A handful of New Zealanders are itching to get hold of the limited-edition Porsche dubbed the 911 R, a stripped-down flyer that won’t officially exist until Porsche says it does.
All Porsche executives in Germany will say about the many spy photos of the car is that nosy-parkers will have to wait until the Geneva motor show in March. Porsche executives in New Zealand are saying the same thing.
What their reticence adds up to is Porsche-speak for the 911 R making its first public appearance at Geneva. But those who worship at the altar of Porsche already know all about it.
They said so at the Hampton Downs race circuit, where the second segment of the 2016 Porsche festival is on this weekend. Some of them have asked Porsche when it will arrive here, only to be told that if it does it won’t be in numbers beyond a handful.
So what’s the 911 R all about? It’s a hard-core, rear-drive Porsche for the purist, likely to be a bare-bones version of the latest GT3, using the GT3’s non-turbo 368kW/460Nm 4.0-litre flat-six engine but not its dual-clutch seven-speed PDK gearbox. Instead, the 911 R will use a six-speed manual.
It is expected to ride on 20-inch wheels that are narrower than those on the GT3, to provide less grip but a more approachable limit of adhesion. As the spy shots show, there will be no rear ducktail spoiler. Also likely to go is Porsche’s four-wheel steering system.
The new model was first seen testing in Germany late last year, surfacing after Porsche had registered the 911 GT and GT5 names. It was quickly assumed that it would be called the 911 R, the spiritual successor to the original 911 R of 1967.
Porsche built only 22 back then, as part of a failed GT racing homologation programme. The car was based on the original 911 chassis and used a 155kW 2.0-litre flat-six. It was lighter by more than 200kg than the donor car, thanks to the extensive use of fiberglass and aluminium and a stripped-out interior.
It is a significant car in the Porsche timeline, loosely providing the template for the most desirable of all 911 Porsches – the 1972/73 Carrera RS 2.7.