The SC/RS was a purpose-built rally car straight out of Weissach. Porsche exploited a loophole in the rules for the FIA World Rally Championship series and assembled 20 SC/RS models – the maximum number allowed by this loophole. Only six of those cars had the back door factory support of Porsche and the check book only Rothmans could provide to be competitive on the world stage, all under the direction of Sir David Richards and his Prodrive team. This SC/RS chassis #8 is known as a survivor and remains in its original, un-restored condition. Porsche factory race cars of this caliber rarely hit the market and are highly coveted by collectors around the world. They tend to get exercised on rare track days but an SC/RS offers a huge bonus: it’s street legal! It has aggressive street tires, fully functioning lights, horn, and wipers, combined with a production VIN# and this car is titled to be street driven. Cars and coffee will never be the same!
Even before engineer Helmuth Bott took over as director of Porsche’s research and design facility at Weissach in 1978, he believed in and promoted the versatility of the 911 as a vehicle for many purposes, from racing on the world’s toughest circuits to running to the store to driving to the opera. He believed long distance rallies tested the cars and he encouraged his engineers and outside teams to develop and perfect 911s for this purpose. The ultimate development of that dream was the all-wheel drive 959s for the Paris-Dakar “raid.” However, as Bott made clear in an interview in late 1991, he and his engineers understood that the basic 911 rear-engine-rear-wheel drive configuration had huge benefits for rally entrants.
In the early 1980s, England’s Rothmans cigarette brand was expanding sales to the European continent and the company picked Porsche’s Group C 956s as their motorsports promotion billboard starting in 1982. As the Rothmans 956s won Le Mans in 1982 and 1983, it became clear to the tobacco company that – by using Porsche and motorsports – it could expand its name recognition further, even into the Mediterranean and the Mideast. Coincidentally, the FIA had inaugurated an eastern World Rally Championship series with events in Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, and other nations in the region to begin in 1984.
By this time, Porsche had introduced the new 911 Carrera 3.2 as a 1984 model but the company had not manufactured enough for homologation as a Group B competition car. So Weissach took a series of 20 final production 3.0-liter 911 SC models and developed them into RS versions, the SC/RS, that fit within Group B Evolution regulations. Within the walls of Weissach, the car was known as the Typ 954. Of these, six cars went to a recently formed English racing team, David Richards Autosports. Richards had plenty of racing and rally experience but this was his first opportunity to run Porsches.
Because Porsche’s Turbo models were dominating motorsports by this time, and because Bott’s engineers in Weissach had done so much development work to strengthen and lighten the Turbo body for brutal competition, they started with the same basic body and the Turbo suspension for these new fully street-legal 954s. As Jürgen Barth explained in an interview in January 2005, engineers reduced the weight of the basic 911 by more than 600 pounds by replacing production steel panels with thinner gauge steel and even aluminum, opting for a windshield 2/3rds the thickness of the series production glass, and using plastic for all the other windows. Engineers and designers integrated plastic front and rear spoilers and theyheavily gutted the interior. They removed the standard heating system and used a much lighter-weight gasoline-electric heater for the rallies in colder climates.
To the Turbo suspension, they added coil “helper” springs to better support the standard torsion bars through the anticipated rally abuse. Engineers fitted 18mm anti-roll bars at the front and rear.
Inside the engine, they increased valve lift, and they installed durable mechanical fuel injection, and fitted 935 racing cylinder heads. With these modifications and only minor tweaks in tuning, this Typ 930/18 engine developed 255 horsepower at 7,000 rpm (and 188 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm.). This was a considerable step up from series production SC’s 204 horsepower output for European markets. Barth quoted factory acceleration tests for the Typ 954s at 0-to-100 kilometers per hour in 5.0 seconds compared to 6.8 seconds for the series production 3.0-liter SCs.
But all of this was only a starting point for Richards and his new Rothmans Rally team subsidiary Prodrive. As with any new racecar (with the possible exception of those remarkable 956 Rothmans Group C cars), the SC/RS competed in their first season with mixed results. “Porsche agreed to build an alloy-bodied version of the 911, the 911 SC RS, ” Richards explained in an interview in Classic Cars magazine in 2015, “and we contacted a local driver, Saeed Al-Hajiri. He won the first event, the Qatar Rally, but by the finish the car was in a sorry state. However,” he went on, “it signaled the start of Prodrive’s re-engineering programme, which involved strengthening the Porsche’s A-pillars and bulkhead, and laminating the alloy trailing arms to stop rock damage. I think Porsche would have been appalled if they’d know what we [were] going to do with their cars.” They did it anyway, and the cars began to hit their marks.
This particular SC/RS, chassis 110-008, ran 13 international rallies for the Rothmans Porsche team. It won five of those out right (it’s full competition record is below.) With endurance and rally veterans such as Henri Toivonen, Juha Kankkunen, and Saeed Al Hajiri at the wheel, this particular car became the one all the others chased.
The provenance of this car is seamless and flawless. Some four months after winning its last race, Richards sold the car to American Prescott Kelly. Three years later in 1990, chassis 110-008 went to racer/rally driver Peter Kitchak who kept it for 25 years until its current owner took possession. Kelly and Kitchak are well known for conservation and preservation of rare and significant Porsches. All this is documented in binders with the car.
The 20 SC/RS cars rival the 1967/68 Typ 911 R in rarity and mystique. This is the most significant and accomplished of the SC/RS series. It is equipped with an original Rothmans/Richards Porsche engine – #63E09004, the engine Toivonen used in this car to win at Ypres, Belgium.
As Barth described the driving experience, he explained, “The RS proved to be very controllable even at the handling limit. With coordinated throttle and steering, it could be driven on a very tight line, without resorting to such spectacular drift angles as its indirect predecessors. The potential of this sports car could best be experienced on closed roads – and that, after all, was its intended purpose.”
April 1984: Circuit of Ireland Rally, Ireland. Henri Toivonen, DNF.
June 1984: Ypres 24-Hour Rally, Belgium. Toivonen again, first overall.
August 1984: Madeira Rally, Portugal. Toivonen again, first overall.
September 1984: Manx International Rally, Great Britain. Juha Kankkunen, DNF.
April 1985: Cyprus Rally. Saeed Al Hajiri, DNF.
July 1985: Jordan Rally. Al Hajiri again, first overall.
June 1986: Acropolis Rally, Greece. Al Hajiri again, fourth overall.
July 1986: 1000 Pistes rally, France. Al Hajiri again, DNF.
August 1986: Limburgia Rally, Netherlands. Al Hajiri again, third overall.
December 1986: Dubai Rally. Al Hajiri again, DNF
February 1987: Qatar International Rally. Al Hajiri again, first overall.
March 1987: Kuwait Rally. Al Hajiri again, first overall.
April 1987: Jordan Rally. Al Hajiri again, second overall.
Oman Rally/Middle East Championship Saeed Al Hajri 2nd
Dubai Rally/Middle East Championship Saeed Al Hajri retired
Read more about the Rothmans and Porsche partnership: https://roadscholars.com/influence-advertising-sponsorship/
Chassis #08 of 20, Unrestored, Street Legal
Engine #: 63E09004
One of the six Rothmans-Porsche Factory team cars (chassis 008)
The most original Rothmans SC-RS in existence
Driven by Henri Toivonen and Saeed Al Hajri (King of the Dunes)
Unbelievable historical documentation with the car.
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