Which do you think Hans-Joachim Stuck found more delightful, being reunited with the restored Porsche 962 C he drove to the ADAC Würth Supercup championship in 1987, or the fact that, at age 70, he still fit into the racing suit he’d worn that season, a suit Porsche had preserved and readied for him to wear as he took the 962 C for a test drive?
Not only did Stuck drive the car in the German sports prototype racing series, but he used it as a test bed to help develop Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK transmission at racing speeds. After two years in competition, the car was used for aerodynamic testing at Porsche’s Weissach Development Center, and then joined the company’s car collection.
“We kept passing this car in the warehouse,” noted Armin Burger, from Porsche’s historic motorsports program. “Then, about a year and a half ago, we decided to get it out of there, transfer it to Weissach and start working on it.”
Burger was able to bring the car’s original race engineer, Norbert Singer, into the restoration process, as well as Rob Powell, who had designed the black, yellow and red livery after Shell came aboard as the car’s sponsor in the second race of the 1987 season.
Powell still had the original sketches, various thicknesses of tape and the stencils he used decades earlier in applying the design to the car.
“When you hear the right people (there), talking by the vehicle, everything immediately becomes clear,” Burger said. “We learned an incredible amount from two witnesses who were right there when it all happened.”
“It feels like coming home,” Stuck said as the cover was pulled off the car.
“The history of the motorsport story surrounding the 962 C is unique,” said Achim Stejskal, head of Porsche heritage and the company’s museum. “By arranging this reunion after more than three decades, we have not only surprised Hans-Joachim Stuck, we have also taken a little journey through time.”
Stuck said at the unveiling, “I’m a big fan of the Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission and proud that I was allowed to test it in the 962 back then,” Stuck commented. “Being able to keep my hands on the steering wheel when changing gears at full throttle felt great right from the start.”
Today, Porsche noted in its news release, PDK is available in every Porsche.
The No. 17 car was altered from the basic 962 C model. Its wheelbase was nearly 5 inches longer and the pedals were mounted behind the front axle, not ahead of it as in many racing cars.
Singer noted that Stuck’s involvement with the car’s original development was vital.
“He as always one of the drivers whose feedback I could interpret accurately, like the data from a sensor,” Singer said.
For his part, Stuck said he particularly liked the 962 C because it “was one of the few cars I was allowed to drive on my own, without teammates and with exactly the setup I wanted. You never forget a car like that.”