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Porsche 964 RS 3.8: the rarest Rennsport

If, like us, you’ve a keen eye on 911 values and auction results in particular, RM Sotheby’s recent Amelia Island sale would have made for a fascinating watch. While many Porsche struggled to build on their lower estimates, lot 167 reached well into seven figures before its frantic end, the sale transporting us back – momentarily, at least – to the explosive heyday of the Porsche auctions of 2014 to 2015.

The car in question was a 964 RS that set a new record for the model by fetching an eye-watering $1.65million. This wasn’t any ordinary 964 RS though, but the rare, wide-bodied, 3.8-litre 964 RS. Achingly desirable having covered just 800km and looking stunning in Paint-To-Sample Ferrari yellow, the car is just one of 55 examples ever built by Porsche.

But what do we really know about Porsche’s rarest road-going Rennsport? It’s worth a reminder of the car that sired this very special Neunelfer, and that model was the 3.6-litre 964 RS. Appearing in 1991, it was born from Porsche’s need to go racing in the Carrera Cup – a series that had been conceived by Roland Kussmaul and talented engineer, Helmut Flegl – and pared a mildly fettled flat six producing 260hp with an obsessive focus on weight saving. The result was a 911 that exhibited a purity of focus not really seen since the seminal 2.7RS.

Naturally, Porsche felt the need to take things a step further, and it would again be motorsport that lay at the heart of their decision. More specifically, it was the desire to race an RSR variant in the bigger-engined GT-category, and the result was the car you see here. Constructed by the racing department at Weissach and only available by special order from them, there has tended to be some dispute around the actual numbers made, although our information tells us that just 104 examples of the 3.8 RS were built and, of those, just the aforementioned 55 were for road use. The remainder were RSR racers, and of the total production all except two were left-hand drive. 

But anyone thinking this was little more than a warmed-over 3.6 couldn’t have been more wrong, and by the same token if Porsche had set a budget for this project, then it seemed the engineers had ignored it. For one thing it differed markedly in appearance, being based on the wider Turbo body shell and featuring a more extreme aerodynamic package that encompassed a deeper front spoiler and a biplane rear wing that was both adjustable and formed in one piece with the engine lid. The shell was also strengthened over the 3.6 and contained additional welds, while aluminium was used for the doors and luggage compartment lid. Along with lighter glass, and a cabin stripped of all extraneous trim and equipment, Porsche quoted a kerb weight of 1,210kg, made all the more impressionable given the larger brakes, body and wheels.

Whatever the actual numbers, it could still be considered extremely lithe compared to any other 964 variants (the 320hp Turbo was a positively porky 1,470kg), and then there’s that engine. The M64/04 unit gained its extra capacity via an increase in stroke from 100mm to 102mm – the bore remained at 76.4mm – although that was just the beginning. Developing 300hp at 6,500rpm and 360Nm of torque at 5,250rpm – both notably higher crank speeds than required by the 3.6 – the new motor featured a raft of careful developments, including an increase in compression ratio (up from 11.3:1 to 11.6:1), a revised intake with individual throttle butterflies to sharpen the throttle response and tweaks to the engine-management system. Bigger inlet and exhaust valves were fitted, too, with sizes increased to 51.5mm and 43.5mm respectively, and gas flow improved with polished ports.

For the full, in-depth article on Porsche’s rarest Rennsport, order your copy for delivery direct to your door here, or download the digital issue to your Apple or Android device. 


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Ben Collins – The Stig

Ben Collins holds sway over many a car. The Porsche 911, on the other hand, holds sway over his emotions.


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Essai Porsche 718 Cayman GTS : à une voix près

En renonçant à deux cylindres en 2016, le Cayman avait perdu un peu de sa superbe au panthéon des voitures de sport. Plus puissante, plus sportive, plus raffinée, la version GTS peut-elle changer la donne ?


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600-Horsepower M4 Battles GT3 RS on the Nürburgring

As a testament to the incredible natural poise the GT3 RS possesses, this footage shows how well it fares against an already-potent M4 with a slew of modifications and a talented driver. Some might regard this as an unfair match, a track car against a mildly-tuned grand tourer, but it’s actually a closely run battle between two focused machines with slightly different repertoires.

Clearly, the BMW, tuned by French outfit Devotec, is the slower of the two from the get-go. However, add a set of 295-section Pirelli Trofeo R tires (they appear to be a bit stickier than the Porsche’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires) and KW Clubsport V3 coilovers, and the overall grip of the Bimmer is roughly on-par with the Porsche—at least in the some sections. In slower bends, like Adenauer Forst (2:37). the BMW shows a subtle amount of oversteer. It’s still quick, but it cannot compete with the rear-engine traction of the RS in pursuit.

Though the M4’s oversteer is manageable, it’s significant enough to allow the GT3 RS to claw back any distance in slow or off-camber bends.

Another area where the BMW is lacking is the braking zone. Crucially, the BMW tips the scales at 3,600 pounds, but AP Racing Pro 5000 R brakes and Pagid RSL1 pads help the car decelerate repeatedly and confidently. Yet, the Porsche’s weight distribution and svelte frame give it an advantage in every heavy braking zone.

So, where does the BMW have an advantage? After all, the Nürburgring is made up of tight, technical sections. The answer is in the high-speed portions of the track, where a tuned engine and turbocharged torque help equal the playing field.

The M4 can stretch a small lead once the course straightens, thanks to its aerodynamic additions as well as a whopping 553 lb-ft of torque and 580 horsepower. Not only is it the better dragster from 60-120, but it shows almost as much speed through high-speed sections, like Fuchsröhre (2:10). If ever there was a doubt about the relative skills of the drivers, it’s evident from the aforementioned section that they’re equally precise and courageous.

In conclusion, it shows that on stickier tires and with more power, the M4 is as potent on the ‘Ring as the Porsche. I’ll refrain from a diplomatic sendoff: points for power go to the BMW, but for low and mid-speed brilliance, the RS is the clear winner, and not much slower once the course straightens.

It’s safe to say the King hasn’t yet relinquished the throne.


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Augmented Reality ‘Tech Live Look’ Program Is Coming To A Porsche Service Center Near You

Following successful beta tests and pilot programs of software introduced late last year, Porsche dealers across the US are rolling out new « Tech Live Look » processes for their technicians to use in the diagnosis process. This system connects your local Porsche dealership tech remotely with specific systems experts using ODG R-7 smartglasses and a software platform developed in conjunction with Atheer, Inc. The hope is that this software will assist technicians in reducing diagnostic and service resolution times by as much as 40%. The program is expected to be rolled out slowly, first to three dealerships this week. The remaining 186 US Porsche dealers under the Porsche Cars North America banner will be gradually updated to use the software, and the hope is that all of them will have this capability by the close of next year.

Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA:

“Tech Live Look is the kind of digital innovation Porsche values because it raises the quality of the customer experience. By solving issues faster, our dealer partners can get their customers back into cars with less disruption. And our overall service quality increases as we share expertise more efficiently between our experts and dealer technicians.”

Until this software was introduced, technicians would frequently have to deal with complex or unusual repair requests through a series of back-and-forth messages with PCNA’s technical support team. This process usually took a while, as it incorporated potentially dozens of E-mails, instant messages, phone calls, photographs, and potentially escalate to on-site visits by designated Field Technical Managers to diagnose. It was a convoluted process that certainly needed streamlining.

How does the technology work? Until now, a complex or unusual technical issue could go back and forth repeatedly between a dealership and the PCNA technical support team. It could take multiple electronic messages, phone calls, photos, and even on-site visits by Porsche’s Field Technical Managers to identify and diagnose the issue for repair. Porsche’s technical support team in Atlanta will now be able to tap into a live video feed through the AR glasses, allowing them to see the same things the technician sees. The two-person team can then open and share documents, like technical bulletins and schematic drawings of the systems in play. The technician, even when not on a call with tech support, can open and view documents while working with full function of their hands. There are many ways in which this new program should streamline the repair of your Porsche, getting you back behind the wheel quicker than before!

The automotive industry has been experimenting with augmented reality technical support, but analysts say Tech Live Look is the first application at scale in U.S. auto repair.


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