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Le Mans Porsche 924 to be restored

Porsche UK to restore historic 924 GTP to celebrate 40th anniversary of its front-engined models

As 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of what Porsche dubs its ‘transaxle cars’ (the front-engined, water-cooled 924, 928, 944 and 968), so Porsche GB has launched a restoration competition. Star of the event is the 1980 Le Mans Porsche 924 GTP, as driven by Tony Dron and fellow saloon car champ Andy Rouse to 13th overall.

The car – the only German factory racer ever to compete wearing a British flag – has been brought out of hiding within Porsche’s Stuttgart museum storage facility, where it has languished since its destructive post-race testing and development career. That means there’s much restoration work to be carried out, not least to the ravaged nose section of the glassfibre front clamshell.

With 19 dealers of the 35-strong network taking part in the competition with their own transaxle entries, the aim is to boost recognition of Porsche’s Classic Partner network, as well as bringing this piece of Le Mans history back to life. The bodywork and interior (there’s no trim, as such) of the Dron/Rouse 924 is being entrusted to Porsche Recommended Body Repairer, Manchester-based Road and Race Restorations, with other aspects being taken care of by four different Porsche Classic Partners: suspension/brakes/wheels at Glasgow, gearbox/drivetrain at Hatfield, electrics/plumbing at Leeds, and engine at Swindon.

The Dron/Rouse car is one of three 924 GTPs entered by Porsche that year, running 320bhp (thanks to a 40 per cent increase in turbo boost pressure), weighing only 930kg (down from 1180, thanks to lightweight panelling and that stripped interior), and hauled back from its 180mph top speed by 917 brakes. The American car, driven by Derek Bell and Al Holbert, finished one place ahead in 12th, while the German entry was driven to a remarkable sixth overall by Jürgen Barth and Manfred Schurti.

The plan is for the completed car to be displayed at various events after (hopefully) a debut at July’s Silverstone Classic. A further difficulty is that there are no drawings for the car – though the restoration teams have been promised access to Porsche race engineer Norbert Singer’s notebook! For regular updates, visit porsche.co.uk/restoration.

Words: Glen Waddington

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