The Porsche 956 is one of the most successful racecars to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A combination of outright speed and reliability meant that the low-slung racer dominated the endurance event in the 1980s. In 1985 a privateer team netted overall victory at La Sarthe. One of the trio of winning drivers, Paolo Barilla (Klaus Ludwig and John Winter were his driving partners), asked Porsche to apply his 956’s Le Mans winning livery to his new Porsche GT3. This was created as a 60th birthday present to himself.

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“In the Eighties, I had the chance to drive the wonderful Porsche 956, an iconic car in terms of performance and beauty,” says Paolo Barilla. “The interpretation of some elements in a modern GT3 makes that memory exciting and vital – for me and for people who are close to me.”

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Barilla’s unique GT3 was created in conjunction with Porsche’s new Sonderwunsch programme where the client assumes the role of project manager. The process took a total of three years, from the first design sketch to the technical feasibility check and construction. 

The starting point for this bespoke creation with the Le Mans winning livery is the latest generation Porsche 911 GT3 (read more about the 992 GT3 here) that was painted in combination of Summer Yellow, white and black. These are the same colours that adorn the race-winning car from 1985. The front apron and the trim rings on the headlights are also painted in Summer Yellow. 

Read about Porsche’s imminent return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans by clicking here.

The centre-lock wheels are inspired by the rims of the Porsche 956. The 956 had white aeroblades in competition. The 911 GT3 rims are painted white at the front, while the rear alloys are finished in a gold colour. “PB 60” is blazoned across the flanks, representing Paolo Barilla’s initials and age.

Check out this Top Gun inspired racetrack dogfight featuring Tom Cruise, David Coulthard and Mark Webber driving a trio of GT3s doing “battle” at Silverstone racetrack.

Custom interior

The interior of Barilla’s GT3 has also been customised to his tastes. Black dominates the interior, as it does in a racecar. The door step sills and the decorative trim in yellow on the passenger side dashboard are decorated with a special logo designed for this once-off creation. It combines the code 956, “Le Mans 1985” and a stylised silhouette of the racecar. This logo and the 1985 circuit are embroidered in the headrests. Note that the track map does not have the chicanes on the Mulsanne straight of the modern track as these were not implemented until 1990.

Click here to watch highlights from the last race to be run without chicanes at La Sarthe.

Barilla’s GT3 is of the three-pedal variety (good man signor PB). The gear lever is similar to the magnesium ball in the 956. The top part was milled from an aluminium block and the surface was sanded. Barilla also became an official production employee because Barilla himself mated the gearbox to the engine in his unique car.