1994 Dauer 962 Le Mans


Above Images ©IMAGE CREDITS - Dauer Cars

In the late nineties, bringing prototype racecars to urban roadways was an idea that several companies shared. Considering the contrast between sports car and race car engineering, embarking on such a project was a laborious task. Coupled with the limited production and tiny customer base, development costs were hard to recoup. Despite these hardships, several German companies still decided to create their own road-going Porsche 962, the most successful prototype race car of our time.

From 1983 forward, the Porsche 956 and its 962 IMSA spec version dominated for a decade. Porsche manufactured nearly 150 956/962s and sold many of the cars to private teams. During this period, Porsche manufactured and made available every component on the car. Due to this customer support, Porsche not only became the most successful marque at Le Mans, but also provided essential parts for companies, such as DP Motorsport, Schuppan, Koenig and Dauer, to make road-going specials.

Of the companies that have produced a 962 road car, the most successful has been Dauer. After displaying their first 962 at the 1993 Frankfurt Show, Dauer partnered with Porsche to manufacture a contender for the 1994 24 Hours of LeMans. At that time the prototype rules stipulated that a single road-going version of the car had to manufactured for homologation. As a result of these regulations, several homologation specials were born from the world's fastest racecars. These included the Porsche GT1, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR and our feature car, the Dauer 962 LM. What good times.

At the 24 hour race, Dauer showed up with both a road version and race version of the Porsches 962, a design which had already won Le Mans six times. After winning the race, the FIA declared it would be creating rules to make sure the 962 wouldn't be back in 1995. However, with a Le Mans win under their belt, and with support from Porsche, Dauer continued to build their road-going 962.

962LM in Detail

Since the 1994 victory, much has changed at Dauer as attention focused from street legal racecar to civilized roadcar. To create each one of these cars, Dauer takes an original Porsche-made 956/962 and strips the car. A completely new carbon fiber/kevlar body is then made along with a very tight leather interior . When finished, the owner receives a car which has a race history at the top level of motorsport and is also ready to drive on local streets.

A major development has been the introduction of several electro-hydraulic systems into the car. While equipped with pneumatic doors and rear engine cover, one of the most important changes is a hydraulic suspension to raise and lower the car. This was manditory as the 962, in standard trim, is far too low to meet the ride height necessitated by German law.

Inside, Dauer have made the cockpit a more civil affair. Reinald Mattes spent considerable time to fitting two seats into a very tight cockpit. After the moulds were completed, Dauer formed carbon fibre panels and covered them in leather. Interesting features include interior-cooling, a detachable steering wheel and properly detailed luggage. Still, the 962 is a very unforgiving machine, and it is doubtful that any driver will have time to watch, yet alone hear the DVD player provided.

Powering the 962 is the same 2994cc water-cooled Porsche flat-six found in the race car. A pair of intercooled KKK turbochargers are employed and the engine has 'softer' cams for more tractable driving. Thanks to racing catalytic convertors and Bosch Motronic 1.7 engine management, the 962 meets European emissions regulations. Attached to the engine is a unique transmission that uses the normal 962 manual box and clutch. But instead of using a gear lever, the driver select ratios via the Tiptronic S style knobs on the steering wheel.

At 1080kg, the 962LM may weigh around 180kg more than the 962 racecar, but its power-to weight ratio is still better than the McLaren F1's. In a drag start, 0-60mph takes around 2.6 seconds in first gear! Five seconds later you have doubled your speed again. Ultimately a shade over 250mph is possible. A top speed test was conducted on the Ehra-Leissen VW test track, where 404.6 kph was achieved.

In total 13 Dauer conversions have been finished, and Dauer are still taking orders for more cars. They are also finishing up a very limited run of Bugatti EB110s that were sold in pieces to Dauer when the company closed. We have also heard that Dauer is updating their 962 and a 2006 model is in the works.

Story by Richard Owen for Supercars.net



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