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Drag Battle of the Titans: Ruf CTR3 Vs. GT2 RS

It’s interesting to see how far the game has progressed in the last decade. Back in 2008, the small batch of Ruf CTR3s was regarded as having of the wildest makeups in the world of supercars. Shoehorn a custom flat-six engine in the back of a hybrid chassis utilizing 997 Turbo and 987 Cayman bits, stick in a sequential gearbox for good measure, and crank up the boost pressure to the point that most would be terrified of getting anywhere near the throttle pedal. It was a recipe for success, and at the very least, the wild imagination of Alois Ruf shown through with this singular creation which wowed many. Like many Rufs, however, it shied away from major tests and we only knew so much of this mid-engined marvel.

Putting it against a modern GT2 RS in picturesque surroundings might be the best way to showcase the real performance of this elusive supercar. Both make 700 horsepower, though the CTR3 has an additional 103 lb-ft of torque, although that figure is reached 2,000 rpm later in the CTR3’s powerband. Additionally, the 3,086-pounds CTR3 is a good 150 pounds lighter than the GT2 RS. So how does the modern car streak ahead down this runway?

Despite the CTR3 using a sequential gearbox, it’s the PDK in the 991 GT2 RS which shifts far faster. Though selecting a gear in the CTR3 only requires a pull of the gear lever, the owner still depresses the clutch and thus extends the shift time. Manually launching the car takes more guesswork, too; the GT2 RS leaves the line without any fiddling of the clutch or wheelspin.

Additionally, the GT2 RS has its motor sitting over the driven wheels, while the CTR3‘s spaceframe sets its 3.8-liter motor in the middle of the car. While this spaceframe, made from billet aluminum and called « The Birdcage, » is stiff and directs the power to the pavement with minimal fuss, it still cannot turn the power into propulsion as efficiently.

Combine those qualities with the near-electric torque of the GT2 RS, and it’s easy to understand why the modern car is so much quicker in a straight line. There’s a driver variable at play which accounts for some of the disparity in straightline speed, but even with a professional drag racer at the wheel of the CTR3, it’s likely the GT2 RS would still be the first at the horizon.


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The Ruf CTR Blends The Old With The New

Read the following figures out aloud: 2,750 pounds, a 710-horsepower engine, a carbon monocoque, and pushrod suspension. Those stats alone don’t suggest something with the silhouette of a vintage 911, do they? In the case of the RUF CTR Anniversary, an astounding amount of modern tech is utilized to modernize the experience of its hot-blooded forebear without diluting the driving experience like some modern supercars do.

Just about everything with this supercar in sheep’s clothing is bespoke. From the custom ZF seven-speed, to the integrated rollcage, there’s so much to appreciate in a car which, to many eyes, seems almost subdued—if you can ignore the yellow paint. That’s all part of the RUF charm, as is the way the company blends both old and new in what is arguably the most tech-heavy commemoration project in years.

It’s not only absurdly quick and focused, but it oozes dignified, restrained style. The houndstooth seats, the classic five-gauge layout, and the signature green dials are all facets a well-read Porschephile can appreciate. But rather than try to antiquate the car for antiquity’s sake, RUF incorporated subtle, modern touches within the classic theme. Best of all, it does this without looking futuristic or gadgety. For the detail-oriented and meticulous, there’s plenty to appreciate about the ostensibly bare-bones interior.

On the dash, the classic dials are supplemented by a set of LCD screens to relay more information to the driver.

As Lee points out, many modern supercars offer all the power and chassis dynamics anyone could wish for, but at the cost of a slightly diluted experience. In the case of the CTR Anniversary, the driver still plays a large role in managing the 710 horsepower, wide footprint, and seven-speed manual. It’s another nod of respect to the past and everything old supercars represent, even to the detriment of outright performance. Because so much could be changed—perhaps for the worse—with the carbon tub, pushrod suspension, and modern engine calibration.

Instead of growing dull or overly competent with all the tech present, it is still a lively, fierce, and emotive car. It doesn’t iron out every imperfections in the driver’s style, but it does encourage them to push with a supple suspension setup and a well-mapped motor’s manageable power delivery. It seems RUF have taken a philosophical approach to building their idea of the ideal 911, and that makes it a singular creation which only a boutique builder could make. The CTR Anniversary blends style, presence, grace, performance, and involvement like major marques struggle to these days, and for that reason, it might be one of the most desirable vehicles on the road today.


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RUF CTR Anniversary driven

“The Yellowbird is a car that made us internationally renowned from one day to another. We were the world’s fastest car – all the big companies were slower. No matter if it was 20 years ago, ten years ago or just yesterday, everybody talks about this car.” These are the words of Marcel Ruf, who talks with passion and pride when I ask him to describe what the RUF CTR of 1987 did for his father’s company.

It was that 3.2 Carrera-based ‘Yellowbird’ which put RUF Automobile on the map. A real-life David versus Goliath moment, it was faster than Ferrari’s F40 and Porsche’s 959, inspiring an entire generation of automotive fanatic. Those three letters responsible for building it became an alluring brand synonymous with engineering precision and purity henceforth.

We’re here on Rufplatz to celebrate 80 years of a company which has been integral to the culture surrounding the 911, a sports car we all – RUF included – admire greatly. RUF has always found a way to improve on Porsche’s recipe, consistently evolving the 911 years ahead of Zuffenhausen.

It led to RUF becoming a certified manufacturer in its own right by the German authorities in 1981, and since then we’ve been on the road to this very moment, a dream Alois Ruf Jr has harvested for decades: to build a complete sports car from scratch. That car is the new RUF CTR.

Revealed in 2017 – 30 years since the original – the latest CTR has undergone further testing, tweaks and even a name change. The CTR Anniversary, as it is now known, is at last approaching the finished article, and is a fitting way for this family-run business to celebrate its 80th birthday.

Putting the festivities to one side, this new CTR is arguably the most important RUF creation in years. Times have changed, and now there’s much stiffer competition for ultra high-end, Porsche-inspired craftwork, most notably from a well-known company some 5,000-miles away in north Hollywood.

Looking more inwardly too, the fact this is the first RUF to be built completely from scratch carries a significant cost. Company sources tell me it could be between €12 to 15 million to develop the CTR, all of the investment coming directly from RUF itself. It’s a statement of confidence to say the least, the carbon fibre monocoque at its centre forming, we are told, the basis of RUF cars of the future as well as now.

On paper the CTR Anniversary’s credentials (we’ll come to those later) have well and truly resonated with the uber wealthy, so much so that all 30 cars of the initial build run were sold within a week. I say initial build run, as off-the-bat demand for the CTR Anniversary caught out not only RUF itself, but owners of the first CTR, too, who simply didn’t react quick enough to bag the latest example.

“We felt it was important that those owners of the original CTR were given the opportunity to have an Anniversary, so we spoke with the 30 buyers of the new car and asked how they felt about us increasing production to 50 cars to solve the problem. Thankfully they gave their blessing, so we were able to offer the extra 20 spaces only to those who had a CTR1,” Marcel Ruf explains. A potential sticking point dealt with efficiently and calmly – how typically German.

Production of the CTR Anniversary is set to run until 2022 (by which time the company will also have started building its new, naturally aspirated SCR) with deliveries beginning later this year. A handful are very near to completion, these being assembled by hand on the factory floor during our visit. However, sitting outside and resplendent in the house colour of yellow, there’s an example ready for the road – and we’re going to be driving it.


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Porsche 911 Ruf BTR … 700 ch pour le diable !

Encore une Porsche 911… encore une Flat Nose… et encore un missile sol-sol ! Oui parce que cette Porsche 911, elle est née Carrera 3.2 en 1984 avant de passer par les mains des ingénieurs d’Alois Ruf qui pour l’occasion, se sont littéralement lâchés pour finir par en faire le monstre rouge que vous avez […]


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Genève 2019 – La RUF CTR 2017 d’Alois Ruf

Alors que les deux premiers modèles de la RUF CTR Anniversary étaient présentés sur le stand RUF Automobile au salon de l’automobile 2019 et livrées à leur propriétaire respectif, un troisième modèle CTR était présent en-dessous, dans le parking du salon. C’est celui du patron du constructeur automobile, Alois Ruf. Voir deux CTR en une …


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