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Back to the Future with the Porsche 924 Race Car

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The 924 GTP race car driven in 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours by Tony Dron and Andy Rouse lives again, thanks to diligent work by Porsche GB Porsche Classic partners, using Veloce author Roy Smith’s book Porsche the 924 Carrera – evolution to excellence.

1213000_280616veloce_1It all started just a few months ago in December, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart allowed one of its prized original condition race cars to come to the UK in a bold plan to restore it to its original 1980s condition. The idea and dream of the personnel at Porsche GB in Reading, the back to the future project saw the 1980 Porsche Le Mans racer reunited with its original British driver line-up at the Silverstone performance centre, prior to beginning restoration by Porsche Classic Centre Partners, some thirty-five years since it last turned a wheel in anger.

The Porsche 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans raced at the iconic French 24 Hours endurance motor sport event in 1980 as part of an innovative three-car international team. Car #2 was the British entry, #3 the American and #4 the German. Each car featured distinctive liveries based on the national flags. Drivers Tony Dron and Andy Rouse, finished the 24 Hours in 12th place.

At a special event on 27th June Tony Dron, along with Derek Bell who had driven the American decaled sister car, and Jurgen Barth who drove the German decaled third sister car, were reunited with, in Dron’s case, ‘his’ car for the first time since that race 36 years ago.

Invited guests were to see a superb 100% accurate restoration, correct in every detail. This unique and spectacular car, restored by the skilled technicians at Porsche Classic Partner Centres, deserves huge praise. Four Porsche Classic Partner Centres in the Porsche Cars GB sales network were involved, located in Glasgow, Hatfield, Leeds and Swindon. A thorough investigation of the historic race car specification and finish has resulted in a superb, historically sympathetic – race-ready condition car.

1213010_280616veloce_8Porsche Centre Glasgow worked on the suspension, brakes and wheels; Porsche Centre Hatfield, the gearbox and drivetrain; Porsche Centre Leeds had the responsibility for the electrics and radiator plumbing; Porsche Centre Swindon found and rebuilt the car’s original engine. Road and Race Restorations in Manchester, a Porsche Recommended Body Repairer, completed the project by restoring the bodywork and interior trim. Porsche Classic, the factory department were able to supply many original parts. Each of the Porsche centre teams made extensive use of The Porsche 924 Carrera – Evolution to Excellence book, to verify , decal placement, component placement and even to copy the style of welds by studying photographs included in Roy Smith’s masterwork.

Celebrating the the 40th anniversary of the launch of the 924 in 1976, this historic 924 Carrera GTP Le Mans will be demonstrated at events such as Le Mans Classic, the Oldtimer Grand Prix, Silverstone Classic and the Lancaster Insurance NEC Classic Motor Show – and will also be proudly displayed in the showrooms of the Porsche Centres responsible for bringing this part of Porsche motorsport history back to life once more.

The 924 GTPs engine a 1,984 cc, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder was fired up and Tony Dron who made an inaugural lap of the Porsche centre customer test circuit.

Author Roy Smith is an award-winning member of the Guild of Motoring writers

The Porsche 924 Carrera – Evolution to Excellence is still available to buy, while Roy’s next masterpiecePORSCHE – the racing 914s is coming in September 2016.

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