Auction Pick of the Week: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup “Canadian Rothmans Series”

Hagerty Marketplace/Ray_Shaffer

In the mid-1980s, Porsche was interested in generating some motorsports enthusiasm for its popular 944 sports car. The company created an international series that featured factory-modified 944 Turbo models, which it called “Turbo Cup” cars.

The series was popular in the U.S., drawing 16 entries for the races, sponsored by Escort radar detectors. But in Canada, it was beyond popular, drawing 36 entries. The series there was backed by Rothmans, the British tobacco company that was very active in motorsports, including sponsorship for Formula 1 drivers like Ayrton Senna. Rothmans was in league with Porsche from 1982 on, that year winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Rothmans-backed Porsche 956.

Though the Rothmans Porsche Turbo Cup Championship cars looked very much stock in appearance, the modifications were substantial. They included upgrades like a magnesium intake manifold, magnesium oil sump, a smaller and lighter alternator, a larger high-output turbo for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, a limited-slip differential, and a manual transmission with close-ratio 5th gear.

The suspension used Bilstein components, and the wheels were magnesium versions of the phone-dial design. Inside, there was a steel roll cage with a Recaro racing seat. Typical street-car equipment like air conditioning, a sunroof, and undercoating were deleted to save weight.

In all, 38 Turbo Cup cars of the roughly 200 produced made it to Canada, and one of them is up for auction on Hagerty Marketplace. Recently restored, the current owner is said to have spent over $73,000 from 2022 to 2023, returning the car to its original condition, including a Guards Red paint job in the 1988 Rothmans Porsche Turbo Cup Championship livery.

One of the major selling points for the car: It’s currently titled for street driving, rare in Weissach-built Porsche race cars, making it a solid candidate for competing in road rallies.

1988 Rothmans Porsche 944 Race Car interior dash
Hagerty Marketplace/Ray_Shaffer

With fewer than 32,000 miles on the odometer, the car raced in seven out of eight Rothmans races in 1988, all eight in 1989, and a single race in 1990 with owner/driver Reinhold Schill at the wheel. It scored four top-10 finishes in 1989.

After the Rothmans series ended, the car moved on to a successful racing career with the Porsche Club of America’s PCA Club Racing for 10 years, beginning in 1998.

It’s now eligible for the Historic Sportscar Racing events, passing an HSR safety inspection for the 2023 season. On track, with a rookie driver, the car finished fourth in a Sprint race at the HSR Mitty event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, and sixth in an Enduro.

The seller is including four racing logbooks, an import document scan from 1992, service invoices from 2008 to 2023, and digital copies of period racing photography.

The auction ends on January 24 at 3 p.m. ET. Click here to take a look at this authentic Porsche factory-built race car.




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    Kind of like the Comp TA. It is kind of a unknown vehicle in the states to many.

    The Comp TA was the Canadian FireHawk just it came with BFG Comp TA tires vs the Firestones. Rare and both SLP cars just different trim and tires.

    The 944 here is kind of like the Canadian Corvette Racing series cars we had just Porsche.

    While not well known these all make for special collector cars.

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