered 962 driven by Bob Akin and Hans Stuck, the Copenhagen 962 campaigned by A.J. Foyt, the Miller High Life/BF Goodrich 962 that won the 1989 Rolex Daytona 24, a three-time race-winning, factory Rothmans 962C driven by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass, a Leyton House 962C built by Kremer and the 0123/Art 962C driven by Hurley Haywood. Almost all of these vehicles have continued to compete regularly in vintage races long after they retired from the top levels of competition.
This display concludes the two-part exhibit series at the Petersen Museum in partnership with Porsche-themed automotive event organizer Luftgekühlt. The first part, “Pfaffenhausen Speed Shop ― The RUF Gallery,” opened on May 15, 2021 and highlighted the work of German manufacturer and Porsche tuner RUF Automobile.
Prototype Giants opened to the public on August 25, 2021 and replaced the RUF exhibit in The Vault presented by Hagerty. It will leave the museum on November 19. For more information about exhibits and programs at the museum, please visit Petersen.org