Porsche 959...The First Supercar and its Tires
During the early 1980s, the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) established the rules for international racing and the Porsche 956 prototype remained pretty much unbeaten in the Group C class. With the aim of encouraging more manufacturers to participate in motorsports, the FIA made the Group B class rules more liberal and only required manufacturers to build a minimum of 200 identical vehicles.
The new Group B rules offered interesting possibilities. For Porsche, the 911, the oldest series in the Porsche stable still, had a tremendous unexplored potential representing an ideal test bed for assessing the future models. Since there was no question of 200 customers accepting a racing car in disguise, Porsche chose to develop the car for racing in Group B class.
NOTE: FIA Group A class rules stipulating sedan-type cars and production of at least 5,000 units in twelve consecutive months, not possible for Porsche.
The project was officially launched in January, 1983 when Porsche developed the ultimate "911" specification based solely on technical considerations, regardless of the cost or the work involved.
A production run of the 200 Porsche 959 vehicles needed to meet the FIA rules were built and sold in 1986.
Initially, Dunlop developed tires with the intention of producing road tires derived from their competition tire used on the Porsche 956. Dunlop's Denloc tires had a unique rubber rib attached to the bead that "locked" into a recess in the wheel that would prevent the tire from coming off the rim and suddenly deflating in the event of a puncture.
In addition to the recess to accommodate the Denloc bead profile, the 959 alloy rims featured a hollow-spoke design with a central locking nut. The wheels' hollow spokes form a single air chamber with the tire. When fitted with the Porsche air pressure monitoring, the system can detect pressure loss due to cracked wheels and/or punctured tires. A hub sensor reads the pressure in the chamber and transmits it to the on-board computer, which activates an alarm below a certain pressure.
The Dunlop Denloc tires were replaced by Bridgestone RE71 tires on the road version of the Porsche 959. The RE71 tires were one of the world's first self-supporting run-flat tires. They featured the Denloc bead profile, reinforced sidewalls and were capable of meeting the road-going Porsche 959's top speed of 202 mph.
Bridgestone has built new RE71 N0 tires featuring the Denloc bead profile in the Porsche 959 sizes. These are the only tires available for real Porsche 959 vehicles and also fit RUF (a Porsche tuner) wheels produced in the 1980s that feature the Denloc bead profile.
These tires cannot be installed on standard 17-inch diameter wheels and tires with standard 17-inch bead profiles cannot be installed on Denloc wheels.
Only a few of these tires are manufactured in Japan each year. The tires we have received are intended solely to support customers
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