1986 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup
Porsche’s racing pedigree has few peers in the pantheon of automotive history. One of the many pillars of Porsche’s racing dominance and omnipotence is with the Cup-series of cars, which allowed budding professionals to hone their skills in a highly competitive and approachable environment. The Cup series was birthed on the back of the highly capable and balanced 944 Turbo, premiering in Germany in 1986. The Turbo Cup series rapidly spread from Porsche’s native Germany to South Africa, France, Canada, and the USA, with the inaugural 1986 Turbo Cup series officially known as the “SCCA/Escort Endurance Championship”.
From mid-1985 through 1989, Porsche hand-built a limited number of 944 Turbo Cups, with only 129 leaving Zuffenhausen through the end of production. Although some referred to the Turbo Cup series as “showroom stock” racing, due to the fact that the cars were delivered in road-legal configuration with titles, the 944 Turbo Cups were anything but showroom stock, being delivered from factory with numerous lightweight parts, bolt-in Matter roll cages, and significantly increased power over a standard 944 Turbo. This lightweight approach included manual windows, no sunroof or air conditioning, a fiberglass hood, the use of magnesium for various engine components such as the intake and oil sump, and other lightweighting measures. On this strict diet, the 944 Turbo Cups weighed in at roughly 2,500lbs, nearly 600lbs less than a standard, road-going 944 Turbo. As if the diet wasn’t enough, power output was increased to approximately 300hp by a larger Kuehnle, Kopp and Kausch K26-8 turbocharger and remapped ECU tuning. A reinforced gearbox, axles, a limited-slip differential, and performance clutch were equipped to assist with putting the additional power to the ground.
The Cultivated Collector’s 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup, chassis 154076, was originally imported and campaigned by renowned racer Al Holbert, and was then sold to Lloyd Hawkins, a top SCCA racer, in 1988. The pedigree of 154076 is unquestionably the finest of any 944 Turbo Cup, being campaigned by Hawkins in SCCA, SSGT, SCCA Pro Playboy/World Challenge, and the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Challenge, including wins at the 12 hour Firehawk season finales in 1992 and 1993, and a class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. 154076’s standing as an extremely successful IMSA Firestone Firehawk car is complemented by the list of legendary drivers who raced it, including David Murry, Boris Said, John O’steen, Terry Earwood, Nick Ham, Shawn Hendricks and Manuel Reuiter. 1994 would be 154076’s last season of the IMSA Firestone Firehawk series serving as a “backup” car to it’s sister lead car, which was now a 968.
At the conclusion of the 1994 season, and still in Hawkins’ ownership, the car was comprehensively and meticulously restored to its’ factory road-going specification. Leaving Hawkins’ collection in 2008 for the esteemed Drendel collection of turbocharged racing Porsches, 154076 resided in the collection until its’ liquidation in 2012. After a series of very competitive years, many of these 944 Turbo Cups remain as used race cars, driven hard and put away wet. Presenting beautifully throughout and showing just over 20,800 miles from new, 154076 is the exception to this, a rare and desirable example with an illustrious racing history and a Certificate of Authenticity that can be as easily enjoyed on the track as a twisting back road. The 944 Turbo Cup is an important milestone in Porsche’s extensive racing history, and as the foremost example of the breed, 154076 would be a standout prize in any discerning collector’s garage.