Mini-Feature: Jason Lightner’s Porsche 912E Rally Car

When it comes to off-roading, the typical enthusiast’s vehicle is a Jeep, Toyota, or some truck. These types of vehicles have tons of ground clearance, articulation, most times solid axles, and a frame (excluding the XJ Cherokee). When we were at the 2018 Jump Champs event, we came across something unique in the sea of Jeeps and trucks: a Porsche.

In general, seeing a car at events like this is odd, although, it’s not too uncommon to see Subaru rally cars. The Porsche was entirely unexpected, so we had to talk to the owner and see what was up.

The car is a 1976 Porsche 912E rally car. The owner of the Porsche, Jason, was into off-roading for quite some time until stage rally racing caught his eye.

“I’ve got another car, and I’ve been off-roading since probably 2009,” he said. “Then I got into stage rally back in 2013. I’ve had this car for probably 14 or 15 years. It was a great daily driver. When I started racing, I needed a nice, fresh, and clean chassis that was dependable. So, I benched the other car and built this one.”

One of the cool things about stage rally racing is that you don’t need a crazy amount of power or a complicated suspension system. The number of modifications you need depends on what class you race in, but the most essential changes revolve around safety.

When we asked Jason what modifications he had done, he replied: “Besides the safety equipment, not much. Roll cage, seat belts, fire extinguishers, and stuff like that. The suspension is adjustable, so it didn’t need much. It has torsion bar suspension, so basically on one side there is an adjuster, and you can use a bolt to raise or lower the car. I can adjust it up and down probably about four or five inches; right now, it’s maxed out.”

For the wheel and tire setup, Jason is using the OEM Porsche 15-inch “cookie cutter” wheels, an ideal size for rally racing as it allows you to have a decent amount of sidewall for those hard bumps. The tires wrapped around said wheels are 215/75R15 Hankook Dynapros, the smallest mud-terrain tire that Jason could find, and he loves them. As you can tell from the photos, the tires just barely fit in the wheelwells, even with the suspension cranked up.

When asked what his favorite part of the Porsche was, he replied: “Just the way it handles. It’s a dream anywhere you take it. It will climb anything, and it will go through anything as long as it’s not three feet deep. It had no problem on this track today in the mud, and it just plowed right through everything; hammer down and go.”

It was super cool seeing Jason’s Porsche at Jump Champs 2018, and we hope to see more stage rally racers at events like these to help more people get into the sport of rally racing.

About the author

Bryce Cleveland

Bryce has been in the automotive industry for most of his life. He’s done everything from fixing cars, flipping cars, writing about cars, and everything in-between. He has owned a total of 18 vehicles, most of which he owned before the age of 20. He currently drives his 2015 Ford Fiesta ST every single day and has plans to buy his third Jeep XJ Cherokee very soon.
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