Porsche's debut in the American CART series will come in 1988 - with the world premiere of the CART Porsche at the International Automobile Salon or IAA in Frankfurt. Test drives in America begin this September, with Indy-winner Al Unser Sr at the wheel.


The Porsche "Indianapolis" project officially announced in January 1987 - is taking shape. The IAA in Frankfurt witnesses the world premiere of the first Porsche monoposto racing car since 1962. This vehicle was developed for the CART racing series, the American counterpart to Formula 1. Porsche will compete there as a works team, starting in 1988.

C.A.R.T. stands for Championship Auto Racing Teams. This racing series, which enjoys exceptional popularity on the North American continent, normally embraces 15 races each season, with around half of them on oval tracks, the rest on road circuits. High point and most important race of the season is the 500 Miles of Indianapolis. This classic with far-reaching traditions, organized by USAC (United States Automobile Club), is representative of the entire CART-car series. The heroes of America's racing scene were, and are, created there.

For the racing team from Porsche the Indianapolis automobile, as well as the CART series, are unknown territory. The team, which has proven itself over the past decades in the most varied branches of motor racing, considers the new project a challenge as fascinating as it is difficult.

1:1 scale model serving for assembly tests in order to clarify space requirements of the various units.
It began in the autumn of 1985

The go-ahead for the project came an 5 November 1985. The new racing car received its internal type number, 2708, on that date. It all began with a general design for a single-seat racing car to meet the very carefully-detailed construction requirements of CART. A 1:5 scale model of this design went into the wind tunnel for initial tests of aero- dynamic principles. Thereafter designers dealt with the technical layout and structure of the future race vehicle. Using a 1:1 model in wood, the engineers also investigated installation experiments, which meant clarifying spatial questions regarding tanks (fuel, oil), radiator, pipe routing, location of electrics and electronics, seating position for the driver, belt attachment and the shift lever. Engine development proceeded alongside this, ever since the fall of 1985. By the time a first monocoque chassis arrived at the factory in mid-August 1987 (due to its plastic sandwich design, this is produced by MBB in Munich under a Porsche contract), the newly designed V8 race engine was already producing a good 700 HP. It was a baby taking its first steps. Meanwhile the power plant is capable of around 750 HP, roughly the average output for contemporary CART Competitors.

1:5 scale model applied for basic testing in the wind tunnel.

It is interesting that there will be two versions of the CART Porsche, differing from one another in certain dimensions and in their aerody- namics. The reason is that races are driven on both ovals and road circuits. Since the ovals are further divided into short (one mile, lap time around 20 seconds) and long circuits (2 1/2 miles, lap time of about 40 seconds), while the road circuits include city tracks like Long Beach and Miami, different vehicles are necessary, adapted to specific course demands. The version shown in Frankfurt, at the IAA, represents an oval-track automobile. CART regulations do not permit full ground effects from the chassis design, but they do allow airflow under the vehicle to produce a limited amount of downforce.

At CART events a smoothly-functioning pit crew is almost as important as the race car itself, since there are many fuel stops. The tank holds 150 liters of methanol. Since methanol only provides around half the heat value of gasoline, consumption is approximately twice as high. Result: a pit stop every 30 minutes or so. The best teams manage those in 12 seconds, including a tire change. The Porsche pit crew will be made up of Weissach technicians as well as old pit hands from PMNA (Porsche Motorsport North America).

Porsche Indy engine on the test stand. First ignition of the 2.6 1 engine took place on December 11, 1986, 11.36 a.m.
Stiff test-autumn in America

Porsche is presenting its first complete vehicle at the IAA in Frankfurt. Weissach plans to drive the first functional test with a second car at the beginning of September, assuming all components are available. That will be followed by development work in America, with test suni This test program includes the three final CART races of the '87 season, in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, on 20 September, at Monterey, California, on 11 October and in Miami, Florida, on 1 November. However, there is a question mark hanging over the first start in various race tracks. Nazareth, due to tight schedules.

The new 8-cylinder racing engine, 2.65 1 displacement, 750 hp performance.

Porsche's CART race car will appear at the tracks in green and white livery, as the Quaker State-Porsche. These are the colors of the Quaker State Oil Company, which draws on a long tradition in American motor racing and now emerges as the official sponsor of this Porsche project.

During test runs Al Unser Sr, Indianapolis winner in 1987 and one of the most-experienced drivers in this realm with 39 Indy-car victories, will pilot the Quaker State-Porsche. The 48-year-old driver from Albuquerque, New Mexico, was signed by Porsche at the end of June, for test drives in 1987, including the remaining races of this season.

Assembly of the CART-race car. Racing experiences gathered by Porsche during the last 35 years of motor sports, were integra- ted in the new construction.

When the Quaker State-Porsche enters the CART series as a regular competitor, at the beginning of the 1988 season, the car will carry start number 2. That actually belongs to Michael Andretti whose Krako Team closed the 1987 season with the Vice Championship. However, Andretti junior wants to continue driving in the 1988 season with his starting number 99 and that permitted Porsche's Motorsport Director in the USA, Al Holbert, to make a deal for No 2 with Krako team owner Maurice Krains.

September 1987

Porsche CART-race car type 2708. Beginning of September the first test drives on the new construction were absolved at Weissach.
Engine  Eight-cylinder, four-stroke, Otto engine with exhaust turbocharging, 90° V cylinder layout 
  Methanol fuel 
  4 valves per cylinder 
  4 camshafts driven by cogwheels   
  Bore  88.2 mm 
  Stroke  54.2 mm 
  Displacement  2649,2 cc 
  Compression  11:1 
  Max output   750 HP at 11,200 RPM  
  Max torque   465 Nm at 8500 RPM 
  Max revs   11,800 RPM 
  Max boost   0,62 bar = 48 inches of mercury (as regulations specify) 
  Electronic ignition and injection (Bosch Motronic)  
Gearbox  Porsche six-speed gearbox, interchangeable ratios  
Vehicle   Monocoque chassis, composite aluminium sandwich/ plastic sandwich construction  
  Load-carrying drive unit  
  Suspension   Twin control arms front and rear with inboard spring/shock units  
  Brakes   Vented discs front and rear  
  Rims   front 10" x 15"  
    rear 14" x 15" 
  Tires   front 9.5"/25" x 15"  
    rear 14.5"/27" x 15"  
Dimension and Weight   Length   4060 mm  
  Width  2010 mm 
  Height   980 mm 
  Track  1710 mm front 
    1620 mm rear 
  Wheelbase  2800 mm 
  Tank capacity   151 liters (40 US gallons) 
  Weight   703 kg 

September 1987


Al Unser Will Test The Porsche CART Race Car

Four-time Indianapolis winner Al Unser (48) will drive this year's test races in the CART race car developed by Porsche.

Unser, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the most successful and most experienced racing drivers in America. Indy cars, which enjoy exceptional popularity in America, are his speciality. He has been driving the open racers for 24 years.

He won the national Indy-Car Championship three times (1970, 1983 and 1985). He is also the only driver in the history of the USAC and CART Championships so far to capture the coveted US "triple crown'". Al Unser won the 500 mile races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Ontario in 1978. At the same time, he is the pilot who has won the most Indy-car prize money, a total of five million dollars. With 39 victories from 305 starts, he holds third place among Indy-car winners.

High points of his long career were certainly four victories in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 race (1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987). Due largely to these successes, Al Unser has taken home the most Indianapolis prize money of any driver: 2,000,000 dollars.

Al Unser in brief
  • Al Unser
  • Born: 29 May 1939
  • Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Domicile: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Married to Karen
  • Children: Mary, Linda and Al Jr
  • Indy years: 24, first season 1964
  • Indy-car victories: 39

September 1987