1984 would be the year that Porsche produced the car that would lay a foundation for their dominance in endurance racing in IMSA: The Porsche 962. Beginning with the already outstanding Porsche 956, IMSA regulations required that the driver’s feet be behind the front axle for safety reasons.
By extending the wheelbase and moving the pedal box behind the front wheels, the 962 was approved for racing. These IMSA-spec 962s began with Porsche’s Type 962/70 2.8-liter flat six engines with air-cooling only and a single turbo as twin-turbo systems were not allowed in the IMSA GTP class at the time. With the previous racing experience of the Porsche 956s, along with numerous other improvements, helped push the 962s to become legendary. With Porsche’s tried-and-true formula of world-class reliability paired with continued advancement, some 962s remained competitive even until the early 90s. Considered one of the most iconic racing platforms in endurance racing, the Porsche 962 left its mark on the racing world and is still one of the most renowned racing cars to ever come out of Weissach.
The story of 962-102 begins with Bob Akin, the freshly crowned champion of the 1983 IMSA Camel GT Endurance series. Being the president to the family-owned Hudson Wire Co., allowed Akin to run a first class and competitive race team. Akin and his team won the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1983 with their Coca Cola-sponsored Porsche 935, and was looking toward the next step in IMSA racing.
As fate would have it, Porsche AG announced that the 962, based on the extremely competitive 956, would be available in the fall of 1983. Intent on acquiring one of these cars but realizing that the cost of his racing had increased dramatically over the past few years, he looked to work his racing success in looking for new sponsors. Enter Mike Valentine, having recently cashed out of his co-ownership in Cincinnati Microwave, and was interested in acquiring a 962. During a dinner together, the duo worked out a plan. They agreed that Valentine could purchase the 962 and then lease it to Akin, and once the car was retired, Valentine would own the car. With a plan now benefiting both parties, Valentine Racing, Inc. was established days later with Valentine Research proudly displayed on the side of the bright red Coca Cola Porsche 962.
When something great comes along, people scramble at every opportunity to be a part of it, and the Porsche 962 in IMSA was no exception. With approximately 16 total Porsche factory-built IMSA-spec customer cars delivered, it’s easy to say that the new Porsche was a hot commodity. Akin’s 1984 season with this 962 would yield two 6th place finishes. While Akin had the means to be able to purchase 962 upgrades, the budget didn’t allow much in the way of extra testing and tuning like the factory-supported team of Al Holbert. At the end of the day, the Porsche 962 was one of racing’s most dominant race cars.
Report by canepa.com