The Mysterious Belcar Dauer 962
Dauers were crazy expensive, so what's this one doing in a small national racing championship?
The 1999 season of Belcar, the national sports car racing championship, was home to many different sorts of machinery. This time however there was one that stood out above the rest. A million dollar Dauer 962 was ready to dominate all season, but did it ever get to? And was it even a real Dauer?
The varied grid of Belcar always made for unique battles. source: Castrol Belcar '99 (book)
A Dauer 962 is basically a road legal Porsche 962. Porsche had a gigantic amount of success with the 962 winning championships and races all over the world including the 1986 and 1987 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the 1994 Le mans race 2 Dauers competed in the new GT1 class for road legal vehicles. With support of Porsche they managed to get 1st and 3rd on the podium. The loophole trick only worked once though as the rules were rewritten excluding the Dauers from ever competing again.
The 2 cars that raced Le Mans were subsequently put into a museum were they would spend the rest of their lives. The road legal models would go on to sell for one million dollars each. Only 13 models were ever sold.
The Dauer duo at Le Mans
Fast forward to the second round of the 1999 Belcar championship at the iconic racetrack of Spa-Francorchamps. Team AD sport is patiently awaiting the verdict of the National Technical Committee to approve their Dauer for racing. AD Sport visited Dauer, Kremer and Porsche in order to get the necessary paperwork. The engine of the Dauer was changed as well, probably due to regulations. It now ran a 3.2L air-cooled single turbo flat six producing up to 550 HP. significantly less than its original twin turbo engine.
The car was finally approved and immediately won its first outing. The rest of the season however wouldn't be as successful. The next round was a visit to the Netherlands and it's twisty Zandvoort circuit. The Dauer failed to set an impressive lap time in qualifying due to various mechanical gremlins. It never started the race as the clutch broke halfway through the warm up lap.
Next round was a return to Spa. The Dauer saw no action whatsoever this time as the engine only ran briefly before it stopped and failed to start again.
Zolder was next and the Dauer was back on track. It obliterated the track record with a 1.36.291 at an average speed of 158 Km/h. The victory was short lived as the engine failed during the second qualifying session. Despite turbo troubles during the race team AD managed to finish in a respectable third place.
The Zolder 24H was skipped due to obvious reliability concerns and the final visit to spa was cut short due to turbo failure.
Final race of the season at Zolder again and the Dauers bad luck is starting to affect other racers as well. It managed to puke out all of it's engine oil on track effectively stopping the second qualifying session. Halfway through the race the engine failed yet again.
source: Castrol Belcar '99 (book)
The many dnf's and only one win resulted in 7th place overall in the championship. What looked like the dominant car at the beginning of the season was now an unreliable mess. Team AD Sport retired the car and chose to run their other car, a Callaway corvette, for the following seasons.
Now some keen eyed readers may have noticed this already but to me the light blue and white Dauer looks suspiciously like a regular Porsche 962. Sure, a Dauer uses the exact same chassis as a Porsche 962 but the bodywork is noticeably different. And why would you buy a million dollar hypercar based on a race car only to turn it into a race car again? Importing a used 962 from the US for example is a much more financially forgiving option.
I see two possibilities. It's either a real Dauer with different panels or the most elaborate example of a rulebook loophole ever. Look at the comparison below let me know what you think this car really is. Thanks for reading.
from top to bottom: Belcar Dauer, Le Mans Dauer, IMSA GTP Porsche 962 sources: racingsportcars.com, motorsport.com, rmsothebys.com