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Porsche 911 R (2016): first photos of the back-to-basics 911

Published: 29 October 2015

► First pictures of Porsche 911 R
► A lighter, back-to-basics model
► Like a GT3, but manual ’box, no wing

Here’s manna from heaven for purist Porsche 911 fans in a funk over the move towards forced induction and twin-clutch autos across much of the newly facelifted 991 range. These are thought to be the first spy photos of the long whispered-about Porsche 911R, a lighter, less complicated, ‘back-to-basics’ kind of 991. And the rumoured spec suggests a really quite intriguing proposition for keen drivers.

Porsche 911R: the rumours

  • It’ll get the same 3.8 nat-asp engine as the 991 GT3: this is a Very Good Thing: revving to 9000rpm, the GT3’s flat-six is one of the most charismatic engines around. In the GT3 it develops 469bhp; the R's tipped to sit at around 450bhp.
  • It’ll be manual-only: the hardcore 991 GT3 is currently PDK paddleshift-only, and isn’t available with three pedals and a lever. The R’s set to be the opposite. That means it’ll feature the one-gate-too-many seven-speeder from elsewhere in the 991 range, but nonetheless, exciting news for DIY gear change fans.
  • It’ll be even lighter than the GT3: this is a more focussed model in every way; expect a frippery-free interior with lightweight race-style seats
  • It’ll use narrower tyres: the centre-lock wheels on the car pictured are pure GT3, but are likely to wear narrower tyres, for a more involving, less grip-at-all-costs driving experience

Porsche 911 R: a new badge for nine-eleven-kind

Where’s the rear wing?

Here’s the main outward difference between R and GT3 – that skyscraping rear spoiler’s gone, replaced by a lift-up surface that remains flush with the car’s tail at low speeds. The pictures show a more built-up diffuser surface underneath the car’s rear, making up for some of the downforce lost by deleting the wing.

Whether the 911R will remain a totally wing-free wolf in sheep’s clothing when it reaches the market remains to be seen, however. Aclassic 2.7 RS-style fixed ducktail setup hasn’t been ruled out.

911R… Where have I heard that name before?

The original 911R was a tuned, lightened machine created in 1967 as part of a racing homologation programme. Only 22 were made (or 23, depending on who you ask, and how many of the run you count as prototypes). This new modern-era take on the same theme marks 50 years (ish) since the original.

The new Porsche 911R is tipped to make its official debut at the 2016 Geneva motor show in March. It’s more likely to be a limited-run model than a regular in the range, but here’s hoping Porsche decides to build more than 23.

Scooped! The new 2016 Porsche 911 R

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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