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Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in ou...
Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in our club fans and fans of the legendary series cars Porsche 911. All about 911-901, 930, 964, 993, 996 and new era 997 and 991-series.

If you're buying a used 911 as an investment, send me your address so that I can arrange a visit from the boys. Investors who never drive their 911s bring a word to mind. That word is 'pimp'. As 911 diehards, the boys don't like pimps, so when they arrive, make sure your engine is still warm, the exhaust system is making that tinkling noise and there is evidence in your tyres of some recently accomplished brisk cornering.

All 911s, from 1963 to this afternoon, share a characteristic 911 'feel', but that varies greatly in degree. Bog-standard used Coupes from the late 1970s or 1980s once delivered the goods for sensible money but they might demand some restoration work now.

Choosing a 911 is such a very personal matter. Just go for what you really want, get the best straight car you can find and look after it. Reliability is legendary but repairs can be costly.

My choice is currently the 993 Carrera 2 Coupe of 1993-98. Its predecessor, the 964, was respectable but dull. The 993's different, agile feel makes it terrific to drive and good ones go for less than £30,000 - this week, anyway.
It's the last air-cooled 911 model but so what? Later models lost nothing by being water-cooled. No, pick a 993 for its exhilarating agility, and its price.

A friend of mine paid £26,000 for a superb 1994 993 Carrera 2 in late 2013. He loves it, whether he's tootling about the shops or on a 300-mile blast through the remote Highlands of Scotland, where it truly excels. And that's no more than it deserves.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1973 // £500,000
The eternally great, ultimate development of the original 911 concept, it combines high performance and low weight with inch-perfect precision handling. Superb but the price of this model now, sir, is officially‘through the roof'. If you buy one, promise us you will use it.

On an autumn day in 1972 the salesman from Porsche GB came to visit our house. 'We're making a special car,' he told my father. 'Only 200 will be built, and we're offering them to our best clients first as demand is sure to be strong.' They built more than 1500 in the end, and demand was so great that, instead of management having to use them as company cars to use up unsold stock as expected, Porsche sold out the first batch of 500 immediately and had to build two more series.

Why the fuss? Because the RS is so much more than the sum of its parts. It was derived from the relatively humble 2.4S, but with flared rear arches and wider wheels (a 911 first), bored-out engine (at 2.7 litres Porsche's biggest road car motor to date), a rear spoiler (another first, and not just for Porsche, so initially illegal in some markets) and, last but not least, weight-loss that took the RS under the magic 1000kg in 'lightweight' trim.
The result: 150mph, 0-60mph in 5.0sec, handling to die for (and you would if you lifted off mid-comer) and a string of victories on every continent including rallies, Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Oh, and you can drive it to the shops.

Mine's been in the family for 42 years and has never once 'failed to proceed'. Beat that, Enzo...


Porsche 911 GT3 (997-series, generation II)
2009-12 // £80,000-120,000
The 997-series Generation II cars were terrific in their time and the naturally aspirated 997 GT3 was a hugely powerful, seriously fabulous machine, subtly better in fast corners than previous GT3 models.
A classic in waiting - bound to be a sound long-term investment.

Any brand new 911
2015 // From around £75,000
Admit it, they are absolutely brilliant. If you don’t want one, you should. Buy it, keep it, service it properly. One day, it will be a classic but, meanwhile, enjoy a few happy decades driving it. The best of all worlds.
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  •   David Lillywhite reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    #RPM 996 CSR. The 996 is today’s poor-relation of the #911 family, but this brilliant sports car has much to offer, even more so when it’s been in the hands of a leading specialist. Road to Redemption RPM 996 CSR. Despite many having an issue with the #Porsche-996 #Carrera , RPM Technik thinks it’s still a 911 to savour, which is why it has developed its #CSR concept for this much-maligned 911. Story: Jethro Bovingdon. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    Its time is coming. It has to be. People are waking up to the #996 because, frankly, for many it’s now the only affordable 911. Cheap 964s are a distant memory, once unloved SCs are now hot property, the 3.2 Carrera is heating up in its afterglow and the 993 has been commanding strong money for some time. The air-cooled cars are, quite rightly, now solid gold classics with prices to match. So you want a genuinely cheap 911? Welcome to your only choice, people. The one with water pumping through its arteries, fried egg headlights and, as legend has it, an engine made from chocolate, old paper clips swept out from behind the cupboards at #Weissach and chewing gum scraped from the underside of the engineer’s desks: The 996 Carrera.

    Of course I’m being facetious. As you might know I own a 996 Carrera and all my formative #Porsche-911 experiences were at the wheel of various flavours of this much-maligned series. So I’m biased. But before we try RPM Technik’s lighter, harder, faster version of the 996 Carrera it’s worth taking a little trip back to the late 1990s to see what the 996 promised. Its task was simple but critical: ensure Porsche’s survival by turning a meaningful profit. In order to fulfil its mission the 996 was cheaper to build than the 993, shared many parts with the recently launched Boxster and was intended to broaden the appeal of the 911 by offering more practicality, accessible handling and greater refinement. Hardly a list of qualities to get the die-hard 911 fan’s heart pumping faster. In fact you might conclude that Porsche was, ahem, watering down the 911 experience.

    Of course, that devastating conclusion has become the prevailing view, but it rather ignores the 996’s many strengths. Namely that the 996 was lighter, more powerful and faster than the car it replaced. It accelerated harder, stopped faster, had more grip and finer balance. I have a copy of German magazine Sport Auto’s ‘Supertest’ of an original 996 Carrera 3.4 and it serves to highlight that the 996 delivered more than just a sound business model for Porsche. From 0-200kph the 993 clocked 26.7-seconds to the 996’s 22.9 seconds. At Hockenheim the 996 lapped at 1:15.9, a full 2.3 seconds quicker than the 993. Its margin at the Nürburgring was 11 seconds (8:17 vs 8:28), it had better aero balance in the wind tunnel and so the list goes on. So while there’s no question that the 996 was a cheaper, more profitable car it’s equally true that it evolved the 911’s dynamic capabilities with considerable success. And not just in terms of cold, hard objective data. The 996 Carrera emerged victorious in various magazines’ Car of the Year gatherings and won nearly every group test it ever showed up to. In other words if this is your only choice for 911 thrills, maybe you shouldn’t be too depressed.

    RPM-Technik understands the 996 Carrera’s appeal and with GT3 prices continuing to rise the company felt now was the right time to give the model its CSR treatment. Regular readers will remember the #997 CSR from last year, a sort of GT3-lite that realised much of the potential of the 997 Carrera. The new 996 CSR package follows a similar approach but perhaps makes more sense.

    Early 3.4s are still hovering around the £12,000 mark but these are 15-year-old cars now and will usually require a sort of mini rolling restoration if you buy one. I’m going through this process myself and although you can find a sweet early Carrera that still drives very well, inevitably you’ll start thinking about new bushes, maybe refurbished dampers, new discs and pads… the list tends to get longer every time you log on to one of those addictive Porsche online parts shops. It’s a really rewarding process and can be done pretty economically, but RPM argues that although the CSR package isn’t cheap it’s less painful if you factor in the cost of refreshing everything back to OE standard. And, of course, you end up with a more focused, more special end result.

    The silver demonstrator, riding at GT3-style height and wearing gorgeous HRE wheels, certainly looks special and the spec suggests the dynamics should match the aesthetic. The CSR uses three-way adjustable KW suspension complete with new top mounts, polybushes allround, hollow adjustable anti-roll bars from Eibach, a rear axle housing a Wavetrac torsen limited-slip differential, a new intake and exhaust system and carbon fibre side sills and engine cover complete with ducktail spoiler. The brake discs remain OE but Performance Friction pads beef-up the response and should prove more durable under demanding conditions. RPM claims a total weight saving of around 30kg but the expensive HRE wheels are an option that I suspect few will take up (they cost £5000 plus VAT), the alternative being GT3-style Sport Classic wheels. The M96 engine has been fitted with an LN Engineering IMS bearing upgrade, low temperature thermostat and features a lightweight clutch and flywheel. You can go further with a carbon fibre bonnet (as fitted to this car), RSS solid engine mounts, GT3-style adjustable suspension arms… The list is almost endless.

    No question then, the CSR has some choice modifications. However, it does not come cheap. Deliver your slightly baggy Carrera to RPM’s workshop and it will transform it into a lean CSR for around, gulp, £20,000. RPM is also looking to source 3.4 Carreras and offer turnkey cars for around £27,000. Expect a 100,000-miler with the engine upgrades and a clean bill of health for that price, but there’s no actual rebuild cost included. I absolutely understand where all that money goes, but it’s still not going to be especially easy to persuade people to ignore a nice 996 Turbo or a 997 Carrera S and instead buy an early 996 with some tasty suspension and aesthetic mods. It needs to be bloody marvellous, in fact.

    I love jumping into 996s just because they bring memories flooding back. I adore the amazing tactility of the steering, the slim dimensions that make the whole car feel so intimate and the tangible sense of lightness. Remember, the GT3 utilised the heavier C4 chassis and with all the other bigger items it required (think brakes etc), a Carrera carries a small weight advantage at just 1320kg. That relatively low mass infects the whole car, from the way it changes direction to the way it rides over a bumpy road. As you’d expect it is preserved and exaggerated in the CSR. First impressions? This trimmed-down 996 is still properly quick, sounds terrific with the new exhaust silencers and builds on the donor car’s agility and responsiveness. Good signs. Shame the original but optional hard backed seats are set a shade too high. I think the CSR needs some tasty replacements.

    We’re on one of my favourite roads in the whole world, the surface is mostly dry and visibility can be measured in hundreds of metres – perfect to carry a bit of speed in safety. The surface is coarse and many of the corners drop away or hide wicked lumps to unsettle a car when it’s already well loaded-up. Despite the aggressive looking ride height the CSR rides pretty well. It doesn’t quite have the fluidity of a first generation GT3 (which is amazingly supple) but the KWs do a great job of parrying the worst bumps and the damping is decisive and controlled. In fact, the main thing that strikes you about the CSR is the tightness of all of its movements… it’s amazing what a fresh set of bushes and some expensive dampers can do. Any thought that a 996 must feel a bit baggy evaporates. In terms of response and control the CSR feels completely fresh.

    From the outside you notice the rake of the setup – front splitter almost scraping the floor but the rear running a bit higher. The car looks ‘on the nose’ and that’s exactly how it feels. Turn-in is very quick indeed and the front Michelin Pilot Sport 2s seem to serve up almost Cup levels of grip. The signature 996 light, bobbly front end is gone completely. If you can get this thing to understeer on the road in the dry then you should probably be sectioned. That initial response is more than matched by the traction available. The Wavetrac LSD is a geared diff and it finds simply tremendous drive. Even if you actively try to provoke the tail it barely budges, just giving a little wiggle of exit oversteer and only then when you’re fully committed at turn-in.

    Skimming over the moor, the engine hollering a distinctive, bassy growl in the strong mid range and yet revving with energy out to over 7000rpm, the CSR feels focused and genuinely exciting. The brakes feel excellent, too. The Performance Friction pads can be a bit noisy at low speeds but the solid brake pedal feel that they create is full of detail and is hugely reassuring. There’s just a real sense of quality to this enhanced 996 experience that’s at odds with its reputation. Even the long throw but deliciously fluid six-speed ‘box feels superb. I’d always thought that the gritty, heavy feel of the short-shift kits might be a good upgrade, but the lightness and accuracy of the ‘box on these roads matches the rest of the car’s controls beautifully.

    My only concern is that I’m not fully confident in the CSR and the 996 is a car I know better than perhaps any other. I’m certain it’ll turn in instantly and grip really hard… but what comes next? To me, some of the steering feel has been lost and the Wavetrac differential, for all the traction it provides, alters the dynamic responses of the 996 to a significant degree. With no locking action on the overrun you get superb front-end response and grip, but without any gentle understeer to lean up against, some of the famed 911 adjustability is lost. Usually a #911 comes alive when you feel the nose go light at the onset of understeer, because what you do with the throttle from here on in determines the balance of the car. Without that understeer, you lose the phase where the car snaps back into line with a throttle lift and then reacts precisely to further inputs, either almost organically around the neutral point or with a twist of oversteer. The CSR would be more exciting, easier to read and, crucially, more accessible if that quality could be reinstated. Maybe a plated differential just suits the 911 better?

    Sure enough when rain starts to fall the CSR proves that beyond the limit it’s trustworthy, well balanced and there are no nasty surprises. The front-end response still takes some getting used to as even in slippery conditions you need to be alert to the most subtle messages from the front tyres. Feel a micron or two of understeer and you can be sure there’s oversteer to follow pretty quickly behind. It’s easy to correct or even hold should you find that killer corner, but I still think most drivers (including myself!) would be able to exploit the CSR more fully with a little more understeer built in to the setup. I know there’s a whole aftermarket industry set up to eliminate understeer from the 911’s make-up but I’m not sure that’s necessarily the right thing to do unless you’re chasing lap times above all else. On the road it’s the gateway to a whole world of subtle thrills. Of course, I’d love to try the CSR on track, where perhaps the set up of the KWs and the Wavetrac diff would combine more naturally. For the most part RPM’s new baby is a huge success. For those who’ve only ever heard bad things about the 996, this car’s combination of speed, composure and excitement will be eyeopening.

    For me, it’s just nice to drive a 996 with all-new components, a tight focus on driving thrills and meticulous execution, because it still stacks up so well even in the context of 997s or the earlier cars. It makes the 996 seem a bigger bargain than ever and I suspect many Carreras will get a new lease of life over the coming years. The 964 used to be the hot rodder’s 911 of choice but as prices rise that pattern is ending. The 996 – the next great unloved 911, I suppose – is its natural heir and I hope RPM do good business with the CSR. They really pour their love and expertise into these projects and the components are top notch.

    Of course the burning question is whether anybody will dig deep to spend circa £20,000 on the full conversion? This is a tricky and personal question and, I suspect, each and every one of us might build a very different CSR. For example, much as I like the carbon fibre ducktail – it’s carbon fibre and a ducktail, after all – I’d save the money and put it into some better seats and an Alcantara rimmed steering wheel just because they’d enhance the driving experience on every single journey. I’d also love to try it with a plated diff and maybe wind up the ride height just a bit to give the front end a bit more travel. Of course RPM can and will do all of this for potential customers, in fact the choices and tuning of those choices is pretty open ended.

    So how you judge the value of all this stuff is as personal as ‘your’ CSR could become. If a basic but clean 964 Carrera is worth £35,000, does a fully-fettled, track-optimised 996 CSR stack up at under £30,000? In terms of pure driving enjoyment, absolutely. Is it a good substitute for that GT3 you’ve always promised yourself but now might not ever be able to afford? Again, yes. Aside from not being fitted with that engine, it’s not a million miles away at all. And you might find its more humble beginnings will mean you’ll be happy to drive it as Porsche intended with more freedom. Does it look like value compared to that rare thing – a well loved and cared for 3.4 that’s mechanically fresh and advertised for, say, £12,995? Not so much. So, like anything that involves a substantial investment, the CSR can be dismissed or justified in a million different ways. But if you want a highly focused, relatively affordable and seriously enjoyable #Porsche 911 for road and track days then the 996 as a platform is looking more attractive by the day. The CSR, with a bit of fine-tuning to your own personal requirements, could just be the answer.

    The KW Variant 3 suspension gives the CSR a quasi-GT3 stance. HRE alloys are £5000 plus VAT, lovely but pricey. 3.4-litre M96 gets a full overhaul including an LN Engineering IMS bearing upgrade.

    To discuss the CSR range and options contact RPM Technik at 01296 663824

    Revving with energy out to over 7000rpm, the CSR feels focused and genuinely exciting.
    The 996 was lighter, more powerful and faster than the car it replaced.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    WORK OF ART PORSCHE 1973 CARRERA RS

    The 1973 #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS is recognised by many as being the finest #911 ever. Hailed by many as the greatest road-legal 911 of all time, the #1973 #Carrera-RS remains top of the desirability stakes more than 40 years after its launch, but how many people are aware of the links between this desirable #Porsche-911 and the mighty 917? Words: Keith Seume. Photos: Stefan Bau.


    Some people believe that the Carrera RS is the best road car that Porsche ever built, and it’s easy to see why they might think that way. But can you really say that this 42-year-old car is better than, for example, a modern #997 GT3RS, or the newly-announced #Cayman GT4? That’s an impossible question to answer, for you have to put the RS in context with what else was around at the time.

    Modern limited-run, high-performance Porsches, such as the 911 GT3 (and its sibling, the turbocharged GT2) are undoubtedly breathtaking cars: they are seeringly fast – too fast, one might argue for road use – and, in the case of the GT3RS, pretty uncompromising. They are brutal trackday machines that are, to be frank, a pain in the proverbial to drive on anything other than billiard-tablesmooth roads. Drive a GT3RS for very long on the average British country road and you’ll soon be visiting your dentist to have your fillings replaced…

    And this is where we get to the crux of what makes the 1973 Carrera RS such a fantastic car. It is simply a great all-rounder. But before we go any further, let’s take a step back in time and look at the circumstances surrounding its development and release.

    Elsewhere in this issue you can read of the story behind Porsche’s greatest race car of all time, the mighty 917 (The Big One). As the cost of developing and competing at the highest levels of sports car racing – Can-Am in particular – had spiralled to what many within Porsche believed was an unacceptable level, the company began to consider other more costeffective ways to promote its products.

    Ernst Fuhrmann is well-known in classic circles today as the father of the four-cam motor in the 1950s. After a sabatical period at Goetze, he returned to #Porsche in #1971 initially as Technical Director, before being appointed Chairman of the Board in 1972. Fuhrmann’s return to Porsche coincided with the departure of Ferdinand Piech, father of the 917, who left to go to Audi. Fuhrmann made no secret of the fact that Piech’s obsession with the 917 and its race programme wasn’t in line with his ideas on how best to promote the marque. In Karl Ludvigsen’s Excellence was Expected, he is quoted as saying of the 917’s participation in Can-Am ‘That was a very interesting adventure, but one cannot constantly play on so many pianos. Now we are going to stay closer to production cars…’.

    But Fuhrmann still believed in the value of racing as a way to improve sales, and even though he was personally at the forefront of the movement within Porsche to ultimately kill off the 911 in favour of the 928 (plans for which were already on the drawing board in the early 1970s), he knew the rear-engined, air-cooled model still had a few years left in it. ‘Racing is good advertising for every car,’ said Fuhrmann – even a flagship front-engined V8-powered GT, like the future #Porsche-928


    Fuhrmann was a shrewd businessman as well as a great engineer. He looked dispassionately at the #Porsche-917 programme, weighing the expense incurred against the monetary returns in terms of sales – ie, did the 917 actually make the company any money? Amazingly, it seems it did, for the cost of the race programme was more than offset by the return in publicity generated by the 917’s successes on track.

    Just two months after he was appointed chairman of the board, Fuhrmann gave the go-ahead to develop the 911 for racing. Not since the days of the #911R had there been such a push, but this was not to be a short-term effort like the lightweight R. Porsche entered a raceready 911 in the #1972 GT Championship, beginning with the 1000km event at the Österreichring in June.

    Driven by Björn Waldegaard and Gunter Steckkönig – an experimental race engineer with Porsche since 1953 – the highly-modified 911 was forced to run under the looser, but highly-competitive Group 5 classification. It finished 10th, behind a series of all-out competition cars. Now lay the challenge of how to apply the lessons learnt from this early success to the 911 as a whole.

    The main questions were how to make the 911 more competitive on the track, and then to examine what modifications would have to be incorporated into a limited-series, road-going production car. To satisfy the requirements of the FIA Group 4 regulations, Porsche would need to build 500 examples – a far cry from the 25 (or, initially, 50) required years earlier for the 917 to be given the go-ahead.

    Norbert Singer was placed in charge of the project and his first task was to see how he could ‘build in’ lightness, to achieve a target weight of just 900kg. This was done by reducing the thickness of the steel used on the body pressings of the earliest cars, from 1.00 or 1.25mm to just 0.7mm. At the same time, the glass used in all other 911s was replaced by thinner, lighter material made by the Belgian company, Glaverbel. Lightweight glassfibre panels replaced the steel deck lid and rear bumper/ overriders, too, on models destined for the track. Interior trim was an obvious candidate for attention, with the rear seats deleted, all sound-proofing removed and new door cards installed, which dispensed with the normal armrests and door pulls in favour of plain panels with lightweight plastic handles from a #Fiat-500 and a pull-cord door realease.

    The heavy stock reclining seats were replaced, too, this time with lightweight buckets with thumbscrew adjusters to set the angle of the backrest. Oh, and there was no clock, no passenger sun visor, threshold trims or glove box lid. In short, anything that wasn’t needed got left in the parts bin…

    The bodywork came in for some significant restyling, too, with wider rear wheel arches designed to accommodate 7Jx15 Fuchs wheels, the fronts remaining at 6Jx15. Tyres were 185/70x15 and 215/60x15 #Pirelli-CN36 radials. Under those wheel arches were #Bilstein gas shock absorbers, which helped save just under 4 kilos, while a thicker front anti-roll bar (18mm instead of 15mm) was fitted, along with a 19mm rear.

    Visually, the most significant change to the 911’s profile was the distinctive RS ‘ducktail’ on the rear lid. This followed extensive wind tunnel testing at Stuttgart in the early 1970s, which led to the incorporation of the small lip spoiler under the nose of the 911S models. That was fine for a car with the performance potential of the regular road-going ‘S’, but at higher speeds it was discovered that airflow over the rear of the 911 generated significant lift at speeds over 150mph. By adding this simple ducktail, according to Ludvigsen, lift was reduced from a heady 320lbs to just 93lbs at 152mph. At the same time, the Cd figure fell slightly from 0.41 to 0.40 – a small improvement admittedly, but still worthwhile in the quest for perfection.

    A further advantage of the new spoiler was that it improved airflow into the engine bay, providing extra cooling and intake air for the new engine. And what an engine it turned out to be.

    The contemporary production unit displaced 2341cc (optimistically tagged ‘2.4’ by Porsche), but by increasing the bore from 84mm to 90mm, the capacity rose to 2681cc (nominally 2.7 litres). This was a deliberate choice to allow the engine to be developed for use in the 3.0- litre class, and in fact meant the Carrera had the same bore and stroke as that of the 5.4-litre 917/10: 90mm x 70.4mm. As we are starting to see, the Carrera RS owed much to the mighty 917…

    The lessons learnt from the all-conquering 917 didn’t stop there, for the Carrera’s engine featured Nikasil-lined aluminium cylinders produced by Mahle, in place of the Biral cylinders of the #Porsche-911E and #Porsche-911S models. This process proved to be far tougher than the previously-preferred chome-plating used on aluminium cylinders, thanks to the tiny grains of silicon-carbide contained in the coating. It also had the added benefit of allowing an oil film to adhere to the cylinder walls more effectively.

    The new (or rather ‘revised’) engine, which shared the remainder of its major components with the 2.4-litre unit, produced 210bhp at 6300rpm and some 255Nm of torque at 5100rpm. The transmission – type 915 – was the same as that used in the mainstream models, other than a slightly taller fourth and fifth gear ratios than those used on the 911S.

    The plan was to build just 500 examples of the Carrera RS (as the model became known) but as history has shown, the response was so great that this initial run sold more quickly than had been imagined possible. Four versions would be be available, the rarest being known as the RSH (for ‘homologation’) – a lightweight (960kg) model of which just 17 examples were built. Then came the #M471 and #M472c options, better known as the ‘Lightweight’ and ‘Touring’ respectively.

    The former was essentially a productionised version of the RSH, with slightly less attention paid to all-out weight savings. As a result, the factory-specified weight of the M471 model was 975kg, just 15kg more than the RSH. The #M472 , though, featured the same interior trim and detailing as the regular 911S, other than a smaller 380mm-diameter steering wheel. This trim package added around another 100kg to the all-up weight. The final offering was the 2.8-litre RSR (option M491), of which 55 examples were built for competition use. Ultimately, 1580 Carrera RSs were sold, not including the RSR – a far cry from the original planned run of just 500. However, by building 1000 (or more) examples, Porsche could now homologate the RS for use in the very competitive Group 3 GT racing category.

    The value of genuine, original RSs has, over the last few years, gone through the roof. After a period in the late 1980s when even a Lightweight could be purchased for £20-25,000 in the UK, they have continued to rise in value at an almost alarming rate. This has led to tales of fakes and forgeries (which is where the latest forensic examinations of VIN numbers comes in useful – see Drive-My News, so it is a wise man who seeks expert advice before entering into the purchase (or sale) of an RS today.

    But is an RS really worth a high-six figure (or more) price tag? How much better a car is it than a good 2.4 911S? That depends on who you ask. With a good ‘S’ costing between a quarter and a third of an equivalent RS, you’d need to be pretty set on Carrera RS ownership. But, on the other hand, there is no doubt that an RS is something very special – it’s a limited run model which has direct links to the 917. It was developed by Porsche’s finest engineers for use in the most competitive of all race categories. The letters ‘RS’ stood for RennSport, and that’s a pretty good indication this is something special. If you’ve not driven a 1973 Carrera RS, it’s hard to appreciate what a perfectly balanced package it is, be it in Lightweight or Touring trim – it’s definitely far more than just a ‘hopped up’ 911S. It hasn’t become the stuff of legends without cause. But what would you expect from a 911 born at a time when Porsches ruled the racetrack?
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  • ALL SHOW AND ALL GO

    2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 991. The new 991 911 GT3 RS stole the Geneva Motor Show, and with good reason. ‘Mr GT3’, Andreas Preuninger, talks us around his latest mind blowing RennSport creation…

    The new #911-GT3-RS stole the Geneva Motor Show, and with good reason. ‘Mr GT3’, Andreas Preuninger, talks us around his latest mindblowing RennSport creation… Story: Simon Jackson Photography: Porsche.

    If there’s one certainty in the constantly evolving automotive sphere it’s that any #Porsche wearing an RS badge will cause a riot at its unveiling. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show that’s exactly what the #991 GT3 RS did. And as I stood amongst row upon row of excited journos gathered from around the world prior to the covers being whipped off Andreas Preuninger’s latest road-going track car, that stir was tangible. In fact, I think the guy stood in front of me might have been in need of urgent medical attention. The car did not disappoint.

    By now you’ll have all seen the stats: a 4.0-litre version of Porsche’s latest #DFI engine producing 500hp; 460Nm of torque (around 339lb ft); 0-62 in 3.3 seconds; a top speed of 192mph; a body constructed from aluminium, carbon fibre and magnesium weighing ten kilograms less than the GT3 (at 1420kg); a staggeringly quick (borderline insane) Nordschleife lap time of 7mins, 20secs (faster than a Carrera GT); and a devastatingly aggressive aero-led aesthetic that will turn your mother-in-law to stone at ten paces. It’s all yours for £131,296, if there are any of the first UK allocation still available that is…

    But as with any RennSport model to emerge through the doors at Weissach, the facts and figures don’t tell the 991 GT3 RS’s full story. Someone who does summerise the passion and importance of this car, though, is its creator – Andreas Preuninger. Fortunately he was on hand in Switzerland to talk us around it…

    PREUNINGER ON ENGINES:

    Despite the speculation that the new GT3 RS might be a turbocharged affair, the car is actually powered by an all-new NA engine based upon the DFI found in the GT3, just as we had predicted in the run-up to its full reveal. As you might expect this retuned direct fuel injection 4.0-litre mill boasts the biggest displacement found in any naturally-aspirated 991.

    Preuninger is passionate about the powerplant: “We knew the GT3 engine could be hopped-up by displacement from 3.8-litres to 4.0 and we had already introduced this capacity with the [997] RS 4.0 so we couldn’t really go back on that. This was not a limited model, this car is the successor to the 3.8 RS, but still we wanted a 4.0-litre engine or one as great as the 4.0-litre engine.”

    But if you’re thinking that a simple rebore is the extent of the changes made here, think again, as Preuninger is only too happy to explain: “There are a lot of differences to the GT3, it’s not like the [old] Metzger engine. We have a different crankshaft made out of a material that is only used on the 919 LMP car called V361. It’s a highly, highly clean steel that is melted and solidified several times. It’s a very pure, durable and special metal, a Star Trek-era material that should belong on the Starship Enterprise. It’s a horrendously expensive part, I cannot believe how much it costs, but it works!”

    Porsche is typically modest about power outputs. Preuninger is modest, too, when discussing the power of the GT3 RS: “We’ve got different con rods, pistons, camshafts, cam springs and oil system – we touched a lot of parts in the engine internals. We wanted extra power. We wanted the RS to give more track performance. On paper it’s 500hp but in real life it’s a good deal more than that. We have to homologate GT cars way before the start of production and we always find something else during the development process. I like to be humble about these things.”


    When pushed a little Preuninger explains that the engine is producing around 5% more than the 500hp headline figure, making it somewhere closer to around 510hp. This increase should be comparable with the reality of engine power outputs of the past versus the numbers stated by Porsche, given Porsche’s track record of underselling itself with things like this. The compression ratio of the 4.0-litre engine is identical to the GT3 at 12:9.1 but the increased stroke (taking the engine capacity from 3.8 to 4.0) means top-end revs are down by 200rpm over the GT3 to 8800rpm – final drive in a subtlety tweaked PDK gearbox increases from 3.97 (GT3) to 4.19 in this new RS car.

    “It’s not that it cannot do the 9000rpms of the GT3,” Preuninger explains. “It just makes no sense. With a longer stroke the power curve drops off, then it feels like a diesel. It should explode up to the redline, then you have to shift. If you closed your eyes you’d have a hard time telling the difference between 8800 and 9000rpm. It’s still exciting at the top end.”

    Using the larger 911 Turbo body in many ways created issues to work around for Preuninger and his team but it also had its benefits, too. Was there ever any chance this car might have been force-induced? “We just use the rear ducts [of the Turbo body] to cool the intercooler, and to fool everybody looking at spy shots into thinking it was going to have a turbo engine!” Preuninger chuckles. “We made use of the superwide Turbo body: it was a slick, cool solution for us otherwise we would’ve had to make new sides without intakes which would have been expensive [to homologate]. An effect of this is that the car has a specific sound; you hear the induction noise quite a lot more than on a GT3. I like that. It adds to the special nature of the driving sensation.”

    PREUNINGER ON AERO:

    One of the most striking features on the new GT3 RS is its aerodynamic package. Vents and wings seemingly protrude from every angle but perhaps the biggest talking point has been the beautiful slats on the front wings. “The slats in the front wings don’t just help downforce, they absolutely double downforce,” Preuninger claims with passion. “This is such a unique and important feature on the car. By opening up the front wheel fenders and allowing air to get vented we have massively contributed to the overall downforce of the car.”


    Naturally, all of these new aero additions are functional rather than just cosmetic but it would be easier to dismiss their significance without understanding the reason for their existence. Preuninger is more than happy to explain:

    “The problem with 911s is that if you want to create overall downforce you still have to carry balance. Making downforce at the back is easy, you just need a big wing in the air but you need a countermeasure at the front to have a stable car. If you have too much at the back the car pivots around the rear axle and you get loose steering.”

    Preuninger’s logic is flawless but it isn’t until he draws a numeric comparison with the GT3 RS’ forebears that these latest additions are highlighted: “To give you a comparison, the 997 RS 4.0-litre was the number one for downforce. It recorded 107 kilos of downforce at 300kph. We used winglets and vanes to achieve that. This car [GT3 RS] has more than double that downforce: 350 kilos at 300kph. This is the same, if not a tad more, than the 918 Spyder! But, and this is a big point, the GT3 RS maintains the same drag coefficient as the GT3. The GT3 has 170 kilos, so less than a third. This is unheard of. You feel it, it kicks in early because downforce is a linear function – a curve.”

    What that means is this dramatic increase in downforce is felt throughout the driving experience, even at speeds far lower than 300kph (186mph). As Preuninger points out, the linear nature of downforce means that even at half the speed the car will create half the downforce, so it’s a noticeable aid even when you’re not flat out on the race track. When combined with the mechanical grip the car is already creating, its wide 9.5-inch front wheels with huge contact patches, joined by Pilot Sport Cup 2s from the 918 Spyder (of which Preuninger is gushingly complimentary), is what combines to create this “quantum leap” in downforce between the GT3 and GT3 RS.

    “Aero is a huge step over the GT3,” Preuninger says. “If I had to put a number on it I’d say 300% [better]. Then the tyres are the next factor. They’re 20% more sticky than on the GT3. I don’t want to bash the GT3, it’s a different animal but the GT3 RS was developed for the race track. The mission criteria for this car was different – it’s more track-focused, less day-today driveable – it’s built for a purpose, it’s a sporting tool. This is what the RS has always been about. We simply went a step further with that interpretation this time.”

    The GT3 RS is arguably the most technically advanced 911 ever built, but could it be the last naturally aspirated 911 RennSport car? Preuninger seems open minded…

    PREUNINGER ON CHASSIS:

    “The suspension components are roughly the same as the GT3, they share nothing with the Turbos,” Preuninger explains. “We have a 50- millimetre wider rear track which calls for different parts, and it’s the same for the front axle. Everything is forged aluminium – all race bred. They’re a little bit more beefy than they would need to be solely for street use with upside down aluminium tubing dampers [Bilstein shocks] with increased spring rates [up ten percent over the GT3] and ball bearings are used all-round, like usual.”

    This increased track means the GT3 RS has a greater stability and is generally more visually aggressive. But adding parts has not added to weight. In fact, Preuninger is obsessed with weight loss, as you might expect. “The front fenders we used are a lot wider [than the Turbo] to maximise the track from the front to the back,” he explains. “The fenders are carbon fibre rather than aluminium, which weighs just half that of the GT3’s fenders. We did a lot of bodywork on the car, too. The front lid is carbon fibre. It’s 1.5-kilos lighter. A real highlight of the car, though, is the roof. It’s made of magnesium sheet metal.”

    The magnesium roof is a real masterstroke, and it’s an innovation that isn’t available on your average street machine. It’s not even something you’ll find on a high-end race car. Preuninger describes this all-new process with passion: “Three layers of sheet metal are welded together, shaped to form the curves of the 991’s roofline, then bonded in situ. The magnesium roof is one-kilo lighter than a carbon equivalent would be.”

    Naturally this reduces overall weight but it also lowers the car’s centre of gravity. Innovative and highly advanced engineering – everything you’ve come to expect of the RennSport department. The process of lightening didn’t end there, either. “The rear end is made with a new pure material, too, which is 1.5 kilos lighter,” Preuninger says. “This was a new approach, we lost a lot of sound insulation material, too. There were a lot of places we could save weight on the car. The big 21-inch wheels with huge tyres weigh more, so we had to compensate.”

    Increased wheel width and circumference and the 991’s sizeable body (in comparison with its forebears) are the reason this #Porsche-911-GT3-RS-991 has the smallest weight difference to its GT3 equivalent to date. Preuninger assures us that this doesn’t affect the driving experience and that the #Porsche-991 GT3 RS feels incredibly light and agile to drive. The 9.5x20-inch front wheels are shod with 265/30 tyres, the 12.5x21-inch rears are wrapped with 325/30 Michelins. The brake discs are 380mm with six-piston caliper items up front and four-pistons versions out back. PCCB carbon ceramics are available as an option.

    “With this car we want to be in pole position. We want to be the best on the track – that’s what RS has always stood for,” he says. “That’s why it has PDK, that’s why it has the rear axle steering function – it’s well worth having these systems. There are endless discussions about PDK versus manual, there is no right or wrong, there are only differences. Differences in mission criteria. We put a manual in the Cayman GT4 to show we listened to the debate. For the future we don’t want to discuss this, we just want to offer both to our customers – if you don’t like PDK then fine.”


    Of course, the PDK system fitted as mandatory in the GT3 RS has been tweaked but not as extensively as with other areas of the car. “We didn’t really touch the PDK system. The internals were beefed-up and the software is one generation ahead. That’s all we did to it.”

    For circuit use there is a ‘paddle neutral’ facility and a ‘pit speed’ button which acts as a pit lane speed limiter such as that found on fullblown race cars. Rear axle steering features on GT3 RS alongside Porsche’s arsenal of modern electronic driving aids. It won’t surprise you to learn that PTV with rear limited-slip differential, PASM active dampers and PSM appear. The direct democratisation of parts from the #Porsche-918 down to #Porsche-911 is epitomised in the GT3 RS’s interior. The interior follow trends established in the GT3, but the carbon fibre bucket seats are based upon those found in the 918 Spyder. The Club Sport Package comes complete with the obligatory colour-coded bolt-in roll-cage, with the option of a six-point harness for the driver, battery master switch preparation and a fire extinguisher setup supplied separately. Sport Chrono is optional.

    A 30cm strip runs the length of the front luggage compartment and roof, featuring a unique contoured surface reminiscent of classic air-cooled 911s.

    At 1420kg the #991 GT3 RS is just 10kg lighter than the GT3 and 60kg heavier than the #997 RS 4.0 but the new car generates more downforce at around 100mph than the 997 did at top speed.

    PREUNINGER ON THE FUTURE OF RS:

    What might the future hold for Porsche’s RS models and how do they compete with rival offerings from the likes of AMG or Nismo? “I’m not a believer in this horsepower race, I don’t think that’s a clever thing to do. In my personal opinion 500hp makes sense at the moment. We’ve reached a certain point where 500 horses is enough,” Preuninger rationalises. “Because 700-800hp calls for bigger brakes, more sturdy suspension – it [the car] gets heavier and heavier. It’s not my overall engineering target to get 50hp more for each new generation of GT car. I’d rather turn it around and make the car lighter, working on the specific horsepower per kilo. I think that makes more sense.”

    At the same time, he’s realistic about future power figures, which couldn’t arguably return to lower digits: “We wouldn’t turn back [on power outputs] but we have to concentrate on the overall package. This is not a dragster, it’s a track car – there’s a big difference. I hate to say it but this car is more comfortable than the GT3 on some roads because of the tyres; they’re big tyres with wide shoulders, so the residual comfort is high,”

    And Preuninger is pragmatic about whether or not we will see an RS model with drastically more than 500hp in future: “When we introduced the #996 GT3 Mk1 in #1998 / #1999 it barely had 350hp; if someone had told us that in ten years there would be a 4.0-litre version of this with 500hp we’d have said ‘yeah, come on’. The same thing goes for today, technology moves on. We have some clever ideas about what to do with this engine in the future so it has got a lot of potential.

    “It’s the same as this Nordschleife ‘rat race’ – we are at 7 mins, 20 secs with this car [GT3 RS] – come on guys, everybody is talking about this with a pint of beer in his hand, mostly without being able to personally drive faster than 8 mins, 30 secs,” Preuninger says. “Anyone who has riden in a car with a professional driver doing 7 mins, 20 secs at the ’Ring knows what I’m talking about – this is really, really fast. For me it’s more important that everybody has fun with the car and can drive very fast to their own abilities. They can grow with it because more often than not the tool, the car, is more capable than they are. We are looking to make the car more confidence inspiring when we tune the systems. Maybe we could make a 7 min, 15 sec car but then it would be a dog to drive on the street – I don’t want that, everything is about compromise.”

    Whichever Porsche this man touches next, you can be sure it’ll cause a riot. The new #991 GT3 RS hits UK roads in May priced at £131,296. It may be £30,000 more expensive than the 991 GT3 but judging by what Andreas Preuninger has to say, it’s worth every penny.

    Car #2015 #Porsche-911-GT3-RS
    ENGINE: 3996cc flat-six direct injection
    TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed #PDK
    BRAKES: 380mm ventilated discs with six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) callipers, #PSM
    CHASSIS: MacPherson struts (front), multi-link rear suspension. Electromechanical power steering, #PASM
    WEIGHT: 1420kg
    PERFORMANCE:
    Top Speed: 193mph (claimed)
    0-62mph: 3.3 seconds (claimed)
    Fuel Consumption: 22.2mpg (combined, claimed)
    CO²: 296g/km
    ON THE ROAD PRICE: £131,296

    21-inch rear wheels are wrapped in the biggest tyres ever fitted to a 911. They forced modifications to the production line!
    • GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:

      22.2
      7MIN 20SECS – ’RING LAP
      21-inch
      rear wheels
      3.30-62mph
      mph
      £131,296
      192
      mpg
      -secs
      4.0-litre
      6-cylinder engine
      TOP SPEED
      GT3GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:

      22.2
      7MIN 20SECS – ’RING LAP
      21-inch
      rear wheels
      3.30-62mph
      mph
      £131,296
      192
      mpg
      -secs
      4.0-litre
      6-cylinder engine
      TOP SPEED
      GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:
      HP
      10kg
      339
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