The 924 GTP race car driven in 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours by Tony Dron and Andy Rouse lives again, thanks to diligent work by Porsche GB Porsche Classic partners, using Veloce author Roy Smith’s book Porsche the 924 Carrera – evolution to excellence.
It all started just a few months ago in December, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart allowed one of its prized original condition race cars to come to the UK in a bold plan to restore it to its original 1980s condition. The idea and dream of the personnel at Porsche GB in Reading, the back to the future project saw the 1980 Porsche Le Mans racer reunited with its original British driver line-up at the Silverstone performance centre, prior to beginning restoration by Porsche Classic Centre Partners, some thirty-five years since it last turned a wheel in anger.
The Porsche 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans raced at the iconic French 24 Hours endurance motor sport event in 1980 as part of an innovative three-car international team. Car #2 was the British entry, #3 the American and #4 the German. Each car featured distinctive liveries based on the national flags. Drivers Tony Dron and Andy Rouse, finished the 24 Hours in 12th place.
At a special event on 27th June Tony Dron, along with Derek Bell who had driven the American decaled sister car, and Jurgen Barth who drove the German decaled third sister car, were reunited with, in Dron’s case, ‘his’ car for the first time since that race 36 years ago.
Invited guests were to see a superb 100% accurate restoration, correct in every detail. This unique and spectacular car, restored by the skilled technicians at Porsche Classic Partner Centres, deserves huge praise. Four Porsche Classic Partner Centres in the Porsche Cars GB sales network were involved, located in Glasgow, Hatfield, Leeds and Swindon. A thorough investigation of the historic race car specification and finish has resulted in a superb, historically sympathetic – race-ready condition car.
Porsche Centre Glasgow worked on the suspension, brakes and wheels; Porsche Centre Hatfield, the gearbox and drivetrain; Porsche Centre Leeds had the responsibility for the electrics and radiator plumbing; Porsche Centre Swindon found and rebuilt the car’s original engine. Road and Race Restorations in Manchester, a Porsche Recommended Body Repairer, completed the project by restoring the bodywork and interior trim. Porsche Classic, the factory department were able to supply many original parts. Each of the Porsche centre teams made extensive use of The Porsche 924 Carrera – Evolution to Excellence book, to verify , decal placement, component placement and even to copy the style of welds by studying photographs included in Roy Smith’s masterwork.
Celebrating the the 40th anniversary of the launch of the 924 in 1976, this historic 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans will be demonstrated at events such as Le Mans Classic, the Oldtimer Grand Prix, Silverstone Classic and the Lancaster Insurance NEC Classic Motor Show – and will also be proudly displayed in the showrooms of the Porsche Centres responsible for bringing this part of Porsche motorsport history back to life once more.
The 924 GTPs engine a 1,984 cc, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder was fired up and Tony Dron who made an inaugural lap of the Porsche centre customer test circuit.
Author Roy Smith is an award-winning member of the Guild of Motoring writers
The Porsche 924 Carrera – Evolution to Excellence is still available to buy, while Roy’s next masterpiece PORSCHE – the racing 914s is coming in September 2016.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This is the story of an incredible and very rare car. The 924 Carrera was widely reported at the time as being one of the greatest of the Porsche ‘specials,’ but has been overshadowed in history by other models. Here, for the first time, is the definitive story of the Porsche 924 Carrera. One of the great supercars of the 1980s, the 924 Carrera was considered by many to have better handling characteristics than Porsche’s flagship 911. The book features interviews with many of those involved with the car at the time, both in Europe and the USA, together with race stories, statistics, and a unique exposé of component failures during racing. Road tests examined the 210bhp, 150mph road car’s performance, magazines hailed it as one of the greatest Porsche ‘specials,’ and rumour says that the last front-engined models could have threatened the sales of Porsche’s flagship 911, causing the front engined 968 model to be ‘killed off.’ From its early conceptual phase and the 924 Rallye Turbo of 1979, to the prototype 924 GTR/P that tested at the Paul Ricard Circuit and went on to place sixth at Le Mans in 1980, this book records the model’s evolution to excellence, based on extensive research in Porsche AG’s own archives. It covers the 406 Homologation models, built to qualify for Le Mans, and the 59 very special competition models, as well as the 17 GTR racing models. With race details covering Europe and the USA, from the Sports Car Club of America production D racers, to the GTO and Trans Am class 924 GTRs of the mid-80s, this is the first time that the full history of this rare supercar has been told.
The Porsche 924 Carreras by Roy P Smith
• The first in-depth study of this rare homologation supercar
• Researched in Porsche archive material unopened for years
• Created with the full support of Porsche AG
• Racing statistics and full race stories
• 400 images, many never seen before
• Unique exposé of race component failures
• Full coverage of previously unpublished racing information
• Details of over 200 races in the USA
• Interviews with many of those involved, from both Europe and the USA
• A limited edition of 1500 copies.