Today, we tour the Petersen Vault’s newest room, the Legends of the Vault Gallery. We’ve partnered with the Luftgekühlt team to curate Prototype Giants, our newest exhibit in the Vault presented by @Hagerty. Mark Hotchkis takes us through the Porsche 956 and 962 in the new space. When most people think Porsche, they think 356 and 911, this room goes way beyond the street cars and into some of the most successful @Porsche race cars ever created.

The Porsche 956 was built to comply with the 1982 FIA World Sportscar Championship (WSC)’s new Group C regulations and was the first racing car to feature an aluminum monocoque chassis and ground effect aerodynamic elements. Factory 956s won the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, leading every lap and taking first, second and third place. In 1983, a 956 driven by Stephen Bellof set the overall lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which stood for 35 years until a modified Porsche 919 Hybrid eclipsed it in 2018.

The 962 was created to meet the updated IMSA GTP specifications, with the Group C entrants taking the 962C nameplate. The 962 became one of the most dominant race cars ever, winning the WSC in 1985 and 1986, the IMSA GT championship from 1985-88, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1986 and 87, the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans 1994 (a modified customer car), and other racing series for 10 years straight.