Porsche’s roadgoing model line-up has seldom, if ever, been very far removed from the company’s motorsport programme. This thread can be traced back even to the early 356 and 356 Carrera days. The Porsche 964 Carrera RS 3.8 is a very different beast from the cars of old, but the same spirit of competition runs through the more modern car, as will be seen in the pages of this book.
There were some raised eyebrows, though, when the new 911 model was launched in 1964, as there was a brief time when all resources were focussed on getting the new road car to market. This however did not satisfy many of Porsche’s customers who took to the race tracks of the world with their own tuned and modified versions of the veritable 911. Thus, in 1973 was born the first model to bear the moniker “RS” when the Carrera RS 2.7 was born. The subject of this book, the 964 Carrera RS 3.8, was conceived a good two decades later when in 1993 a small batch of 964 N-GTs were prepared for racing in the Spa 24 Hours, and at the Nürburgring.
But it wasn’t a simple matter of just inserting a bigger engine, beefing up the brakes and suspension, and heading for the track. Regulations required that for the model’s homologation, 100 examples of the car had to be produced, and here the FIA agreed that this total could be split between street legal and race cars. Just as Porsche’s customers showed the manufacturer back in the early 1970s that they wanted a GT race car which resulted in the Carrera RS of 1973, so too did its customers two decades later persuade Porsche to again produce a race winning GT car.
964 Carrera RS 3.8 & RSR 3.8 production numbers:
|964 Carrera RS 3.8||55|
|964 Carrera RSR 3.8||49|
The technical project leader for the Carrera RS 3.8 and RSR 3.8 was the vastly experienced Roland Kussmaul, while the test driver of the Carrera RS 3.8 was none other than legendary rally star Walter Röhrl. At this time, the head of Porsche’s Customer Sport Department was Jürgen Barth, himself a winner of the Le Mans 24 Hour race and who, in addition, had many other victories to his name from racing around the world. With a powerhouse trio made up of Kussmaul, Röhrl and Barth, the combined cumulative experience in years was huge, and a successful racer was an inevitability.
To reproduce all of the road and race car’s technical specifications, attributes and achievements is unnecessary, because these are all to be found in this excellent book. The authors of this book are themselves experts in their field – Jürgen Barth, a renowned racing driver, head of Porsche customer sport, and well-known author of many other books; Norbert Franz, a prolific author on the subject of Porsche; Robert Weber, the driving force behind the publisher Sportfahrer Verlag and the founding editor of the fine magazine Automobilsport.
An authoritative work on the Carrera RS 3.8 and RSR 3.8 models was well overdue, and this publication really does cover all the important facts and details about these two very important cars. While the early chapters offer an introduction to Porsche’s world before the 964 and in the years leading up to the Carrera RS and RSR launch, Chapter 3 gives the reader a valuable insight into the often confusing, and sometimes disputed world of chassis and production numbers. It is reassuring, even enlightening, to see that the authors openly admit to this difficult issue, as many enthusiasts out there will have their minds put at rest on this matter.
A significant amount of space in this book is given over to the details of each and every one of the 107 cars mentioned in the table above, an invaluable source of accurate information. A whole chapter is set aside for Walter Röhrl’s test drive report of the road car, again, an invaluable account of an important piece of history. Later chapters deal with the press kit for this model release, production details, identification and delivery of the road cars. Turning to the RSR 3.8 race car, a similar set-up follows, giving homologation, press and production details, racing accounts and a chassis-by-chassis record of each car.
The book is presented in a strong and attractive cloth cover and an equally sturdy slipcase, which will ensure your copy of this fine book is well kept over the years. The text and associated imagery is well designed and laid out, and while there is a lot of useful information contained with its pages, there is no sense of the pages being cluttered. In fact, the narrative is easy to read and the selection of images superb, as you could imagine with these three experienced authors would ensure.
Should you buy this book? There is no question in my mind that this is one of the most important publications to come onto the market in recent times covering one of Porsche’s iconic sports and race cars. With this in mind, don’t hesitate, get yourself a copy of this book as soon as you can before they are all gone. It will do wonders to your bookshelf, and you will be the envy of your fellow Porsche enthusiasts!
|Title||Porsche 964 Carrera RS 3.8|
|Authors||Jürgen Barth, Norbert Franz and Robert Weber|
|Print run||Limited to 964 hand numbered books|
|Page count||384 pages|
|Image count||More than 560 photos (colour + B&W)|
|Format||240 mm x 280 mm|
Written by: Glen Smale