Since turbocharged versions of both the 924 and 944 had been produced, it seemed likely that Porsche would launch a 968 with forced induction. However, neither the 924 nor the turbocharged 944 had been a great commercial success, and since sales of the 968 were massively below expectations, a production 968 Turbo was not considered commercially viable.
By comparison, between 1981 and 1991, an average of nearly 17,000 944s were built each year, while the 968 achieved less than 13,000 units in its entire four-year production run. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the new model, but an aging platform, high prices and the global recession had taken a toll on sales.
Although a production turbo was out of the question, it was the economic downturn that ironically played a major role in Porsche’s decision to offer a turbocharged 968 through their customer sports division in Weissach.
Group C machines had dominated sports car racing since 1982, but when the FIA tried to impose a limit on naturally aspirated 3.5-liter engines starting in 1989, costs began to rise exponentially. With Group C cars no longer allowed from 1992 and most major economies in freefall, the World Sports Car Championship struggled for support. The 1993 season was cancelled altogether.
What happened next was the resurgence of amateur GT racing: private teams racing competitive versions of real production cars.
As manufacturers were reluctant to spend much money on racing programs, homologation rules were drastically relaxed; as long as a street version of a car had been produced, racing versions were allowed to compete.
The four new classes for 1993 included GT1 through GT4.
Porsche initially offered its customers two new models: the 964-based 911 3.8 Carrera RSR (for GT2) and the 968 Turbo RS (for GT3).
As a homologation of the Turbo RS, Porsche introduced the 968 Turbo S in early 1993. Like all 968s, the Turbo S featured a unified body of pressed steel derived from the 944 S2.
Suspension was MacPherson struts with alloy lower control arms at the front and trailing arms with torsion bars at the rear.
Porsche installed the Sport Chassis package as standard. This included stiffer springs and externally adjustable shock absorbers, adjustable spring plates and stabilizers, and reinforced suspension bushings. Ride height was 20 mm lower than on the standard 968.
Power steering and ABS were retained, as was the regular 74-liter fuel tank under the trunk floor.
Brakes and wheels came from the 3.6-liter 911 Turbo S. Red-painted four-piston alloy calipers were therefore installed along with cross-drilled and ventilated discs that measured 322 mm at the front and 299 mm at the rear. The three-piece 18-inch Speedline Cup-designed wheels were 8 inches wide at the front and 10 inches wide at the rear and were originally fitted with Dunlop Sport 8000 tires.
In order to fit a single KKK K27 Turbo, Porsche had to omit the VarioCam system found on normally aspirated 968s. As a result, the 968 Turbo S came with the old eight-valve head from the 944 Turbo. As with the 944 Turbo, compression was 8.0:1 (compared to 11.0:1 for the regular 968s).
Thanks to a bore and stroke of 104 mm and 88 mm, respectively, the 968 Turbo S’s M44/60 engine had an identical 2990 cc to Porsche’s other three-liter inline-four engines. The water-cooled engine was equipped with Bosch DME sequential multi-point fuel injection, a new lambda sensor and a three-way catalytic converter. The water-cooled turbo featured a bypass valve and a separate wastegate. The boost pressure was set at 1.0 bar.
In this configuration, peak power was 305 hp at 5400 rpm and 369 lb ft at 3000 rpm.
The 968’s original six-speed transmission was strengthened, fitted with longer ratios on fourth and fifth gears, and given a new type number: G44/01. Power was transmitted via a beefier Sachs clutch and a Torsen limited-slip differential with a 75% locking factor.
Cosmetically, the 968 Turbo S was equipped with a number of special features.
On the front end, Porsche added a body-colored chin spoiler, an enlarged central intake above the license plate, and two NACA ducts on the hood. A larger rear spoiler included a central element that was adjustable within a 10° range. It was mounted on a new body-color rear window trim.
To save weight, no underbody sealing was applied to the body.
The 968 Turbo S was built in six different colors: Speed Yellow, Grand Prix White, Midnight Blue, Silver, Blood Orange and Guards Red.
Inside, Porsche equipped each car with a Clubsport interior, and as a result, most of the luxury equipment on the 968 Turbo S was dropped from the inventory. The power windows and seats were replaced with manual window regulators and lightweight Recaro buckets, the backs of which were painted body color.
Other features that were discarded included power mirrors, sound insulation, central locking, automatic heating control, stereo, alarm system and rear seats.
The four-spoke airbag steering wheel was replaced with a simple three-spoke rim with a small diameter.
Other special equipment included a smaller battery and a lightweight wiring harness.
Thinner carpeting was used in place of the high-pile upholstery, and the standard 968 door panels were replaced with simplified versions from the 944 S2.
Only one interior color was offered: Black.
At 1300 kg, the Turbo S was 20 kg lighter than the Club Sport and 70 kg lighter than a standard 968 coupe. Porsche quoted a top speed of 280 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.9 seconds.
Given a price of DM 175,000, which was more than double the cost of a new Club Sport, demand was unsurprisingly limited.
The fact that the Turbo S was not type-approved for sale in the U.S. further limited its commercial potential.
A total of 14 examples were built between early 1993 and spring 1994. Porsche built 10 cars in 1993 and four in 1994, all of which were left-hand drive.
By now, at the latest, we should tell you what the offered, from our point of view, highly interesting 968 is all about.
Maybe we start with the most essential differences to the “factory” 968 turbo S? First of all, we have to mention the base. The original was developed from the CS, this one from the “normal” 968 coupe. Since the Clubsport and the base 968 didn’t differ on the bodyside, we’re tied on points up to here.
the manual transmission was replaced by the stronger 5-speed of the 944 Turbo with transmission oil cooling coil.
The engine and supercharger were fine-tuned and optimized when the entire drivetrain was overhauled. The current power is therefore not 305, but between 360 and 385 hp. With minimal effort and modified tuning of the essential parameters, 420-440 hp is possible and permanently feasible.
Tire size on the 968 turbo S 235/265 R18, in our case 265/295 R18.
All other components that made up the 968 turboS are by and large installed in this one-off and one can justifiably claim: the vehicle is, except for the above-mentioned points, on the optimized level of one of the 14 hand-built factory cars. With the subtle difference that the engine and its absolute as well as fine performance such as response and reliability have been adapted to the current state of turbo technology. All this, however, without changing its DNA and its intended function, but at most to bring out even finer.
Almost 30 years ago, when the series-produced 968 was introduced, all testers attested to its exemplary driving characteristics, outstanding driving and braking values, problem-free handling in everyday use, contemporary fuel consumption and exemplary serviceability. Basically, it was the perfect sports car.
Perhaps even too perfect for its time? We know from internal discussions with those responsible at the time that the production of a 968 took about 65 man-hours from start to completion. That was on the level of a manufactory and had nothing to do with efficiency… Porsche let itself be shown how modern automobile construction works, and probably implemented this knowledge in the course of the last decades more consistently than any other manufacturer in the world.
Handmade? Those days are over. Porsche has become one of the most profitable automobile manufacturers in the world. The former sports car manufacturer has become a carmaker against which practically all others have to measure themselves. But “handmade” has fallen under the wheels of history and is gone forever.
It is good to know that here and there there are still a few absolute experts and fantasists with incredible depth in terms of technology, precision and attention to detail. The patience from the first thought of such an automobile, the procurement, the information, the tuning of all necessary specialists, the finding of all necessary spare parts, all this always led by a vision, in the end to have built such a vehicle is beside the immense investments a virtue, which only the fewest keep consequently to the successful end.
You can see the result of such a visionary here in words and pictures. And we assure you in advance – Mr. Barth and his sworn team couldn’t have done it better back then.
With 968 turbo recommendations
Your DLS Team