The history of the Porsche 911R

With all the fuzz about the Porsche 911R that probably will be unveiled next Tuesday at the Geneva Motorshow, some of you might be a bit flabbergasted. A 911R ??  Many have never heard of this model that was given birth in the experimental department of Porsche and only had a production number of 24 cars, 4 prototypes to be precise and some 20 more that mainly ended up in private hands. Useless to say these gems are among the most desired cars among Porsche colletors. Rarely these cars show up for sale, and the prices they catch are not for the faint of of heart. After all the Porsche 911R ran itself into car history achieving quite some world and class records.

The BP 911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)
The BP 911R at Monza 09 (11899001R)

Ferdinand Piech, head of the Porsche test department at the time, wanted to build a lighter bodied Porsche 911 that was even more powerful as the 911S model. He conceived the car to race in production sport car classes in endurance events and long-distance rallies. The 911R , where the R stands for ‘Rennsport’ (German) was born. Huschke von Hanstein, head of the racing department, was immediately very enthusiast about the 911R, and believed it would be highly appreciated by private racing teams. He wanted 500 cars to be built, what would position the car in the FIA group 4 class. Nor Lars Schmitt, head of the sales department, nor CEO Ferry Porsche believed this spartan car would sell 500 times and the car didn’t go in ‘mass’ production. Just a few years later, the succes of the Porsche 2.7 Carrera RS would prove that Huschke von Hanstein was correct about customers being delighted in more spartan Porsche 911s

Stubborn as he was however, Ferdinand Piech wasn’t disencouraged about the board’s decision and continued assembling 911R’s in the racing department, beyond the influence of Porsche’s sales staff and marketers. A final number of 4 prototypes and 20 ‘production’ cars was reached.

The 911R’s Typ 910/22 engine originated from Porsche’s Typ 906 Carrera 6, that on it’s turn was derived from the original 911 2.0ltr flat six engine. To lose weight, light-alloy cylinders were used, topped with aluminum alloy cylinder heads and twin chain-driven over-head camshafts per bank. An astonishing 210hp was developed by the engine at 8000rpm.

The triple-throat 46mm Weber downdraft carburetors were fed by 2 electric fuel pumps.

Porsche 911R @911Motorsport Trackdays
Porsche 911R @911Motorsport Trackdays

Karl Baur works in Stuttgart was ordered to form and assemble fiberglass frond fenders, front and read deck lids , doors and eve the top and body of the dashboard and the taillight assembly. Rolf Wütherich, known as James Dean‘s passenger in the fatal crash, was one of the mechanics that had to drill holes in every lever, handle and pedal to lighten the car as much as possible. Every gram counts. Side windows in plexi-glass, the ‘Plexidur’ rear window was shaved to a thickness of 2mm, windshield to a thickness of 4mm. By the time they finished, the cars weighed just 800 kilograms – 1,764 pounds.

The Porsche 911R had a short career.
The 911 R was entered in some events in 1968 and 1969, including the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, 1,000Km of Nurburgring, the Targa Florio, and Tour de France. In 1969, the 911 R scored its only outright win at Tour de France with Gérard Larousse.

However, the 911R did some heroic exploit with the 1967 Monza Record runs as the most iconic.

The Sound of the Porsche 911R

The Porsche 911R at a race track

Onboard footage : Porsche 911R

Porsche 911R (picture by European Collectibles)
Porsche 911R (picture by European Collectibles)
Porsche 911R in process of restoration
Porsche 911R in process of restoration
Porsche 911R in process of restoration
Porsche 911R in process of restoration