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Porsche 968 Club Sport, Supercharged by Ninemeister.
When somebody buys a Porsche 968 they get it with a standard well engineered 240bhp 3 litre 16 valve engine with Variocam. This engine is the culmination of more than 10 years of engine development on the 924/944 series of engines. It started with the 2.5 litre straight four which progressed to the 2.7 and onto 3 litre models with a 2.5 Turbo thrown in.
In September 1985 the first of the 16 valve engines was unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show and in August 1986 the first 2.5 litre 944 S starts in production giving 190bhp. Nearly 2 and a 1/2 years later in Jan 1989 production of the 3 litre 944 S2 model is undertaken to give the most powerful normally aspirated 3 litre in production. This model puts out 211bhp, only 9hp short of the base model 944 2.5 Turbo launched in 1985, which was able to compete favourably with the 3.2 litre 911 Carrera.
In July 1991 production of the 944 S2 stops and in August the 968 is launched. There are some modifications above the S2 namely Vario Cam, for optimum power throughout the rev range. Improved combustion chamber and inlet manifold design, and lighter pistons and con rods to help give the engine 240 HP at 6200 rpm and torque of 305Nm at 4100rpm. In fact the engine is generally thought to be very difficult to extract any extra horsepower out of it.
So what can you do if you do want to extract those few extra ponies or go the whole hog and end up with a true supercar. Porsche themselves manufactured 14 968 Turbo S models and also 4 968 Turbo RS models for racing. Giving out 305 and 350bhp respectively by using the 3 litre block of the 968 with the 8 valve head of the 944 Turbo.
For a few extra bhp, you can invest in things like performance air filters, performance exhausts, new engine management chips etc.. All of these will give some extra power but sometimes it could be almost negligible unless you do it as a whole package, and you could find that you have spent a not insignificant amount with only a modicum of extra power.
To really give the 968 the power it deserves and is very capable of handling you would need to either Turbocharge or Supercharge. Very basically, pump more air and fuel into the engine and you get more power out.
Forgive me if you already know this but turbocharging uses the flow of the exhaust gases to drive a turbine which will create a pressure that the engine can use for greater combustion, this way of adding 'boost' is prone to what is known as turbo lag because the engine has to reach a certain rev range for the turbine to spin quickly enough to provide the boost. This is one of the reasons why some cars now employ twin turbos, not just for the extra power but also to have a turbo that can be spinning earlier to smooth out the power curve, and help to get rid of the dreaded turbo lag. Porsche are now famous for their very successful turbocharged road and race cars.
A supercharger on the other hand works on the principle that you can take an auxiliary drive belt direct from a crankshaft pulley to drive the 'airpump' itself, because it is direct drive it will not suffer from any sort of lag, the boost would be there at any revs. Mercedes are making full use of this technology in most of their model ranges.
On looking at the Speed Yellow demonstrator from
the outside the car could look like a bog standard 968 Sport or Club
Sport there is no real need to make any changes to the bodywork of the
The car is very impressive, the power band seems
to go from about 2000rpm to 7000rpm, and it is smooth, just a constant
feeling of having your head pushed into the headrest, in third gear
you can accelerate from about 25mph all the way up to 95mph with no
lag and no sudden kick in the pants just a massive thrust from behind
that is relentless. It takes so little time to be in 3 figure speeds.
I'd love to know what the 0-60 is but really that's academic stuff,
you just know that this car will thrash anything it is likely to come
In terms of pricing if you buy a very cheap 968
Sport or CS or even a Coupe with CS suspension. Have the engine top
end and Variocam thoroughly checked and possibly refurbed for say between
£1000 and £1500. Then have the Supercharger fitted you will
still be looking at a figure less of than £18K. If you are thinking
in terms of why would I pay a large percentage of the value of my car
to have an after market accessory fitted then it's really not for you,
because you're possibly thinking more of what the car could sell for
later. That in my opinion isn't the way to think about this.
Trackday use? Imagine the power of a 5.4 928 GTS in a 300 kilo lighter 968 Club Sport body. What would you meet on a track that would be able to compare to it. I've been in a few 968s on track, including race prepared ones and they where able to compete very well with higher powered 911s once corners where involved. This car would now also blast them away on the straights and leave them standing. Phenomenal !
In normally aspirated terms and with comparative
handling you are really looking at the performance of a GT3, then consider
the comparative cost.
experience of being in the car is something that I have been waiting
for for a long time, in previous articles and write ups I have gone
on about what the 968 Turbo must be like. I know the Turbo is going
to be a reasonably different experience but I prefer normally aspirated
anyway and that is one of the reasons I went for the 968 rather than
a 944 Turbo in the first place. The power delivery on the supercharger
is smooth and constant.
instead of expecting a Turbo to kick in and deliver it's power at say
3500-4000rpm or whatever it might be manufactured to, you can be in
third gear tootling through a village following the local traffic at
around the 1500rpm to 2000rpm mark at about 20/25mph and when the NSL
sign shows itself, with a nice right hander, with a good view up the
oncoming straight and you can progressively increase the forward motion
of the car right up to 7000rpm, that equates to about 95mph with smooth
but very quick acceleration. You look in the mirror and realise what
you have just done, as you attempt to find the traffic you where previously
following in your distant past.
- Stuart Cookson
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