January 28, 2006 By C! Magazine Staff

Metamorphosis Perfect Porsche 993 Turbo

When I first saw the limited edition road-going version of the Porsche 911 GT some years back, I told myself that I was going to own one someday. To say that the car was truly awesome and intimidating even in a motionless state was an understatement! Based on the AWD 993 Turbo, the car was built to compete in the Le Mans GT2 Class where AWD was banned. It was one of those times when one actually paid more for less. The removal of the AWD system and other standard creature comforts of the Turbo dropped the weight by about 400 pounds. In addition, the front hood and doors were made of aluminum and the side and rear windows were made of thinner glass. The rear seats were removed along with any form of insulation too.

Power was raised from the standard 408 to 430 bhp. The only available options were a 450 bhp engine upgrade, electric windows, air-conditioning, AM/FM radio cassette with door speakers, three-spoke steering wheel with air bag delete, lightweight Recaro bucket seats, and a full roll cage.

To keep the car stable at speeds above 280 km/h, a front and rear spoiler with an adjustable wing were added. The rear spoiler had a scoop on each end so cool air could be force-fed into the intercooler. It was form with function, a trait that Porsche has kept from day one!

The suspension was totally revised: aluminum pillow ball top mounts replaced the standard rubber ones with stiffer coil springs, upgraded Bilstein shock absorbers, and thicker front and rear stabilizer bars that were adjustable for tension. The car stood on a set of three-piece Speedline exclusively built for Porsche wheels with magnesium centers shod with Michelin Pilot Sport tires. (Wheel and tires for front 9×18” on 235/35/ZR18 and rear 11×18”on 285/35ZR18) To accommodate the wider track, all four fenders had to be cut and flares bolted on to the already wide Turbo body giving it a mean and purposeful racecar look.

 

I could only dream of the GT2 until one came into the market sometime back. How could one resist the thought of owning a highly collectible Porsche of which only 202 were built in total, a good number of them were raced and damaged beyond repair? Judging from the skyrocketing price of the 1973 RS of which 1,590 were built, one can only imagine how much the very limited production GT2 could be sold for years from now.

The owner and I drove up to Tagaytay in our cars and once there he was kind enough to allow me to drive the GT2 as hard and as long as I pleased. Having driven go-karts and rally cars competitively in my younger days, I told myself that the GT2 was the perfect supercar for me. A race-bred car lightweight, a twin turbo engine with 450 bhp and a suspension system bred out of racing.

The moment I took off full throttle in 1st gear, I could tell that this car was significantly lighter than my 993 Turbo. The GT2 weighed 400 pounds less than the AWD 993 Twin Turbo. That’s like removing two and a half passengers from the cabin. It had an explosive feeling and practically burned rubber all the way to 6,000 rpm until I lifted the gas pedal to shift to 2nd. And unlike the turbo, shifting between gears was crisp. The steering was very precise, as it did not have the feeling of vagueness that the AWD inherently had. What a car!

After a few kilometers, I realized I was looking for the additional grip provided by the AWD system. Somehow, I felt more secure in the heavier car. I had to drive more cautiously particularly in the kind of roads we have – narrow, mostly two ways, bumpy with the surface unpredictably changing from smooth to rough at any time. I could not drive the GT2 as hard. I told myself that if I could only keep the GT2 and the Turbo, I would be in absolute Porsche Heaven! The GT2 for an occasional track day where I could do some serious spirited driving and go sideways and the Turbo for my regular Sunday blast with my drive group. When I drove back home, reality set in. Even if the GT2 could give me a generous return in the future, I could only afford to keep one car. I wanted something I could drive hard day-in and day-out. It definitely had to be the standard Turbo in the end.

 

In skilled hands driven with a lot of respect, the GT2 was a great car; yet for the inexperienced, it was more than a handful! I decided, why not built the ideal car: a GT2 with AWD. The GT was built by hand at the Porsche Motorsport Facility so I figured why not built something with the menacing looks and power of the GT2 but with the security and creature comforts of the Turbo. The purist among my drive group told me I was going to ruin a perfect road car. Robert Coyiuto of PGA Cars tried to dissuade me from going ahead with my unorthodox plan. He said, ‘why mess around with something engineered to perfection by the factory?’ Robert and another friend, Ferrari Tifosi Windy Imperial, suggested that I buy the genuine GT2 instead. I kept my fingers crossed and decided to go ahead anyway. With the able assistance of PGA Cars, I was able to order all the parts necessary to accomplish the upgrade. All the required parts arrived within two weeks and it was only then that I realized the task at hand would not be an easy one. All six boxes were BIG! However, I was confident that the parts would all fit in successfully, they were marked PORSCHE Original-teile—Genuine Parts!

 

Ronnie, the Porsche factory trained PGA technician, and I agreed to start with the suspension upgrade. When we opened the bow I found the sport suspension kit did not only include the top mounts, springs, shock absorbers but every suspension bit underneath and I mean everything- all the aluminum suspension arms, bushings, and even the tie rod ends. It also included a chassis reinforcement kit which had to be mig- welded to the front shock absorber tower! Everything from the Turbo was replaced with parts that I later learned were made of lighter yet stronger material. The car was up and running within three days and I was in for a surprise. The ride was firm but not too stiff and handling definitely improved.

 

The engine upgrade came next. The 450bhp kit included a pair of bigger turbos, a new Motronic DME, a third oil cooler and solids motor mounts. The installation was very straightforward except that the rear bumper and exhaust system had to be removed. Once reassembled, the engine fired up in one click. We checked for any oil or exhaust leaks and to our elation there was none. Our drive group drove up to Tagaytay that following Sunday, and once on the Skyway, opened it up for full throttle. Boy did the car go! Power from 3500 to 6000 rpm was more explosive and the car ran strongly all the way to 290km/h! Climbing from 290 to 300km/h was hard won but it did eventually and routinely reach 300km/h anyway on regular runs henceforth! My Turbo now had the power and suspension of the GT2 but it would not have been complete without the menacing Le Mans style. The GT2 body was primed and ready for painting. I took them to ENSport, a paint and body shop with a proper oven owned by my good friend Vincent Floirendo. Under his watchful eye, all the parts were painted to match the color of the car: Speed Yellow. The paint job was impeccable and completely flawless!

 

I hauled all the parts back to PGA Cars for the final stage of the project – the day of reckoning, the point of no return – the fenders had to be cut and the flares installed so that the Speedline built for Porsche wheels could fit. Ronnie preferred I left before he actually started cutting the first fender. So determined to see it through, I stayed and watched him do the first one. Skilled as he was, all four were cut without fanfare and the flares were bolted on at the end of that working day! The following day the front and rear spoilers were installed and the Speedline wheels bolted.

The takeoff in 1st gear was hampered by the extra 400 pounds that the 993 Turbo carried. However, once I shifted to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and all the way to the 6thgear I could tell that this car was up to the task.

This is Porsche engineering at its best – form and function combined- mechanically perfect, reliable, comfortable around the city as it is in the back roads out of town and very quick from 0 to 290 – 300 km/h with stopping power to match. What a great car it was until PGA Cars gave me a chance to drive what was then the new 996 Twin Turbo and sometime later the blindingly fast 996 GT2! I can just imagine what the forthcoming 997 Twin Turbo would be like and with the arrival of the first Carrera GT in the country there is a new king in town!-

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