It has been my great honour over the years to have met with so many great names in the world of motorsport. Reviewing books is one of the tasks in my daily routine that I enjoy the most, not only because of the subject being motorsport, but because I like to learn more about race cars, people and races that I didn’t know before.
When Porter Press published the Autobiography of WSC 001 in their Great Cars series, I thought that it was about time that someone took up the case of the TWR-Porsche WSC95, a quite remarkable race car. And frankly, there could have no better author to have done this car justice that Serge Vanbockryck, who has been around the motorsport industry for more than three decades.
The TWR-Porsche WSC95 is one of those race cars that has somehow fallen between the cracks and not been given the credit it is due. Essentially the product of two manufacturers, Jaguar (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) and Porsche (Joest Racing), it could be argued that this race car enjoyed the rich depths of knowledge and experience within both Jaguar and Porsche. But the racing world probably owes its greatest debt of gratitude to Reinhold Joest, who saw the potential in resurrecting the unused chassis of the Jaguar XJR-14.
Once all the paperwork, legalities and planning had been sorted out, the engineers could get down to the task of building up the chassis to take the Porsche hardware to run in the IMSA championship. The marriage of the Jaguar and Porsche hardware though was anything but easy or straightforward, and any agreement between the two big manufacturers would undoubtedly also be complex. All appeared to be going well before the planned race début of two TWR-Porsche WSC95s in the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours. However, Porsche was forced to abandon the programme when the IMSA changed the rules a few weeks beforehand, and so the cars were put into storage.
A year later Reinhold Joest asked Porsche if he could run the two cars at Le Mans in 1996 if his team undertook further development. Eager to see their hard work in action, Porsche agreed, and Norbert Singer became involved to have the cars modified to meet the regulations.
In the hands of Davy Jones, Manuel Reuter and Alex Wurz, TWR-Porsche WSC95s chassis WSC 001 duly won the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours, beating the new works Porsche 911 GT1s in the process. The following year, Tom Kristensen scored his first of nine Le Mans victories in the same ’96-winning car with the Joest team, which he shared with Michele Alboreto and Stefan Johansson. In fact, the TWR-Porsche WSC95 only competed in five races over a three year period but won three times, including twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The author has uncovered much of the car’s origins and its early history, including while under Jaguar management, giving a useful insight into this great car’s background. Chapters cover the politics behind the deal, the rebirth of the car under the Porsche badge, the 1996 and 1997 winning drivers, the disappointment of the ’98 race, and the genius of Reinhold Joest and his team of winning engineers and mechanics.
The book concludes with a detailed description of chassis WSC 001’s various liveries over its three year’s of competition. A brief section covers the car’s more modern activities, followed by a comprehensive gallery of top quality studio photography, showing the car in great detail.
The book is well supported with period photographs of the car in all its various stages of ownership (TWR) through to its final years of competition while in Joest’s care. In addition, some excellent photography has been supplied by well-known international motorsport photographs such as: Richard Prince, Jakob Ebrey, Ib Trebbien, Andreas Mandel and the very knowledgeable and experienced John Brooks, who has followed endurance and sportscar racing for four decades.
The author has left no stone unturned in seeking out those involved in the car’s build and care, from the TWR days through to Joest Racing, Porsche, and the various racing bodies such as IMSA and the ACO. In short, it is a thoroughly well researched and well written book on a very important race car.
What you get
The book runs to 320-pages and is very well presented, not being cluttered or with large blank spaces. The narrative flows easily and is a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you are a Porsche motorsport enthusiast, or a motorsport enthusiast with a wider interest, you will enjoy this publication because it contains more than just the history of a single Porsche racing car. It will certainly look good on your motorsport library bookshelf, and with Christmas just around the corner, it would make an excellent gift… even to yourself!
|The autobiography of WSC 001
|Porter Press International
|12 September 2023
|More than 350 images
|285 x 235 mm portrait, hardback with dust jacket
Written by: Glen Smale