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Richard Attwood drives a 964 3.8 R restomod

road car. A race car. An engineer’s car. The 911, more than any other car, is a product of continual automotive evolution. Porsche’s enhancements have kept it relevant for the road, competitive on the track and have cemented its reputation as the enthusiast’s car of choice. That evolution isn’t just limited to Porsche itself; an entire industry out there takes 911s backwards and forwards in time, improving, re-imagining, personalising. The 911 is an eminently adaptable basis upon which owners can build the car they want from it.

With this 964, that’s exactly what RPM Technik has done for its owner Ian Humphris. The idea was for a fast road car that could be track driven, adding contemporary performance while being respectful to the classic feel and engagement a 964 brings. Using a Carrera 2 as its basis, the build process has been meticulous, seeking improvements in every area, this now a 964 that can run with its more recent GT department relations, yet offers a driving bandwidth that enables it to be enjoyed on the road, too.

Of all the many branches of 911 evolution and sub-species, this visceral, exciting 964 arguably represents the most appealing opportunity for perfecting and personalising, taking a tired Carrera and reviving it as a car that can be enjoyed. Its performance absolutely eclipses a 964 RS that you’d be too scared to drive. What RPM and Humphris have created is the perfect riposte to a zeitgeist where vehicular value takes president over the value of driving itself.

PART ONE: ON TRACK

It’s a sunny day at Bedford Autodrome, our track time exclusively reserved for RPM Technik’s 964 3.8. Owner Humphris likes his cars too: there’s a 997 GT3 RS in his garage, alongside some other special machinery, but it’s the 964 he’s animated about.

It’s obviously not standard, but to the uninformed could just be a neat, small, red Porsche 911. Its lowered stance could be missed, its split-rim BBS alloys less so. Humphris admits that they’re his road wheels, having a set of Cup 17-inch wheels with some cut slicks for serious track work. There are subtle hints to its revisions visually then, the black-rimmed headlight surrounds an RSR nod, the small lip splitter a neat addition under the front bumper.

There’s no surprises seeing the brake intakes on the front bumper, though they’re framed by darker indicator lenses. These, like those headlight surrounds, contrast perfectly with the red bodywork. Around the back the build follows the same understated enhancement route, this 964 retaining a single exhaust pipe, though the engine cover suggests that single pipe is attached to something a little bit different from the norm. The sticker, not badge, says 3.8 R, a model that’s entirely of its owner’s making, and justifiably so. Specification or naming purists be damned, this is a car that defines purity, a car built for an individual, with their – and only their – ambition and goals for it driving the entire project.

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Porsche releases new C4 GTS British Legends edition

Porsche Cars Great Britain has revealed a special 991.2 C4 GTS British Legends Edition 911 to celebrate the achievements at La Sarthe of Brit Drivers Richard Attwood, Derek Bell and Nick Tandy. Available immediately in one of three colour combinations evoking the famous Porsche livery of each driver’s period winning car, this special GTS has been developed with the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur department for the UK market only.

Attwood, Bell and Tandy have all had a direct hand in choosing the spec of the car too, with the C4 version of the current 991.2 GTS chosen to evoke the all-wheel-drive layout of the current 919 e-hybrid piloted by Tandy in the World Endurance Championship. It is also the fastest 911 in the current Carrera range. Alcantara and carbon trim provides a direct link to the cockpit of the racing cars each driver successfully pedalled to the top step of the podium at Le Mans, while a comprehensive standard specification including Sports Chromo Pack and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control further enhances the car’s motorsporting aspirations. A choice of either seven-speed manual or PDK transmissions is available.

Though the spec of each British Legends car is identical from a technical aspect, the three variants are all distinguishable by their liveries, with the Attwood car finished in Guards red with black centre-lock wheels to evoke the Salzburg livery of his 1970 Le Mans-winning 917, the Bell GTS finished in Sapphire blue metallic to evoke his 956’s Rothmans livery, while the Tandy car is finished in Carrera white metallic which of course honours the appearance of his 919 hybrid from his 2015 triumph. All versions then carry small side decals featuring the iconic number of each driver’s Le Mans conquering car, with the driver’s signature printed on a discreet plaque mounted aft of each car’s B-pillar.

Generously specced and unique in their appearance, these cars offer a rare opportunity for motorsporting aficionados to suitably honour their most admired Brit racing driver from Porsche’s hallowed works roster. However, theres a high price for such admiration, as the GTS British Legends editions are available from £122,376, slightly more than new 911 Turbo money. The cars aren’t part of a numbered production run but Porsche GB says the number available will be small, Total 911 estimating this to be around one example per Porsche Centre.

 

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Retirement plan

Nearly 50 years on from winning Le Mans, Richard Attwood is still racing and still getting podiums. You can’t keep a good man down.

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Le Mans legends to attend Hexagon’s annual charity dinner

Hexagon Modern Classic’s annual charity dinner will return once again this summer with a new venue and a new theme, ensuring the 2016 evening will be the biggest and best yet.

Having moved from their previous premises (where the inaugural Total 911 Awards were hosted) over the winter, Hexagon’s new site at 82-92 Great North Road in London will play host to the opulent evening where the great and the good of the automotive world are sure to attend.

This year the theme is ‘Classic Le Mans’ and the special Q&A panel will feature not two but three Porsche Le Mans legends. Joining British heroes, Richard Attwood and Derek Bell on stage will be none other than Jacky Icxk.

Porsche-Pressekonferenz 24-Stunden-Rennen von Le Mans, Jacky Ickx

Between them, the trio have an incredible 12 Le Mans victories (ten of which came in Weissach machinery, from 917s to 962s) and will share their experiences from the iconic French endurance race during the charity dinner on Tuesday 5 July.

Mark Blundell – the 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – will also join the Porsche legends for the Q&A at the evening, hosted by Natalie Pinkham (of Sky F1 coverage fame).

Tickets for the evening cost £185 and include dinner, drinks and canapés, while there will also be special auctions. Proceeds from the night will raise money for charity, including Great Ormand Street Hospital (a cause close to the heart of Hexagon founder, Paul Michaels).

To book your place, email [email protected] now.

le mans invite

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Richard Attwood: “We weren’t meant to win Le Mans”

After rising quickly through the junior single seater ranks in the early Sixties – including a win in the prestigious Formula Junior race at Monaco – by the end of the decade, Richard ‘Dickie’ Attwood found his Formula One career stalling at the once-great BRM team.

A full-time switch to sports cars in 1967 saw Attwood turn his back on the Grand Prix dream, with his performances quickly attracting the attention of Porsche. He narrowly missed out winning the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans but made amends (and Weissach history) the following year.

Now, Total 911 sits down with the modest yet charming Brit to discuss that Le Mans triumph, the Porsche 911’s legacy and working with Hollywood legend, Steve McQueen:

Richard Attwood Silverstone Experience Centre

How did the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans pan out for you?
We weren’t meant to win it. We basically had a slow car: the 4.5-litre engine, not the 5.0-litre. The 5.0-litre was new at that time but, by the time we got to June, it was a stonker!

Having qualified, I realised we didn’t have a chance. If everybody else had done the job that we did, we would never have won. But, it was just the most amazing race, because there were lots of driver errors.

There was one incident where three Ferrari 512s went out in the same accident. Three! Bang, bang, bang. All sorts of things like that happened. After only ten hours, unbelievably we were in the lead!

1970 Porsche 917K Salzburg

Were you aware of the significance of your 1970 Le Mans victory at the time?
No. It was another race at the World Sportscar Championship. Le Mans has become more prominent and more prestigious now; it’s the greatest sports car race in the world.

What was it like working on the set of ‘Le Mans’?
Boring. Any film work is really boring, because you’ve got directors, the light man, the cameras and the sound. Something is always wrong. It’s meant to be a sunny scene but it’s not; it’s pissing with rain.

Steve [McQueen] was a great guy to work with though. He was a great athlete, he rode bikes, and I always describe him as a ‘man’s man’. Obviously, he was also a girl’s man as well!

Richard Attwood

What do you think has made the 911 so popular?
Evolution. We know that the silhouette of the 911 is still there. The way Porsche have done that, I don’t think any other manufacturer has done that.

They’ve taken basically the same layout – mechanically it’s the same – but evolved it, and today it handles like a normal car. The electronics help the situation as well. Getting into trouble in a modern 911 is very difficult.

To read the full interview with Richard Attwood, including his tales of driving the mighty Porsche 917 (and how he bought one as a “pension”), download your copy of Total 911 issue 117 now.

Richard Attwood Porsche 917

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