► Porsche's new racer driven up the hill
► Fresh looks, 911 GT2 RS underpinnings
► As good as it looks?
Porsche will build just 77 of its GT2 RS-based 935s, we get a brief sample of what those lucky few can expect.
Cynical plundering of its glorious past, or an astute means of giving customers exactly what they want while celebrating a hugely successful, iconic race car? Porsche’s new 935 is unquestionably a divisive thing, but, damn it, just look at it.
Everything you need to know about the new 935
The ‘tribute’ apes the functional style of Porsche’s long tailed, flat snouted 935 racers that utterly decimated all comers in the late 1970s in Group 5 racing, Porsche’s then interpretation of the rulebook creating the be-winged dominant, 700bhp racer.
Just 77 will be built, Porsche insiders admitting that it could have produced ten times that and still left a few unhappy buyers. This 935 is built for track use, rather than racing, a plaything for the few with the means to drop the £750,000 on such a thing. Bung it in the race truck for a few sighting laps when the mechanics are fettling your Cup car or RSR, perhaps, or, more likely, park it in the collection alongside a similarly liveried example of the car it’s celebrating.
Underneath that expansive, carbon fibre bodywork is a GT2 RS, which Porsche says is producing the stock 700hp. Porsche is always a bit conservative with numbers, so expect this to be producing a bit more. GT boss Andreas Preuninger admits it’s got a bigger water tank for its trick water-cooled injectors as it’ll be using it more often than its road relation, while the suspension is pure race car.
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019: the best bits
It retains the 7-speed PDK transmission, borrows its steering wheel from a Cup car, and loses all its interior trim for a more bereft racing interior. There’s carbon fibre everywhere, then, a digital racing dash and a seat and belts that’s as snug as they come. The PDK for customers will get a cool wooden knob in the style of a 917 racer, ‘our’ 935 being the development car, and the only runner that Porsche currently has, having a standard road car knob sitting somewhat incongruously.
With Preuninger’s warning that it’s needed to run all weekend, the race engineer’s repeated comments about new slick tyres and a dusty track, as well as the proximity of hay bales, that flint wall and around 150,000 spectators and the pressure is on. Thankfully, so is the A/C, as we wait in the sun, race suit and helmet on for our run up the Goodwood hillclimb in Porsche’s unobtainium machine.
With all that, we’re not going to call this a conclusive test, we’d need some proper track time for that, but the 935’s monstrously rapid, it losing some mass - around 90kg for a 1,380kg kerb weight - those slicks, even new, meaning it’s hurled forward from the line in shocking manner. A big confidence brake for the first corner in classic slow in fast out 911 style does reveal a little understeer, that forgivable given the lack of heat and the plentiful kicked-up dust on the Duke’s drive.
Warming to it
Few will get out of a GT2 RS and want more, but that’s exactly what they’ll get with the 935. Everything’s more immediate, the race-derived suspension has to have no concessions to the road, so every input you make to the steering is immediately translated to movement, it feeling sharp, agile and incredibly engagnig. There’s all the raucous cacophony you’d expect too, thanks to the loss of most of the sound deadening, and a pair of pipes that, in the spirit of this backward-looking homage, borrow their look from Porsche’s 908 racer.
It’s that devilish attention to detail that reveals the love that’s gone into creating it. You could spend hours looking at it, which given the wait at Goodwood is exactly what we did, noting touches like the 935-aping rear lights under that long body, the beautiful tiny punctured and serrated elements on the end plates on the 935’s massive rear wing, capped fan wheel covers and plenty more besides.
What it revealed up the brief, intense run up the driveway was equally as desirable, a GT2 RS unleashed, both of road or racing regulations and compromises, a homage for hoonage, if you like. And if that’s not worth celebrating then what is?