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Icons at the Le Mans Classic: Porsche 962-143

Submitted by on November 14, 2023

By Marcel Hundscheid / Speed-O-Graphica

At the recently held Le Mans Classic, we came across a Porsche 962C (chassis 962-143). Thirty-four years ago, this car was at the start of Le Mans with Dominic Dobson, Will Hoy and Jean Alesi. It is now in German hands and was recently completely restored by Porsche. Let’s get to know it a little better.

Team Schuppan received the car in May 1989, and it was the first 962 equipped with the Bosch MP 1.7 Motronic engine management system. Team owner Vern Schuppan himself had driven for the Porsche factory team between 1982 and 1988, culminating in overall victory at the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans. Schuppan was victorious at the time with Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood. At the end of 1987, the Briton started his own racing team, concentrating on competing in the Japanese Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Chassis 143 debuted at the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans in the livery of Takefuji Corporation of Japan and was crewed by Jean Alesi, Will Hoy and Dominic Dobson. Due to braking problems, among other things, qualifying was difficult, which resulted in a 22nd starting place. Hoy managed to work his way into the top ten during the opening hour.

Hoy’s hard work was undone in the second hour, however, when Bob Wollek lapped chassis 143 with Dobson behind the wheel at Arnage. Both the nose and the tail section were significantly damaged, resulting in a lengthy repair.

Dobson then started his second stint, which ended abruptly when chassis 143 sadly caught fire on the straight at Indianapolis. The reason for the fire was a defective fitting in the fuel system, which caused fuel to end up on the red-hot turbos. The heat also melted the brake lines. Dobson then had to do everything he could to stop his car and get out of the burning 962.

Chassis 143 then returned to Porsche for a full repair. At the beginning of October that year, the car appeared for the last time at the start of a race – the Fuji 1000 km with Martin Donnelly and Johnny Herbert.

In July this year, chassis 143 appeared at the start of Group C Racing during the Le Mans Classic with Dominic Dobson and new owner Thomas Schlereth.

In a next episode of icons at the Le Mans Classic Centenary we take a closer look at a special Porsche 911 GT1 and a McLaren F1 GTR.

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