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…

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Ben Barry Pho­tog­ra­phy by Alis­dair Cu­sick

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

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