Pick your jaw up off the floor: this is Singer’s bewinged 700bhp DLS-T project

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Pick your jaw up off the floor: this is Singer’s bewinged 700bhp DLS-T project

Dynamics and Lightweighting Study meets Turbo for one of the most outrageous cars of the decade

Ollie MarriagePublished: 27 Jun 2023  External link to Top Gear Magazine Subscription – 5 issues for £5Skip 28 photos in the image carousel and continue reading1 / 28

Let’s just marvel at this one for a while shall we? I suspect you have been already. Maybe you’d like some more time? Go back, just check that rear arch is as mad as it looks?

It is, take it from me. I saw this car a few months back as a clay model. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a car deliver more of an optical haymaker. The proportions, the width, the haunches, the rear wing… OK wings – I’ll come on to that shortly.

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Right, pick your jaw up, it’s fact time. This is the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study – Turbo, an amalgam of Singer’s last two interpretations of the Porsche 911. Those were the DLS and last year’s Turbo Study. In other words it’s a turbocharged DLS, although as your eyes are informing you, this is clearly not just a matter of bolting a pair of puffers on to the 4.0-litre flat six and shoving it out the door. Not least because this engine is a 3.8.

You can tell where inspiration has been drawn from, can’t you? 1970s Le Mans – but specifically a car that didn’t compete there, but in IMSA racing in the USA: the Type 934/5. That car swept the Group 4 board in 1977, winning six of the eight races. “From a design standpoint, my one criticism of that car is that it looks a bit anaemic at the front,” said Singer’s founder Rob Dickinson, “and I wanted our car to be muscular at the front to compete with the back – and I really wanted to go to town on the back.”

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Wondering how on earth the Loop spoiler is road legal? In some countries it won’t be. Or maybe you just don’t want something so… outlandish. In which case there’s a ducktail instead. The front end is different according to which you choose – it’s all about the visual balance and offsetting the rear end madness. But you’re not limited to either/or. You can choose both.

“The idea is that some owners prefer their restoration to be track-focused, with a larger rear wing and more aggressive front bumper, while others prefer a road-focus, with the ducktail,” said Dickinson, “however, if the owner wants ultimate freedom of choice, they may request both, and the extra front and rear will come in a set of flight cases.”

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The aim is extra downforce, of course. “But not crazy, super downforce, it’s not a race car or a car focused on lap times,” said Singer’s CEO, Mazen Fawaz. Of course it’ll be deeply fast, “but while the aim of the DLS was perfect balance and connection, here we wanted to recreate the vibe of an old school super sports car… and the car I have in mind is a Ferrari F40. The idea is that you have this bonkers, high boost, manual car, but you can wield it, you don’t have to be a racing driver”.

So the DLS-T will have all the latest safety and stability systems, but at its heart lies a 700bhp twin-turbo flat six that still revs to 9,000rpm. The changes over the DLS are considerable. This is not a purely air-cooled engine any more – it now has water-cooled cylinder heads and the cooling fan is mounted vertically drawing air down from the rear window intakes. It’s also electrically powered, not mechanically driven from the crank.

The naturally aspirated DLS needed those rear window intakes to cram as much air into the engine as possible, “but the turbos generate enormous suction making the DLS-T a vacuum cleaner, so we can pull engine air in from the deck lid”, said Fawaz. Meanwhile there are side exit exhausts – something not seen on these shores since the TVR Sagaris. “It’s going to be interesting to see how it sounds when you’re only really listening to one bank of cylinders out each side,” Dickinson added.

A new six-speed manual gearbox was needed to cope with the torque. It’s currently in development with Ricardo. “It’ll have an exposed linkage, and hopefully be as nice to use as an original G50 ‘box,” said Dickinson. Drive is to the rear wheels only. Wouldn’t be anything like as fearsome if it went to all four now, would it?

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The front suspension design is carried over from DLS. “It’s technically not a double wishbone front end,” said Fawaz, “but an upper wishbone with a lower multi-link.” The set-up will be track-orientated and bespoke remote adjustment dampers will be available. Singer’s timing with Porsche is always interesting – they developed the DLS suspension around the same time Porsche equipped the GT3 with double wishbones at the front. Now, the latest 911 GT3 RS has lost its front boot to extra cooling requirements – and so has the DLS-T. Luggage will have to travel in the car with you.

The brakes are carbon ceramic, contained within forged magnesium centre-lock wheels. The alternative is a stunning set of BBS deep-dish rims. The fronts are 19s, the rears 20s, the latter fitted with 345/30 tyres from Michelin – either Cup 2s or Cup 2Rs. “Making these big wheels feel like they belong is quite challenging, as is getting the ride heights right – it sits a bit higher than DLS because of the wheels,” said Dickinson. “It’ll have tons of mechanical grip, that’s for sure.”

As with the DLS, the turbocharged cars will be restored at Singer’s UK facility in Oxfordshire. Singer’s workforce has more than doubled in the past year, and now employs more than 500 people worldwide, with around 350 at the assembly centre in Los Angeles. The waiting list for its restored Porsche 911s now stretches out to the end of 2027.

Singer restored 75 964-generation 911s into DLSs, and such was its success that the plan is to commission 99 DLS Turbos. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but given the DLS was upwards of $2 million, it’s safe to assume this will tip past that. It doesn’t matter. The demand for everything that comes out from Singer is seemingly insatiable, and this promises to whip up a frenzy of excitement beyond anything else the company has done. Until now its cars have been beautifully executed, but relatively surreptitious. The DLS-T goes down as one of the wildest and most outrageous cars of the decade. Bring on the wing.

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