TWR-Porsche WSC95 - The autobiography of WSC 001
The latest in the Great Cars series and the first book on a car with a sometimes bizarre history
The TWR-Porsche WSC95 is a most unusual racing Porsche that no one really intended to build. Its creation resulted from an impromptu brainstorming session between an expatriate German and a Briton in a bar in America. When they judged that they had a solid idea, they involved a Scotsman and a Swiss, and the rest soon became history: the TWR-Porsche WSC95 only did five races in three years but won three times, including twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
This book is the first about this car and outlines in unprecedented detail its sometimes bizarre career. The author has had access to all relevant documentation in Porsche’s corporate archives in Stuttgart and has spoken to most of the key actors: Porsche Motorsport’s Norbert Singer, Max Welti and Helmut Schmid; Porsche Motorsport North America’s Alwin Springer; Tom Walkinshaw Racing’s Tony Dowe; Joest Racing’s Ralf Jüttner; IMSA’s Mark Raffauf and drivers Mario Andretti, Stefan Johansson and Didier Theys.
- Friends meet in a bar: in sportscar racing in the early 1990s, Jaguar had the best chassis and Porsche the best engine, but neither had both to meet new prototype regulations for 1994 and beyond.
- Genesis: discussions between TWR Inc. and Porsche Motorsport North America, and later within Porsche in Germany, before the green light was given to build a Porsche-engined Jaguar. Or a Jaguar-chassised Porsche. Design and build took place in record time and is described in great detail with never-before-seen documents and photos from private collections, as well as sketches, CAD drawings and wind-tunnel models.
- Politics: All looked good before the planned race début of two TWR-Porsche WSC95s in the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours, but Porsche was forced to abandon the programme when the IMSA changed the rules a few weeks beforehand. The cars were put in storage.
- 1996, one year on: Reinhold Joest asked Porsche if he could run the two cars at Le Mans in 1996 if his team undertook further development. Porsche agreed, Norbert Singer became involved and the cars were fine-tuned to French needs. Driven by Davy Jones, Manuel Reuter and Alex Wurz, WSC 001 promptly won les 24 Heures and beat the new works Porsche 911 GT1s in the process. Joest got to keep the winning car.
- 1997: with nothing else on the horizon, Joest Racing again entered Le Mans with chassis WSC 001. There’s an unwritten rule at Le Mans that one-car teams can never win but Joest defied this after the works 911 GT1s broke down late in the race. This was only the third time that the same chassis had won Le Mans twice. A legend emerges: in that 1997 race, Tom Kristensen made his Le Mans début as a winner with the Joest team, sharing with Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson.
- That same year the International Sports Racing Series was created, trying to revive sportscar racing in Europe five years after the collapse of the Sportscar World Championship. The double Le Mans-winning Joest TWR-Porsche WSC95 was entered for the inaugural race at Donington Park – and won again.
- 1998, Porsche’s 50th anniversary year: both TWR-Porsche WSC95s were converted to Porsche LMP1/98s, using the powertrain of the new 911 GT1-98 and sporting considerably revised aerodynamics. Entered under the works Porsche AG banner, Le Mans brought disappointment but some reverse-engineering to the old powertrain secured second place in the very first Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
- The book includes the day-to-day history of chassis WSC 001, outlined in exhaustive technical detail, recording every test and every race with all available data, from gear ratios and fuel consumption figures to strategies and pitstop times.
- Artwork: exclusively commissioned artwork depicts chassis WSC 001 as it evolved between late 1994 and mid-1998.
- Exclusive photography: TWR-Porsche WSC95 chassis WSC 001 is the subject of a multi-page photoshoot by one of the world’s finest automotive photographers.
- Team history: the story of Joest Racing, the most successful team in the history of Le Mans, from its humble beginnings in the 1960s to the powerhouse it became in the 21st century.
- The people: detailed biographies of all six Le Mans-winning drivers: Davy Jones, Manuel Reuter, Alex Wurz, Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen.
Publication date: 12 September 2023
Dimensions: 285 x 235mm (portrait)
Images: over 350
Author: Serge Vanbockryck