Porsches unlike others (4) : the 961
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Porsches unlike others (4) : the 961

In addition to a record sixteen wins, the history of Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans has sometimes been marked by cars that, despite not having won, have created their own legacies in La Sarthe with their originality and performances, such as the four-wheel drive 961 from 1986.

The Porsche 961 was a competition evolution of the 959, a car that was originially unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show responding to the new Groupe B World Rally Championship rules and regulations. This new Groupe in rallying saw the appearance of four-wheel drive cars, such as the Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. The 959 was part of this change.
 
In 1986, René Metge won the Paris-Dakar rally with the 959, and a new edition, the 961, was entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Powered by a 2.8 litre turbocharged 6-cylindre engine with integrated transmission, the car was again driven by René Metge, joined by countryman Claude Ballot-Léna. The two frenchmen finished the race in seventh place. In 1987, the 961 returned to La Sarthe, still with Metge, but this time shared with Claude Haldi and Kees Nierop, but is forced to retire following an incident caused by a gearbox problem. Restored, the 961 is now on display at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. In addition to its 7th place finish at Le Mans in 1986, René Metge showed the car's outright speed that same year by signing the 10th fastest time overall in preliminary testing, ahead of some C1 and C2 prototypes.

For more information on Porsche's return to prototypes at the next 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit the official microsite  Mission 2014 – Our Return.

Find all the picture about the Porsche 961 at Le Mans on the 24 Hours of Le Mans fan page.

Jean-Philippe Doret / ACO - Translated by Rainier Ehrhardt / ACO

The 82nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held June 14 and 15, 2014.

Photo : LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY MAY 31 AND SUNDAY JUNE 1, 1986. RACE. The front of the Porsche 959 and 961 (driven here by René Metge and Claude Ballot-Léna in 1986) is still based on the timeless 911, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.