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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Flashback: 1980, Porsche 924 Turbo Debuts

A look at when Porsche showed up to Le Mans with three 924 Turbos…

Photo: Christian Vignon

Photo: Christian Vignon

1979 marked the end of production of the Porsche 935 but the German manufacturer continued to supply parts to its customers. The Kremer brothers jumped at the chance to buy parts and assemble cars. (En Français)

In parallel, the German squad embarked on the challenge of running three Porsche 924 Turbos at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1980.

The No. 2 car was entrusted to Andy Rouse and Tony Dron, with Derek Bell and Al Holbert in the No. 3 Porsche and Jurgen Barth and Manfred Schurti in the No. 4 entry.

“We do not come to win but [rather race] on an experimental basis” said Barth, who was responsible for testing the 924 Turbo, which boasted 320 horsepower instead of the 170 horsepower road-going model.

Before showing up at Circuit de la Sarthe, Porsche completed a 29-hour test at Paul Ricard, which saw Bell join the team. “After Renault, I could not consider another adventure as exciting as the one with which I engaged with Porsche,” he said at the time.

All three entries finished within the top-15 overall in the race, with the Barth/Schurti-driven No. 6 car coming home on the GTP class podium in third.

The following year, Rouse and Schurti claimed top class honors with a further developed version of the car, which was reclassified into the IMSA GTO category, but still run under the Porsche System banner.

Jim Busby’s BF Goodrich-backed team, meanwhile, also took the Porsche 924 Carrera GTR to class victory, in 1983, which was the car’s final outing at Le Mans.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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