White hot

1984 Norisring Trophy-winning Porsche on the market – choose your livery

Some traditionalists may bemoan the arrival of gaudy sponsors’ colour schemes. For those who’ve grown up with their racing cars emblazoned with logos and branding, however, a classic livery can play a huge part in a car’s iconic appeal.

As such the chance to buy a 1984 Porsche 956B with unadorned white bodywork, exactly as it would have been delivered to Kremer Racing ahead of its Le Mans debut in June of that year, adds an extra frisson of excitement. It is, literally, a blank canvas on which to paint your Group C racing dreams, while vendor Lee Maxted-Page cites the provenance as an important contributory factor in its £3.5m value. “Group C racing has invigorated the market,” he says. “That an owner of a car like this can take it to Le Mans Classic is an extremely exciting prospect for the collector and gentleman driver.”

Racing in Kenwood colours and driven by Vern Schuppan, Alan Jones and Jean-Pierre Jarier, 956-115 placed fifth at Le Mans in 1984. This was just the start, as the car was thrown into the heat of Group C competition across Europe and Japan. Its most notable success came in that first year, though, Manfred Winkelhock battling to victory in a frenetic race at the Norisring Trophy and prevailing over a talented leading pack including Nannini, Mass and Bellof. We associate Group C with endurance racing but watching these monsters battling like touring cars over a short-course sprint race must have been quite a sight. Winkelhock certainly earned his prize money, the victory coming a year before his death in another Kremer Porsche.

Suffice to say, if you’re deliberating over liveries the Liqui Moly colours from its Norisring victory would seem a fitting celebration of its most successful outing, the car currently presented in its ‘sprint’ configuration used in that race. But if you’re undecided, Maxted-Page’s website details all the others that featured in its career. And there are plenty to choose from, including Warsteiner, Sega and the Renoma colours in which it saw out its career in Japan.

Just one of four 956B models built, Maxted-Page describes it as “basically a copy of the 1983 works car” and the best of all the 956s. As such it incorporated much of what the Rothmans factory team had developed over the previous season, including Motronic engine management and other modifications. One of the four was destroyed in the crash that took Stefan Bellof’s life, while 956-117 is a double Le Mans winner with victories in 1984 and 1985 for Newman Joest. There’s no such thing as a run-of-the-mill 956 but this one has the heritage and rarity to excite any Group C aficionado.

Maxted-Page’s research on the car is extensive and makes for fascinating reading. Offered much as it would have been sold by Porsche to a customer racing team in 1984, the car has all age-sensitive components certified and is ready for final preparation for historic Group C competition. Le Mans provenance obviously adds to its value but in period this machine raced in prestigious 1000km events at Silverstone, Imola, the Nürburgring, Monza and Suzuka among many others, meaning it merits a place on any historic grid. Just make sure it is wearing the appropriate livery!