993 Cup… on the road

Porsche’s Cup cars were built for the track and to con­quer races. We head to South Africa to ex­pe­ri­ence a prime ex­am­ple on the road!

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Wil­helm Lut­je­harms Pho­tog­ra­phy by Peet Mocke

Cre­ated to tear up race tracks, now this com­pe­ti­tion 993 calls the high­way home

“Yes, it is road reg­is­tered,” says the owner of this 1995 993 Cup in a sur­pris­ingly non­cha­lant way. “I al­ways take it on a trailer to the track for race meet­ings, as a fel­low com­peti­tor’s car might need a trailer af­ter the event, and that al­lows me to drive the 993 back home.” The owner is one of the most knowl­edge­able Porsche en­thu­si­asts in South Africa. He even helped Porsche with the man­age­ment of the race team in the 1986 Le Mans event.

But back to the 993. Af­ter the pho­tog­ra­phy is done out­side Johannesburg I am still try­ing to get used to see­ing this Cup car on the road – what a sight it is!

Af­ter help­ing the pho­tog­ra­pher take pic­tures of the car around the city sub­urbs, it’s time to jump be­hind the wheel. First there are the cross mem­bers of the roll cage to ne­go­ti­ate, and once you have pushed your legs into the footwell – com­plete with orig­i­nal wooden board fixed to the floor – and low­ered your­self into the full Re­caro race seat, you know you are in a very spe­cial 993. I pull the Sa­belt straps across my shoul­ders, then the two over my legs and fi­nally the one be­tween my legs with the buckle that clips all of them to­gether. Now I feel con­nected to this car in a way which no road car can of­fer.

As ex­pected, ev­ery­thing falls to hand, es­pe­cially the gear lever and the steer­ing wheel. The pedals are a lit­tle off-set to the right, but I get used to it quickly. In front of me are the smooth lines of the lug­gage lid and fend­ers. Once the rat­tling sound from the driv­e­train en­ters the cabin you are never in doubt that you are cur­rently driv­ing a full-on race car on the road, even at walk­ing pace.

The gearshift has the same di­rect shift of other 993 gear­boxes, mean­ing it is easy to get to grips. I take it rel­a­tively easy for the first mile or two, which leads me to ap­pre­ci­ate how sur­pris­ingly tractable this en­gine is.

Speak­ing of the M64/70 en­gine, be­ing an en­gi­neer and hav­ing decades of ex­pe­ri­ence build­ing 911 en­gines (both for road and race), the owner has also done his magic on this car.

“I’ve done a lot to this 993 but, for the sake of the purists, I’ve kept ev­ery­thing so that it can be re­turned to fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tion if needed. I’ve man­u­fac­tured a unique front spoiler that feeds more air to the brakes and pro­vides ad­di­tional down­force. A car­bon-fi­bre de­signed rear wing has been fit­ted to the rear, while I’ve also fit­ted a pas­sen­ger seat in the cabin.

“It is still 3.8-litres in size, but I’ve fit­ted more ag­gres­sive camshafts and I’ve done a lot of re­search on in­let man­i­folds. In­stead of the stan­dard sin­gle throt­tle body there are six throt­tle bod­ies with trum­pets and ram-air tubes. The re­sult is that the car is now run­ning close to 400bhp,” he says. Let’s not for­get that is sig­nif­i­cantly more than a stan­dard 993 RSR pro­duces, at 325bhp.

Open­ing the en­gine lid, the up­grades to the en­gine are im­me­di­ately vis­i­ble, with the cus­tom in­take sys­tem and two huge air fil­ters. Mean­while, the po­si­tion of the flat six is an­other re­minder how low to the ground these en­gines are, es­pe­cially com­pared to the more stan­dard V-shaped en­gines from com­peti­tors of the time.

The cur­rent owner bought the car sec­ond-hand back in 1995, when it was less than a year old.“there were a num­ber a rea­sons I wanted this car – one be­ing the im­proved five-link sus­pen­sion and an­other the six-speed trans­mis­sion. I’ve had a 700bhp 930 Turbo, and it was great for quar­ter miles and top­speed runs, but it wasn’t suited for track work. And yes, I adore the body shape. When new, the only way to pur­chase one of these cars in Europe was if you were go­ing to race it for the sea­son, or if you were a Porsche dealer. I watched the races to make sure I bought a sec­ond-hand car that wasn’t in an ac­ci­dent.”

The owner ad­mits that he sub­se­quently had an ac­ci­dent with the car on the track, but found a new, iden­ti­cal body to re­pair the car. This body ac­tu­ally al­ready had ad­justable Öh­lins sus­pen­sion parts fit­ted, which he de­cided to keep.

In his garage he has the orig­i­nal Speed­line Cup al­loy wheels, as he has three-piece forged and milled BBS rims cur­rently fit­ted. The rea­son for this is that he has fit­ted wider tyres on the car for im­proved re­sults on the track. These BBS wheels still look per­fectly suited to this car, though.

Even though the car – chas­sis num­ber WPOZZZ99ZSS398065, one of around 50 pro­duced that year – has only 25,400km (15,800 miles) on the odome­ter, it has seen a lot of ac­tion over the past 23 years. Not only has it been raced, used on track days and of course on the road, but it has also done

a size­able road trip, which is barely be­liev­able for an un­com­pro­mis­ing race car like this.

Its owner ex­plains: “We called the event the

‘Lap of the South’. We started with timed laps at the old Wes­bank cir­cuit, then we hit Kyalami Grand Prix cir­cuit in Midrand. Then we drove to Dur­ban to Toy­ota’s test track, be­fore head­ing south to East Lon­don to do laps at the track. We drove fur­ther west and did laps at Aldo Scrib­ante Cir­cuit out­side Port El­iz­a­beth, fol­lowed by a drive to Cape Town and laps at Kil­lar­ney In­ter­na­tional Race­way. This was a to­tal of over 1,500 miles… and my wife came with!”

It is clear this car is no stranger to the pub­lic road. Even through traf­fic the car feels al­most as easy to drive as any other 993, but there is not a mo­ment that you are not aware of the raw­ness and racing her­itage of these cars.

For starters you can hear the driv­e­train rum­bling and clat­ter­ing be­hind you as well as every lit­tle bit of road de­bris be­ing thrown into the wheel arches or the car’s un­der­belly.

Look in the mir­ror and a small part of your view is dis­sected by the cross mem­bers of the roll cage. To be hon­est, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As the traf­fic clears, I flex my right foot, let­ting the en­gine run to around 5,000rpm be­fore I change gear. There is a sense of in­er­tia that no road-go­ing 993 can repli­cate. I keep the throt­tle pinned and the rev nee­dle zings around to the clock to 6,800rpm – max­i­mum en­gine speed is 6,900rpm – and I feel how the light­weight car, it weigh­ing just 1,100 kilo­grams, has lit­tle ef­fect on the en­gine’s per­for­mance. The en­gine pushes you down the road with a level of light­ness, ea­ger­ness and lin­ear­ity that only a race

car can pro­vide. With such per­for­mance on tap, there isn’t a mo­ment to re­lax or switch off. Given it is not tur­bocharged and doesn’t have the level of torque that you would get from a 993 GT2 or Turbo, there is a pure­ness in its de­liv­ery that some 911 en­thu­si­asts will tell you only a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine can pro­vide. It is won­der­ful.

Then there’s the steer­ing feel. As well as pro­vid­ing co­pi­ous amounts of feed­back, the steer­ing wheel feels alive in your hands. Ow­ing to the race car sus­pen­sion set-up and the cam­ber of the front wheels, the wheel fol­lows the con­tours of the road un­like any road car I’ve driven. The re­sult is that you start to fo­cus more on ex­actly where on the road, or in your lane, you need to place the car to min­imise the ef­fect the road will have on the steer­ing sys­tem – an el­e­ment which will ob­vi­ously not be needed once you are on the track. Need­less to say, it makes you fo­cus even more on how the car is be­hav­ing and what the car is telling you through your hands and body.

Every time I turn the wheel the car dives into the cor­ner and sticks to the road like a proper race car. I can barely be­lieve it. The owner re­veals he did soften the sus­pen­sion ever so slightly, as it was too stiff for the road and would some­times move off-line when it hit a small bump in the mid­dle of a cor­ner. The re­sult is that the ride is much more sup­ple than I ex­pected, although there re­mains an un­der­ly­ing so­lid­ity and firm­ness to the sus­pen­sion and the car as a whole which you’ll only find in a race car. The lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial fur­ther con­trib­utes to trans­mit­ting the torque of the rear wheels to the tar­mac as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble. It just glues to the sur­face!

What also im­presses me is that the driv­e­train is not too loud – to the level that you feel like you need to wear earplugs – an­other rea­son this car is fun and pos­si­ble to drive on the road. Hav­ing driven a num­ber of 911 race cars, I can con­firm that this is not al­ways the case.

Just for the fun of it, we head to a nearby Ken­tucky Fried Chicken drive-through to or­der some French fries. At the pay and col­lec­tion sta­tion the staff can’t help but laugh at this very un­likely, low-to-the-ground sports car be­ing driven through a lane where cus­tomers are usu­ally driv­ing hatch­backs, SUVS and pick-ups.

As the morn­ing pro­gresses, we head for the fi­nal lo­ca­tion in a nearby mul­ti­storey car park. Now, for the first time, I can re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the strong, flat six en­gine sound as it re­ver­ber­ates be­tween the con­crete walls.

Again I no­tice how oth­er­worldly the 993 looks driv­ing among sedans, crossovers and pick-ups. At the same time it looks so unique, and those smooth lines and rounded, wide arches re­mind me why I have loved and ap­pre­ci­ated the 993 since my teenage years – its race deriva­tives even more.

Af­ter a var­ied morn­ing with this car, climb­ing in and out, sit­ting in traf­fic, driv­ing it hard when the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self, I re­alise again how ex­cep­tional these cars are, not only the 993, but Porsche’s race cars as a whole.

Hav­ing al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced a 993 GT2 Club­sport, RS, Turbo, Turbo S and the rare RSR, I can safely say this car ranks as one of the best 993s. It also makes me re­alise that I wish Porsche could de­sign and de­velop its most fo­cused road cars (RSS or a car like the Car­rera T) to an even more un­com­pro­mis­ing level. I’m not re­fer­ring to power and grip as much, but be­ing light­weight and even closer to the race cars than the road cars cur­rently on of­fer.

This owner only has two Porsche in his garage, which might seem odd… but even if I only had a 993 Cup in the garage, I’d still be quite con­tent.

“There is a pure­ness in its de­liv­ery that some 911 en­thu­si­asts will tell you only a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine can pro­vide”

RIGHT Get­ting in and out reg­u­larly may be an is­sue – and there’s no room for shop­ping – but the Cup still makes for a hi­lar­i­ous road toy

RIGHT Wil­helm gets to grips with this one-time race car, al­beit with a very dif­fer­ent view out the wind­screen

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