It would be unheard of now to buy a brand-new, never-raced (for team Dyson) prototype and campaign it midseason while working out the kinks — without seriously devoting months or years to testing and development. However, this was typical of the era. Teams were just learning how to handle Porsche’s turbocharged rocket and make the most out of its advanced technological platform.
“[Before racing the Porsche] we were running a GTO Pontiac, which was more of a prototype than the prototypes racing in GTP, because it was a one-off car by a builder in Connecticut,” Dyson notes. “We had to make substantial changes to it almost every weekend to make it work better. It never did come out right, but we got it better. In essence, we already were doing prototype racing without doing prototype racing [in GTO]. So I said, ‘Jeez, we might as well take a look at prototype racing,’ and I asked around to see what the story was with the 962s, which were the new cars.”
In order to adhere to stricter IMSA guidelines, the 962 was born from a modified 956 chassis with safety in mind. A longer wheelbase of 12 centimeters and a shorter nose allowed engineers to position the driver’s cockpit rearward, making their legs situated behind the front wheel centerline, which would potentially prevent catastrophic damage to flesh and bone.
Borrowed and adapted from Porsche’s abortive early 1980s IndyCar attempt, the 3.2-liter flat-six, 935-sourced motors used air-cooled cylinders with water-cooled heads, massaged by noted Porsche engine tuner ANDIAL. A single Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch (KKK) AG K36 turbo was used to produce around 1.2-1.4 bars (17.4-20.3 PSI) of boost. All of this culminated in roughly 680 horsepower around 8,200 rpm with around 1,900 pounds to push.
"The boost would get so high that it would literally pull the heads off the barrels. You would see combustion on the undertray."
A synchromesh five-speed dogleg transmission was used on the American 962, while over in Europe, the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (the now ubiquitous PDK) was being developed and used to great results. Bosch hopped onboard with Porsche to co-develop Motronic, and ANDIAL — named after principals Arnold Wagner, Dieter Inzenhofer and Alwin Springer — was building reliable and stout engines.