Dahmen choice: This 962C is allegedly one of 200 – and the homage to an exceptional private driver.

9 months development time, 5 driving forces, 6 cylinders: A model name was derived from these figures, which went down in the annals as the racing car of the century. Not only 200 chassis were made from the Porsche 956 and its direct descendant, the 962C. In a period of twelve years, seven victories were achieved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans alone. A total of 288 triumphs in 503 races is considered a success rate for eternity. Possible motto: “You’re simply the best – you’re simply the best!” Of all 200 chassis, one is probably the strangest: A Krefeld couple simply built it themselves – and were successful with it. Third place in the 1990 Interseries crowns the story of a unique Porsche prototype that was made at home and is now back in Germany.

Friday, June 24, 1988. In the afternoon, a compact, white racing transporter with Krefeld license plates arrived at the Norisring paddock. Heinz-Jörgen Dahmen, born in 1946, has finally arrived, and in two ways. The 42-year-old private driver from the town of silk weavers on the Lower Rhine has successfully climbed into the Porsche 962C – six years after he was denied entry to the prestigious 200-mile race here in Nuremberg of all places. A scandal: Dahmen actually wants to start his Porsche 935 at the German Automobile Racing Championship in June 1982, after having made a solid start to the racing season with the four-year-old chassis. But on the Franconian street circuit, its own laws apply, and stars from all over the world are bought in year after year. “You don’t qualify in this field anyway!”, the operator of a BMW parts warehouse is told – and, in a rage, sells the Porsche originally driven by Reinhold Joest to Sweden. Now he could actually make a nice living with the proceeds and his wife Karin, but the thorn is too deep for that. In addition, even after his equipment has been sold, he still owns an engine from the Porsche 935 – and he knows that some racing teams will continue to use the six-cylinder boxer in the newly created Group C. So he builds a space frame chassis around the remaining engine, provides the whole thing with the body of the German small series supplier Gepard – and thus creates his own racing prototype. DC 884 the fire spirit baptizes his answer to the abuse from Franconia. As a result, on September 23, 1984, he surprisingly found himself on the starting grid for the ADAC Bilstein Super Sprint at the Nürburgring, a terrible rain battle. He finished ninth on his debut in the German Automobile Racing Championship – and at the same time it was his resignation, because the former German elite championship was discontinued in the 1985 season. After all, Dahmen witnessed Stefan Bellof’s victory drive up close, the young man from Giessen went down in the annals of the series founded in 1972 as the last title winner in the Brun Porsche 956.

In the next three years – from 1985 to 1987 – Heinz-Jörgen Dahmen competed with the DC 884 in the Interseries, the German Sports Car Championship and in the Supercup. But then he sells the self-made car to the automobile tuner Jochen Arden. Background: He has the opportunity to switch to a Porsche 962C. It is the dream car of that time and far beyond, endowed with the aura of absolute unbeatability. After just one year, Jochen Dauer hands over a chassis previously taken over by John Fitzpatrick, Dahmen completes it – and enters the Supercup on June 24, 1988, and that at the Norisring of all places. Now no one refuses to be nominated, on the contrary: a year later, he celebrates his debut in the sports car world championship when the Englishman Tim Lee-Davey, lacking his own emergency car, absolutely wants to take part in the German race on the Nürburgring and rents a place from the German . And so, on August 20, 1989, Dahmen celebrates another premiere. In the meantime it has been equipped with a 3.2 liter engine, which replaces the previous 2.8 liter unit and has more power – on the sprint distances in the Supercup and the Interseries this is an advantage, in the world championship because of it slightly worse energy efficiency but not. So a “two-eight” is used again at the Nürburgring – but it doesn’t last: retirement after a training time of 1:34.346 minutes and 33rd place on the grid. At some point this weekend in the slipstream of the world elite, Heinz-Jörgen Dahmen has to do a surprising one Realization: He decides to build a more torsion-resistant chassis – his own! He owns the template and can purchase the necessary materials from Rhein-Flugzeugbau in Mönchengladbach: rivets, aluminum panels and a bending bench, above all. When he returns to Krefeld from the Interserie on the Österreichring late in the evening on Monday, October 16, 1989, he decides: “Listen, Karin, we’re going to build this!”

( … to be continued … )

Heute vor 36 Jahren, am 1. September 1985: Er war nicht zu bremsen. Das Drama um das Jahrhundert-Talent Stefan Bellof. © Carsten Krome Netzwerkeins

© Carsten Krome Netzwerkeins

Playlist – das Zeitalter der Gruppe C von 1982 bis 1999.