With almost all new 911s going turbo from this year, Porsche still believes there is room in the line-up for a hard-core purist’s version, rumoured to be called the 911 R.
It’s not yet official, but speaking with head of Porsche South Africa Toby Venter at last week’s International launch of the new Porsche 911 at Kyalami in Johannesburg, it seems that if you want to see it, you’ll need to attend the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
Asked if Porsche South Africa would be getting their share of the limited 500-600 car production run, he replied, “Yes, we’ll get some, it’s important to build cars for Porsche enthusiasts who still like a manual transmission in their 911s, and this special edition will be sold exclusively with a six-speed manual box”.
The Porsche 911 R is likely to use the naturally aspirated 3.8-litre six-cylinder flat-six engine from the GT3, which develops 350kW and 440Nm of torque and has a maximum engine speed of 9000rpm.
And contrary to speculation that suggests the new 911 would be shod with thinner tyres, Venter also told CarAdvice that the 911 R will wear the same wear the same size wheel and tyre package as the GT3, namely, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (9 J x 20 245/35 ZR up front / 12 J x 20 305/30 at the rear), but will likely drop the big rear wing and deep front splitter in favour of less down force and a cleaner profile.
The new 911 R (‘R’ for Rennsport) will pay homage the original 1967 version, which was conceived by Porsche engineer and recently retired VW Chairman Ferdinand Piëch to race in production sports car classes at endurance events.
It provided a test bed for the 911’s ongoing evolution, which allowed Piëch and his engineers to test lightweight materials and advanced engine tuning with a limited production run of just 20 examples.
The standard 911’s front and rear deck lids, doors, front guards and both bumpers were replaced with duplicates made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic by Karl Baur works in Stuttgart. Wider wheels meant slightly flared arches, and the hinges were fabricated in aluminium. Even the windscreen thickness was shaved to just 4mm, while the side glass was reduced to 2mm.
Further weight shedding was achieved by perforating every pedal, handle, lever and panel – removing gram-by-gram of metal, so that by the end of the car’s development, it weighed just 800 kilograms (down from 1062 kilos in the 911 S).
The 911 R’s 910/22 engine was derived from the 906 Carrera 6 endurance racer, which itself had grown out of the original 911 2.0-litre flat six.
Using light-alloy cylinders heads with twin chain-driven over-head camshafts per bank, the engines produced 210 horsepower (157kW) at 8000rpm. Twin electric fuel pumps fed the triple-throat Weber carburettors.