24 Hours of Le Mans 1970-2015 - 45 Porsche stories (13)
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24 Hours of Le Mans 1970-2015 - 45 Porsche stories (13)

In 1980, 10 years after its first win, Porsche debuted one of the more recent road sportsters at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the 924.

Released in 1976, the 924 marked a revolution in the German manufacturer's history. The first road front-engine Porsche (four inline, water-cooled cylinders), it achieved good commercial success up to 1988.

In 1980, Porsche decided to enter three 924 Carrera Turbos at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for development purposes. At its wheel was a 100% British driver line-up (Tony Dron-Andy Rouse, No. 2), another that was 100% American (Peter Gregg-Al Holbert, No. 3) and a third that was 100% German (Manfred Schurti-Jürgen Barth, No. 4). But, the victim of a road accident in France while heading to a test session, Gregg was replaced by Derek Bell. Despite experiencing valve problems during the race on Sunday morning for the No. 2 and the No. 3, all three 924s were at the finish: Schurti-Barth finished sixth, Dron-Rouse 12th and Bell-Holbert 13th. Three 924s were once again at the start in 1981, but only the two factory cars were at the finish (seventh and 11th).

Porsche's goal was to develop the 924 in competition like it did in the mid-1970s when the 911 became the 935. But 1982 marked the final appearance at Le Mans for the 924, ending in a 16th place finish. The same year, the new Group C prototype regulations compelled the creation of the 956 then the 962 C which went on to win six consecutive victories at Le Mans from 1982 to 1987.

Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO

Photo: Copyright - ARCHIVES ACO

Photo: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY JUNE 14 & 15 1980, RACE. With a sixth place finish, Jürgen Barth and Manfred Schurti (No. 4) gave the Porsche 924 its best result at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as of its first participation.