Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Review

By: John Bowe

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Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica

Only four Porsche 968 RS Turbos were built, so racer/tuner Peter Fitzgerald built four ‘Aussie’ replicas

Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica Review
Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica

 

Porsche 968 RS Turbo Replica

I've always been interested in the Porsche 968. Back in the 1990s, I raced an RX-7 for the Mazda factory team in Production Racing, when the model was current. Peter Fitzgerald ran the Porsche team, with Jimmy Richards and Brad Jones driving, and they were our main opposition. We had a few battles!

I've since driven a few 968 Club Sports on John Bowe Performance Driving track days and without a doubt they are the best-handling, most nicely-balanced track car I've ever driven. By that I mean as a drive there, take your spare wheel out, take your Esky out and get-into-it vehicle, they are great, especially compared to a 911 on a track - those cars can bite!

I was aware of 968s as I've been lucky enough to have owned a few Porsches, but I've never been active in clubs or anything like that - I like them as road cars. The closest I've got to one was a 944 Turbo I owned a long time ago. It was then that I learned that front-engine Porsches are a really well-balanced car with dynamics that are familiar to many people. But of course, the rear-engined, air-cooled - and later, water-cooled - 911 was part of Porsche folklore and outlived the front-engined cars, even though the weight of the engine hanging out behind the rear axle created dramas for plenty of unsuspecting people!

Anyhow, from the 1970s, the front-engine concept was intended to replace the rear-engined cars - like the VW Golf replaced the Beetle - but the trickiness and quirkiness of the 911 is a real big part of its character. These days, Porsche design is more mainstream than it has ever been. Porsche was always very niche but they have an incredibly fertile marketing mob that keeps coming up with new stuff that people want to buy - cars like the Cayman, the Cayenne and the Panamera.

This one is different. It's a special - a replica, if you like - of the factory-built Porsche 968 Turbo RS. We never got these in Australia and only four were ever built to run in the German GT Championship. This one was built by Fitzy and, obviously, with his involvement with Porsche in Australia, he knew what was required and where to get the parts to make it happen. He built four, too.

It's built from a production race car that was, in turn, built from a Porsche 968 Club Sport by Fitzy. As 'normal' as that can be… The 968 CS is the hardcore version of the normal 968. The 968 is a lovely road car but the Club Sport is a road-registerable track car with all the compromises that come with that like a firm, jiggly ride. You need well-anchored teeth in one of these!

It has a big, fat four-cylinder that, to be honest, didn't sound too good because of its cylinder count. But with 3.0 litres of balance-shafted Porsche power, it goes alright. In fact, the chassis and brakes are so good it can handle more grunt. And that's what this one has.

The rear-engined 993 RS CS replaced the 968 as the production race car and that's more or less when this one was converted to RS Turbo specs. Fitzy did Porsche Cup and Targa Tasmania in it, plus a Dutton Rally or two, so with its Bathurst 12-Hour and Production Car past, then its activity in the road and tarmac events as a RS Turbo clone, it certainly has some history!

Today it's owned by Craig Rayner and he's taken it back to how it looked in its Production Car days in Falken Tyres colours. I drove it on the road but I would have loved to have driven it on the track. It reminded me of the Ford Sierra race cars we used to pedal. It's got whacky grunt at 3500rpm and it kicks you in the back like a hungry race horse. It's incredibly quick.

I'm always itching to get some boost going with turbo cars and the temptation is always to give it some welly! When you do so in a 968 Turbo RS, it squats and goes. And it's perfect for the suburban car lovers - the turbo Subaru, Skyline, and Supra crowd - because it hisses and wheezes and makes all the right look-at-me noises.

But you feel every bump on the road. It has coil-over-style suspension and racing brake pads that squeal. In the past, I've had a bit of involvement with road car development with Ford and Tickford and brake pads were always chosen so they didn't squeal, not because of how they stopped the car. The pads in this Porsche stop it incredibly well but they are noisy, they grind and squeak and carry on! They'd drive most people nuts driving every day. They really highlight the difference between a road car and a race car.

I like race cars to be race cars and road cars to be road cars but to be honest, this car does a great job at being both. It really is a very good Aussie Porsche special.

 

SPECIFICATIONS    

Porsche 968 Turbo RS

 

ENGINE: 2990cc 4cyl, SOHC, 8v, turbocharger

POWER: 260kW @ 5400rpm

TORQUE: 500Nm @ 3000rpm

WEIGHT: 1350kg

GEARBOX: 6-speed manual

WHEELS: 18 x 8.0-inch (f); 18 x 10.0-inch (r)

BRAKES: discs (f/r)

0-100km/h: 4.4sec (claimed)

0-400m: 12.3sec (claimed)

VALUE: $125,000 (estimated)

 

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