“The 962 was like pulling up your favourite armchair,” says Reid of one of Porsche’s greatest sportscars. “It was built for purpose, was reliable, robust – great German engineering. It didn’t have any nasty quirks.”
Although the Porsche helped launch his six-season career in Japan, Reid’s top 962 memories both come from Europe. The one that most will remember is the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hours, where debutant Reid, Tiff Needell and David Sears worked their way up from 20th on the grid to finish third in their Japanese-run Alpha Racing 962, behind a famous TWR Jaguar 1-2.
Key to the success was the decision to go with the higher downforce short tail for the Mulsanne Straight’s two new chicanes – the crack Joest Porsche squad opted for the low-drag long tail and suffered.
“The one thing that has stood me in good stead is my feel for what will work,” says Reid. “We had the long and short tails and we had a heated argument about it. I said more downforce would be better – it helps you look after things like the tyres – and it paid off. I’ve always liked to run that little bit more downforce.”
A 962 victory came later that season, at the Osterreichring, when Reid entered the Inter serie finale. Bernd Schneider and Walter Lechner had won all the races between them in 1990, but Reid was able to snatch victory, much to the locals’ chagrin.
“I got the jump on Bernd off the line and held on,” recalls Reid. “They weren’t expecting it and couldn’t find the British national anthem! That was a fantastic race.”
All-brit crew took third at ’90 Le Mans