Out of the resulting limited-production, road-worthy race cars, the Dauer 962 Le Mans (often abbreviated ‘962 LM’) is unquestionably the most successful design, as it was not just a breathtaking supercar that could be driven on public roads but also served as the base for another Porsche-badged Le Mans winner.
The story starts in the second part of the 1980s. Former racing driver Jochen Dauer founded a racing team in Nuremberg, Germany, and entered it into various competitions. They mainly raced 962s purchased from Porsche, cars which helped them win the 1988 European Interserie championship. Unfortunately, the next two seasons were disastrous, and with funds quickly depleting, the team was forced to retire from motorsport.
Unlike the Schuppan 962CR or Koenig C62, the Dauer 962 LM wasn’t built from scratch around a Porsche race engine. It used an existing race car chassis that was refurbished and fitted with a hydraulic suspension system for homologation purposes. In other words, customers weren’t just getting an exclusive vehicle that was inspired by the 962C and used similar components, but an authentic race car in road-legal guise.
The carbon fiber body was completely revamped by the experts at Lola Composites. Its aerodynamics were improved, yet the resulting design was nearly identical to the legendary Porsche.
Power came from the original Porsche Type 935 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, flat-six that had its air restrictor removed, which unleashed around 720 hp. Linked to the race-spec, five-speed sequential manual, the rabid engine could propel the 2,381-lbs (1,080 kg) supercar to 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in just 2.8 seconds, according to independent tests conducted in 1998. Even more impressive, it could reach a top speed of 251.4 mph (404.6 kph), a mind-blowing figure that, to this day, makes it one of the fastest road-legal vehicles ever built.
Although the 962 LM was an incredible feat of engineering and was homologated for road use shortly after its 1993 debut, Dauer was struggling to secure the funds needed to continue production.
By this time, Porsche was preparing for a Le Mans comeback, but they faced a huge dilemma. Racing the iconic 962C chassis in the LMP1 class was possible, but the rules limited output to 550 hp and a 50-liter (13.2 gal.) fuel tank, which would have made the car uncompetitive. The other option was to develop a 911-based racer for the GT1 class, but they didn’t have the time or money to complete it.
Thankfully, famed engineer Norbert Singer who was aware of Dauer’s project, suggested a partnership that would allow Porsche to race 962s in the GT1 class thanks to the 962 LM’s road-legal status, meaning that they could use a 650-hp engine and a 120-liter (31.7 gal.) tank.
The Le Mans triumph, along with the newly established partnership with the Stuttgart-based manufacturer, gave Dauer the necessary funds to continue building the road-legal, Porsche-badged cars. According to multiple sources, 12 to 13 units were produced between 1993 and 1997 (including the race cars), and they had a price tag of around $1.2 million ($1.8 million today. The biggest fan of this marvelous vehicle was the Sultan of Brunei, who bought five of them.