Ride Along as Derek Bell Flies Around the Nurburgring in the Legendary Porsche 956


Ride Along as Derek Bell Flies Around the Nurburgring in the Legendary Porsche 956

The 1983 Nurburgring 1000-km was one of the most historic events in all of sports car racing. It was the final race to take place on the old version of the Nordschleife, and the race weekend would see a lap record posted that would remain for 35 years. That record lap time was six minutes, 11.17 seconds, set by driver Stefan Bellof in his Porsche 956. Thanks to Duke Video, we have a chance to rewind time and ride onboard the ludicrous Group C racer that day with Bellof’s teammate Derek Bell behind the wheel.

The Porsche 956 first arrived on the scene at Silverstone in 1982, as the new Group C regulations first came into effect. The 956 replaced Porsche’s 936, which raced in the defunct Group 6 class. The new racer utilized the same 2.65-liter turbocharged flat-six as its predecessor, making 635 hp in 956 trim. The 956 also featured Porsche’s first aluminum monocoque chassis, and would serve as the testbed for the first dual-clutch gearbox. None of that is what made it near-untouchable on track, however—that came down to the trick aerodynamics. More specifically, the 956’s extensive use of ground effects made it damn near uncatchable around most circuits. This reliance on ground effects did make the 956 a bit of a handful around the Ring, however, as can be seen in the clip.

Bell puts down a wickedly quick lap in this clip, but it’s still nowhere near as fast as what Bellof achieved during qualifying that weekend. Unfortunately for the pair of drivers, the race wouldn’t go as well as Bellof’s record would suggest. During one of his stints, Bellof lost control of the 956 and crashed into a barrier at the Pfianzgarten corner. Despite the accident taking place at 160 mph, Bellof thankfully walked away from the wreck. Longtime Porsche drivers Jochen Mass and Jacky Ickx would take home the win in another 956. For the full story and video, check out this article from Road & Track.

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