Introduction

Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's 944 Spec Racing Series

944 Spec is growing in many NASA regions. As a result, the Championships are always hotly contested, and the camaraderie among competitors in individual regions is first rate. With “half a V8” from the Porsche 928 in the front and a transaxle in the rear, the cars are exceptionally well balanced. They’re also reasonably light at 2,600 pounds, so they’re easy on tires and brakes. If you investigate a little, you’ll find it is much, much less expensive to race a Porsche than you might think.

The Porsche 944 Spec class is a class for those individuals who wish to race a Porsche in a competitive series with limited expense and low cost of operation. These rules are intended to control costs and reduce any performance advantage from the cars so that driving ability and race setup are the greatest factors in determining winners. The following are approved and disapproved items for the class. The spirit of the class is for all cars to be equal in weight and horsepower and be competitive with one another. The focus will be on driver ability and not dollar ability. This class is not intended to be an engine builder or innovator’s class.

1983-1988 Porsche 944, normally aspirated, 2,479 cc, eight-valve engine and 1987-1988 Porsche 924S, 2,479 cc, eight-valve engine
For purposes of these rules, “Power” will be defined as (HP+TQ)/2. The maximum allowed power output is 140, plus 2 to account for dyno variation.
2,600 pounds with driver
Retail pump grade 91-93 octane, depending on availability in your region
$5,000 to $12,000 for a national contender
  • Suspension bushings upgraded from rubber to urethane or Delrin
  • Original shifter parts upgraded to Only944.com components
  • Front coil-overs and caster-camber plates added
  • Big aftermarket adjustable sway bar kits
  • External oil coolers added
Average cost to run a weekend — $1,000

Tires, size, brand and prices
Toyo Proxes RR 225-50R-15, $208 each

Brakes, brands and prices
Hawk DTC60s front, good for about half a season, $190
Hawk Blues or HP Plus in the rear, good for a whole season, $168

Check the NASA Contingencies page for the latest programs.
  • Robust engines
  • A good engine rebuild lasts for several seasons
  • Adjustable front shocks
  • Durable transaxles
  • $1,526 roll cage kits from Hanksville Hot Rods
  • Low fuel consumption, about 15 gallons per weekend
  • 944 Spec cars have a bit more straight-line speed than a Spec Miata, which makes them more pleasant to drive in a typical mixed-class race group. Out-of-class traffic is easier to manage
  • Finding reputable engine builders familiar with Porsche Alusil blocks
  • Finding LSD Short 5th transmissions starting to get harder
  • Stock parts may be updated or backdated, except where otherwise noted.
  • For purposes of these rules, “Power” will be defined as (HP+TQ)/2. The maximum allowed engine power output is 140.0, plus 2.0 to account for dyno variation. Any car exceeding this total power output of 142.0, as determined by the dyno procedure listed below, will be repositioned to last place from the session or race immediately preceding the dyno testing.
  • 944 Turbo valve springs may be used as replacement valve springs on intake and exhaust valves.
  • A camshaft offset key is allowed to correct timing curve from cylinder head shaving.
  • Cylinder heads may be shaved to limits listed in 12.5.2 and 12.5.3 to achieve the maximum compression ratio of 10.5:1 for all eligible model years. This is intended to provide sufficient allowance to true the head more than once.
  • Any external oil cooler, such as the factory turbo unit, may be added or used to replace the factory oil cooler.
  • Any external transmission oil cooler, and external transmission oil pump may be added.
  • Oil pressure reservoirs, such as the Accusump, may be installed provided their installation conforms to NASA CCR.
  • A “trap door” baffle in the bottom of the oil pan may be added to prevent oil starvation in left hand corners. This baffle typically consists of a vertical plate with a free-swinging one-way panel. This plate shall be welded into the sump of the oil pan in the approximately 2” from the side of the oil pan that contains the drain plug. Non-OEM windage trays and non-stock crank scrapers are not allowed.
  • A ring around the oil pickup screen may be added. The oil pickup and drain tube may be reinforced or extra supports added.
  • The stock genuine Porsche OE computer engine management system (DME), or the Focus 9 Technology 944-Spec DME are required. For OE DMEs, Genuine Porsche OE unmodified chips are required.
  • Any clutch disc may be used. The pressure plate and flywheel must be OEM or exact equivalent of no less weight for particular model of car.
  • Camber plates are allowed provided they bolt to the chassis using existing shock mounting holes and make no modification to the shock tower.
  • Stock rubber suspension bushings may be replaced with any non-metallic bushing.
  • Lexan may be used for windshields when conforming to NASA CCR 15.13 and may be substituted for window glass in the doors.

FAQ

Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

There’s no “best” car. Each has its own benefits. Early ’83 to ‘85 cars have easily serviceable front ball joints and use cookie cutter rims. The ‘86 has the one-year early style offset cookies, but with aluminum control arms. The ’86 to ‘88 cars have plastic gas tanks — no rust issues — and stronger seat mounts and fewer electrical issues than the early-style-fusebox cars.
The 1988 car is the one-year high compression engine, but early cars can have shaved heads to compensate or use 1988 engines.

Yes. FCP Euro, Pelican Parts, 944store.com all sell plenty of parts for these cars. Additionally, the 2021 rulebook has new rules that will allow for spec-sleeving and spec brand-new pistons from CP-Carrillo to save hundreds of previously unusable scored blocks.
Extremely! Race weekends typically have the top five cars running within hundredths of a second of one another. There are not many large differences in car performance in this class. The top five cars are typically very different in sway bar setups and motor builds, but absolutely even lap times. This is absolutely a driver’s class.
Not always. 944 Spec is well represented in areas like SoCal, Arizona, Great Lakes, Southeast, and Mid-South. There aren’t many cars running in Texas, Northeast or Florida areas.
Buy one built. There are a tons of these cars out there, and like most racecars, building one yourself will cost much more and use up valuable time you could be using on track instead.
This is the most attractive thing about this class. These cars absolutely ceiling at $14k. Period. Cars at the top end of this spectrum have well-fitted cages, built motors, the coveted LSD, short fifth gear, and most recently completely rewired chassis with modern fuseboxes. I’d challenge anyone to find a cheaper class to be at the top of the field.

If fitted with a properly built roll cage, not a bolt-in, yes. Hanksville Hotrods owner Hank Padilla builds the nicest cages on the market for these cars, and they come pre-fitted, notched, and clearly labelled for an extremely reasonable price. As an added bonus, the hatch area works like a pickup bed, fitting four wheels and tires in transport!

The “geniuses” at Porsche decided a harmonic balancer was too complicated and opted to use a much simpler opposing balance-shaft system. These are often put together one tooth off, causing vibration issues that can lead to cracked fuel rails. Finding a reputable, experienced engine builder is absolutely key for these cars. A well-built engine will go seven seasons without rebuild as long as you do preventive rod bearings and timing belts every other season.
These are fun, inexpensive cars to race. They are typically a little faster than Spec E30 and Spec Miata and, to have a car capable of winning a National Championship is easily half what you’d pay for a Spec Miata capable of the same thing. They are similar in cost to Spec E30, with much less variation in horsepower.

News

Latest 944 Spec News Around The Country

  • Championship on the Line
    on January 5, 2021

    NASA Great Lakes 944 Spec racer Matt Giuffre and Dan Piña were vying for the 2020 regional 944 Spec championship. All Giuffre needed to do was […]

  • Smoke Screen
    on December 17, 2019

    After a cloud of smoke from a blown-up 944 Spec car obscured the track, Tyler Harrell had a choice between lifting and giving up two spots or staying […]

  • Marcelo Vine Wins the 2019 944 Spec Championship
    on October 8, 2019

    Marcelo Vine has had an arduous climb to a 944 Spec Championship. He got edged out in 2017. In 2018, he won the race, but failed a tech inspection […]

  • Mid-Ohio Melee Round Three
    on July 30, 2019

    The big wreck in May at Mid-Ohio has produced a lot of YouTube footage. Here’s one last look at the carnage that occurred early in the Lightning […]

  • Spec 944 Standing Start
    on April 1, 2019

    Check out the great racing that goes on in 944 Spec in NASA’s Great Lakes Region. Multiple-time National Champion Dan Piña dices through in-class […]

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