Much has been written about Porsche’s racing exploits over the years, but there is perhaps one model that has served, more than any other, as the pillar of the company’s achievements. Prototypes have come and gone, and Porsche has even dabbled in Formula racing, but it is the 911 that has been the mainstay of the company’s competition success. In particular, it was the Porsche 930 to 935 models that elevated the Stuttgart company into the super performance league. Starkey’s Porsche 930 to 935: The Turbo Porsches brings these cars into your office or study in brilliant style.
In 1973, Mark Donohue dominated the Can-Am series with his monstrously powerful 917/30, and it was as a result of lessons learned through turbocharging this model that Porsche was able to apply that experience to developing the 911. The 911 Turbo (or Type 930 as it was known internally) was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1973. Launched in 1975, the 930 Turbo was Porsche’s first stab at applying turbocharging to a roadgoing model, and what a success it proved to be. The competition division of the FIA, the CSI, decided after the advent of the Group 5 racers (Porsche 917, Ferrari 512 S & M, etc), that they would in future encourage race cars developed from roadgoing models. This would outlaw the hugely powerful Porsche 917s and 7-litre Fords, and promote more reasonably-powered sports cars. But they hadn’t reckoned on the ingenuity of Porsche’s engineers!
As from 1971, Group 4 race cars had to be homologated on a production model that required a minimum of 500 units to be made (this was reduced to 400 units over 24 months in 1976). Where power in the naturally aspirated 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 had peaked at 330bhp (1973-1975), the 934 which was Porsche’s Group 4 turbocharged contender, developed a mighty 485bhp. The 934 was essentially the customer race car, while Porsche created the 935 to race in Group 5 as the factory-based racer. Power in the 935 had jumped to 590bhp, almost double the Carrera RSR 3.0, in a little over a year. Of course, there are many well-known 935 specials, such as the 935/77 2.0 ‘Baby’ and the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ but to explain these here would be to reproduce much of the content of the book.
As an author, John Starkey’s name is well-known, and he has the added advantage of owning a 935 himself, and so it helps when writing about these cars to have one in your garage. But Starkey’s knowledge of Porsche road and race cars is almost unrivalled, and this has enabled him to draw on some big names as far as interviews is concerned. On the subject of interviews, the author has been able to include the views of many who raced or were involved with the teams and cars in period, such as John Fitzpatrick, Hurley Haywood, Alwin Springer, Bob Akin, Brian Redman, Gary Belcher, Preston Henn, Nick Faure, and many well-known names.
Starkey also goes into the background to some of the better-known ‘specials’ such as the Kremer 935s whose models use the ‘K’ prefix, such as the K3 or K4. Other models covered include the John Paul or, JLP specials, the Bob Akin car fabricated by Fabcar, Preston Henn’s Andial car, and others that were built up by Joest Racing. The 935 was the car to beat, so it was little wonder that private teams scrambled to get one.
The first half of the book covers the various models, their development and racing stories from around the world. By far the biggest section of the book is devoted to individual chassis histories, and accounts for much of the second half of the book. This section is gold dust to researchers, and the author is to be congratulated on the additional details that have been included here over the previous editions.
After the chassis histories, the penultimate section covers the engines used in the various models. As can be imagined, when covering Porsche’s road and race turbo models, a bewildering number of different engines were deployed – from the 1.4-litre (Baby) through the 2.7 and 3.0 road cars, the 2.9 (934) and the 2.8-litre 935 engine. The factory Moby Dick used a 3.2-litre engine, and then there were the private teams, and so a separate section covering these engines is essential. Likewise, the author has also devoted a separate section to the specifications of the various models.
This is the third edition of this valuable book, which has become essential reading for all enthusiasts wanting to know more about these fabulous cars. From a purely factual standpoint, this book would be a must-have, to use a modern term, but from the point of view of the interviews and the narrative, it is an important piece of work to have in your library. With the growing number of international historic racing events being held around the world, these race cars are being seen out on the track with increased frequency, this book will help you to catch up on your favourite car’s history. It’s a great book to have in your library.