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Legends at the Porsche Museum: The Victorious 936

Submitted by on September 7, 2023

During our visit to the Porsche museum, we came face to face with the 936/77. Let’s take a look at its history and enjoy some photos.

Just three months before the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche announced the launch of the 936. The car was largely inspired by the earlier 917/10 and was developed for participation in Group 6 competition in the World Sportscar Championship.

Technically, the car was based on the earlier 908/03 and 917/10. Ultimately, this resulted in an aluminium space frame over which a plastic body was placed. Porsche used the 520 horsepower 2.1-litre six cylinder turbo boxer engine from the 911 Carrera RSR Turbo 2.1.

It turned out to be a bullseye because the 936 was not only the first Porsche to triumph at Le Mans on its debut, but also the first sports car to triumph at Le Mans with a turbo engine.

Although the debut at the Nürburgring in 1976 did not go entirely smoothly, the tide turned from that moment on. Chassis 001 and 002 took a total of seven wins that year, including the overall win at Le Mans. The most important victory for Porsche was of course the 24 hours of Le Mans with Jacky Ickx and Gijs van Lennep. Unlike the Porsche 908 and 935, the 936 was not made available to private teams.

For the following year, the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart had set itself only one goal – to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans again. Two factory entered 936/77s competed head-to-head with an armada of Renault Alpines that led the standings from the start.

On the outside, the 936/77 stood out for a much sleeker low-drag body including a decreased frontal area. Internally, Porsche used two smaller turbochargers instead of the single one for better throttle response.

When Henri Pescarolo had to retire the No. 3 Porsche 936 due to engine problems, Jacky Ickx was placed in the No. 4 car of Jürgen Barth and Hurley Haywood. The completely unexpected happened and the trio fought their way back into the race from a hopeless 41st place, fifteen laps behind. Problems for the leading Renaults and a formidable stint by Ickx gave Porsche the overall victory.

A third successive victory at Le Mans that Porsche had put on the wish list for 1978 did not materialise, despite dominance in qualifying. The brand had to be satisfied with a second and third place. Three years later, Derek Bell and Jacky Ickx surprised by giving the model’s very last victory at Le Mans with the Porsche 936/81. The successor to the 936 was the Porsche 956, which was built in 1982 under Group C regulations.

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