Early in 1986, first drives of the 959 were offered to the worldwide automotive press, and we went to the Nürburgring with a great deal of anticipation. This was dampened a bit when we learned that an earlier press group, rumored to have been the Italians, had damaged one of the cars to the extent that it had been temporarily withdrawn from service. Our time on the short course would be limited. Track time began with a demonstration ride with a German factory driver, Günther Steckkönig. Both highly capable and aggressive, this gentleman cost me a light meter, which got loose early in the run, and which I was physically unable to retrieve, G-forces being what they were. I did get off a few shots—black and white of course—but good in-car photography escaped me.
I should have been paying more attention to driving lines and speeds at different points on the track. When it came my turn to drive the 959, I quickly fell under the thrall of the twin turbo power (particularly the larger turbo on the right hand side of the engine, which came on-line with the enthusiasm of a steam catapult, at about 4500 rpm.) This set me up for being way too fast to make the hard left hander that appeared out of nowhere, and I quickly determined that my only choice was to hold it straight and use all the brakes I could find, hoping for a minimum of ignoble agricultural work to follow. It was at this point that the engineer who was riding with me, poor chap, shouted “Turn, Turn! Turn! With ABS you can brake in turns!” I did, and it did.
Our image was actually made a bit earlier. A few months prior to this little drama, late in 1985, we had the great good luck to be at Weissach and have an opportunity to view the progress made on the 959 project. Although at Weissach there are always difficulties and limitations attached to photography (for obvious reasons), dispensation was made, and there was an opportunity to photograph the car on the turntable outside the design department. The overcast German sky produced a nicely distributed global light from above and that, along with the dark rock wall behind the car, helped produce some of the qualities of a studio image of this iconic first Porsche supercar. Kodachrome, 35 mm.