Oh the days gone by. I’ve had cellular telephones that are more complex than the driver control layout of a Porsche 962. With the loud pedal supplying a healthy wallop in the back when footed, I’m not sure that I would want to have to pay attention to many other switches and dials, however. A certain level of finesse was required to really drive a 962 quickly, balancing the boost pressures, the throttle input, and the insane ground-effect supplied downforce. That said, however, this dash layout (and the car the dash is attached to) won a lot of races through the 80s and early 90s, and was driven by some of the most respectable drivers in the history of the sport.
The interesting thing about the 962 is that it was constructed for the Group C class of racing in Europe, as well as the IMSA GTP category here in the United States. These two series could not be more different. While Group C was about efficient power and conservation of energy brought about by limiting the amount of fuel a car could use in a given race, IMSA was all about flat out power and speed, regardless of fuel consumption. Building one car to tackle both series proved a bit easier than anticipated, as Porsche simply took the existing Group C car and turned up the wick a bit. Pretty soon, Porsche’s venerable endurance racer was winning on both sides of the Atlantic (and the Pacific, too, with a number of victories in Japan). It didn’t take long for Porsche’s factory to run out of production capability, and the aftermarket stepped in to help. Fabcar, Kremer, GTi Engineering, Brun, Schuppan, Holbert Racing, and even Dyson Racing all built their own versions of the 962 monocoque.
The diagram above depicts the layout of what I assume to be a late build 962, including two switchable digital gauges. Below is an image of a very early 962 cockpit, with some switchgear being distinctly familiar to anyone who has ever driven an aircooled 911. Looking at both of these cockpits, it is easy to see that keeping a close eye on fuel consumption was a very important aspect. Boost pressure and fuel mixture could be fiddled with on the fly for efficient driving when needed, and quick dispatching of traffic when necessary.
Simple, yet very informative. It is the German way.
[Image: The Canepa Design Facebook page]