Call me Ishmael, because Moby Dick has returned.
At the Laguna Seca Raceway in California, the Rennsport Reunion was about to get underway late last week. As the world has come to know, Zuffenhausen had a couple of rather large surprises in store for the event to celebrate all-things-Porsche and racing.
There, Mark Webber was on hand to pull the sheets of this stunning object, a track-only new edition of the legendary Porsche 935/78 from that raced in Le Mans from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s - or more affectionately known as Moby Dick given its white and striped contrasted Martini racing livery and extended rear aero-improving overhang.
This 2018 rendition isn’t just a splash in the pan concept car cobbled together for a few headlines, no. Porsche intends to produce these in a very limited run of just 77 units. No word yet on whether they’ve got actual racing ambitions for this new 935, though, as the team responsible did not want to confine themselves to the engineering constraints of series homologation. That doesn’t detract one bit from fans like us drooling all over it, near and far.
“This spectacular car is a birthday present from Porsche Motorsport to fans all over the world,” says Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars. “Because the car isn’t homologated, engineers and designers didn’t have to follow the usual rules and thus had freedom in the development.”
Under the retro-evocative carbon fibre body, which measures 4.87 metres thanks to that extended streamlined rear, this 935 is based on the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, current title holder as the fastest production car to lap the Nurburgring. Thusly, it’s powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six that’s largely unchanged, producing 515kW and 750Nm.
It’s even mated to the same 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. But with all that grunt being channelled to the rear wheels in a car that weighs just 1,380kg, that huge fixed wing, wheel arch air vents on the front fairings and various other aerodynamic measures are more than justified.
Traction is helped kept in check thanks to a set of Michelin racing slicks that wear aerodynamically capped wheels, themselves a nod to the original 935/78. Elsewhere, Porsche has added side mirrors from the current 911 RSR, exposed titanium tailpipes modelled on the 1968 Porsche 908, and rear wing end plates taken from the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car.
As you might expect, the new 935’s interior is all business, with all manner of creature comforts from the 911 GT2 RS removed (not that that was known for luxury, either) leaving a bare cabin only littered with the necessities of driving. However, there are clever hat tips to other high-performance Porsches too, such as the laminated wood gear lever reminiscent of the 917 and 909 of old as well as the Carrera GT.
The driver is treated to the same exposed carbon steering wheel and digital instrument cluster used in the 911 GT3 R. Once seated in the fixed single carbon bucket and fastened in via the six-point safety harness, it’s hard to ignore the massive safety cage that cocoons the cockpit as one dawns upon the uncompromising nature of the 935.
Should the customer insist, though, Porsche will fit a passenger seat as well as air conditioning.