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  Kremer K8 Porsche
 

  Article Image gallery (16) 07JSP Specifications Video (1)  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced from:1994 - 1996
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Sepp and Roy Korytko for Kremer
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 04, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionRegulation changes gradually rendered the existing Group C racing cars obsolete in the early 1990s. Instead of retiring the cars to museums several Group C machines were adapted to comply with the latest regulations. With the Porsche 962 this practice had actually started many years before. Using the basic design numerous teams on both sides of the Atlantic had developed their own versions, often with improved chassis built by third party suppliers. The Kremer brothers Manfred and Erwin fielded and marketed their CK6 version of the 962 for many seasons.

Their answer to prolonging the life of the 962 was to turn it into an open prototype racer that would meet the requirements of the new WSC class. The brothers already had some experience with open 962s from fielding the CK7 version in Interseries championship from 1992. Light weight and outright performance were key in these sprint races and the Kremers' extensively modified 962 fitted that bill remarkably well. With the roof removed and the doors replaced by new bodywork, the CK7 was considerably lighter than the original 962s. The engines could run at much higher boost figures and produced in excess of 900 bhp. The CK7 was a winner straight out of the box and remained successful until 1995.

Encouraged by the success of the CK7, the Kremers set out to build a second open prototype based on the 962 that would be eligible for international events. Known as the K8, the car was prepared for the 1994 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was constructed around one of the John Thompson built tubs. These were stronger than Porsche's own sheet-aluminium chassis through the use of honeycomb reinforced aluminium. The tub in the prototype had already been used in one of the CK6s during the 1991 season, finishing 24th at Le Mans. With the roof, the original roll-over structure was also removed. It was replaced by a single hoop behind the driver. Further rigidity was provided by a carbon fibre structure that surrounded the driver and also served as the dashboard.

Neither the suspension or drivetrain were dramatically altered. The Kremer Brothers opted to use a three-litre version of the twin-turbocharged Porsche flat-six engine. Heavily restricted by the regulations, which clearly favoured production based GT cars, it only produced around 530 bhp. This was transferred to the rear wheels through a Porsche five-speed gearbox. The rolling chassis was clothed in a carbon fibre body styled by Erwin Kremer and built by Sepp and Roy Korytko. Just as the first Kremer K8 was completed, the Kremers won a lucrative contract to run the Honda NSX at Le Mans. This left the future of the K8 in the balance until the British 'Project 100' team stepped in with the promise of an evocative sponsor and a legendary driver.

The British team were no strangers to Kremer's Porsches and had warmed Gulf Oil up to the idea of running an open Porsche prototype at Le Mans with none other than five-time winner Derek Bell at the wheel. For the race he was joined by Jurgen Laessig and Robin Donovan. With only limited development work, Bell set the second fastest time in qualifying behind a Porsche engined Courage. Much to the delight of the Brits in the crowd, he grabbed the lead going into the first corner. Teething problems dropped the car down the order and it eventually finished sixth. The K8 was the only open prototype in its class but within a few years open cars would dominate Le Mans. The race was won by the Dauer team, who had managed to re-homologate his Porsche 962 as GT car.

Kremer built three more K8s; the first of these featured the same aluminium/composite hybrid chassis while the final two examples used full carbon fibre tubs. In 1995 Kremer had more time to enter the K8 and immediately scored the car's biggest success by winning the Daytona 24 Hours race. The four cars were raced for several more seasons with another sixth at Le Mans and a win in the Monza 1000 km as some of the highlights. The K8 was to be the final Porsche based racer built by the two brothers. They started with various 935 based machines in 1977 and especially the K3 incarnation proved to be very successful. With a win at Daytona, the K8 provided a fitting finale for the career of the Kremer brothers.

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  Article Image gallery (16) 07JSP Specifications Video (1)