Sing Star The results of Singer Vehicle Design’s much anticipated Dynamics and Lightweighting Study broke cover at the Goodwood Festival of Speed… Story: Simon Jackson Photography: Singer Vehicle Design.
Singer Vehicle Design’s much anticipated Dynamics and Lightweighting Study 911 broke cover at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It received a rapturous response…
Renowned automotive specialist, Singer Vehicle Design, debuted the results of its Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS) at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. First teased to the world in November, the project is the realisation of three-years of development with the aim of adding lightness and increased performance to an air-cooled 911 in ways never seen before. A client-inspired collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering – part of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering Group – and a number of other technical partners, the DLS project’s aim of delivering the most advanced air-cooled Porsche 911 ever conceived would seem to have been successfully realised. Billed as ‘a relentless pursuit of excellence through a lightweight philosophy’, the collaborative effort has also seen input from legendary Porsche men Hans Mezger and Norbert Singer.
The DLS project began when Singer client and Porsche enthusiast, Scott Blattner, requested lightweight and high-performance enhancements to his 1990 964. To meet the goals defined in collaboration with Scott, Singer and Williams formed a technical partnership to engineer a selection of restoration and modification solutions. Singer Vehicle Design says that restorations resulting from DLS are reserved for ‘a few very special customers’.
Each area of the Study has been examined for weight saving and increased torsional stiffness, full carbon fibre bodywork ensures every panel is unique, while chassis balance has been improved by moving the engine forward and relocating certain components to the front storage area. According to Singer the 500hp 4.0-litre normally aspirated engine represents a step forward in advanced aircooled engine development.
Founder and Creative Director of Singer Vehicle Design, Rob Dickinson, commented: “The Dynamics and Lightweighting Study has been years in the making. To see the results, representing the ongoing pursuit of our client’s vision for their ultimate air-cooled 911, is so exciting. We’ve worked relentlessly to present a machine that visually celebrates the past while acknowledging the future – both inside and out. It’s our fourth year at this incredible event and we’re thrilled to be back at Festival of Speed for its twenty-fifth anniversary and to wish Porsche a very happy 70th birthday.”
The Dynamics and Lightweighting Study features a 500hp 4.0-litre normally aspirated air-cooled Porsche flat-six engine developed by Williams Advanced Engineering with technical advice and consultancy from Porsche engineer, Hans Mezger. With four titanium valves per cylinder and dual overhead cams, the engine revs to a heady 9,000rpm, it uses magnesium and lightweight materials to reduce mass. In addition, it features lightweight throttle bodies with F1-inspired upper and lower injectors to enhance performance and drivability, a unique oil system improves lubrication and cooling.
A bespoke six-speed gearbox developed with Hewland uses magnesium casings with hollow shafts to reduce rotating mass, the transmission is short to enable the engine to be positioned further forward. Williams Advanced Engineering assisted suspension development. A lightweight multi-link double wishbone front arrangement works in partnership with a lightweight aluminium rear trailing arm, with integral brake cooling – bespoke dampers feature remote adjustment.
The latest CCM-R carbon ceramic brake technology has been utilised in partnership with Brembo – lightweight brake discs and calipers are good for both road and track use. In front of the brakes come lightweight 18-inch forged magnesium monoblock centrelock wheels, developed for the Study by BBS Motorsport. The high-strength aluminium and titanium centre-lock mechanism was developed by Williams Advanced Engineering.
Wrapped around them are bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (245/35 front and 295/30 rear) comprising a bi-compound asymmetric design with Variable Contact Patch 3.0 technology. Working with Bosch, the DLS project has given birth to specially calibrated ABS, traction and electronic stability control systems – switchable driving modes afford the option for these to be turned off completely. Lightweight air-conditioning and heating systems also appear.
Partner Williams Advanced Engineering worked with technical advice and consultancy from Norbert Singer on the advanced aerodynamics of the DLS. Through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis the parties worked on a number of areas designed to ensure optimum air-flow, working to eliminate front axle lift via redesigning the front oil-cooler intake and venting, together with the addition of a new front splitter. Air is channelled over the roof and down the rear window towards an optimised ducktail rear spoiler and diffuser to generate downforce at the back-end. Ram-air intakes and rear decklid venting aid the cooling of the engine.
In the cabin, Recaro has specially designed a lightweight carbon fibre sports seat while MOMO has developed a carbon fibre steering wheel to the same brief. A raised manual shifter with an exposed titanium and magnesium linkage combine with drilled carbon and titanium pedals and a carbon fibre clad instrument panel(shift lights are integrated into the tacho) to provide a purposeful vibe. Ultimately wherever you look you’ll find details to die for…
At Goodwood a 1989 Porsche 911 restored by Singer and resulting from DLS (finished in Heart Attack Red with a Black interior) took part in the Michelin Supercar Paddock Hillclimb Run – friend of Singer and self-confessed Porsche aficionado, Marino Franchitti, was on hand to perform driving duties, but a few others got a taste of the new car too, including former GT Porsche contributor turned Top Gear TV presenter, Chris Harris.
Harris previously commented: “I’m not an engineer by trade, but just look at the list of clever people around me and you’ll see that’s no great problem. I’m here for two reasons: to help define how the car drives, how it feels – how it will interact with each of the lucky owners. And to document the entire process from start to finish. Rob, Maz and the team are visionaries in this space, and this is a once-in- a-lifetime project. Just thinking about the finished machine makes me grin.
At Goodwood Harris took to Twitter to pronounce his feelings toward the DLS accomplishments, commenting before driving it: ‘Lump in throat. So proud of all of you at @singervehicles’ and after a run up the hill driving the Heart Attack Red car simply: ‘What an engine’.
Hollywood actor Tom Hardy was amongst those treated to a passenger ride in the car during the weekend, petrolhead Hardy posted a video of the run (he was driven by Franchitti) on his Instagram account appearing to love the experience – characteristically he’s a man of few words. A second 1990 Porsche 911 restored by Singer and resulting from DLS (finished in Parallax White with a Norfolk Yellow interior) accompanied eight further Porsche 911s, all reimagined by Singer, in a static display on the Cartier lawn outside Goodwood House over the course of the weekend. The eight vehicles were all primarily UK-based 1991 Porsche 964s and included the Goodwood, London, Surrey, Dorset, Monaco, Manchester, Weisbaden and Qatar Commissions.
No more than 75 of these special cars will exist, prices start at £1.4 million, which is an incredible amount of money no matter which way you slice it. However, given the work and attention to detail that has gone into this project, it’s little wonder. Dickinson has remained adamant since Singer Vehicle Design found notoriety that it is not over charging for its cars, and that the business would one day sit in parallel with the likes of Eagle E-Types – it charges approximately $1 million for its Jaguar recreations. Given the response to the DLS program, Singer’s most ambitious project to date, it would seem that day has well and truly arrived…