Porsche Reveals Lightweight 911 R
Porsche has revealed the rumoured 911 R at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Based on the current 991 GT3 and GT3 RS, the ‘R’ for ‘Racing’ takes its name and ethos from the original lightweight 911 R of 1967, a road-homologated racing car…
The limited run model, of just 991 examples, uses the naturally aspirated 500hp 4.0-litre flat-six boxer engine from the GT3 RS and screams to 8250rpm. It is driven exclusively by its rear wheels, boasts a six-speed manual gearbox and a lightweight body, resulting in an overall weight of 1370kgs. That’s some 50kgs less than the aforementioned RS and makes it the lightest 911 currently available. Developed by Porsche’s Motorsport department under the guidance of Andreas Preuninger, the new 911 R can launch to 60mph in 3.7-seconds, generates 339lb ft torque at 6250rpm and will reach a top speed of 201mph.
Featuring a specially developed rear axle steering system and a mechanical limited slip differential, Preuninger’s team has ensured the R delivers direct turn-in and plentiful traction. Its 410mm (front) and 390mm (rear) Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes come as standard equipment, while forged centre-locking aluminium wheels shod with 245mm (front) and 305mm (rear) tyres provide a wide contact patch with the road. Porsche has developed the 911 R with the purist firmly in mind, as such the car’s stability management systems have been tweaked for a lively driving experience, the optional single-mass flywheel offers a high-revving and ultra responsive engine. There’s also a double-declutch system for aiding downshifts.
Like the GT3 RS before it, the R has been sent on a crash diet. Its bonnet and front arches are constructed from carbonfibre, the roof is made from magnesium, while the rear screen and three-quarter windows are plastic, not glass, akin to the 1967 original. The interior has been stripped of its rear bench and features reduced sound insulation, the air-conditioning system and PCM audio system have been deleted although customers can reinstate these, they can delete the coloured stripes while they’re ticking boxes too. Porsche’s nose-lift function is optional.
Externally the R takes its lead from the GT3 upon which it is based yet it also appears closely related to the 911 Carrera. There’s no sign of the GT3’s huge rear wing, instead you’ll find a retractable spoiler borrowed from the Carrera model, a diffuser located underneath the R performs the aerodynamic role of the GT3’s spoiler. The front and rear styling is GT3-esque in its execution; a new lip spoiler sits at the sharp end. Inside carbon fibre 918 bucket seats are trimmed with Pepita tartan as a nod to the original 1967 car. Door pulls fashioned from fabric replace the plastic handles as you’d expect, while a unique 360mm GT steering wheel and a short throw gear lever provide the driver’s main touch points with the car. Carbon trim and a build number plaque finish things off nicely.
With the 2016 Geneva Motor Show also playing witness to the debut of the four-cylinder turbocharged 718 Boxster, the new 911 R will prove a welcome addition to the Porsche range for enthusiasts fighting the winds of change. Preuninger and his team are famed for creating utterly captivating cars, the R looks set only to add to that reputation. Priced at £136,901, UK Porsche Centres are taking orders now, but you’ll have to be quick as we hear just 30 examples will be coming to UK shores.
The Original 911 R:
Born out of Ferdinand Piëch’s experimental department in 1967, the 911 R was originally developed for the purpose of competing in rallies and GT racing. The lightweight machine took as its basis much of the 911 S and utilised a race-bred 210hp 2.0-litre mill that shared DNA with the engine found in the Carrera 6. Plastic rear windows and a thin gauge front screen featured on the first four prototype cars along with aluminium and fibreglass panels. Vented brake discs, a wider rear track and matching wider wheels were other specification highlights. The 911 R looked surreptitiously normal, yet it was quite the wolf in sheep’s clothing…
The 911 R debuted at Mugello in July of 1967 where it was raced to third place behind a duo of Porsche 910s. That was swiftly followed by overall victory in August at the 84-hour non-stop Marathon de la Route at the Nürburgring (as featured in our July 2015 issue), and a set of endurance time and distance records at Monza in October. Porsche gave the green light to produce 20 more examples and the production for these was farmed out to Baur in Stuttgart. These series produced cars varied a little from their prototype forebears but the essence was the same, they were all painted white unless under special order conditions, and they weighed just a touch over 800kgs making them the lightest 911s ever built.
Further competition success would follow for the 911 R; third place in the Corsica Rally of November 1967, overall victory in the Tour de France of September 1969, and it also competed in the Targa Florio. The 911 R almost certainly paved the way for the RS cars of the 1970s – it was quite the Porsche special.