Singer’s DLS Turbo
DrivesToday presents Singer’s craziest Porsche 911 restoration yet – the 935-inspired DLS Turbo. Here’s everything you need to know.
Everything you need to know about Singer’s latest restoration of the 964-generation 911, this time inspired by the 934 and 935
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the DLS Turbo – Singer Vehicle Design’s most visually extreme restoration yet of Porsche’s venerable 911. Once again based on the 964-generation 911, this DLS Turbo is a throwback to the dynamic days of the 934 and 935 endurance racers, their big wings and bulging bodywork the result of Porsche engineer Norbert Singer’s clever interpretation of the FIA rule book.
A captivating era of sports car racing for many, this heyday of group 4 and group 5 racing clearly had an impact on Singer’s founder, Rob Dickinson: “I was 12 when my father’s friend showed us his Super 8 film of the 1977 Watkins Glen Six Hours. As the familiar face of a Porsche 911 morphed into impossibly boxed hips, gaping intakes and a giant double-planed rear wing, I can still remember the shock and the realisation that this was the other life of the 911 – the racing car. Since Singer began, I’ve wanted to return to that moment, collaborate with our clients and celebrate that car: the 934/5.”
Promising 700hp and over 9,000rpm, the DLS Turbo looks set to feature performance as bonkers as its looks. Of course, this isn’t Singer’s first foray into utilising turbocharging technology on its 911 restorations – that happened 18 short months ago with the announcement of its Turbo Study, which received updated 930-esque looks while still being based on the 964 platform.
By Singer’s own admission, the Turbo Study is more of a grand tourer. This car, on the other hand, assumes the same principles as the company’s DLS (Dynamics and Lightweighting Study) revealed to the world some four years ago. The DLS enabled owners to explore the ultra-high-performance capabilities of their naturally aspirated, air-cooled 911, incorporating technology born from the world of Formula 1 – now with turbocharging thrown in. Rob continues: “The results of turbocharging our advanced four-valve, high-revving DLS engine have been quite spectacular and combining it with all we have learned about light-weighting and vehicle dynamics has provided the perfect canvas to honour the Type 934/5 and its vital role in the genesis of the 911 as a racing car.” The DLS Turbo restorations will begin assembly from early 2024, at Singer’s UK facility. These cars will replace the DLS, with assembly of those cars due to be phased out around the same time. Like all Singer restorations, the DLS Turbo will be created from a classic Porsche 964, which will be stripped down to its bare chassis for close inspection and strengthening before the big rebuild begins, which will include a cloaking in that stiff yet lightweight carbon-fibre body.
The body has been influenced by computational fluid dynamics analysis, which contributes to an increase in downforce over the current DLS by around 80 per cent. It features a gaping 934-esque front end offering plenty of cooling optimisation for those carbon-ceramic brakes and monobloccalipers, with exit vents behind the front wheels and in the front bonnet. That bonnet vent, together with the location of the centrally mounted fuel filler cap behind it, means there’s no room for luggage in the frunk of the DLS Turbo.
Further highlights in the DLS Turbo’s bodywork can be found in those large 935-style rear arches protruding out abruptly from under the rear quarter windows. Their boxy profile enables a large inlet vent to feed cool air to the engine and turbochargers, while a NACA duct on top of each arch channels air specifically to the DLS Turbo’s exhaust system, which exits behind the rear wheels on each side.
The unique location of those exhaust tips are necessitated by a huge diffuser at the rear of the DLS Turbo. Its trailing edge extends beyond that of the impact bumper, which itself is well hidden within that lairy 935-esque bodywork addenda. It’s at this point we should say there are actually two iterations of the DLS Turbo available. If you find the big wing and deep chin spoiler of the track-focused setup (exemplified by the Blood orange example on show in our photos) to be too ostentatious, there’s a road-focused package available. Illustrated by the Moet blanc commission, this features a ducktail at the rear, and a slightly friendlier front fascia for managing associated lumps and bumps on the public road.
Singer points out that the front and rear ends are interchangeable between the track- and road-focused packages, so prospective owners can choose whichever they like. There are also tweaks to the interior of the DLS Turbo dependant on whether the customer opts for a road or track package, on top of the plethora of personalisation and unique styling options typically available.
Somewhere in the back you’ll find a flat six engine which, of course, begins with that original Porsche 964 block. Singer then lavishes it with upgrades including a 3.8-litre capacity with four valves per cylinder, twin turbochargers with electric wastegates, air-to-water intercooling and a horizontally mounted, electrically powered fan. This latter detail in particular will appeal to those of us who remember the iconic flat fans seen historically on significant Porsche race cars. The turbochargers run in parallel, based on each bank of cylinders with a link pipe on the compressor outlet to balance the plenum intake air. DrivesToday asked Singer if there will be any optional states of tune available for the DLS Turbo, to which a spokesperson replied, “We deem 700hp to be sufficient.”
Power is sent to the rear wheels only via a six-speed manual gearbox. The wheels themselves are centre-locking and made from forged magnesium by BBS with a staggered fitment of 19-inches on the front axle and 20-inches on the rear. If you’re going for the track pack, you’ll unlock access to those glorious turbofan wheels that BBS made so famous on race tracks around the world back in that aforementioned 1970s era.
Track-oriented suspension and bespoke dampers that can be adjusted remotely are among the options that may be considered by those owners who choose to have their 964 reimagined within Singer’s DLS Turbo framework.
Singer remains tight-lipped on certain aspects of the DLS Turbo, including pricing, production numbers and specific weight of the car. However, because it’s based on the DLS platform, we can reasonably assume these cars will comfortably cost the owner seven figures. In regards to weight, Singer cryptically told us to expect 990kg of the DLS together with allowance for the turbocharging technology and extra bodywork.
What we do have, though, are the dimensions of the DLS Turbo, which suggest this restoration has grown significantly compared to the 964’s original proportions. Measuring over two metres wide, the DLS Turbo is wider even than that of Porsche’s current 992 Turbo S. At over 5,500mm in length the track-focused package is more than a meter longer than a 992 Turbo S, too, although much of this comes down to that deep front chin and extended rear wing. If you’re going for the road-focused package, your DLS Turbo is around the same length as a new Turbo S. There are no tested or event-quoted 0-62mph and top speed figures as of yet, although Singer is quick to point out that it doesn’t chase times, but rather driver enjoyment through dynamic engagement instead. That’s nice to hear, of course, but we’d still like to knew where this £1 million automotive jewel sits within the realm of super sports cars.
So what does the road map look like from here? Attendees of Goodwood’s Festival of Speed will have already seen the two DLS Turbo examples here in the flesh, before these test examples are transported Stateside for an August appearance at Car Week on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Afterwards, they’ll undergo both hot and cold weather testing at facilities around the world for the rest of 2023, including at Porsche’s own Nardò facility in southern Italy. As mentioned earlier, the first customer DLS Turbos are then slated for assembly from early 2024. While the reaction among Porsche enthusiasts has so far been mixed (clearly that big wing and 935 race car styling is just too gaudy for some), we at DrivesToday very much like what we see, particularly as there’s so much visual referencing to significant race cars from Porsche’s past that have helped cement the 911’s place as one of the most successful sports cars of all time. Quips that Singer is heading down the divisive RWB route with its restorations are both misjudged and ill-informed.
Mazen Fawaz, CEO, Singer Group, told us: “Our Dynamics and Lightweighting Study heralded a new era at Singer and facilitated enormous maturation of our operations in California and the United Kingdom. We’ve collaborated with some of the most famous names in the automotive world, including Bosch and Michelin, as we continue our mission to set ourselves ever higher standards. We will continue to serve our creative and passionate client base with exciting new ideas like DLS Turbo.” With that in mind, we can’t wait to see how the project plays out into 2024 and beyond.
Highlights at a glance…
Its design honours the iconic 934 and 935 race cars Melds DLS engineering principles with twin-turbocharging Capable of 700hp, with its redline in excess of 9,000rpm Achieves 80 per cent greater downforce than current DLS Track- and road-focused packages are available
“The body has been influenced by computational fluid dynamics analysis, which contributes to an increase in downforce over the current DLS by around 80 per cent”
ABOVE You can choose to fit either Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 or Cup 2R tyres on to the handsome forged magnesium, centre-locking wheels BELOW The rear of the DLS Turbo road-focused model, which features a more subtle ducktail-style wing on top of the 935-inspired widebody
“We deem 700hp to be sufficient”
RIGHT The front bumper is inspired by the 934, with extra vents introduced at the front of the car to help take cooling to the next level. ABOVE The interior is a great example of Singer’s attention to detail, balancing both period looks and 21st century sensibilities