964 Alzen Turbo Cup
It’s radically different now, but is this Uwe Alzen’s Carrera Cup-winning 964? Total 911 takes a closer look…
It’s terrorised race circuits in Europe for years, but what’s the story of this unique, turbocharged track toy?
Even if you consider yourself a connoisseur of the 964-generation 911, first acquaintance of the car in our pictures could prove a little baffling. The sunstrip says ‘Carrera Cup’, which suggests there’ll be a naturally aspirated 3.6 under the rear decklid – that’s what the Carrera Cup racers ran in the early 1990s, after all. But this car is road registered, the carbon Kevlar rear wing is stamped ‘RS 3.8’ and there are wider front and rear arches.
You might wonder if this is the super-rare 3.8 RS that combined the wider Turbo body with 3.8 litres, but it’s clear the flat six engine is running forced induction when you spot the large intercooler contained under that wing, or experienced the lag and then the kick when it finally spools up.
All this before we’ve even delved into a controversial history, at which point things become even more complex. In fact, the convoluted history is partly why this car is so well-known among Porsche enthusiasts. To learn more, we’ve come to Cariconics in Rutland, who currently have this unusual 911 for sale. Car-iconics’ Stephen Gannon reveals that some think this could be the winning car from the 1992 German Carrera Cup series, driven to victory by Uwe Alzen who has also raced at Le Mans, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in DTM.
So in terms of provenance, and therefore value, being able to prove that this is Uwe Alzen’s 1992 Carrera Cup-winning car is the best-case scenario. But even the worst-case scenario is far from a disaster – that this car was simply one of the three
964s campaigned by Alzen. This is the line that Cariconics is more comfortable sticking to.
Either way, this car suffered a rear-end shunt at some point during the season. By all accounts this wasn’t particularly severe, but Alzen opted to re-shell the race car to stay at the pointy end of the fiercely contested championship. To do this, the team – run by Uwe’s brother Jürgen – needed to cut the chassis number out of the bodyshell next to the fuel tank, then send it to Porsche. It was a kind of automotive scalping, and once Weissach had this vital piece of evidence it supplied a new shell, into which the crashed car’s parts were transferred.
That left Alzen with a damaged M700 motorsport shell and fully integrated Matter rollcage. The differences between this bodyshell and the one used for the 964 RS N/GT – a road-going version of the 911 Cup racer homologated for Group NGT competition – are subtle, but distinct nonetheless. Stephen Gannon explains: “The weld points are slightly different, and the later 964 M001 bodyshells had additional strengthening at the rear where they’d been prone to cracking. An N/GT car’s doors also include cross-bracing, unlike an M700 or M001 car.
“They were once seen as almost disposable – even a Cup Car was not deemed particularly valuable at the end of a season – but the M700 shell is highly desirable today. Thomas Schmitz of TJS German Sports Cars told the current owner the bodyshell alone could be worth €60-70,000.”
Back in the 1990s, Alzen was left with a large bill for re-shelling its race car. To recoup some of the costs, Alzen used the damaged bodyshell as the starting point for a highly focused road car, commissioned by a first owner said to be a good friend of the Alzens. In fact, like Ruf and Alpina,
Alzen was able to become recognised as a car manufacturer in its own right. It’s why, with the original Porsche ‘VS’ VIN number returned to its maker, there’s a new ‘JA0010000000965T2’ VIN somewhat crudely stamped into a front suspension turret after the repaint, revealing the Maritime blue paint beneath – a hue that does indeed match the
1992 championship-winning Carrera Cup car.
The damage was repaired, and the original narrow-bodied front and rear arches replaced with wider steel items from the RSR race car. An ‘almost new’ 3.3-litre flat six single-turbo engine and gearbox was fitted at the time, tuned by DP Motorsport to produce a claimed 360bhp and 572Nm of torque on relatively low boost settings. It uses 964 Cup top mounts with 993 RS springs and dampers. The history files prove certification to Germany’s high Dekra standards, it’s registered as a ‘Porsche 965 Turbo RS’ on the British V5 and wears a ‘K’ plate.
This was the first of the Alzen road cars and it was repainted ‘Alzen yellow’ along with two other Cup cars made into road-legal machines soon after. These other cars, however, were narrow-bodied naturally aspirated examples.
“We can’t be absolutely sure of the provenance, other than this being a genuine Alzen car that did race in the Carrera Cup,” says Stephen Gannon. “With a car like this, where there are some question marks, you have to be absolutely sure that everything else is absolutely spot on.”
Gannon says that a full independent health check at German Auto Solutions in Uppingham proved this to be the case, including inspection of the repaired bodyshell and an engine compression test that showed no more than 3 per cent losses on any cylinder. Recent work includes a new turbocharger, stainless-steel exhaust and a set of super-sticky Michelin Pilot Cup 2s – the same type you’ll find fitted on the latest 991 GT3. Advertised for £99,995, the left-hand-drive model is about £50k cheaper than the starting point for a good 964 RS.
I’ve driven 964 RSS before, as well as the 964 RS N/GT – one of which belonged to the owner of this car. But while the N/GT felt like a pretty extreme, track-focused road car, the 964 feels like a race car converted for the road, even before you turn the key.
Recaro buckets are mounted suitably low down, and are pretty tight even for thinner drivers. They hug you firmly but with a deeply comfortable squish to the seat squabs. The cabin is stripped of all carpet and headlining, with just a floor mat in the passenger footwell and the driver’s feet resting on plywood bolted to the floor. Glance over your shoulder and a web of tubes flow from a single
point just behind the passenger’s head out across the car, like a web shooting out from Spider-man’s hand. The rev counter is turned through 90 degrees to put the 6,200rpm redline right in your line of sight, a boost controller lies to the far left of the dash and there’s barely a hand span between a worn Momo wheel that tells of many sweaty track days and the long, aluminium gear shifter. It’s surprisingly nicely presented for such a stripped-out road racer.
There are more surprises on the road too; the clutch – though relatively heavy – is perfectly malleable in traffic, and the stripped-out cabin isn’t the oppressive rattle chamber you might expect – it’s loud and alive with mechanical energy, but it’s far from overbearing, perhaps because forced induction mutes the exhausts.
Like the 964 RS N/GT, the unassisted steering gives your upper body a workout at low speeds, and there’s that similar feeling of an immensely stiff structure quickly following each tiny little steering input. But the ride quality is also surprisingly supple, no doubt because it’s fitted with the more compliant – and later – 993 RS dampers. I never found the 964 RS unpleasantly stiff, but there’s more elasticity in the way the Turbo RS parries bumps and control the limited mass that’s moving around. You’d have to be pretty committed to use this car regularly, but there’s no doubt you could – the four-point harnesses are probably the biggest hassle.
Up the speed and regular use starts to feel like a very sensible idea. The steering quickly shakes off its
low-speed stodge, loosening up with the same kind of slight float you’ll feel in a 964 RS around the dead ahead if weighting up quickly and with real detail as you twist it off-centre. It gives you confidence to lean on the front end through corners, feeling the lateral loading on the suspension and the gummy grip still left in those incredible Cup 2s. Gear shifts feel less precise, with a rubbery engagement, long throws and large chasms to bridge across the gate.
If at first this feels like a negative, in a funny way it almost deepens driver involvement – you just can’t be delicate with a gear shift this vague, so you manhandle that aluminium shifter with an appealing kind of physicality.
This car runs 964 Cup discs with Pagid competition pads, and it sounds like there are guinea pigs running round the rims at gentler speeds, so much do they squeak. But the pedal feel and stopping power is sensational, and it’s all backed up by an ABS safety blanket, which is very welcome. The brake pedal feels too high relative to the throttle though – it makes finessing heel-and-toe changes difficult, and the brake pedal feels a long way away when you jump from a fully depressed throttle to the brake, limiting the speed I feel comfortable carrying into a corner. Car-iconics boss Gannon says Porsche Motorsport offered a block of wood cut to the exact dimensions of the throttle pedal – fit it and that gap will be greatly reduced. I personally would.
But for all its quirks and charisma, one thing defines this driving experience – and separates it from a 964 RS – more than anything else: the 3.3-litre flat six turbo engine. The turbo lays dormant until almost 4,000rpm. Below that threshold it’s still tractable and driveable, but even less experienced drivers might wonder where all the performance has gone. Around 3,000rpm you feel a slightly foreboding tension that something is about to happen as the noise and the speed begin to build like a football crowd distracting a penalty taker. When all the boost does finally get out of bed, it’s not with a catastrophic spike of energy, but an uptick that’s far more measured, despite the huge surge of performance.
You now have until 6,200rpm to squeeze the maximum from the Turbo RS. It’s a far narrower window than the regular 964 RS, but the powerband is so clearly defined that it feels instinctive to work in that operating window, and the performance feels in a different universe to the 964 RS, flinging the pseudo racer forward with such ferocity that every last bit of your concentration dials in to exactly what the car is doing – the load rising and falling rhythmically through the steering, how quickly the rev needle is flicking up, when you’ll need to brake.
That 2,200rpm of boost is full of adrenaline too, not just functional speed – the soundtrack is dominated by a vicious fizzy hiss, the throttle response is surprisingly keen for any car – let alone a turbo – and there’s a dramatic shunt when you suddenly back off the throttle and the boost shuts down.
The nature of this delivery asks very different questions of the chassis than a 964 RS would. In tighter second-gear corners you just don’t get that same feeling of the rear tyres starting to fizz and slip so progressively as the engine scorches to the redline. Instead it all feels a bit flat where the naturally aspirated motor gives its driver more interaction and options to work the chassis. But in faster secondand third-gear corners with the turbo lit you work the rear tyres far harder and carry far more speed than a 964 RS could. At first you’ll probably have a little confidence lift off the throttle because you’ll feel certain a nasty spit of oversteer is coming, but disconnect your brain and keep your right foot pinned and you just feel that rear end squat and grip and ping you out of the corner like the Cup 2s could’ve taken a slug more power.
Driving this Alzen car becomes quite a binary experience – you either pootle around and barely feel what it can do, or you whip it down the road with your eyes on stalks and hair on fire. We opt for the latter approach, and even I’m surprised how drymouthed and stinky I am when I emerge from the cockpit. It’s a car that demands a lot from its driver, endlessly drawing you in to extract every last bit of performance.
Personally, I’d forget this car’s tangled backstory. Just take it on face value for what it is: an Alzen-prepared 911 that’s a faster, more visceral experience than its 964 RS contemporary. That it’s around £50k cheaper only deepens to the appeal.
thanks The car in our pictures is for sale at Cariconics. For more information visit car-iconics.com or call +44 (0) 7891 010 719