Take a walk through the Porsche museum in Stuttgart and one iconic silhouette visually screams from the walls – the menacing 935 emblazoned in the Martini & Rossi racing livery. Developed for FIA Group 5 sports car competition in 1976, this ultimate 911 racing derivative combined turbocharged flat-six power with endurance racing durability. Through continual evolution over 144 individual chassis spanning a decade, the Porsche 935 ultimately became the most successful sports racing car of the late 1970s worldwide. This article pays tribute by looking back at the racing dominance plus lasting mystique still swirling around the definitive Porsche 935 more than 40 years since its first victory.
Racing Pedigree: Evolving The 911 Turbo Carrera RSR
As a homologated variant of Porsche’s 1973 911 Carrera RSR prototype, design roots behind the 935 trace directly back to refinements honed through the marque’s racing programs. Regulations introduced in 1976 grouping prototypeClass winners alongside modified production sports cars provided opportunity for Porsche Motorsport to build upon existing RSR momentum developing the ultimate 911-based racer.
Dubbed project 935, Porsche began by partnering its proven turbocharged flat-six paired with a strengthened 911 chassis shortened specifically for racing durability. Further lift came from optimized weight distribution concentrating mass centrally along with upgraded cooling and lubrication supporting relentless hours of punishment. Clad in widened steel and fiberglass composite fender flares concealing massive racing slicks, the Porsche 935 aesthetic screamed Le Mans prototype aggression while retaining 911 familiarity fans loved.
Inside the business office, an aluminum plate instrument cluster faced drivers monitoring vitals including oil pressure, water and turbo boost alongside a racing wheel controlling six forward gears. Outside, its menacing stance visually confirmed serious intentions chasing front straight victories.
Seventies Dominance: Developing The Ultimate 911 Race Car
Debuting in 1976, the Porsche 935 immediately proved highly effective securing podiums early in its development while displaying ample potential through teething challenges that first season. However in typical Porsche fashion, Engineers relentlessly honed the twin-turbo flat-six powertrain alongside handling refinements to conquer its challengers.
For 1977, relocated intercoolers, upgraded brakes and longtail bodywork stretched aerodynamic efficiency even further. Now harnessing 600+ horsepower, the ruthless Porsche turbocharged its way to an incredible 33 global victories by 1979 – including coveted crowns at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring securing back-to-back FIA manufacturer titles.
Ever pushing improvement, the Porsche 935 formula continually advanced over seven racing years despite rule changes and rival efforts. Lateral innovators on and off-track, continual refinement kept this stellar Porsche sports racer peerless throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s worldwide racing scene.
Porsche 935 Lasting Legacy: The Definitive Porsche Race Car
By the time Group 5 contest rules changed for 1982, Porsche 935 models amassed over 150 race wins often finishing 1-2-3 at events through sheer consistency and strategic teamwork. Beyond just statistics, the Porsche 935 built an iconic reputation melding LeMans prototype endurance and technology into Porsche’s trademark rear-engine 911 silhouette universally associated with the brand’s motorsports pedigree then through today.
Now decades later with pristine examples commanding seven figures at auction, the LeMans winning Porsche 935 rightfully persists as the definitive 911 racing car capturing Porsche aspirations turned domination through precision German engineering. Between its bellowing flat-six soundtrack and recognizable Martini racing livery, everything brilliant about Porsche’s racing ethos lives on through the legendary 935.