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RPM Technik

996 CSR EVO: Evolving the Carrera

There’s a very nice 996.2 GT3 sitting in the RPM Technik showroom when I arrive early on a Wednesday morning. There’s a track booked, but the GT3 will be staying here. Instead RPM Technik’s commercial director Darren Anderson hands me the keys to the company’s CSR EVO. The CSR name has been around since 2010, RPM offering the CSR as a package of upgrades on 996 and 997s which can be done at once or over a period of time, depending on budget and expectations.

With the EVO the focus is more on track driving, it obviously a more hardcore, adjustable car that offers the serial track day enthusiast something they can drive as a daily, yet track mercilessly. As Anderson himself says, the EVO “has the broadest remit of any CSR”.

RPM Technik admits that to qualify as a CSR there has to be a minimum of work done to give the name its due. Obviously the Merlin purple demonstrator, build number 22, has the full EVO package on it, but if elements don’t chime with your desires or needs then you don’t have to have them. Add all the EVO changes up and you’re looking at around £55,000, which is a not-insignificant amount, especially as you need a 996.2 Carrera base car in the first instance. Indeed, that pushes the CSR EVO into the league of that aforementioned 996.2 GT3.

That’s perhaps a moot argument as, regrettably, the likelihood of buyers walking into RPM’s showroom, buying a GT3, chucking a lid and some Nomex clothing under the bonnet and heading to a track day are past. Blame the speculative nature of the Porsche marketplace for that, and in particular the ‘value’ of the GT cars.

The CSR EVO represents an opportunity: this is a car that a genuine enthusiast can buy and use as they like, that indeed being a significant part of its appeal. That it’s based on the 996 only makes it more interesting, a car that the market’s traditionally described as unloved. I’ve never subscribed to that – a good 996 delivers a wonderful drive, yet as with any car there’s scope for improvement, which is where RPM comes in.

The list of changes on this CSR EVO is lengthy. It’s very obviously purple, which is deliberate given its demonstrator status, Anderson wanting it to stand out among other cars. The likelihood is CSR EVO customers will leave their cars in the standard hue, though RPM will be only too happy to take on a colour change. Overt colour aside, the bodywork changes are relatively subtle. There’s a vented CSR EVO front bumper with ducting behind it feeding an additional third radiator, a carbon ducktail and sideskirts and rear bumper with vented inserts, and a central exit for the twin exhaust pipes. There’s a carbon bonnet, upon which there’s a stickered Porsche badge, in keeping with the lightweight ethos.

That carries over to the inside: there’s a lower dash delete, RPM moving the window switches up from between the seats to the centre dash, the ashtray also being removed. Out of that neater tunnel between the Recaro Pole Position bucket seats is a longer gearstick attached to a modified linkage for an improved shift, while ahead of you is a deep-dished, leather-rimmed MOMO wheel with a yellow strip…

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Our 24-hour 997.2 Carrera S roadtrip

It is ironic that in the same weekend Porsche Motorsport’s 991 RSRs are to spend 24 hours charging around a 13-kilometre track in northern France, Total 911 would be taking part in a European dash of its own.

The call came a couple of days previously; RPM Technik’s commercial director Darren Anderson enquiring as to our whereabouts over the upcoming weekend. Le Mans was of course on the agenda, but rather than travelling to Circuit de la Sarthe, the action was to be watched from the comfort of home via Eurosport. Cue the curve ball: “How would you like to collect a 911 for me?” Darren asked.

The 911 in question was to be a 997.2 C2S, it being no ordinary beast though. Serving purpose as a mule for the company’s critically acclaimed CSR programme, which modifies 996 and 997s in line with its ‘engineering exhilaration’ slogan, the latest phase of development has seen RPM Technik partner with KW suspension. The latter’s trademark yellow springs are a permanent feature under the arches of cars dominating competition on the Nordschleife.

Via Richard Good, director at KW UK, a close working relationship has been formed with the KW factory in Fichtenberg, Germany, to develop a set-up which RPM Technik believes ideally suits its burgeoning line-up of CSR 911s. “We’ve previously used other brands of high-end suspension without issue, but we felt KW offered the greatest diversity of products and those products provide more opportunity for adjustability to cover a wide variety of driving situations. A great set-up for the track doesn’t necessarily correlate to the ideal configuration for fast road driving, for example,” Darren explains. “With KW we can ensure our cars have precise focus and adjustability without compromising ride quality, and that’s across a range of driving scenarios our customers can find themselves in.”

There’s clear intelligence behind RPM Technik’s thesis here. As we’ve seen ourselves, the rush to deliver better and better performance in the aftermarket sector often brings huge caveats in regards to comfort, particularly for examples used everyday, as the 911 is intended. Our interest suitably piqued, we accept the offer to repatriate RPM’s mule, fitted with a freshly developed set of CSR-tuned DDC Plug and Play coilovers.

Arriving at KW’s sprawling Fichtenberg factory, situated an hour east of Porsche’s own Zuffenhausen base, we meet Oliver Scherbaum, who offers to show us around this impressive facility.

Essentially a complete walk-through of how each individual coilover is made, KW’s Ollie is extensive with his divulgence of information, yet engaging in his delivery. We learn the precise methods for building each damper, the exhaustive quality control present at every step of the process, plus the science and technology which goes into making a KW coilover – not to mention the sheer number of components involved (it is quite literally hundreds). All this helps paint a very vivid picture of the technology newly installed under the arches of RPM Technik’s GB-plated car out front. Time is ticking, so we’d better get on with the drive.

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RPM CSR Evo takes Porsche’s 911 996 Carrera to a track-focused extreme

Porsche specialist RPM Technik has built a faster, leaner, 996 Carrera, the most extreme model yet in its CSR series…

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RPM Technik’s 996 CSR: Revitalizing the 996 Platform

I find myself growing fonder of the 996 platform with every week, and the discovery of this 996 CSR Retro has convinced me that, despite its age, the 996 has all the performance I could ever want—provided it’s freshened up a bit. For a modest price, RPM Technik will put a bit of life in a tired 996 and make it something more akin to a GT3 of the era, but it is still compliant enough for a pockmarked backroad. Snarling, energetic, and responsive, this tuned Porsche emphasizes the 996’s already-impressive handling and refines some of the areas which might leave a hot-blooded enthusiast wanting more. Plus—it features some classic styling queues that soften the divisive factory appearance of the car.

Fuchs-style wheels, a ducktail, and a GT3 front bumper make it a real looker. Photo credit: RPM Technik

The footwork is the main concern with this 911

The list of upgrades includes:

  • a Wavetrac limited-slip differential;
  • Eibach hollow anti-roll bars;
  • a choice of either KW, Ohlins, or Bilstein suspension;
  • a modified exhaust;
  • and a few weight saving pieces like the eye-catching ducktail.

In fact, the list of possible additions is ten pages long, and that can make for a widely appealing machine, regardless of generational biases. With options such as polyurethane bushings and fixed Recaro buckets, it can be made into a circuit scalpel.

Though agile and obviously willing to rotate dramatically at speed, the car remains supple and doesn’t crash over potholes or undulations in the asphalt quite like a GT3. It still will tramline and follow cambers, but that’s part of the car’s appeal and only enriches the detailed experience. Instead of a GT3, think of the CSR Retro as more of a 996 GTS with the option of funky Fuchs and a psychedelic, Pascha checkerboard interior.

For half the price of a GT3, the CSR Retro melds the beauty, lightweight, and simplicity of old-world 911s with modern body control and enviable response. Plus, the package injects a little more life and humor into the 996 platform; making it a sexy, quirky, and unique creation that will turn heads everywhere it goes.

There’s something wonderfully flower-power about this Pascha interior. Photo credit: RPM Technik

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Sales Spotlight: Porsche 996 CSR Retro

Last month, we shone our Sales Spotlight on a Porsche 997 Sport Classic, up for sale at Porsche Centre Leeds an eye-watering £385,000 price tag. This week though, we’ve found something that should give similar thrills for a fraction of the cost.

Not content with simply selling Porsche 911s, renowned independent specialist, RPM Technik has become famous for its ‘CSR’ brands of Clubsport-style conversions for 996 and 997 generation Neunelfers.

The car on offer here is a Porsche 996 CSR Retro that has completed a scant 150 miles since the build was finished, all for the modest price of £39,995 (or just over a tenth of the price of that Sport Classic).

996 CSR Retro interior

We’ve had first-hand experience of how thrilling RPM Technik’s CSR package can be on numerous occasions and, fitted with a full compliment of upgrades, we’re sure that this particular finished build will be no different.

There is hardly an area of the donor car (chosen for its impeccable service history and unusual Vesuvio Metallic paint finish) left untouched, with RPM fitting new adjustable coilover dampers, top mounts, anti-roll bars and lower arms, all adjusted to RPM’s secret CSR setup.

A CSR limited slip differential has been added to the package too, along with a RPM’s proprietary lightweight flywheel and clutch, exhaust system and brake package, ensuring that this 996 provides a driving experience akin to a GT3, with the usability of a 997 GTS (without incurring the costs of either).

996 CSR Retro rear

Of course, the CSR Retro is all about its classic touches and, on that front, this example gains genuine 18-inch Fuchs alloys and the signature carbon fibre ducktail (along with the rest of the CSR body kit).

Inside, the retro touches are continued with colour-coded hardback sports seats, while the rest of the interior is a little more subtle, retrimmed in Alcantara to provide a sporting environment from which you can blast across your favourite roads.

To find out more about this Porsche 996 CSR Retro, or other impeccable Porsche 911s currently in their stock, visit RPM Technik’s website now.

996 CSR Retro seats

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