#31 Sauber C9 during the Group C race at Le Mans

Group C: The Golden Era

Despite resurgence from French manufacturer Matra in the mid-1970s, bringing France its first ever World Sportscar Championship title and the first victories at Le Mans since 1950, Porsche’s domination continued into the 1980s. The introduction of the FIA Group C regulations in 1982 heralded the start of what would later be described as sportscar racing’s golden era. At the peak of Group C racing, its popularity was arguably on a par with Formula 1. Porsche continued to dominate the series, with its 956 and 962 models sweeping up victory after victory in the hands of privateers such as Brun Motorsport and Joest Racing. It took until 1987 for another manufacturer to break Porsche’s stranglehold on world sportscar racing: Jaguar.

By the late-1980s, the World Sportscar Championship was a truly global affair with races in Japan, Mexico and Australia alongside more familiar events at Spa, Le Mans and Brands Hatch. The competitors came from all four corners of the world, too, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota, Peugeot and Sauber-Mercedes joining Porsche and Jaguar in the top tier of sportscar racing.