Porsche 935 – A timeless legend
Despite the fact that the car was originally developed during the mid seventies it is still a crowd puller in classic motor racing events throughout the world. In this article we feature the history and development of the Porsche 935 and its variants. Furthermore we will highlight the several 935’s that appear on the grids in the European classic motorsports scene.
By Marcel Hundscheid/Speed-O-Graphica.com
Impressive as the 935 was thinking about it’s presence, size, power and sound it was even more impressive that this beast originally was based on a standard Porsche 911 road car. However taking a more closer look the position of the driver was extraordinary, as well as the size of the steering wheel, gear shift and the boost controller to adjust the turbo pressure. As a driver you needed special driving skills as the 935 wasn’t the easiest car to drive as quickly as possible. Equipped with a big six cylinder boxer bi-turbo engine producing around 750 bhp directly in the back of the driver, the car loved big tracks like Le Mans including long straights. The car could only be compared with the legendary Porsche 917/10 or 917/30 as overtaking was much more easier than attacking a curve. One of the early problems was the corner speed. The 935 was in comparison to sports cars extremely slow when entering curves. But when the driver positioned the beast in the right direction to exit the corner it launched like a rocket.
For the 1976 motorsports season the FIA introduced a new Group 5 Special Production Car category, a “Silhouette racing car” silhouette formula based on homologated production vehicles allowing extensive modifications to production based vehicles which were homologated in FIA Groups 1-4. Norbert Singer, Porsche’s chief engineer was given the task of developing the highly succesful Porsche 911 road car for racing. In doing so Singer created eventually what would be the most successful customer race car that Porsche ever produced, the Porsche 935. Singer build the 935 around a 911 Carrera chassis but changed the position of the driver and steering column. He used special Bilstein shock absorbers and titanium springs and brakes that resembled those Porsche used on their 917. Singer used a 3 litre Carrera engine adjusted the displacement to 2.857 cc and by multiplying the 1.4 FIA turbo rate the engine displacement reached 3999,8 cc. Furthermore Singer used titanium cam shafts, double ignition featuring two spark plugs per cilinder as well as fuel injection system from Bosch giving an initial power of 590 bhp.
For the 1976 season two cars were produced; the original chassis was initially used for development but Porsche decided to race both of the cars to score points. Belgian Jacky Ickx and German Jochen Mass were to drive the first 935 during its debut in Mugello, scoring a demanding victory in the first race. Their second consecutive victory scored during the second race in Vallelunga proved to be even more smashing. Porsche’s 935 crossed the finish line first no less than 15 laps earlier as the second placed BMW. The impressive performance of the Porsche 935 saw privateer teams showing a great deal of interest in the car. Amongst the first privateer teams were the Kremer brothers and Georg Loos. Next was the Porsche 935-77, featuring a new suspension, two small KKK turbo chargers and a remarkable larger water/air intercooler. The new configuration proved to be powerful creating no less than 630 bhp.
Porsche dominated the German DRM championship in division 1 open to silhouette cars with engine capacity over 2000 cc. German media in those days concentrated on ever lasting fights between Ford and BMW but rarely mentioned Porsche’s domination within the bigger division. In the end Porsche decided to build a 2.0 litre car known as Porsche 935-2/Baby. Besides from significant weight savings Porsche used a special designed 1.4 liter version derived from the well known 911 cylinder boxer engine creating 370 bhp. Where the original 935 used a 4 speed gear box the 935/2-Baby used a 5 speed gear box. The car debuted on June 30th at the Norisring but Porsche didn’t get the success they expected. Almost mid-race Jacky Ickx had to retire.
During the next race on the Hockenheimring Porsche showed the true caracter of the 935-2-Baby as Belgian Jacky Ickx dominated the race and claimed a demanding victory over the Group 5 BMW 320i of Marc Surer, Manfred Winkelhock and Eddie Cheever. In the end it turned out that Porsche didn’t intend to use the car for the rest of the season. The 935-2/Baby found a place in their own museum.
Before Porsche decided to withdraw from motorsport the company presented the ultimate expression of what started as the Porsche 911. Norbert Singer acted once again as Porsche’s chief engineer and designed an radical evolution of the Porsche 935 featuring a larger size and huge overhangs. The car was nicknamed ‘Moby Dick’ as it resembled a whale. The Porsche 935/78 was the third and final version of the 935. Porsche dediced to part with their long tradition of air cooled engines and introduced water-cooled cylinder heads in the 935/78 engine. Singer used a brand new 3200 cc 6 cylinder boxer engine featuring four valves per cilinder including two small turbo’s. Although the weight increased to 1030 kg, it wasn’t a problem for Porsche as the car generated a high top speed on the long Le Mans straights.
Singer replaced the floor and lowered the car by 75 mm. Both front and rear panels were redesigned allowing the car to reach a maximum speed of 366 km/h.. The 935/78 was designed to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours race and despite the heigher weight of the car, the new engine produced up to 845 bhp, enough to reach top speed on the Mulsanne straight! Although it set the fastest lap time amongst several sports cars, the car was hit by engine trouble and finished in eight spot. Before the car was moved to the Porsche museum it appeared in Vallelunga in Italy and on the Norisring in Germany.
Two German brothers, Erwin and Manfred made history with their evolution models created by themselves known as Kremer Racing. In 1976 they built their first privately Porsche 935 K1, parallel to the factory 935. In 1977 they modified their customer 935 to the 935 K2. A derivative of the succesful 935 K2 appeared in 1979, known as the 935 K3. This car won the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans. Kremer Racing’s final 935 evolution was the 935 K4 that appeared mid 1981.
Let’s take a look at some of the 935’s still in action in the European historic motorsports scene!
This Porsche 935 K2 with chassis number 007 0016 was a car modified by Kremer from 1977 in cooperation with Design Plastic (DP). The car crashed during a race on June 18th 1978 at Mainz-Finthen of the Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft, driven by Louis Krages. Kremer rebuilt the car and appears nowadays in the German historic motorsports scene.
This is the legendary Porsche 935/78 Moby Dick, chassis number 935-007, produced by Porsche for the 1979 season. This car was to be the last factory team 935 but as the partnership between Porsche and Martini came to a close, the programme ended and the chassis was put into storage. In september 1988 the car was sold to the United States. Twenty years later, the car was sold to Manfred Freisinger Jr. After assembling the car, chassis 935-007 appeared in 2011 during a Classic Endurance Racing event, part of the Spa Classic held at Spa-Francorchamps. During that particular weekend Moby Dick was driven by the well known French GT driver Stéphane Ortelli.
Porsche 935 K3 chassis 0010 020 was the twentieth and last K3 built by Kremer in 1981. The car first appeared at the 1981 Le Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Don and Bill Whittington and Ted Field. After the car failed by engine failure, Kremer decided to enter the car for the German DRM (Deutsche Rennsportmeisterschaft) championship. After his racing life in 1982, the car was sold to the Collection Rosso Bianco, in Aschaffenburg (Germany). In 1999 the car was sold to the United States and was sold back to Europe in 2004. The car was seen on different historic motor racing events throughout Europe between 2011 and 2013.
Porsche 935 chassis 930 890 0016 appeared for the first time at th 1978 DRM race in Zolder, driven by Reinhold Joest. Between March 1978 and June 1982 this 935 appeared in the German DRM Championship. Bill and Don Whittington raced the car at the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours together with Franz Konrad. Until the car’s final appearance it appeared in the DRM championship as well as the Interserie. German Michael Föveny pictured here above discovered this 935 in Sweden before getting the car to Germany. This 935 is one of the regular entries in the European historic motorsports scene. Porsche 935 Kremer K3 chassis 930 009 0005 was one of the two 935 K3’s entered by Bob Akin for the 1980 Daytona 24 Hrs. The car was driven by Bob Akin, Roy Woods and Bobby Rahal and managed to qualify 19th. Unfortunately both cars retired, this chassis suffered from a broken engine. This car was originally built by Porsche as chassis 930 770 0911, but was later converted by Kremer to a K3 chassis, using chassis number 009 0005. The original owner was German Georg Loos. Porsche 935/77A with chassis 930 890 0024 was entered for the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans by Dick Barbour Racing. The car in bright red Hawaiian Tropic livery was driven by Brian Redman, John Paul and Dick Barbour. The appeared also at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans. Nowadays this bright 935 is owned and race by Frenchman Jean Miloe.
This car was originally bought by Georg Loos in 1978 and appeared in different international events. Manfred Schurti and Hans Heyer finished the qualifying session for the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours in fourth, but didn´t manage to finish the race. Since 2011 Belgian Stephan Meyers owns this 935 in the legendary Gelo Sportswear livery.
This 935 was independently built and first owned by Jan Lundgarth in 1980. The car appeared between 1980 in 1984 in different international events such as the German DRM championship, 6 Hours events in Belgium, Great Britain and France. In 1981 the car entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying 51st, but didn´t manage to finish the race due to engine problems. Swiss driver Christian Traber acquired the car in 2004. Last year it appeared at the Spa Classic as it was entered for the Classic Endurance Championship, driven by Christian Traber and Marc Devis.
Chassis number 930 990 0029 was a Porsche 935/79 used by American Interscope Racing in 1979. The car participated in legedarry American events such as the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours, Road Atlanta 100 Miles, Watkins Glen 6 Hours and Portland 100 Miles. Amongst the drivers in that particular year were Ted Field, Danny Ongais and Hurley Haywood. The car appeared at Spa-Francorchamps in 2013 during the Spa Classic, driven by Erik Maris.
The German Kremer brothers built this legendary Porsche 935 K3/80 in the well known orange Jägermeister livery. The car appeared between March 1980 and March 1982 in different international events such as the German DRM championship, the 1980 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the 1981 & 1982 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and many other events in the United States. Nowadays the car is back were it originally was based, in Cologne in Germany at the Kremer garage.
This car was originally built in 1977 for Brumos Racing. In the hands of Rob McFarlin, Bob Akin and Roy Woods it claimed victory at the 1979 12 Hours of Sebring. Nowadays the car is based in France and owned by Jean-Marc Merlin.
Porsche 935 chassis 930 890 022 was a built 935 chassis and used by Porsche Kremer in 1978 for the Silverstone 6 Hours, the Nürburgring 1000 kms (both driven by Bob Wollek and Henri Pescarolo). Kremer Racing also entered the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours, but Martin Raymond and Mike Franey didn´t finish the race. Kremer Racing entered the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours also with this car, as Philippe Gurdjian and John Winter finished in 13th place. In the livery illustrated in this picture, the car was raced by Charles Ivey Racing from the UK and appeared in Spa-Francorchamps at a race of the Classic Endurance Racing championship in 2009, driven by Peter Garrod.
This Moby Dick had a long lasting international career featuring several races in Europe and the United States, scoring multiple top ten finishes. German Jochen Mass scored the only victory with the car at a race of the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in Hockenheim in 1981. German Reinhold Joest asked Porsche permission to build two new Moby Dick´s, dubbed 935/81. Frenchman Yvan Mahe appeared with chassis JR-001 at Spa-Francorchamps in 2009 during a race of the Classic Endurance Racing championship.
Chassis number 930 009 0030 was originally a Porsche 935/79 but in 1980 rebuild to a 935 K3. Dick Barbour Racing entered the car for the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours, driven by Allan Moffat, Bobby Rahal and Bob Garretson. Although they didn´t finish the race at Le Mans, Rahal, Garretson and Brian Redman won the Daytona 24 Hours that year. The car illustrated was seen at the 2011 Oldtimer Grand Prix, driven by Austrian Armin Zumtobel.