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911 icon: Andreas Preuninger

We’re in Finland, and the choice for dinner is reindeer or salmon. Andreas Preuninger is quick to opt for salmon. He’s had his fill of reindeer, having worked previously for Porsche’s Driving School before he reached his current position as head of GT cars. “I was a sporting instructor at the sport driving school when I came to Porsche because I had the time then on the weekends. I wasn’t married so I could go and instruct. The first time I was over in Finland it was for three weeks, and generally minus 36 degrees. There were waves of people coming in, coming out, every other day there were new people. The program repeated, the dishes were always the same – a choice between salmon and reindeer. Maybe I was a little bit overfed on reindeer.”

‘The next head of GT cars might be the man who’s just spent the day pulling my car repeatedly out of the snow banks then?’ I quip. Preuninger laughs, saying: “Absolutely. I did it – I really would like to do it again – it gave me a lot of contacts, I met interesting people, I made friendships that built up. It’s always absolutely vital for me to talk to customers, to know their opinion, to get their feedback. To be able to get the next product spot on.”

He hasn’t got the time for instructing, but he’s never so busy not to speak to enthusiasts, chatting to Porsche Experience customers later in the evening. The GT department has never been busier. Working alongside motorsport boss Frank Walliser, Preuninger admits the dynamic between him and Walliser is one that clicks, admitting: “We appreciate each other. He’s completely different than I am. He’s an analytic guy, he always wants to have mathematical data that he can analyse and I’m more like the person that does things out of his stomach.” He adds: “I don’t say that’s negative. It’s very, very important, especially if you can combine the two.”

That pairing has been hugely successful, the results speaking for themselves. Porsche struggles to keep up with the demand for the cars from its GT division, while the shelves continue to creak under the weight of all those winners’ trophies.

We’ve spent the day in Finland talking about Preuninger’s latest project, the GT3 RS. The conversation this evening isn’t about that. We’ve met many times now and, as ever, Preuninger is always at his most illuminating when he’s off topic, letting the conversation stray away from business and towards his life outside work.

After hearing some traditional Finnish music while we eat we’re not talking tailpipes, but bagpipes, the instrument of choice in my home country. Big Country come up, Preuninger quickly turning the conversation to AC/DC, in particular the Bon Scott era. “I’ve always liked AC/DC, since I was 12 years old, I grew up with this band.” Even so, it’s Status Quo that he admits to being the biggest fan of, counting himself as lucky that his position in Porsche meant that he got to meet one of his heroes, Rick Parfitt. They were great friends, Rick loving his cars, Andreas his band’s music. “I’m a freak for rock music,” he says, that passion for music having been passed from father to son.

Preuninger the father is revealed as we talk music and life, Andreas clearly a hugely dedicated family man. His inner engineer is apparent too, as he admits: “I collect guitars and build guitars and amplifiers, I have a whole room full of amplifiers and guitars. I jam along with my son, who is ten years old. He’s been playing since he was four.”

To read the full, candid interview with Andreas Preuninger, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 164 in shops now or click here to get it delivered to your door. 


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This New RUF SCR is 510 Horsepower of Naturally Aspirated Goodnes, But It’s Not-a-911

One look at the RUF SCR’s underlying structure will tell you that it is not a 911. This new special, which just debuted at Geneva, is something else entirely. Like the new RUF CTR, which debuted last year, it is based on a proprietary chassis full of very un-Porsche traits. The SCR is based on the same tubular structure as the new CTR, and uses the same pushrod-actuated suspension layout. Like the CTR, it’s also heavier than a classic 911. At 1250 kilograms it outweighs the original 1978 SCR by some 140kg, or roughly 12.6%. Fortunately the new SCR doesn’t just make 12.6% more power than the original, it makes over 100% more.

To be clear, the RUF SCR has had several iterations, and up ’til now all have been based on 911s. The most recent SCR was the 4.2-liter 993 based car that debuted last year. The original, also 911 based, debuted all the way back in 1978. While the new car shares its general layout and look with the others, under the skin it’s all RUF.

The new SCR appears to share its chassis and integrated roll cage with the new CTR. Like the CTR, the chassis is a carbon fiber monocoque, and the body is all carbon fiber. The suspension incorporates pushrod actuated coilovers with what looks like wishbones at both ends. The coilovers themselves are made by Sachs.

Power comes from a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six which produces 510 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque; the former at a screaming 8,270RPM. Power is sent to the rear wheels only by a conventional 6-speed manual transmission. This whole package is starting to sound a bit like my current favorite 911 variant: the GT3 Touring.

When the new CTR debuted last year we offered some criticism, which I think was justified. The new CTR simply didn’t up the game enough from the groundbreaking original, despite the remarkable new chassis. While the new SCR shares its name with a past RUF model, it takes the spirit of the 217 horsepower original and hoists it into the stratosphere.

Hopefully RUF, or a generous owner, allows the SCR to go toe-to-toe with a 991.2 GT3 Touring. Not many cars can truly hang with a GT3, but it looks like RUF may have built a worthy rival with the SCR.

Pricing has not been posted online by RUF themselves, though reports of 15 SCRs built per year starting at €650,000 (~$807k US) have appeared elsewhere since the car debuted at Geneva yesterday. Fingers crossed it will be US and California legal as well.


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Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS: first look

It isn’t the most obvious place to unveil Porsche’s latest track-focussed, rear-wheel drive machine, but the Porsche Experience Centre, Finland is where Porsche has decided to give us an early look at the next 911 GT3 RS.

Indeed, we’re so early to see it, it has not yet been fully homologated, so all the figures aren’t available. What we can confirm is that all the rumours of a larger capacity, or even a turbocharged GT3 RS are exactly that – rumours. Indeed, the engine, intake, exhaust and electronic controls are lifted almost entirely from the GT3, so that’s a naturally-aspirated, 4.0-litre flat-six revving to 9,000rpm.

Those differences make for a slight increase in power, up from 500hp to 520hp, torque rising by around 10Nm, GT department boss Andreas Preuninger admitting that with the GT3 RS it’s not just about power, but tactility, feel and immediacy. That’s always the promise with an RS, and Preuninger’s team has gone to town to provide it. To achieve that they’ve concentrated on efficiencies, be it the way the GT3 RS shapes and utilises the air it forces through, the control of the suspension, electronic differential, response of the engine and the immediacy of the steering. Every element of the GT3’s make up has been analysed and enhanced in its transformation into the GT3 RS.

Borrowing heavily from its GT2 RS relation, its suspension is all but identical, so bushes are binned in preference of rose joints on every mount – barring the a single one for the rear-wheel steering. The spring and damper rates are essentially that of a 911 Cup car in Nürburgring trim, so there’s significantly enhanced spring rates over the GT3 – as much as double – yet a compliant ride due to the damper settings.

The most obvious carry-over from the GT2 RS is the GT3 RS’s NACA ducts on the bonnet. These, as per its turbocharged relation, not only force cooling air to the brakes, but tidy the airflow up and over the GT3 RS to its rear wing. That in turn is positioned a touch higher, allowing, in conjunction with revisions to the underbody management of the air, the GT3 RS to offer levels of downforce at least as much as if not slightly more than its predecessor, but without generating so much drag.

The top speed remains the same 193mph quoted for the Gen1 car, but that’s likely to be conservative, as is the 3.2 second 0-62mph time. As with the earlier GT3 RS, this Gen2 car will be PDK only, the gearbox, like every other element worked on with some specific RS additions. There are bigger bearings inside, as well as a revised shift strategy, which in conjunction with revisions to software controlling the differential, traction, stability and rear-wheel steering systems allow more speed to be created from the GT3 RS around a track.

How much it’ll manage around that track remains conjecture, as it’s yet to run against the clocks, but Preuninger is confident of a time of around 7 minutes 5 seconds or so. He’s quick to admit that from that sizeable gain only around one second is attributable to the increased performance from the engine, the rest down to the chassis, tyres and aerodynamic changes.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an RS without some mass reduction. It’ll cause some consternation among the detail statos out there, as it’s likely Porsche will quote a kerbweight that matches the outgoing car. That’s 1,420kg in case you need reminding. That, like Porsche’s typically conservative performance figures, isn’t entirely representative, as there’s been a change in the way it can legally homologate the weight, it no longer possible to do so with all the weight saving options on it – think options like PCCB carbon ceramic brakes, plus no air conditioning or radio.

The weight figure, then, is more representative of reality, though Porsche has shifted significant mass, not least 5kg from the interior alone. The biggest potential saving comes courtesy of the possibility of GT3 RS customers optioning the Weissach Pack, which apes that of the GT2 RS, including elements like carbon fibre roof and bonnet body panels as well as magnesium wheels and a titanium roll cage. Choose it and the mass drops by 29kg, though thanks to production delays with the magnesium wheels – which account for around 12.5kg of those weight savings – Porsche will offer the Weissach as a two-stage package, with early customer orders not able to have it with the magnesium wheels.

If you’re in the lucky enough position to have an order in for one you’ll be dropping £141,346 before you add any options – the Weissach Package adding around £21,000 to the GT2 RS, so it’s not likely to be any cheaper here. Like the previous RS, limitations in build capacity, rather than any cap on build numbers will likely mean that individual options like Paint to Sample aren’t offered to UK buyers, in a bid to secure a greater portion of the production availability, though we’re rather taken by the Lizard Green launch colour Preuninger picked for the latest car to wear the RS badge. It’s also good to see the over GT3 RS script making a return, just in case you needed reminding this is something rather special indeed.



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GT3: A Porsche 911 History

Forget the switch to water-cooling, for Porsche enthusiasts, 1998 was really all about the release of the first Porsche 911 GT3. It marked the beginning of a new Neunelfer model range that has, in just 18 years, worked its way into Zuffenhausen legend.

Based on the Porsche 996 Carrera’s narrow body shell, the original 996 GT3 debuted in Cup car form at the tail end of 1998 before the road going version was launched at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.

Unlike the standard 996 Carrera, it was bestowed with a dry sump, race-bred engine, the architecture of which could be traced back deep into the air-cooled era. Designed by legendary Porsche engineer, Hans Mezger, the 3.6-litre engine developed 365hp at a heady 7,200rpm.

Tracking shot of a Dark Blue Porsche 996 GT3

Named after the FIA racing class it was designed for, the first 911 GT3 was still very much a road car (despite its motorsport-inspired moniker and drivetrain). As it turned out, this would be the key to the car’s success with 1,858 996.1 GT3s leaving the bespoke production line at Porsche’s Motorsport Department.

In 2003, the GT3 got its first update, bringing with it the 996 Gen2’s sharper front lights, new alloy wheels and a revised aerodynamic package that included a more modern rear wing design. The 3.6-litre ‘Mezger’ engine was also fettled, providing an improved 386hp at 7,400rpm.

While the 996.2 GT3 was no longer made in Weissach, the move to the Zuffenhausen factory allowed Porsche to increase production, with 2,313 Mark II cars being built between 2003 and 2005.

Blue Gen 1 Porsche 997 GT3

Demand was even higher for the first 997 GT3, launched in 2006. Still based on the narrow Carrera body shell, Andreas Preuninger’s department made the 997.1 the first GT3 to weigh less than its Carrera 2 counterpart, while further development of the 3.6-litre flat six yielded an even higher rev limit.

Now producing 412hp, the 997.1 GT3 was also the first to come equipped Porsche Active Stability Management (PASM), allowing less experienced drivers to experience the race-bred road car’s talents with the benefit of an electronic catch net.

In 2009, the GT3 got its biggest revision yet as part of the 997 platform’s Gen2 facelift. Along with refreshed styling, the flat six engine was expanded to 3,797cc and the compression ratio increased to 12.2:1, increasing power to 435hp at 7,900rpm.

Riviera Blue Gen 2 Porsche 997 GT3 driving

Centre-lock wheels (a regular feature on the GT3 Cup cars since their debut in the 1999 race season) were also fitted to the road-going GT3 for the first time too, although 2010 model year cars needed to be recalled to fix a rear hub problem.

The Porsche 991 GT3 – launched at Geneva in 2013 – had even more tricks up its sleeves though. For the first time, the body shell was that of the wider Carrera 4, while the longer wheelbase of the 991 platform led Preuninger’s team to utilise a rear-wheel steering system jointly developed for the GT3 and 911 Turbo.

The drivetrain saw the greatest overhaul however. Gone was the now-legendary Mezger engine, replaced by high-revving version of the Carrera’s 9A1 engine while the manual gearbox was replaced with a PDK shifter (the performance of which was improved considerably to match the GT3’s race car credentials).


The move to the dual-clutch gearbox shocked many 911 enthusiasts and, with the 991.2 GT3 in the pipeline, it is expected that Porsche will bring the six-speed manual transmission back to the GT3 line-up as an option).

Due for launch early next year (possibly at Geneva), the Gen2 991 GT3 is also due to get the 4.0-litre powerplant from the current 911 GT3 RS. Complete with a lower 8,800rpm rev limit, the Rennsport’s engine is widely regarded as a more reliable unit that the 991.1 GT3’s engine (which suffered a few hugely publicised failures).

For more historical online features, check out our full selection of ‘Porsche 911 history’ articles now.

Photo by CarPix AB

Photo by CarPix AB


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Opinion: the 911 R is the 991 we’ve all been waiting for

Porsche purists, you are not in a hazy daydream: rub your eyes and pinch yourself, because this is reality – Porsche HAS affixed a manual gearbox to its current Rennsport flat six engine. This revelation has arrived in the form of the new 911 R, a road car ‘built for corners’ and a fitting homage to the original R, a homologated competition special, which celebrates its 50th birthday in 2017.

In fairness, we’ve expected the 991 R for some time now and, frankly, the day of its arrival simply couldn’t come soon enough. Right from the introduction of the 991-generation’s motorsport platform with the GT3 in 2013, long-time Porsche aficionados have had to get used to the absence of that all-important third pedal in the footwell, replaced by paddleshift on the steering wheel as the GT3 platform went PDK only. It was the same story for the Rennsport model revealed last year, too.

While the argument that PDK is necessary in order to improve lap times is true, I can’t help but feel this has been to the detriment of what has for years made Porsche different to other sports car manufacturers. See, Zuffenhausen’s philosophy has always been ‘It’s not how fast you go, it’s how you get there’. It’s why the tachometer is mounted centrally in the instrument panel of any 911, after all.


To that ilk, GT and Rennsport 911s have always celebrated the ‘pure’ driving experience in its most exhilarating light and while the 991 GT3 and 991 GT3 RS are brilliant cars, there’s no getting away from the fact they’re just not as exciting to pilot as their forebears, unless you’re on the very limit. Purists agree and have long called on Porsche for a return of the traditional shifter, a wish that’s been administered with the 991R unveiled at the 86th Geneva International Motor Show this week. Even better, this short-shift manual ‘box has just six forward gears, doing away with the long 7th ratio found on all 991 Carreras.

The entire premise of the 911R is refreshingly palatable. Weighing 1,370kilograms (that’s 50kilograms lighter than the 991 GT3 RS), the 991R is a true lightweight by modern standards. The small GT steering wheel has done away with its multi-function gubbins, and the option of a lightweight flywheel mated to what could be the last naturally aspirated Porsche flat six further enhances its purist sporting intent.

Porsche could have gone further with its traditional, lightweight intentions, though. The R’s active rear axle no doubt aids stability in the absence of any fixed rear wing, but the caveat here is added weight. Conversely, PCCBs are a lightweight option over cast iron ‘Big Red’ brakes, but the reality is PCCBs just aren’t necessary on a car for the road, and take away a degree of feel for the driver too (the lack of pedal travel required to scrub speed makes heel and toe difficult).

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Regardless, the 991R has answered the prayers of those wishing for a ‘proper’ performance Porsche 911 again and is arguably the most exciting model since the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 of 2010. Lets just hope this latest engineering marvel will be used for spirited road use as it was intended – though with Porsche 918 owners given first choice for buying one of the 991 available, I’m not holding my breath.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.




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