The American Hot Rodder’s who won the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans

Pictures supplied by Rick Knoop

In 1978, a group of hot rodders teamed up to form a racing team. They traveled over seas to battle the Europeans in 24 Hours of Le Mans.  

Jim Busby, Chris Cord, and Rick Knoop raced for the Kremer Porsche team in the historic 935. They competed in Group 5, which was one category below the top class at the time, Group 6. 

Jim Busby was a man who grew up reading Hot Rod Magazine. He became a fabricator—building his ‘32 Ford and drag racing it during the nights. He made the switch from drag racing to road racing and as he says, “I was driving, I was building, I was fabricating, I was building engines, and making lots of friends.” He created Busby Racing, and soon he was building stateside Porsche 935’s for customers in the US. He got an offer to race a 935 in Daytona. During that race, he was approached by Erwin Kramer who asked him to come and race for his team, The Kremer Bros. in the 24 Hour of Le Mans. 

THE 935 KREMER/amdahl PORSCHE THAT JIM BUSBY, RICK KNOOP, AND CHrIS CORD DROVE TO VICTORY IN THE 1978 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, GROUP 5.

He said that he would if he could put together a team that could win. The team would consist of three drivers. The first was Rick Knoop, a driver who was good and fast, and one who also had a knack “for bringing the cars back in one piece,” says Busby. The third driver would be Chris Cord. An accomplished driver who was the teammate of Knoop in the 1978 IMSA Championship. 

What follows is the story of how this All-American team helped make Porsche history in the 935, winning the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans Group 5 Championship. 

Many people of my age (37 and younger) do not know the reasons for why a car is hailed as great. Many do not know why the name Shelby is on a car or how Toyota and Honda made their racing history here in the US. That’s because for my generation it has always been that way—the history has been lost or is oblivious to us. The reimagined Porsche 935 which debuted last year, is no exception. It honors the work of great racers who made that car iconic, and Autologic’s resident race car driver, Rick Knoop, helped to write a page in that legendary Porsche story. 

It is an honor to be able to work with him and a pleasure to have him involved in my magazine, Autologic. 

Watch the video and look back as we will be doing more in telling this historic story.  

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