Just before the start of the Nürburgring 24-hour race won May 12th, Porsche will display a couple of their class sportscars to the expected 200,000 spectators: Timo Bernhard and Hans-Joachim Stuck will take the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo and the Porsche 956 C respectively on a show run around the famous Nordschleife. The 919 Hybrid – the Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship winning car of 2015, 2016 and 2017 – meets the 956 that won all titles in the World Sportscar Championship from 1982 to 1984 and still holds the outright Nordschleife track record.
Porsche, Timo Bernhard, Hans-Joachim Stuck as well as both the racing cars are connected closely to the Nürburgring and the Nordschleife.
On May 28th in 1983, during practice for the 1000-kilometre German round of the World Sportscar Championship, Stefan Bellof lapped the Nordschleife in a storming 6:11.13 minutes. Due to construction work, the exact track length was 20.835 kilometres at the time, which resulted in an average speed of more than 200km/h. The 2,649cc six-cylinder, twin turbocharged, flat engine in the 956 C produced 620 hp. Bellof’s car was chassis number 007. He was leading the race when he retired in a massive accident at ‘Pflanzgarten’ but walked away unharmed. One year later, in 1984, he won the 1000-kilometre race at the Nürburgring, sharing a Rothmans Porsche 956 C with Derek Bell.
On his way to his 1984 Driver’s World Endurance Championship title, Stefan Bellof once shared a 956 with German Hans-Joachim Stuck. Despite an incident by Stuck that required repairs, the couple won the Imola 1000-kilometre race.
“This race in Italy was of very high importance for me”, 67 year-old Stuck recalls. “The 956 was new to me and Stefan taught me how to drive this ground effect car. I learnt an awful lot from him. When I joined Porsche, I understood why those cars were unbeatable.
“You had no gearbox issues, the brakes were excellent and thanks to this tremendous downforce, you could enter the corners at very high speed. Literally, the car stuck to the ground. For me it is a world-class opportunity to take the 956 once again around the Nordschleife. Emotionally, this is something hard to top.”
Among Stuck’s many successes belong two Le Mans overall victories in 1986 and 1987, driving the successor to the 956, the 962 C. The Nürburgring 24-Hours he won three times when driving for BMW.
The 956 C that Stuck will take for a lap around the Nürburgring is chassis number 005. It is the car Jacky Ickx (BE) and Jochen Mass (DE) shared during the entire 1984 world championship season. For commercial rights reasons the name of tobacco sponsor Rothmans frequently had to be replaced by the word ‘Racing’. This was the case on Bellof’s record lap chassis 007 and will be the same on the car that Stuck will drive on May 12th.