Porsche 936 is First Produced

The Porsche 936 was a racing car introduced in 1976 by Porsche as a delayed successor to the Porsche 908, a three litre sportscar prototype which was retired by the factory after 1971.

Its name came from using a variant of the Porsche 930's turbocharged engine, as well as competing in Group 6 racing.

It was built to compete in the World Sportscar Championship as well as at 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans under the Group 6 formula, which it won both of. Chassis 002 with #20 won with Jacky Ickx and Gijs van Lennep won Le Mans, while the #18 chassis 001 of Reinhold Joest and Jürgen Barth had engine failure. It shared these victories with its production-based sibling, the Porsche 935 which won in Group 5. The open top, two seater spyder was powered by an air-cooled, two-valve 540 hp (403 kW) single-turbocharger flat-6 engine with 2140 cc, or the equivalent of 3000 cc including the 1.4 handicap factor. The spaceframe chassis was based on the 917, with many of the parts also coming from the car. In the first outings, the Martini Racing car was still black, and the engine cover behind the roll bar was flat. The large hump and the air box above the engine was fitted onto the car later in the season. It is not for the air intake of the turbocharged engine, nor for cooling of the air-cooled engine itself, but instead mainly used for the intercooler.

From 1976 to 1981, the factory entered Porsche 936 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times with Jacky Ickx ('76, '77, '81), thus each of the three original chassis won once. In 1978, the two previously winning chassis, which had been updated for 1977, came second and third behind the Renault, while the pole-setting new chassis 003 crashed out. Porsche did not intend to sell the 936 to customers, wanting them instead to use the 935 (which occupied the first four places at Le Mans in 1979), and the old 908 which were still around, updated to turbo engines and new 936-like aerodynamics. In 1979, a half-hearted Essex-sponsored Le Mans entry with two 936 was a failure, and the car also crashed at Silverstone. Porsche engineers provided some unofficial support to very good customers, though, and Joest managed to get a spare chassis (004) and parts to assemble a car which was in 1980 designated as Porsche 908/80 and entered privately by Joest Racing. The Martini Racing Liqui Moly backed car took second at Le Mans in 1980. Kremer received blueprints to recreate a modified '81-spec car dubbed chassis 005 for 1982.

The successor Porsche 956 was introduced in 1982 after the new 2650 cc engine designed for Indycar was tested in the 1981 winning chassis 003 which was sponsored by Jules. At the inaugural year of the new Group C formula which the 956 was built for, privateer teams such as Kremer Racing and Joest Racing had to wait until 1983 for their 956. Thus, in an attempt to conform to the new Group C regulations, both teams built new bodyshapes that incorporated a roof onto their 936-replicas. Joest's car was designated as 936C JR005 while Kremer's car became known as the CK5 01.

The Porsche 936 was a two-seat prototype developed by the engineers in the Weissach racing department for the 1976 Group 6 World Championship – and it was rewarded with that year’s title and a remarkable trio of Le Mans wins.

Led by Norbert Singer, the team of Porsche engineers used the chassis concept that had been proven by the 917 and clothed it in new, open cockpit ‘Spyder’ bodywork.

The 1976 Le Mans 24 Hours race was to be ultimate test of this new design and it passed with flying colours. After just 20 minutes, Jacky Ickx took the lead and went on to build up a margin of 17 laps over his nearest challenger. Even a lengthy pit stop that lost the car 32 minutes and reduced its lead to nine laps could not stop Ickx and co-drier Gijs van Lennep winning the race in supreme style.

A year later, two Porsche 936 entries battled with six Renaults for overall honours at Le Mans. The Ickx/Pescarolo Porsche retired after a few hours, and the car driven by Jurgen Barth/Hurley Haywood lost nine laps after a long pit stop. However, calling on the assistance of Ickx to take a turn at the wheel, this car set a succession of record lap times as it clawed back the lost time.

As a consequence, the leading Renaults slowly came under increasing pressure, which caused them to raise their speeds and resulted in a series of breakdowns. Barth thus crossed the finishing line as a deserving winner, despite a damaged piston in the engine of the 936.

This car genuinely earned its place in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, but it was initially on display only temporarily…..in 1981, after a thorough overhaul, it won Le Mans again – as the 936/81.

Technical Specification

Engine: Six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed pistons, air-cooled, two valves per cylinder, turbocharger, two chain-driven overhead camshafts

Output: 540bhp at 8,000rpm

Displacement: 2,142cc

Dimensions: Wheelbase 2,400mm, length 4,250mm, weight 700kg

Performance: Top speed 350km/h (217mph)

The Porsche 936 was prepared for 1976 World Marque Championship. This open car had an aluminium multitubular chassis derived from 908 and 917; the engine was a flat six 2.142cc as specified for turbo equipped unit. It was equipped with air cooled cylinders and watercooled cylinder heads. The engine produced 520 hp at 8.000 rpm for 1976 version and 630 hp in 1981. Jacky Ickx and Gijs van Lennep brought the first Le Mans win for a turbocharged car in 1976. Then Jacky Ickx, Jurgen Barth and Hurley Haywood brought the Porsche 936 to victory at Le Mans in 1977. In 1981, the Porsche 936 won again at Le Mans driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell.