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Porsche preserves the history of the 959 Paris-Dakar

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A car that can cover 14,000 kilometers in the African desert and savanna can go anywhere in the world. In 1986 the Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar won the toughest rallies from France to West Africa. Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur won René He Megge and Dominique He finished in the same car, although the 959 finished second behind his French team in Lemoine. Driven again. The re-commissioning has been carried out over the past few months by the Porsche Heritage and Museum team and his classic Porsche colleagues. The multi-part documentary “959 Paris-Dakar” on the Porsche YouTube channel offers an interesting insight into the recommissioning process.

History of the 959 Paris-Dakar Race

The starting line-up for the 1986 Paris-Dakar Rally was dominated by trucks and off-road vehicles. His three Porsche 959s at Zuffenhausen stood out. The third was a service car driven by project managers Roland Kusmaul and Wolf Hendrik Unger, who finished sixth. To this day, the Porsche Museum preserves the complete trio as part of its collection. “We keep the winning car pristine, sort of like a time capsule, preserving all the physical traces of the rally for as long as possible,” says Cuno, head of his museum workshop. Werner explains.

In the 1980s, the team spent two years converting a 959 into a rally car. Engineers beefed up the suspension with double shock absorbers on the front axle and fitted all-terrain tires. When the terrain doesn’t call for all-wheel drive, an electro-hydraulically controlled center differential variably distributes power between the front and rear wheels. As a result, the Porsche can reach a top speed of 210 km/h.

Racing Director Peter Falk looks back on the first three rallies. In 1984 he raced in a Porsche 953 and two years later he raced in the 959 Paris-Dakar. Mr. Bott then said, “I have to go again. Once is not enough.” Then in 1985 all three of his cars were dropped from the race. It was devastating. After that we decided to race again. We were all a little sick of the whole thing after losing it all, but then he did it again in 1986. All three finished and won 1-2. ”

Overhaul: True to the Car’s Story

“We want the car to be lightly overhauled while maintaining its original condition and eliminating technical deficiencies,” says Werner. His second-place car in 1986 was still in such good shape that those responsible for the re-commissioning were able to keep the maximum number of original parts while minimizing replacements. The 959 Paris-Dakar Rally covered approximately 18,000 km. This is the length of the rally plus thousands of kilometers. Like the production car, this rally car was also equipped with a combined turbocharged air/water-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. Poor quality fuel reduced the 6-cylinder engine’s power to 294 kW (400 PS).

“The 959 Paris-Dakar Rally is a prototype, which is one of the reasons why its re-testing is emotional. “In 1986 the car faced a challenge, but now it faces a different problem,” said Makrutzki. Werner’s team went hand in hand and discussed everything in detail. Porsche Classic dismantled, overhauled and reassembled the engine, gearbox and drivetrain for the project. All parts showed little or no damage. “The vehicle was in very good condition, with no major defects or corrosion. As with any restoration with a specific mission to preserve as much material as possible, the team examined each part individually to ensure that this was inevitable. We did a partial restoration. Many of the original parts were in near-production prototype condition,” Werner concludes.

For this grueling long-distance endurance rally, the sports car manufacturer optimized many features in the 1980s, including fitting the engine control unit (ECU). These were placed high on the car to allow it to cross rivers without damaging the ECU. Porsche also rally-prepped the oil cooler and oil lines under the rear wing, and drilled holes in the aluminum supports to transfer their motorsport genes to the car. To save even more weight, the sports car maker decided to drill holes in his brake discs and make the body, doors and bonnet from Kevlar. The Stuttgart specialist therefore achieved a relatively low dry weight of 1,260 kg.

African desert sand and soil

During the disassembly of the 959, the team found sand and dirt from the African desert. Since returning from the rally, I have never separated the body and mechanical parts. “This was not routine for us, so it was fascinating. , says Werner. As a result of the physical stresses of high-speed rally driving, the small areas of corrosion where Kevlar-his body parts grounded against the metal frame were preserved rather than repaired to preserve the car’s history.

“After testing and overhauling all the parts, we left the cable ties exactly where they were. is a fan of dust and the reliability it represents. “This car is a testament to its quality and durability. Even the sand and dust from hard race use did not harm the technology. ‘,’ says Carriegas. His Makrutzki team of four 959 specialists was responsible for the functioning of the technology and preserving the rally’s historical imprint. “Only by leaving behind the damage of the time can we tell the truth and preserve it,” Werner concludes.

Snow and Gravel: Spectacular Setting for Public

To tell the story from 1986 as faithfully as possible, the Porsche Heritage and Museum team invited Jacky Ickx to unveil the car after a gentle overhaul. The former pilot of the second-placed 959 Paris-Dakar had the honor of becoming the first person to drive a subcontracted car in a stone quarry. “In the car, I remembered the people who made it all possible back then, so the memories came back immediately,” he says. The team at that time was only 18 him. The team spirit was strong and contributed in no small way to their subsequent success. “Everybody wanted to drive a car on the road. Then Porsche decided to put his 959 into the rally in the desert.It’s great to be a part of this story. ’” he says Ickx. The rally was an incredible challenge and the perfect proving ground for all-wheel drive. No one expected him and his rally team to achieve such success. “Deserts are like oceans: no two dunes and no two waves are the same,” he concludes.

Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard accompanied Ickx on the unveiling of the overhauled car, and his fellow racing driver experience from 1986 is fascinating. “He remembers the scene, an insane rally where the car was too fast for the helicopter to follow,” says Bernhardt. Nearly 40 years later, Ickx sums up his first race in his three words: “memory, emotion and passion.” For Kuno Werner, the head of his workshop at the museum, the unveiling is also very special. This is the pride of the entire Porsche Heritage and Museum team. “

Featured on Retro Classics and Porsche YouTube Channels

From February 23rd to 26th, visitors can see cars at the Retro Classics event in Stuttgart as part of the special exhibition “75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars” in the Atrium/East Entrance of the Exhibition Center I can. Even if you can’t visit in person, you can enjoy an exciting insight into the recommissioning process. The camera team accompanied both the Porsche Heritage and Museum team and the Porsche Classic team until the re-commissioning. The first part of the “959 Paris-Dakar” documentary will be available from February 1, 2023 on Porsche YouTube ChannelFive more films follow on February 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. Viewers can look forward to exciting insights into the car’s original condition, engine dismantling, bodywork, engine overhaul and re-installation, and the first drive of the overhauled car.Information for all future episodes and trailer can be found on Facebook and Instagram @porsche.museum.

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