Anatomy of a Tasmanian Turbo Cup Car

It’s not often that you get to own a piece of Porsche automotive history, but such is the reality for David Morton and business partner Malcolm McDonald, co-owners of a Porsche 944 Turbo Cup car – with a twist. This particular Turbo Cup car was the only right-hand drive model delivered to Australia, and it is also the only car to be fitted with its particular style of fixed rear wing, among other things.

The car has a particularly colorful history, and its origins can be traced back to the son of famed Porsche Australia founder Norman Hamilton. Competitive since the latter 1980s, the car is a wonderful piece of Porsche motorsports history, particularly its history in Australia. Suffice it to say I am honored to feature the history of this 944!

According to Morton, the car was built in 1988 and was one of the total approximately 190 cars built and sold as race cars around the world. They were the basis of the Porsche cup cars we see racing today; the cars differed in a number of areas from the standard model, particularly chassis suspension and light weight components were used throughout the car (see Turbo Cup).

This particular car (718) was ordered by Alan Hamilton (the son of Porsche Australia founder Norman Hamilton), in right hand drive. Thanks to his influence with Porsche it was built as such and ultimately delivered to Australia. The 944 was also fitted with a factory wing, composite doors and bonnet, non-standard features across other cup cars.

The car was registered with Cams and was immediately dominate at the club sport level, Porsche cup level, and in hill climbs. Subsequently sold, the car was entered in Targa in 1992 by Melbourne Brothers Barry and Bob Fitzgerald, finishing fourth outright (running as car 442). In 1994 the car was entered by new owner Andrew Miedecke, what followed was a classic battle with the six year old Porsche and the latest Toyota GT 4, newly released and out to score its first world wide win for Toyota. Miedecke ultimately prevailed and won the event in 1994 (running as car 802). In 1995 he returned with the car and mechanical failure saw it as a DNF (running as car 818).

The car sat in a shed in Ballarat, Victoria for the next three and a half years. It was brought by David Morton and business partner Malcolm McDonald, who had the car restored mechanically to original and entered for the millennium event in 2000. Since that time the car has figured on the podium of its class on no less than six times. It remains an outstandingly competitive car still able to finish in the top 20 of 300 cars in Targa Tasmania in 2008.

Described by Morton as the ultimate road test, the Targa Tasmania features over 5000 corners over five to six hundred kilometers. Raced on closed roads that take drivers across the Australian country, the competition concept is drawn directly from the best features of the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, the Coupe des Alpes, and the Tour de Corse; however, according to the organizers, Targa Tasmania is a genuine “red-blooded” motor sports competition.

According to Morton, the car has been maintained in race condition since new, and it has about sixty thousand kilometers on the speedometer. During a recent dynamometer test, the car made 240 wheel horsepower at 1bar of boost. “I have driven many cars in competition over the years and without any doubt this [Turbo Cup car] is the best balanced car ever made,” says Morton.

A special thanks to David Morton for sharing details about his 944 Turbo Cup car with me; and thanks to David and his partner Malcolm McDonald for allowing me to feature their historically significant 944 Turbo Cup car on the Porsche 944 Turbo Resource so that its wonderful story might be preserved and appreciated by fellow Porsche motorsports enthusiasts.

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