Driving the ultimate factory Porsche 962C

The superlatives flow from Andrew Frankel as he recalls his trackday at a chilly Silverstone in the racer that finished second in the 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours. And what a car it is...

Porsche 962 on track at Silverstone
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I have been lucky enough to track test a couple of Porsche 962s. The one you see pictured was Porsche’s own, a Le Mans winner and was driven at Weissach, the home of Porsche motor sport, under grey skies. That’s about as good as it gets. But despite this, the one I recall most vividly was Henry Pearman’s 962-010 that I drove at Silverstone a few years ago.

This was the factory’s last laugh, a one-off car built to win Le Mans in 1988 –and it almost did. Even without qualifying boost, so probably with ‘only’ around 750bhp under my right foot, it was a revealing experience.

The interior still looked primitive, far closer to that of a 1960s racer than a modern sports racing car. And for all the progress made under the engine cover, there was still significant turbo lag. It needed more than 3000rpm on the clock before it would show any interest at all, and then you had to watch out because when the power did turn up, it wasn’t shy about announcing its arrival.