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Ruf Automobile: a tour of Pfaffenhausen

Rufplatz, Pfaffenhausen. A roundabout in the middle gently guides local traffic in an anti-clockwise fashion, the buildings around the outside playing home to an automotive showroom, service centre, main production factory, panel beaters and paint shop belonging to one of the world’s most renowned car brands.

Sound familiar? The set-up is not too dissimilar to that at Porscheplatz some 180 kilometres away, yet Rufplatz, like the Ruf Automobile company itself, has always liked to do things its own way. Founded in 1939 by Alois Ruf Sr, ‘Auto Ruf’ was originally a general vehicle repairer. Alois Ruf Jr arrived in January 1950 and immersed himself in his father’s business as he grew up, though it took a bizarre accident for Ruf as a company to become involved with Porsche vehicles. “My grandfather was driving his bus when a Porsche 356 Karmann shot past,” says Marcel Ruf, third generation of the Ruf family dynasty. “The driver lost control during his attempt at passing and put the 356 in a ditch, rolling it twice.”

“My grandfather stopped to check he was okay and explained he owned a garage who could repair the car. A few days later he ended up buying it as salvage. Once repaired, he was driving the 356 through Munich when a man stopped him and my father at some traffic lights and offered to buy the car. A deal was done, and my grandfather realised he was on to something: for years he had been dealing with customers who offered trade-ins or wanted to haggle for cars, and yet here was a guy who wanted to pay good money for the car at the side of the road!”

From that moment on, Ruf became intertwined with Porsche cars, enthusiasts of the 911 turning to Pfaffenhausen for performance upgrades in the 1970s as Porsche hesitated in its development of the Neunelfer. “In 1978 the 911 SC was detuned at 180hp. Our cars were capable of 230hp,” Marcel says, clearly proud of his family’s past achievements.

The culmination of this came in 1981 when the German Federal Motor Transport Authority recognised Ruf as a vehicle manufacturer in its own right, something which has separated the company quite spectacularly from its rivals in the tuning sector ever since. By 1983, the first sports car with a Ruf chassis number was born in the Ruf BTR, a turbocharged car with 374hp and, significantly, a five-speed gearbox. Porsche meanwhile would continue to use a four-speed gearbox on its 911 Turbos for another six years.

Ruf’s seminal moment came in 1987 at the Nürburgring with that video of Stephan Roser dancing the Ruf CTR ‘Yellowbird’ at speed through the hazardous Green Hell. Later posting a monumental top speed of 342kph against its rivals for a magazine test at Nardo, Italy, the Ruf Yellowbird was duly crowned the world’s fastest production road car for 1987.

Iconic creations with wonderfully acronymed names such as the Turbo R, RCT and RGT have all followed since, each one a breathtaking and often record-breaking feat of automotive engineering. Even in our contemporary world where specialists clamber to offer backdates of the Singer-inspired variety, Ruf still remains wholly relevant to an audience as loyal as it is large, as proven by the release last year of the all-new CTR 2017. A 30-year celebration of that first Yellowbird, it came equipped with a monstrous 700hp and a mere 1,200kg mass. Unbelievably, it sold out within a week.

Pleasingly, despite such prolonged growth and continued success, Ruf remains a family-run business, spearheaded by Alois and his wife Estonia, while son Marcel oversees day-to-day operations. It is Marcel who takes us for a tour, informing us the company has some 60 employees at Rufplatz, with an impressive 30 hand-built cars rolling out of the factory each year – more than one a fortnight.

Stepping onto the factory floor itself reminds us of more traditional times up the road at Porsche. There’s no moving production line, employees instead busy working around individual cars wearing braced overalls in the customary dark green of Ruf. Everything at Ruf is hand built, so there are no robot arms whizzing panels and components from one station to the next. It’s a breath of fresh air and goes some way to explaining how Ruf can offer an unrivalled attention to detail in so many aspects of its builds.

Ruf enjoys a close relationship with Porsche, the extent of this being the opening of a Porsche Service Centre on Rufplatz some nine years ago. It means the company can oversee the care and maintenance of factory Porsche cars as well as its own. “It’s good for everybody,” Marcel says as we take a look at both new and old 911s gracing the ramps.

Ruf is proud to be a manufacturer in its own right though, the fruits of which can be found with both the CTR and recently revealed SCR, which
uses a carbon-monocoque chassis for the first time. It’s a huge investment for a company of this size, but there are plans to use the chassis as a base for other projects going forward.

As well as its SCR, built to commemorate 40 years since the birth of the original SCR in 1978, Ruf has worked hard on the evolution of its first Yellowbird as we’ve previously mentioned. Very much a modern-day take of the original, the CTR 2017 has a 7cm-longer wheelbase than the Eighties car, despite its overall length being the same. The car is 3cm wider each side, noticeable at the base of either side of the windscreen, while an extra 2cm of body has been added to either side of the front bonnet. “Its appearance is more muscular,” Marcel himself says. “It’s as if the CTR has been to the gym.”

Production of both these breathtaking cars is already in earnest, making Ruf an ever-more busy and exciting place to be. The company will celebrate its 80th birthday next year, a quite remarkable achievement for a company used to creating, well, the remarkable.


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Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS: first drive verdict

Precision. That was the development goal with the new GT3 RS. You can’t have missed it, the Lizard Green launch colouring hardly retiring. Thing is, you could have written it off, Porsche’s GT department firing out new models at an unprecedented rate, the Gen I car still very fresh in the memory. The huge shadow cast by the GT2 RS is still around, too, so this GT3 RS has got some fighting to do.

Twenty-four seconds covers it, though. That’s how much quicker it goes around the Nurburgring over the old Gen I 991 GT3 RS. Works Porsche Racing Driver Kévin Estre took this new car around that stretch of challenging tarmac in a scarcely believable 6 minutes 56.4 seconds. That. Is. Bonkers.

Looking at the specification it’s difficult to see where the new car gains such an advantage, we’re used to new generations eking out 5-10 seconds, but 24 is night and day. Either Andreas Preuninger has an epic poker face, or he was surprised, too. On two separate occasions up to the launch he told us he was looking at around 7 minutes 5 seconds, with only 1 second or so improvement down to the 20hp the engine gains. There’s 520hp for the record, it basically the same unit as the GT3, only inhaling and exhaling differently via RS specific intake and exhaust systems.

Twenty hp is nothing, but the engine feels different. Faster, more immediate, more, damn it, precise. That’s true of every element of the GT3 RS’s make-up, the PDK shifting even more quickly, the electronic differential, the steering – both front and rear-axle systems, all having been finessed to create a greater unity. The suspension is key, it’s basically that of the GT2 RS, which means hugely increased spring rates, solid mountings, yet softer dampers and sway bars.

It’s the chassis that’s so revelatory, a racecar set-up that’s devastatingly effective on the road, bringing it riding with supple composure that’s remarkable, and control that’s unerring. It’s unfiltered and pure, without the interfering compromises in its predecessors that would ultimately demand that you wind back the speed. The steering is crisp, quick and perfectly weighted, the front axle so sharp, the rear faithful, too.

That the chassis is mated to such an intoxicating, screamer of an engine and rapid-fire transmission only enhances the whole, allowing its performance to be fully exploited. This is RS nirvana, and a remarkable, genuinely surprising step-change over its predecessor. Nobody ever called that a dull, uninvolving, slow car, and it isn’t, it’s just that the new one is better in every single way, demonstrably so. The precision development goal is key, moving the RS to a new level, 24 seconds to be precise. Like the specification though, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about how it feels, and this new RS feels little short of sensational.

For the full report and your most comprehensive first drive verdict anywhere in the world, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 166, in shops May 16th.


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Porsche : Finalement, pas d’abandon du diesel, juste une pause !

Porsche : Finalement, pas d’abandon du diesel, juste une pause !

Detlev von Platen, directeur des ventes de Porsche de dire : « Nous ne disons pas que nous sortons [du diesel]. À l’heure actuelle, le processus de planification prévoit cette motorisation pour le Cayenne et probablement pour le Macan.

Cet article Porsche : Finalement, pas d’abandon du diesel, juste une pause ! est apparu en premier sur The Automobilist.


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Porsche : De très bonnes ventes en France en 2017

Porsche : De très bonnes ventes en France en 2017

En 2008, Porsche avait livré en France environ 1.750 voitures neuves. En 2017, Porsche a livré en France quelques 5.

Cet article Porsche : De très bonnes ventes en France en 2017 est apparu en premier sur The Automobilist.


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Porsche’s Most Significant Moments Of 2017

2017 was an interesting year for Porsche and fans of the brand. We had a great year of bringing you the most important Porsche news stories and entertainment, and thanks for reading along. Over the last twelve months, the Porsche community has grown in a big way with Porsche setting sales records seemingly every month, we’ve seen a big jump in enthusiast-backed events and social gatherings, and there were quite a few significant motorsport victories. Here’s our breakdown of 2017 from the perspective of a Porsche enthusiast.

1. Porsche Wins Le Mans

For the third year in a row, Porsche can call themselves Le Mans victors. This was a hard fought race that wasn’t without tumultuous times. Basically both of the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1s suffered failures, but the three Toyota TS050s suffered worse failures. Porsche’s final margin of victory over the leading LMP2 was only one lap. It was certainly an exciting finish, and one that won’t soon be forgotten. Sadly it was also the 919 Hybrid’s final season this year, so there definitely will not be a repeat win for 2018. You can read more about it here.

2. All The New Car Launches

This year was seriously busy for Porsche new car launches. In addition to a brand new Cayenne, Porsche debuted the wild GT2 RS, the now-available-in-manual GT3, wagon and hyper hybrid versions of the Panamera, GTS variants of the 718 range, the minimalist Carrera T, and the extra special 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series.

3. Patrick Long Wins Pirelli World Challenge Championship

We can’t help but feel this flew just a little bit under the Porsche community radar. Patrick Long, now in his 15th year of competition as a Porsche factory driver, won the Pirelli World Challenge GT championship with Wright Motorsports. After missing out on the championship last year thanks to a last-lap punt from an elderly Cadillac driver (typical), he came back in 2017 with a vengeance, winning four of 19 rounds, and taking the championship by 27 points over Cadillac’s Michael Cooper. Well done, Patrick.

4. Porsche Announces Rennsport Reunion 6

logo for Porsche's Rennsport Reunion VI

We absolutely loved Rennsport Reunion V, and can’t wait until the next one. Announced for late September of 2018, you’d better get your plans settled now, because this is going to be a huge Porsche show that you don’t want to miss.

5. New Mid-engine 911 RSR Launches 

Porsche finally submitted to competitive pressure and unveiled their mid-engine 911 RSR racer for the 2017 racing season. This car was responsible for factory-backed efforts in IMSA’s GTLM class and the FIA WEC’s GTE Pro category. Unlike 2016, the car proved competitive in both series, taking wins both in the US and overseas. While they didn’t win either championship (largely due to poor luck), they had a great showing this year, and we look forward to seeing how competitive they can be in 2018 (did you see there will be four factory cars at Le Mans in 2018? Awesome!).

6. Emory Porsche Campout Returns

What can be said about Emory Porsche Campout that hasn’t already been said? It was a three day event up in Oregon that we are so happy to have been a part of. The entire Emory family played host to hundreds of Porsche fans from all over the country, and it was a ton of fun. With a car show, a film festival, and a bit of diving for parts, we were in awe of this event. Sadly it’s no longer annual, so we’ll have to wait a few years to see such an event again. If you get the chance to go, absolutely go! Read more about the event here.

7. The Millionth 911 Built

It’s hard to believe that as popular as Porsche’s famed 911 is, it took over 50 years for them to sell one million units. This gorgeous green car is the one-millionth example to roll off Porsche’s 911 assembly line, and it pays homage to many different cues from those first 901 models. It’s a truly special car, and it deserves its place in Porsche’s museum. It’s just so vintage cool.

8. Luftgekuhlt Continues Growth In 4th Year

Despite the overcast day and early morning rain, Patrick Long and Howie Idelson managed to kick off Luftgekühlt 4 without any issues, attracting a huge crowd of aircooled Porsches and spectators alike. The venue wasn’t quite as visually stunning as Luft 3, but the cars were laid out in a coherent and attractive way by event organizers. They worked hard on this one and deserved the huge attendance they received. We now know the date for Luftgekühlt 5 and will bring you more details as we get them.

9. Porsche 911 GT2 RS Sets Nürburgring Lap Record

For the most part, we don’t hold much esteem for street car lap times. There are so many factors at play here that can give one car a faster time than another, and that’s particularly the case at the Nürburgring. Then again, Porsche’s most powerful 911 in history beat up on a wildly powerful mid-engine V10 Lamborghini, so the bragging rights are deserved. The fact that a 911 variant is faster even than Porsche’s recent hybrid hypercar really puts the development of speed into perspective. Well done, Porsche.

10. Porsche Sells More Cars Than Ever Before

With more models and variants than ever before, Porsche is selling more cars than ever before. While SUVs are now the majority of Porsche’s sales numbers, they’re still selling quite a few sports cars that we enthusiasts are happy to drive. With big sales numbers comes more investment in these super fast and super fun sports cars. Without the four-cylinder Macan, we might not have had the GT2 RS. Keep it up Porsche, here’s to an even stronger 2018 sales year! Here are the latest sales numbers.

The post Porsche’s Most Significant Moments Of 2017 appeared first on FLATSIXES.


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