Reuniting a racing hero with a most personal Porsche
Legendary racer Hans-Joachim Stuck gets back behind the wheel of a beloved championship winner
After 35 years, one of Porsche’s most famous and successful partnerships has been revived following a painstaking and secretive project. Former works driver and hero of Group C Hans-Joachim Stuck was recently reunited with the immaculately restored 962C in which he won Germany’s ADAC Supercup in 1987.
Unveiled recently at the Weissach Development Centre, the car had been exactingly returned to the correct livery and original Supercup specification following later use by Porsche as a development mule. The restoration took more than 18 months to complete, including three weeks of hand-painting to recloak the body in its iconic red and yellow.
“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,” says Achim Stejskal, Head of Porsche Heritage and Museum. “The history of the motorsport story surrounding the 962 C is unique.”
The now 70-year-old Stuck won Germany’s prestigious and fiercely contested ADAC Würth Supercup during the inaugural series for Group C prototypes, testing the then-new Porsche dual clutch transmission (PDK) amid countless weight saving and aerodynamic adjustments for the hard-fought national sprint series.
Armin Burger and Traugott Brecht from Historic Motorsport were jointly responsible for the racing car’s rebuild, aware that it had a special place in the story of the 962. “We kept passing this car in the warehouse. 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.”
At the very beginning of the reconstruction work, Burger invited chief engineer Norbert Singer and livery designer Rob Powell into the historic motorsport workshop. “When you hear the right people talking by the vehicle, everything immediately becomes clear,” he continues. “We learned an incredible amount from two witnesses who were right there when it all happened.”
(from L-R) Rob Powell, Armin Burger, Norbert Singer and Berthold Brecht
Under Singer’s stewardship, the team completely rebuilt the underbody, changed the arrangement of the radiators and made several other adjustments to the car’s bodywork. Livery designer Powell arrived with various thicknesses of tape, stencils and design sketches so as to perfectly replicate his original concept, which had been produced in under a week in 1987 after principle sponsor Shell came onboard for the second race of the series.
Stuck was also heavily involved in the development of the car, and remembers his introduction to PDK with fondness. “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,” he says. “Being able to keep my hands on the steering wheel when changing gears at full throttle felt great right from the start.” Thanks to their efforts, PDK is available in every Porsche today and has become the preferred choice thanks to its ease of use and seamless, efficient performance.
“We gave Stucki a very warm welcome at Porsche,” remembers Singer. “He was always one of the drivers whose feedback I could interpret accurately, like the data from a sensor.”
Shortly after the official unveiling, a beaming Stuck was ready to start his first lap of the 2.5km Weissach test track. “For me, the time with Porsche was the most successful of my entire career,” he says, putting on his trademark white star-decorated helmet and climbing in. “The 962 C was one of the few cars I was allowed to drive on my own, without team-mates and with exactly the setup I wanted. You never forget a car like that. It feels like coming home.”