The Porsche 962 is, by many people’s estimation, the greatest of the iconic Group C racers. Powerful, lightweight, and with huge amounts of grip from the ground effects sucking the car to the road, these machines were, in terms of performance, very close to the Formula One cars of the day. Having the majority of one’s professional career spent in low-grip, low-power touring cars isn’t something that prepares you too well for the thrust of a heavily-turbocharged prototype with gobs of downforce, but it doesn’t hurt, as this BTCC Champ discovers.
Behind the Porsche’s wheel, Andrew Jordan is as chatty as anyone with pints of adrenaline coursing through their veins. In fact, his giggles and the chirps of the wastegate are the only things punctuating the bellow of the flat-six motor, which produces an outrageous 770 horsepower. The 962 is made largely from carbon fiber, and despite its size and presence, only weighs 2,200 pounds. That sort of power-to-weight meant it would accelerate slightly slower than a mid-eighties F1 car, but the downforce from the undertray allowed it to corner at very similar speeds.
As the wedge-shaped monster charges down the straightaways, passing everything in sight, it’s clear to see that there’s little the opposition could do against this well-engineered masterpiece from the golden era of motorsport. Because the 962 generated massive downforce, the spring rate is quite high, and although stiff, many drivers noted that the car rode more comfortably than any downforce car of the era. After all, the car was an endurance racer, and if it rattled one’s fillings out every corner, it wouldn’t be too effective.
As is the case with downforce cars, coming to terms with the level of grip takes some time, since moving up to the imposing speeds in which the wings actually work takes a bit of bravery and some improvisation. Naturally, this being a historic car, Andrew restrained himself for the time being, but judging by his expression towards the end, he’s looking to give it another shot. We can’t blame him — it looks infectious.