The Ex – Le Mans 24 Hours, Daytona 24 Hours, Multiple Sebring 12 Hours 1976 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR

The Ex – Le Mans 24 Hours, Daytona 24 Hours and Multiple Sebring 12 Hours

1976 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR

Porsche has to be one of the most evocative and prominent brands of all time. Steeped in motorsport heritage, in its 89  years of existence, Porsche has achieved staggering heights in nearly all forms of motorsport. The crisp stylish lines of their cars evoke passion and excitement while also managing to remain functional and approachable. No mean feat. A great deal of the marques fame is due to the iconic 911, now in its 57th year of production. A car as at home on the road as the track, it has decimated the test of time and continues to innovate and lead the way forward. 

The 911’s long association with the motorsport started in the hands of a few privateers but it was not long before the factory took up the baton. The first visit in what became a long love affair with Le Mans was in 1966, and 911 went on to be a dominant force both on the track and the rally stage. The 911 went on to win the European Rally Championship in both 1967 and 1968, with the late Björn Waldegård using a 911S to secure back-to-back victories on the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally in 1969 and 1970.

However; it was the forward vision of Ernst Fuhrmann, the newly appointment head of Porsche in 1972, that took the 911 to the next level and lead to some of the most coveted and desirable Porsches ever, the 911 Carrera RS. Fuhrmann, recognised the 911’s special nature and threw his full support behind the car; initiating a project led by master engineer Norbert Singer that resulted in 1973’s Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS and 2.8 RSR, along with the 1974 3.0 RS and RSR. 

The 2.7 RS was a lightweight, more powerful variant of the 911S, essentially a streetcar adapted for the racetrack. So popular was the 2.7 RS that 1,580 examples were sold before production ended in July of 1973. On the back of dominance of the 911 S in the newly launched European GT Championship of 1972, Porsche made the decision to develop a new car for the following year to maintain its dominance in long-distance GT racing. Based upon the already lightweight Carrera RS 2.7, the 2.8 RSR was offered for 1973. 

80 kg lighter, posting a further 90BHP and a myriad technical changes including wider Fuchs wheels and wheel arches, as well as a low-level front air dam with integral oil cooler, giving the RSR a much more aggressive presence. The suspension refinements and a 917-based braking system greatly enhanced handling and drivability, very much leading the way for the 3.0 RS to come. Only 55 RSRs were built and they led to arguably the three most important outright victories for the 911, the 1973 Daytona 24 Hours, the 1973 Sebring 12 Hours and the 1973 Targa Florio. 

For 1974 the 2.7 RS and 2.8 RSR were surpassed by the new Carrera 3.0 RS. With the development on Porsche’s new G Series 911 and the larger engine, two versions were offered: the street-legal Carrera RS, which was ideal for racing and rallies; and a full racing package, the RSR, typically running in Group 5. Like its 2.7 predecessor, the 3.0 RS was an exercise in weight reduction. The roof, door panels, instrument panel and seat pans were of thin-gauge steel, and the front and rear bumpers, front lid and engine-compartment lid with its larger integrated spoiler, were all made of fibreglass. While the windshield remained stock, the remaining panes were made of a thinner glass, and the rear quarter windows were fixed. 

Large fender flares, like those on the 1973 Carrera RSRs, were added to accommodate the 8-inch front and 9-inch rear wheels and Pirelli CN36 tires. The nose was refashioned in reflection of the G Series’ new styling and sported a large inlet for oil cooling and two smaller ones for brake cooling. For the first time, all exterior trim was finished in black.

Except for a new three-spoke steering wheel, the stripped cockpit was much like the 2.7’s: The front seats were simple buckets; there were no rear seats, armrests or clock. A thin layer of felt covered the metal surfaces, the doors were pulled closed by cords, and rubber mats replaced the carpets and sound-deadening materials. Four-point seatbelts and rollbar mounting points were further evidence of the RS’s raison d’être.

The 3.0-litre six in street trim was a larger and slightly detuned version of 1973’s RSR powerplant, now with an aluminium rather than magnesium crankcase. Output was increased to 230 horsepower at 6200 rpm, and the 9.8:1 compression ratio made it the first 911 to require premium fuel. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a manual five-speed transaxle with limited slip differential. An external oil cooler also was standard RS fare.

Braking was more than adequate — not surprising considering the four-wheel ventilated and cross-drilled discs and callipers were borrowed from Porsche’s mighty 917 Can-Am racer. Dual master cylinders and an adjustable crossbar for front/rear brake bias were standard. The suspension was similar to the 1973 RSR’s but was revised for 1974 with stiffened trailing arms pivoted from solid spherical joints, stiffer rear torsion bars, adjustable-length lever arms on the front and rear anti-roll bars, optional raised spindles for the front suspension struts, and allowances for the mounting of steel or titanium coil springs over the Bilstein shock absorbers.

Because the new RS was judged to be an evolution of the RS 2.7, FIA regulations dictated that only a minimum of 100 examples of the two versions needed to be built. A total of 109 Carrera RS 3.0 models were built for 1974. Of those, 55 were RS models and 54 were RSRs.

Following the introduction of Porsche’s first turbocharged model, the 930 Turbo in 1975, production soon ensured that at least 400 units of the model had been built, qualifying it for the Group 4 category. The 930 Turbo called on the knowledge gained with Porsche having raced turbocharged prototypes in World Sports Car and Can-Am championships, and this led to the Group 4 variant, the 934 Turbo RSR, which was released ahead of the 1976 racing season. 

Working with the same concepts are the RS and RSR models which went before, the 934 featured a 3 litre version of Porsche’s tried and tested flat six engine, fuel injected and turbo charged to make 485 bhp. Mated to the engine was a four speed gearbox, and suspension was independent with coil springs rather than the earlier used torsion bars. Centre lock, quick change hubs were used with large vented brake discs, and the same brake callipers as used on the famous 917.

930 670 0161

A total of 31 units of the 934 were constructed in 1976, of which the car we have the pleasure of offering for sale today, 930 670 0161, was the 28th car built to Group 4 specification. Finished in yellow, 0161 was delivered new to Luxembourg Porsche agent Martin Losch in March 1976. With first owner Nicholas Koob, the Luxembourger multiple Le Mans veteran, 0161 debuted at the Val d’Aisne hill climb in Belgium during April and subsequently competed in four races including at Zolder and Zandvoort, with a win in the Benelux series at Colmar-Berg in July 1976.  

In early 1977, 0161 was bought from Koob by Han-Christian Jurgensen in Germany. Jurgensen went on to campaign  0161 extensively through ’77, ’78 and ’79 in DRM, DARM and DARP as well as the World Championship Hockenheim 6 Hours in October 1977. Over these three seasons, Jurgensen and 0161 took 11 overall victories and many podiums. 

Ahead of the 1980 season, 0161 was bought by Puerto Rican racer Mandy Gonzalez and shipped to the Caribbean. Racing in the IMSA GTO class, Gonzalez debuted 0161 in April at the 1980 Sebring 12 Hours, sharing the driving with Diego Febles and Chiqui Soldevilla. After qualifying 19th overall and 2nd in the GTO class, 0161 went to on to finish 42nd at the conclusion of the 12 hours. 

After racing 0161 in the Road Atlanta 100 in April, the Puerto Rican team headed over to Europe for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. With start number 80, Gonzalez shared driving duties with Febles, and Venezuelan Francisco Romero. Running in the GT class, 0161 qualified 51st overall and 3rd in class. In the intermittently wet race, the team lead the GT class but retirement was forced by an accident in the 14th hour. Gonzalez recalled how 0161 clocked over 200 mph on the Mulsanne straight and set a higher top speed than the 935s.  

Following Le Mans, 0161 returned to America and was next raced at Road Atlanta in September, before going on to  race in the Daytona Finale in November. Into 1981, and Gonzalez once again entered 0161 in the Sebring 12 Hours, this time sharing with Bonky Fernandez and Juan Cochesa. They qualified in 16th place, and raced through to a 14th place finish. In April, Gonzalez and Fernandez took 0161 to Riverside for the 6 hours but did not start, with Gonzalez and Febles competing at the Lime Rock 200 in May.

In late ’81, Gonzalez raced 0161 at the Caguas 200km in his native Puerto Rico. By now, Gonzalez had upgraded 0161 with a winged boot lid and extra wide wheel arches. 0161’s racing exploits through 1982 were Latin  American, with an outing at Rio Haro in Panama yielding a 2nd place finish, and the Caguas 200km.  

Mandy Gonzalez had racing turbo Porsche expert Chuck Gaa of GAACO in Atlanta upgrade 0161 to 934/5  specification. Gaa modified the chassis with strengthened roll cage and raised gearbox mountings. Even wider front and rear flared wheel arches were fitted, and 0161 was painted red.

0161’s first race of 1983 was the Miami GP in February, where with Gonzalez and Hiram Cruz co-driving under the Hiram Cruz Racing banner, it competed in the IMSA GTP class as a 934/5. At the Sebring 12 Hours in March, 0161 was entered as a 934 and sported a conventional 934 bootlid, running back in the GTO class with Gonzalez and Cruz driving together. The pair completed the distance with 0161, finishing 20th overall and 6th in class.

Following Sebring, it’s understood that 0161 was fitted the 930/79 specification engine built by Hans Mandt, crew chief  at Brumos. With a single large twin-scroll turbo and twin waste gates, it was the same as had been used by Wayne Baker in his 934 to win the 1983 Sebring 12 Hours outright and the IMSA GTO Championship. 

The Caguas 200km in October 1983 would be Gonzalez’s final race with the car, as he subsequently sold 0161 to Costa  Rican racer Kikos Fonseca for 1984. Fonseca removed the 930/79 engine and fitted a 962 engine with Motec management, along with adapting the car to have both removable 934 and 935 bodywork. For IMSA events in the USA he ran in the GTO class with the 934 bodywork, and at the Latin American races Fonseca ran 0161 with the 935 bodywork. 

Fonseca ran 0161 under the Latino Racing banner in a red, white and blue livery, first with Texaco and then with Coca Cola and Bracos branding. In 1984, Fonseca competed in Latin America with 0161 in 935 specification at events in Puerto Rico, Guatemala and El Salvador, taking two wins. For the first race of 1985, the Miami GP in February, Fonseca had 0161 in the 934 trim to finish 4th overall. Following Miami, 0161 returned to Latin America and 935 spec too, running in a further five races. Three of these were 3 hours in duration, and Fonseca took three wins along with a 2nd place.

1986 saw 0161 go back into 934 specification for a season of racing in North America which kicked off at the Daytona 24 Hours in February. Fonseca shared the driving duties with Spaniard Enrique Molins aka ‘Jamsal’ and Dominican Luis Mendez. Running in the GTO class, the trio qualified 67th overall ahead of the Floridian endurance classic. In the race they went through the duration to take a fine result of 13th overall and 3rd in class.

From Daytona, Fonseca and 0161 travelled south to Miami for the GP, taking 6th overall in the race. Next was the Sebring 12 Hours, where Fonseca again teamed up with Jamsal and Mendez. They qualified in 47th place, and despite not reaching the chequered flag, 0161 was classified in 25th position in the results. Fonseca continued through the 1986 season with outings at Road Atlanta, Riverside, Laguna Seca, West Palm Beach and Watkins Glen, with results including the highlight of 3rd overall at the West Palm Beach GP in June. 

Fonseca rounded out 1986 with the Caguas 3 Hours in Puerto Rico. For this, 0161 was changed to 935 specification, and remained in this format for 1987. Concentrating on Latin American racing with 0161, the car wore the familiar blue, white and red livery with added Marlboro sponsorship, and commenced the ’87 season at the Costa Rica 3 Hours. Fonseca and 0161 retired, but made amends for it at the following Coppa Marlboro and Toyota Dini GP where they took the overall win on both occasions. 

Former teammate Jamsal with his 935 was often fierce competition to Fonseca and 0161, and two 2nd place finishes at  the Gallo-Belmonte 250km and Pepsi Cola 250km rounded out 1987. Fonseca continued with similar pace in 1988. Sharing with Roy Valverde, he won the Gallo-Belmonte 250km race in May, and they took 2nd at El Jabali in June. In December, Fonseca took another victory at the San Isidro 3 Hours. 

In 1989, 0161’s livery was adapted to feature Kodak sponsorship, featuring a yellow centre section with black, blue, pink, red and orange sides. A large air intake duct was added over the surface of the rear window and the year got off with a victory at the Marlboro GP in January, followed by a retirement at the Marlboro 3 Hours and a 10th at the Miami GP in a trip to Florida. Podium form returned at the Costa Rica 3 Hours, which was bettered at the Kodak 3 Hours with a win. The season was concluded with another victory at Gallo-Belmonte in October.

1989 would prove to be the final year of contemporary service for 0161, and it retired into storage with Fonseca through the early 1990s. On the completion of 0161’s contemporary racing career, Fonseca reinstalled the 930/79 specification engine. In 1994, 0161 was consigned to auction in Monte Carlo, and sold by Christies ending up with Dale Kennet in Oregon. Kennet began stripping 0161 with the intention of completing a rebuild, but didn’t get further than partially dismantling the car, and in 1999 sold it to period IMSA racer Jim Torres in California. 

Torres restored 0161, retaining the Fonseca flat-nose specification and finishing the car in red. 0161 was subsequently used on a few occasions by Torres, including at the 2000 Daytona 24 Minutes. In 2002, 0161 was bought by Rick Davis in Florida, who road registered the car!! Davis sold 0161 in 2008 to long time Porsche racer Monte Shelton, who was a former team mate of Torres’. Shelton kept 0161 until 2010, when it was bought by Porsche collector Mauro Borella in Italy.  

Borella entrusted Kremer Racing in Cologne to restore 0161 back to its 934/5 specification as raced by Mandy Gonzales. Kremer took 0161 back to bare metal and refitted the correct wheel arches as well as the roll cage. All other aspects of the car, including the 930/79 engine were rebuilt and refitted to 0161. The Kremer restoration was completed in 2013, and in late 2014, 0161 was bought by the current owner.

0161 travelled back to the United States, to its new home of California in November 2014, and has subsequently been campaigned and enjoyed by the current owner. As a regular visitor to Laguna Seca, 0161 has been been a multiple veteran of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion along with the Porsche Rennsport Reunion. During the current ownership, 0161 has been professionally maintained by Porsche specialists Retro-Sport in Oakland, California. 

Most recently, 0161 has just benefitted from an engine rebuild with machining work by Ollie’s in California, along with the Bosch metering unit being serviced by Gus Pfister, and the gearbox has also been rebuilt. A previous rolling road session showed the engine to be producing a very potent 570hp at the wheels. Engine dyno work showed 650hp with 1 bar of boost, and over 700hp with 1.2 bar of boost.

0161 is also accompanied by the 930/71 engine components, factory 934 tail, 934 rear wheel arches, restored period seats along with rebuilt original RSR front brake callipers, aluminium roll cage, enabling the next owner to take 0161 back to factory 934 specification if so desired. 0161 is eligible for a some of the most notable historic racing on both sides of the Atlantic, with Peter Auto’s CER 2 and the DRM Classic Series in Europe. In the United States, there is a multitude of events including the Daytona 24 Hour Classic, Sebring Historics, Lime Rock Historics, Rolex Monterey Reunion and Porsche Rennsport Reunion to name but a few.

Now back in Europe at our showroom here in England, 0161 is ready for the next custodian and destined to get back on track. With 2020 marking 40 years since 0161 raced in and led it’s class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, a return to the legendary La Sarthe circuit would surely be opportunity not to miss.