Prototype Giants exhibit center stage at the Petersen Museum

“Prototype Giants” is a limited-time Petersen Automotive Museum special exhibition in the Vault, curated by Luftgekühlt, supported by Hagerty, and one of those special exhibits that no endurance racing enthusiast should miss.

Included is a representative Porsche 956, one of the first race-ready prototypes built to comply with the 1982 FIA World Sportscar Championship’s new Group C regulations. The 956 was the first race car to feature an aluminum monocoque chassis along with ground effect aerodynamic elements. A factory 956 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, leading every lap as the cars finished 1-2-3.

In 1983, a 956 driven by Stephen Bellof set the overall lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife — a record which stood for 35 years until a modified Porsche 919 Hybrid eclipsed it in 2018.

The subsequent Porsche 962 (pictured above) was created to meet updated IMSA GTP specifications, with the Group C variants getting a 962C nameplate. The 962 became one of the most dominant race cars ever, taking WSC titles in 1985 and 1986; the IMSA GT championship from 1985-88; the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1986 and ’87; the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans 1994 (a modified customer car); and pacing the field in other racing series for 10 years straight.