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Bilstein and the Porsche 935

Did you know that 95% of race teams that ran the legendary car were on Bilstein suspension?

Date Published: 05 Nov 2018
Bilstein and the Porsche 935

The Porsche 935 was developed in the mid-1970s on the basis of the Porsche 930. Built to FIA group 5 regulations, the turbocharged racing car was used in the period from 1976 and 1982 mainly in brand world championships and the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) championship. The first build of the 935 sported 2.85 litres of piston displacement and mustered about 590 horse power.

Even back then, Porsche’s engineers already prioritised light-weight construction across the board. For example, both doors as well as the front and rear hood of the 935 were made of light-weight GRP. Given the affectionate byname of ‘baby’, the Porsche 935 had been slimmed down by 1977 to a mere 750kg.

And the 1978-made 935-78 ‘Moby Dick’, while rather bold and inventive, was a pretty spot-on interpretation of the FIA regulations by racing engineer Norbert Singer: According to FIA, the shape of the car body including doors and roof had to be retained, so Porsche’s designers reworked the model’s front and rear quite drastically and gave the 935 much broader wings. Only the doors and roof were left unchanged.

Spectacular and successful: the Porsche 935

Spectacular and successful: the Porsche 935

The various versions of the Porsche 935, which were spectacular without exception, won the brand world championship four years in a row between 1976 and 1979 and reaped the DRM title in 1976 and 1979. Volker Brandenhorst, then responsible for Bilstein motor sports customer service, among others, for the Porsche 935 teams, takes a look back: “The DRM offered some great racing and a huge starting field with almost 40 cars, half of which were 935 Porsches. The vast majority of teams placed their trust in Bilstein shock absorbers. “95 per cent of all the 935s must have been using Bilstein shock absorbers,” says Branderhost, who attended most races throughout the 1970s in the capacity of Bilstein’s racing service go-to person.

Spectacular and successful: the Porsche 935

Even the drivers of the 935 factory and private teams delivered some first-rate entertainment, reading like the who-is-who in the history of motor sports. “The cars were piloted by figures such as Manfred Winkelhock, Rolf Stommelen, Klaus Ludwig, Jacky Icky or John Fitzpatrick, each of them really good drivers,” Brandenhorst ads with shining eyes.

Today, the Porsche 935 is seen as one of the most successful near-series racing cars ever built. The crowning achievement in the turbo-charged Porsche’s unparalleled career was to win the 24 hour race of Le Mans in 1979.

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