Classic Porsche - - Porsche Scrs #16 -

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.

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