Car news

08 August 2018

This 935 is the strangest Porsche you'll see today

A Martini-liveried Le Mans car was part of a bicycle speed record attempt

Stephen Dobie
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This isn’t the wildest rear wing in Porsche racing history, rather a car from a rather obscure speed record attempt. A bicycle speed record attempt.

That’s because this Porsche 935 Turbo racecar – still in its Martini livery – acted as the slipstream car for an attempt on the bicycle speed record, with 240kph the target.

Aiming for glory was Jean-Claude Rude (pictured left), with the initially sceptical Henri Pescarolo (right) on driving duties. An eventual four times Le Mans winner, he was perfect for the job. Once he’d been talked around that it wasn’t completely foolhardy to drag a vulnerable cyclist along in his aerodynamic wake.

The 935 was pretty perfect too, with 800bhp allowing it to get up to speed easily, but also overcome the huge speed penalties of having an elaborate gazebo suddenly tacked on the back.

Rude’s attempt took place at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in 1978. “His life was in my hands,” says Pescarolo, though when Rude lost control of his bike, it was nothing to do with the 935; the rear tyre broke away from the rim, becoming entangled between the wheel and the frame. Rude survived without injury, but was killed in 1980 training for a similar record alongside a fast train. Record breakers are a different breed, right?

The 935, meanwhile, went and won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1979. Minus its slipstreaming kit, naturally…

Tags: porsche, volkswagen, 911, turbo, 935, motorsports

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