In the mid-70s, Porsche developed the 935 model, a race car homologated on the 930 road car and aimed at the Group 5 ‘silhouette’ series created by the FIA for the 1976 season. As the records will show, the 935 was a formidable race car and it quickly dominated the Group 5 class, becoming the weapon of choice for numerous privateer teams.
Because of the flexibility of the basic Porsche 911 platform, and the lessons learned by the privateer teams, developing the 935 for them became the natural thing to do. One such team that succeeded in developing the 935 was the Kremer Racing team in Cologne, Germany, whose founders the brothers Erwin and Manfred Kremer, were no strangers to motorsport. Kremer Racing did a particularly good job during the late ‘70s, creating the 935 K1, K2 and K3, the latter model being the first privateer Porsche team to win the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Following their success in ‘79, Kremer produced the K3/80. Although this model was largely the same as the ’79 car, it did include some modifications of the previous season’s car which included revised rear suspension pick-ups, improved bodywork with raised fences and a Kugelfischer fuel injection pump. One such car, 935 K3/80 chassis #000 0013 which was the second car built, was raced initially by Kremer in 1980 and the early part of the ’81 season.
Racing #0013 in 1980
Entered in that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours by Kremer Racing, chassis #00013 was driven by the all-French trio of Xavier Lapeyre, Anny-Charlotte Verney and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Wearing Malardeau (a French a real estate company) and BP sponsorship it was powered by a 2995cc engine, but due to gearbox problems, the car posted a DNF retiring after 217 laps.
It was then entered in seven rounds of the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) by Kremer, but good results eluded the team for much of the ’80 season. Towards the end of that year, Michael Korten scored a fifth place finish in the DRM Nürburgring Supersprint on 21 September. Just a week later, Korten scored a podium finish at the DRM Hockenheim Preis von Baden-Württemberg, the second last race of the season, when he crossed the line in third place in class.
Racing #0013 in 1981
The following season began with Bob Wollek behind the wheel in the DRM series, the car now having fitted with a larger 3.2-litre engine. In the first five races of the season, and now sporting its Jägermeister livery, Wollek scored one win and five second places in Div. I with this car.
After the fifth DRM race, the DRM Mainz-Finthen on 17 May, Kremer Racing sold the car without its engine to Bob Akin Motor Racing, this being the Kremer 3.2-litre engine planned for their all-new K4 which debuted in June ‘81. Bob Akin needed to replace his car that he shared with co-driver Bobby Rahal, after it had been destroyed in the Nürburgring 1000 Km accident which killed the popular Swiss driver Herbie Müller.
Jack Ansley was Bob Akin’s crew chief from 1980 until 1984, “With no car to take to Le Mans, I thought that after such a terrible day, we would be headed back to the States. But to my amazement, Bob was busy talking to the Kremer brothers about a car to get ready for Le Mans. When we arrived at the Kremer shop we found #0013 sitting in the corner looking very tired and in the same condition that it had finished its previous season, needing a full rebuild and livery change. After a couple of weeks of working with the Kremer crew we had a race car that was ready to go to Le Mans, and despite the workload, it was a great experience to be working with them.”
Now liveried in red with Coca-Cola sponsorship with a Hudson Wire/Europe windscreen banner, the #43 Porsche 935 K3/80 was driven by the owner, Bob Akin together with American compatriots Paul Miller and Craig Siebert.
Ansley again, “At this time, all 935s had the same rear suspension arm that was made of cast aluminium, but this car had fabricated aluminium swing arms that changed the geometry on the rear suspension. This gave this car different handling characteristics. We made it to Le Mans and passed through scrutineering with no problems and we were very happy with the car’s performance during the practice sessions. This was a great race car!”
However, the Le Mans 24 Hours is like no other race in the world, as Jack explained to the author, “We were feeling very optimistic about our chances of a good finish. We qualified midfield overall (30th place) which put us 5th or 6th out of the 935s. We ran well throughout the race with very few problems and found ourselves in the top ten with very little time left to run. As the race came to a close, we watched our #43 cross the start/finish line with one lap to go, because the lead car was a few seconds behind us and he took the chequered flag just after we passed. We were elated and thought all our hard work had paid off and we were glad to have our bad luck behind us.
“At this time in Le Mans after the lead cars pass the start/finish line, the crowds pour onto the track and so we never saw our car cross the finish line. Our radio reception was very poor and even non-existent on the far side of the track. It wasn’t until a race official came to our pits and told us that our car was off track and was without electrical power, that we knew that we had not finished the race. At Le Mans, if you don’t cross the finish line you don’t retain a position based on how many laps you had run. It was a very hard pill to swallow for everyone involved. Although we had completed 320 laps, enough to have finished in the top ten, we were scored as NRF with no position.”
After Le Mans, chassis #0013 was then shipped to USA by Akin where it was prepared for a life in the IMSA series. A month after Le Mans, the car was entered in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours where it was driven by Bob Akin, Craig Siebert and the Irishman Vivian Candy. They finished eighth overall. Further results that year included a twelfth place in the Mosport 6 Hours with Akin/McKitterick and a thirteenth place finish in the Mid-Ohio 500 Kilometres. The same pairing finished the season with an eleventh place in the Daytona Finale 250 Miles at the end of November that year.
Racing #0013 in 1982
The new season kicked off with the Daytona 24 Hours on 30-31 January 1982, where the red #5 Coca-Cola Porsche 935 K3/80 performed admirably, scoring arguably its best result to date. The seasoned trio of Bob Akin, Craig Siebert and Derek Bell brought the car home in second place overall, finishing behind the 935 JLP-3 car of Rolf Stommelen with John Paul Sr and Jr. Although second place in the Daytona 24 Hours is a mighty achievement in itself, it could so easily have been a victory.
While most of the 935s in the race ran with the larger 3.2-litre engines, the Bob Akin and John Paul cars were both fitted with 3-litre engines. These two cars ran within sight of each other for much of the Daytona race, with Bell reporting that their 3-litre 935 K3 ran faultlessly apart from a couple of tyre failures. The tyre issues aside, what was the team’s undoing was the accident by Bob Akin towards the end of the race. As he came off the oval and into the infield section, Akin spun and walloped the barrier hard, necessitating a new wheel, suspension and fender.
By this stage there were only two cars in it, the spaceframe JLP Racing 935 of John Paul Sr/John Paul Jr/Rolf Stommelen and the Akin 935 K3/80. Although the two competitors were closely matched for pace, the difference of eleven laps which separated them at the end was as a result of Akin’s contact with the barrier and so the Coca-Cola Porsche had to settle for second place.
Racing #0013 in 1983
The ’83 season did not begin with the same flourish as it did the previous season. Akin abandoned the monocoque 935-L1 back at the shop as it had proved to be a handful and therefore was not the success it was hoped for. For the season opener at the Daytona, the all-American trio of Bob Akin, John O’Steen and Dale Whittington were back in chassis #0013. Unfortunately this switch did not produce the desired results, as the team were out early following an accident after just 43 laps by O’Steen, resulting in a DNF.
The second round of the Endurance Triple Crown, the Sebring 12 Hours, was held on 19 March. The track had been shortened by about a half mile, and now incorporated a previously unused section of the airfield. This caused problems during the race as the track surface began to crumble, and the safety car was called out while that section of the circuit was swept clean.
Bob Akin, John O’Steen and Dale Whittington would once again do battle on the notoriously rough and bumpy airfield circuit, and the #5 Coca-Cola 935 (chassis #0013) was qualified in fifteenth place. With 87 cars entered and qualified, the circuit was a busy place come the start, but with the big hitting GTP Jaguars and Nimrod Aston Martins falling by the way during the race, the winner was surely going to come from the ranks of the 935s.
In the closing stages of the race, and comfortably in the lead, Dale Whittington brought the #5 Coca-Cola 935 K3 into the pits for what was a routine stop, but the car refused to restart after the stop was completed. But on this occasion a humble 934 would take the chequered flag at Sebring, although on the same lap was our feature car, the #5 Coca-Cola 935 K3/80, which finished just a half a lap down on the winner.
Racing #0013 in 1984 and 1985
Bob Akin sold #0013 to Chuck Kendall in 1984, but Kendall put it into storage as he had bought a Lola T600. In 1985, Kendall finished eighth at the Sebring 12 Hours on 23 March, driving with John Hotchkiss and Robert Kirby. The engine was rebuilt and the car went into long-term storage.
More recent times
In 1998, author and Porsche historian, John Starkey, brokered the sale of 935 K3/80 #0013 to San Diego classic car enthusiast, Said Marouf, who at the time planned to restore and race it. Starkey recalls, “I remember saying to the buyer, as we pushed it onto his open trailer, ‘You will never find another bargain like this!’” However, Marouf later sold the car to Rudi Junco, still unrestored, in January 2005. The vehicle underwent a complete restoration at Canepa Design in California, then in 2007, it was sold to Bud Bennett, President of RM Motorsports.
In 2009 the car passed through the hands of Phil Stott in England to its new owner in Denmark, Henrik Lindberg. Although the car didn’t do much at first, it has been seen out and about more recently, which is great for all those 935 fans around the world. More recently, we have had the privilege of getting up close and personal with this fabulous racer, which has enabled us to bring you this history and gallery.
|Time and Two Seats||János Wimpffen, Motorsport Research Group, 1999|
|The Porsche Book||Jürgen Barth & Gustav Büsing, 2009|
|Porsche 934/935||Jürgen Barth & Bernd Dobronz, Motorbuch Verlag, 2012|
|Le Mans 24 Hours 1980-89||Quentin Spurring, Haynes Publishing, 2012|
|Porsche 930 to 935, The Turbo Porsches||John Starkey, Veloce Publishing, 2018|
|Derek Bell: All My Porsche Races||Derek Bell & Richard Heseltine, Porter Press, 2018|
Thanks to Paul Knapton, John Starkey, Phil Stott, Martin Raffauf, Derek Bell and Jack Ansley for their help with this feature!
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale and Corporate Archives Porsche AG