PLAN B: #115
Delivered new on 8th May 1984 to Porsche Kremer Racing, 956.115 was entered for its inaugural race in June at the 1984 Le Mans 24hrs. As the works Rothmans Porsche team had boycotted the 1984 race due to a disagreement with the Automobile Club de l’ouest (ACO) over fuel regulations, the 1983 co-winning Rothmans Porsche driver, Vern Schuppan, was eagerly snapped up by the Kremer Team.
Driving 956.115, he was paired with fellow Australian, 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones, and the equally experienced Jean-pierre Jarrier who had completed an eleven-season career in Formula One. Schuppan led the race by lap four and held first place until the end of the first hour. Alan Jones took over from Schuppan and topped the timing sheets for an extraordinary three hours.
Later, with Schuppan back in the car, Roger Dorchy’s WM P83B spun and collected the Kenwood liveried #115 with it. The initial cosmetic repairs cost almost 10 minutes, with further tidying during pit stops contributing to the car now running in 8th place. By Sunday morning #115 was fighting for a podium position again, but in the early afternoon lost a cylinder and Alan Jones came into the pits. The team managed to get the car back on track in the final hour, with Schuppan then able to take the chequered flag in sixth place.
For the Norisring races during the following month, 956.115 had a new Liqui Moly livery and a new driver in the shape of Manfred Winklehock, who would go onto drive #115 on numerous occasions for the rest of the season. The German qualified the car in sixth position for the morning DRM race, finishing second. The top-10 finishers in the DRM race were automatically entered into an eight-lap qualifying race, the outcome of which would decide the first five rows of the grid for the main race of the weekend: The Norisring Trophy, or the ‘Gold’ or Money Race – so called for the large purse awarded to the winner.
As #115 had finished second in the DRM race it took its place on the grid for the qualifying race. Winklehock was nursing a new first gear, which proved difficult to engage, finishing ninth, not wanting to force the ’box and cause damage before the main 200-mile trophy race in the afternoon.
Manfred therefore started the Norisring Trophy race from the fifth row of the grid but made a stunning start diving into the first corner in fourth place. By lap 26 of the 66-lap race, Winklehock had ascended to the podium positions and was trading the lead with Bellof’s Brun-entered 956. By lap 59, Winklehock had taken the lead for good and went on to win the action-packed Norisring Trophy in front of a crowd of 80,000 – and collect the 37,350 DM awarded to the victor!
The recent amalgamation of the Peter Auto-group C Racing series, including a new Le Mans Classic Group C grid, has brought a fresh focus to the historic importance and value of these cars in the market place, having now tremendous appeal and interest to both serious collectors and more experienced gentleman drivers (International C licence grade), who are looking for the ultimate experience in high-speed historic Porsche racing and adventure. Chassis #956.115 is currently for sale with Lee Maxted-page.