Custom Canepa Porsche 959 picks up class win at quail motorsports gathering

Custom Canepa Porsche 959 picks up class win at quail motorsports gathering

Now in its twentieth year, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering has become a global showcase for cutting-edge automotive technology and design. Proving the point, this summer’s outing included no fewer than seventeen unveils from brands old and new. Flying the flag for previews of future technology, new products at the show included the debut of the high-riding Lamborghini Lanzador electric 2+2, the global premier of the Maserati MCXtrema trackonly electric race car, Bugatti’s new Chiron Super Sport ‘Golden Era’ and W16 Mistral, the US debut of the Rolls-Royce Spectre ultra-luxury electric super coupe, the maiden outing of Acura’s first all-electric SUV, the public debut of Automobili Pininfarina’s B95 electric “hyper-barchetta” race car and the global debut of the Lotus Type 66 racer.

Winding the clock back, air-cooled Porsches were in attendance en masse, whether enthusiast-owned or presented by companies reimagining classic Porsche output — Gunther Werks revealed its latest bespoke carbon 993, while the competition class celebrating fifty years of the Carrera RS 2.7 (referencing the 1973 model year) resulted in standout examples of the iconic Rennsport being displayed at the show. Likewise, the highly anticipated 959 category paid tribute to one of the most technologically advanced road-going sports cars ever manufactured, not to mention the impetus for Porsche to equip its future turbocharged products with all-wheel drive. Of the cars included in this class, the winner was Bruce Canepa’s outstanding SC (Sport Canepa), a custom model producing an astonishing 800bhp.


Though most 959s were specified with Comfort trim, the 959 SC uses the sportier 959 S as its baseline. Ditching the Porsche’s original suspension system, the SC adopts custom Penske dampers with six titanium springs, essentially bringing the same level of functionality, but with lightweight modern components. Ride height is dropped by an inch, while the 959’s hollow five-spoke wheels are replaced with eighteen-inch versions following the same design. Like the originals, the SC’s wheels are manufactured from magnesium. The 959’s 2.85-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six has been completely overhauled and, for the SC, makes use of modern BorgWarner turbochargers, MoTeC standalone engine management, custom-profile camshafts, a bespoke valvetrain, titanium connecting rods, uprated pistons and a mountain of other high-end parts, allowing for a monstrous 650lb-ft torque, up on the standard 959’s 369lb-ft. At eight hundred ponies, the boosted boxer’s output is almost double that of the factory 959’s flat-six.

Each 959 SC takes Canepa’s team around four thousand hours to build. The work includes full restoration of the host 959. Needless to say, judges at Quail were gobsmacked — it’s not every day a 959 is upstaged, let alone by another 959. Needless to say, there were no complaints when the distinctively coloured SC rolled onto the winner’s podium.

Accompanying the displays of automotive history and excellence at Quail were five culinary pavilions (each showcasing a different culture and cuisine from a Peninsula property) serving extraordinary food and the finest wines, champagne and assorted beverages. The Fireside Chat stage welcomed former F1 champion and two-time Indy 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi, who was interviewed by Maurice Merrick. Among the topics being discussed was the Brazilian’s involvement in the inaugural International Race of Champions alongside Mark Donohue, Peter Revson, Bobby Unser, David Pearson, AJ Foyt, Denny Hulme and others (each in identical 911s) exactly five decades ago.

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