IT WAS FERDINAND PIËCH‘S FIRST MAJOR SUCCESS IN ZUFFENHAUSEN AND THE LIGHTEST 911 OF ALL TIME – THE PORSCHE 911 R FROM 1967. During test runs with Jo Siffert and his Swiss teammates, the puristic Porsche, weighing in at just around 800 kg, immediately broke five long-distance world records. Even the motorsport legend Huschke von Hanstein was delighted and urged that it be homologated for GT racing. But little success came from the small production run – the lightweight 911 is not expected to make much profit and was tragically axed sacrificed in the interests of cost saving.
Only 19 examples and for prototypes of the inconspicuous projectile were built. Not until the early 1970s did Porsche again attempt to develop a racing car based on the 911 – the Carrera RS with its 2.7-litre engine and the prominent “duck tail“ would subsequently become the most coveted 911 of all time.
Without the Porsche 911 R from 1967, however, it would hardly have been imaginable. Even modern hard-core 911s such as the GT3 RS are based on this very early design. And now it’s back again: at the Geneva Motor Show this year, Porsche finally revealed the 911 purists have been waiting for decades. A lightweight version of the current 911 designed to swallow up hairpin bends with no effort – with a rock-hard manual transmission instead of the more dignified automatic transmission for the prosperous and a 4-litre, naturally aspirated engine instead of the obligatory turbocharger in the rear! Positioned between the lifestyle GTS and the GT3 racetrack monster, the new Porsche 911 R hits the middle exactly. There be a better cornering Demon for “Mille Miglia of the Alps“ than the first ”R“ since 1967 and the legitimate successor to Ferdinand Piëch’s radical first 911? We experienced the new Porsche 911 R together with one of its rare predecessors last autumn at a top secret event and can now say with certainty: No! There’s nothing better!
(c) Porsche, Stefan Bogner. Text: Jan Baedeker