Porsche 991 R revealed: R is for Revival
It’s no secret that, despite the praises of the motoring press, the philosophy underpinning the latest renditions of the 911 GT3 and GT3 RS has not resonated with some of Zuffenhausen’s faithful enthusiasts.
The mandatory PDK gearbox, increased weight and focus on outright lap times around the Nürburgring Nordschleife has born two phenomenally capable sports cars, but Porsche has long championed that its road-going offerings are about how you get there, not how fast.
That is why, for 53 years, the tachometer has continually found itself at the centre of the iconic five-dial dashboard. The protestations of the so-called purists have not fallen on deaf ears at Porscheplatz though.
It has been no secret that Weissach has been developing a pared-back Porsche 911 designed to thrill it’s propitious pilot out on the open road and, after a whirlwind 13-month development, the new Porsche 991 R is the much-coveted result.
That name may ring a few bells with the Porsche cognoscenti, and for good reason too. Originally launched in 1967, the Porsche 911R was a featherweight racing version of the 2.0-litre, short wheelbase car.
Fitted with the 901/20 flat six from the early 906 prototypes, the 911R’s Weber-carburetted 210bhp made it the most powerful Porsche 911 at the time by quite some margin. However, that was not the most remarkable engineering feat of the original ‘Renn’ 911.
Then head of R&D in the motorsport department, Ferdinand Piëch put the 911 on a strict diet to create the 911R, using glass fibre panels, Plexiglass windows and deleting much of the interior to give the car a dry weight of just over 800kg. It remains the lightest Neunelfer of all time.
So how does this new car, launched at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, revive the R’s legacy after a 49-year hiatus? At first glance it looks simply like a de-winged, stickered-up 991 GT3.
However, delve underneath the lightweight bodywork (more on that in due course) and the new 991 R’s trump card should have driving enthusiasts around the world rejoicing. Unlike the latest GT3 or GT3 RS, the R’s transmission tunnel houses a manual gearbox.
To read our Porsche 991 R dossier in full, including our passenger ride with Andreas Preuninger himself, pick up Total 911 issue 138 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.