Porsche Cars GB – aka AFN – raced two 928s during the 1980s, and both were helmed by seniormotoring scribe Tony Dron, nomean racer who’d piloted a galaxy of saloons and GTS fromthe early ’70s including the works 924 Carrera GTRS at Lemans. I’ve known himfor years and we chatted about the 928 experience. ‘Yes, they were standard 928s which I drove for AFN, and the idea behind racing the 928 in Porsche Club GB events from AFN’S point of view was probably not somuch to win as to demonstrate that their comparatively big luxurymachine could hold its own amongst the 911s. There was a real danger in those days of it being seen as a bit soft. I won the Willhire 24-hour race at Snetterton in 1983 in the 928 S2, co-driven by Andy Rouse, Win Percy and Phil Dowsett. I went back to AFN in the 1988/1989 season, driving the latest S4 SE, and that proved amuch trickier beast on a circuit than the S2 had ever been – at first, anyway. The problemwas twofold, first the suspension was inclined to develop up and downmotion at speed, and secondly, the ABS systemwas too keen to interrupt braking effort whenever the suspension was in one of its up strokes, so to speak. Once I got it sorted it was quite good. But when I first drove it as a standard road car it was unacceptable because the ABS would cut in and the thing would just be floating like a porpoise without the brakes working, so I had to deliberately spin it every now and then to avoid trouble. The AFN teamwanted to stiffen up the suspension, and I said that won’t do any good, but they did it anyway and itmade it worse, so I said, right, the usual thing I always do in those circumstances is to get (suspension and handling guru) Rhoddy Harvey-bailey in, and he identified the problemin that the frequency of the front dampers was incompatible with the electronic frequency of the ABS system, as it just turned off the brakes every now and then. He specified a different front damper, and putting the standard springs back on it transformed it, and it worked really well. It was a very good car in the wet. But although we took pole position several times, the 911s were stronger than ever in Porsche Club GB racing by then, and we never got a single win with that 928. Our one big chance came at Phoenix Park in Dublin where we looked set to win in the wet, but the sun came out, the circuit dried and I was picked off one by one by a string of 911s.’
Reviewing this particular 928 S4 SE in amotor Sport track test in October 1989 alongside Tony Dron, journo Jeremywalton describes it as, ‘reaching out to the red line with stunning conviction,’ and when applying toomuch throttle, ‘discovering in slow corners why nearly every driver has spun thismachine,’ while using the ‘generous brakes too hard, that a 928 loves to oversteer.’ He finally declares in reverential tones that he was ‘relieved not to have damaged it’.
makes it very unique. It’s got its original exhaust system, minus the back box, and it’s got a straight-through pipe. Both SES still have their cats. We’ve got the air conditioning working, which is a bit of a mission on these cars when you see the number of belts going on down the front of the engine. Have you ever seen a timing belt off one of these? It’s the longest you can imagine! It doesn’t have cruise control whereas all the production cars did, lack of sound deadening on the bonnet and bulkhead, the pre-production gearbox where they’d obviously changed the internals – yet they hadn’t got that type of gearbox ready for this car, which the production cars had, and other than the fact it’s now got two seats for ease of use, we’ve tried to replicate it as a production racer. I used to race in the Porsche
I’ve had a lot of fun preparing this car back to its former glory