Porsche’s Sonderwunsch program completes its first car

Published on 1/14/2022 12:08:24 PM

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Back in 1985, Paolo Barilla drove a privately entered Porsche 956 to overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now, in celebration of his 60th birthday in April, he became the first person to take advantage of Porsche’s new Sonderwunsch program, working with the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur team to create his dream car, a new Porsche 911 GT3 based on his Le Man winner.

In addition to winning at Le Mans, Barilla drove in Formula One for Minardi and since early in 2017 has been deputy chairman of the Barilla Group, the bakery and pasta-producing company founded in 1877 by Pietro Barilla Sr., Paolo’s great-grandfather.

In 1985, Barilla joined Klaus Ludwig and John “Winter” (whose real name was Louis Krages) in guiding the New Man Jeans-Jost Racing Porsche 956 to victory at Le Mans, three laps ahead of the second-place car, another 956. Porsches swept the top 5 places in the race. 

“The Italian entrepreneur wanted to design a unique Porsche 911 GT3 (992) based on his Le Mans winning car and to be fully involved in its creation,” Porsche said in its news release revealing the car. 

“In addition to the characteristic racing look in Summer Yellow, white and black, this special car has the winning race number 7 on its bonnet and doors. Other features such as the rear wing and the gear lever were also reinterpreted and in part developed independently.

“In the ‘80s, I had the chance to drive the wonderful Porsche 956, an iconic car in terms of performance and beauty,” Barilla is quoted in the Porsche news release. “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.”