A 1982 Le Mans-winning Rothmans Porsche 956 has been put up for auction.
The former works-Porsche Group C racer will feature in the forthcoming Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction in California, with the car likely to be one of the highlights of the annual auction.
One of only ten to have been made, chassis 03 is one of a rare breed, and only one of two to cross the line at La Sarthe in first place. Driven by Vern Schuppan, Al Holbert and Hurley Haywood, the car took victory in 1983 as part of a Porsche clean-sweep of the podium.
The car is expected to fetch between $7,000,000 and $9,000,000 on August 16th in California.
Made for the new Group C regulations at Le Mans, Porsche maximised the cars aerodynamic efficiency through chief engineer Norbert Singer and a team of Porsche in-house mechanics. In 1983, the car, piloted by Stephan Bellof, broke the all-time lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife with a time of 6:25:91- a time that still stands today.
The 956-03 then went on to win its next four races, driven by Jacky Ickx, Jochen mass and Derek Bell. With 120 victories over a 13-year span, the 956 and its successor, the 962, form the beginning of a line of sportscars widely regarded as the most successful in history.
When the Porsche was eventually retired from racing in favour of the new, much safer 962, Schuppan brought the car from Porsche. After eventually leaving his collection, it was then restored to its original condition, and has since had only four owners.
In recent years the 956-03 has proven popular at various historic festivals, and in 2014 won the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.