1988 Porsche 944Turbo Cup
Year of manufacture1988
- Factory lightweight race car; no. 10 of 39 hand-built by Weissach for the Rothmans Cup series
- Ludwig Heimrath-backed team cup car, finished in Alpine White
- Accompanied by ownership and racing history back to 1988; also includes PCA articles
- Wonderful Porsche eligible for vintage racing
Porsche jumped into the “spec racer” world in the late 1980s with its 944 Turbo Cup series, which often ran in support of major races in Germany, France, South Africa, the United States, and Canada. These races, which often featured well-known racing drivers behind the wheel, proved extremely popular, and the Rothmans-sponsored Canadian series, which ran for three years and offered substantial cash awards, was even carried on national television.
944 Turbo Cup cars were hand-built in Porsche’s Weissach facility from sunroof-delete coupes. To reduce weight, all parts deemed unnecessary for racing were removed. The stripped body shell was reinforced, and a Matter roll cage installed. Porsche fitted a front strut brace, upgraded the suspension, added quicker-ratio steering and a racing clutch, strengthened transmission gears and rear axles, and equipped a higher-percentage limited-slip differential. Porsche added a transaxle cooler, brakes from the 928 S4, a brake-cooling kit, and driver-controlled ABS. There was a Recaro racing seat with Shroth harness, a pair of ignition kill-switches, a fire bottle, a fiberglass hood, and 16-inch magnesium “Telefon” wheels. The 1988 Cup car had a larger KKK turbocharger and a magnesium intake manifold and oil sump. Revised engine mapping permitted maximum boost to 5,800 rpm. Power was given as 250 horsepower, the same as the stock 944 Turbo S—but the Cup engine could be “chipped” for well over 300 horsepower. With weight trimmed by as much as 600 pounds, these cars were capable of 170 mph.
This beautiful Alpine White example is said to have been the 10th of 39 built for the Rothmans Cup program. It was one of two cars campaigned by Heimrath-Porsche in the Rothmans Turbo Cup series. The first car, JN165061, was campaigned under the number 7 by team owner Ludwig Heimrath, a Porsche dealer and noted German-Canadian whose racing career spanned five decades. By the time he competed in The Rothmans Turbo Cup series he was in his 50s.
The second, this car, JN165070, competed in all three seasons of the Rothmans Turbo Cup series from 1988 to 1990. Behind the wheel for the 1988 series was future Canadian Motorsport Hall of Famer Larry Caruso, who raced the car under the number 71; he would go on to place 26th in the series that year. For 1989 Caruso was again behind the wheel of the number 71 car, this season with much more success, placing 16th in the series and achieving three top-10 finishes. For the 1990 season the car’s number was changed to 6, with Bill Smilovsky taking over driver duties, eventually placing 17th in the series that year.
Following the completion of The Rothmans Turbo Cup series in 1990, this car was sold to a doctor in Connecticut. It would remain in his ownership until former driver Larry Caruso acquired the car around 2013. The car is now offered from a private collection and is accompanied by ownership and racing documentation dating back to 1988. It would be ideal for PCA and vintage racing.
Please note that this car does not include log books from when it campaigned in the Turbo Cup series.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az21.