Perhaps the most exciting news for Porsche fans is confirmation the 911 R will make its way to Australia. Don’t go running into your local Porsche dealer though. It’s probably already sold out.
“We ended up getting twice as many as we expected, but that’s still only half as many as we need,” said Paul Ellis, Porsche Australia PR director. “That means we’ll get an allocation of 25 cars.”
The 911 R is a pure expression of the Porsche 911 in every sense, especially the combination of a high-revving, naturally aspirated flat-six engine, manual sports gearbox and lightweight construction. Only 991 units will be built.
With an overall weight of just 1370kg, the 911 R is currently the lightest version of the 911. In fact the 911 R is 50 kg lighter than the GT3 RS. ’R’ stands for racing, and the 911 R harks back to the original, which was a road-homologated racing car from 1967.
Externally, the 911 R errs more on the side of being reserved than outrageous. The svelte exterior resembles the Carrera, and only the nose and rear end (familiar from the GT3) hint at the motorsport DNA. Porsche claims the deleted fixed rear wing hints at the 911 R’s road focus, and instead the retractable spoiler and underbody diffuser provide the requisite downforce.
The 4.0-litre engine generates 368kW at 8250rpm and 460Nm at 6250rpm. Alongside the GT3 and GT3 RS, the 911 extends the spectrum of high-performance naturally aspirated Porsche engines. Porsche claims the lack of a turbo and the presence of a conventional manual transmission illustrates the brand’s commitment to emotional high-performance sports cars.
The 911 R powers from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds partly thanks to the short shifter, and top speed is an impressive 323km/h. The European combined fuel usage figure is 13.3L/100km. The performance additions extend well beyond the engine and transmission though, as you’d expect from a Porsche sports car. The soundtrack will be epic too, thanks to the titanium exhaust system.
Rapid gearshifts will be aided by a special double-declutch function, which is activated by pressing a button for perfect gearshifts when changing down. There’s an optional single-mass flywheel and Porsche’s motorsport team has specially adapted the control systems within Porsche Stability Management for optimum 911 R performance.
There’s specially-tuned standard rear-axle steering, which guarantees direct turn-in at speed, and precise handling while maintaining high stability. There’s also a technical rear diff lock for maximum traction. The Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake package is standard, with 410mm front rotors and 390mm rear rotors.
Front tyres measure 245mm wide, while the rears are 305mm wide and are fitted to 20-inch forged alloy wheels. The race treatment continues with the centre-lock wheel hubs.
Like it’s GT3 and GT3 RS siblings, the 911 R will be low riding, so all Australian cars will feature the front axle lift system standard, which will lift the nose 30mm at the touch of a button.
The bonnet and quarter panels are made from carbon and the roof is magnesium. The rear windscreen and rear side windows are lightweight plastic. There’s also reduced insulation in the cabin and the lack of a rear seat. As such, the 911 R has a super low centre of gravity as well as the light overall weight.
There’s no question Porsche wanted to cut weight back as much as possible, given air conditioning and an audio system are optional. Inside the cabin, you’ll see a full carbon bucket seat for the driver, with fabric centre panels in ‘Pepita tartan’ echoing the trim of the first 911 from the 60s.
An R-specific GT sport steering wheel measures 360mm and gearshifts are made via an R-specific short-shift lever. Carbon trim strips in the interior with an embedded alloy badge on the passenger side mark the limited production number. There are even simple pull straps rather than door handles.
The 911 R won’t be cheap in Australia, but that won’t make one jot of difference to them screaming out the door of Porsche dealers lucky enough to secure one. The 911 R will be priced from $404,700 plus the usual on-road costs, and local deliveries should take place in late 2016.