SCRS HISTORY IN BRIEF…
Porsche had a sporadic and some might say rather half-hearted history in rallying, especially compared to their legendary circuit racing exploits where they dominated pretty much anything they turned their attention to. Privateers had won the Monte Carlo Rally way back in the late ʼ60s, Jean-luc Thierrier took his red and blue Esso liveried SC to victory in Corsica in 1980, and the works team had several high-profile attempts at the Safari rally, but consistent top results often eluded them. To change that, and to put the Porsche name at the top of the rallying hierarchy, the mighty 959 programme was set in motion.
Unfortunately the project development took much longer than anticipated so as a stop-gap to get the Rothmans livery seen out on the stages, the SCRS was conceived. To enter Group B car manufacturers needed to make 200 road cars, of which 20 were then modified into evolution models for competition. This was the plan for the 959, but for the SCRS Porsche used the 911 as the base and as obviously many more than 200 units were made only the 20 ʻevolutionʼ models needed to be built. Five were saved for the works rally effort and the others were sold off to the public to part-fund the project. At a massive DM188,000 (£135,000 in todayʼs money) the sales helped quite a bit...
A Turbo bodyshell was dressed in lightweight aluminium panels, thinner glass, Kevlar bumpers, a mix of RS and 930 suspension, while brakes came from the spares box of the Le Mans-winning 917. A stronger clutch was fitted and the gearbox had much shorter gears installed than the road car as for rallying acceleration is much more important than outright top speed. In 1983 the current engine in the line up was the 3.2 Carrera, but that would have put the car in the next engine size category which had a higher weight limit, so the older 3.0 SC blocks were used, although fitted with higher-compression heads from the 935 and Kugelfischer injectors. The 1057kg (2331lbs) car had 290bhp and a 0–60 time of 5 seconds.
Against the Manta 400s and Nissan 240RSS, it would have been a serious proposition but the SCRS was no match for the new breed of 500bhp 4x4 supercars from Audi and Peugeot, with both the Sport Quattro and the 205 T16 making their game-changing debuts in 1984. On the WRC it was instantly outclassed, but on the smaller national and ERC rounds, where the new purpose built cars hadnʼt arrived and were still far out of the budget of privateers, it was much more competitive.
The project was run by a burgeoning Prodrive team (then called Dave Richards Autosports – DRA) and was Richardsʼ first foray out of the codriver ʼs seat. A young Toivonen mixed his ERC rounds with outings in the WRC with Lancia to take a third then second before going on to win five rallies in a row. It was only a back injury that caused him to miss a couple of rounds which meant he finished second in the championship.
Over in the considerably more demanding Middle East Rally championship, Emerati driver Saeed Al-hajri ran a sister car and won the first outing, the 6000km-long Qatar rally, and went on to claim both the 1984 and ʼ85 championships. But Prodrive understood the limitations of the car and already in ʼ85 had moved on to develop the 6R4, so the SCRS has the rather dubious honour of being absented from rallying because of a Metro. In mid 1986, hours after the tragic deaths of Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresta in Corsica, Group B was banned and that also spelt the end of the SCRSʼS planned successor, the 959 as a rally car. And so ended Porscheʼs last official foray into top-flight rallying.