Porsche is preparing to introduce a limited-edition model dubbed 911 R, a heritage-laced nameplate last used in 1967. The R is shaping up to be a lighter, less complex, and more driver-focused version of the track-ready 911 GT3 (pictured).
Like the GT3, the 911 R will be powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six engine tuned to deliver 475 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 324 pound-feet of torque. However, while the GT3 ships with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the R will exclusively be available with a purist-approved six-speed manual gearbox. Rear-wheel drive will be the only configuration offered.
Not content with merely adding a third pedal, Porsche will give the R a more streamlined, model-specific look by removing most of the GT3’s aerodynamic add-ons, including the sizable wing that’s mounted on the deck lid. The coupe will also ride on skinnier tires, and it will be lighter than the GT3 thanks to a long list of weight-saving modifications. The diet should help the R reach 60 mph in a little over three seconds, a figure that will make it as fast as the GT3.
August Achleitner, the head of the 911 product line, recently suggested that the 911 R will greet the public for the first time in March at the Geneva Auto Show. He stopped short of confirming availability, but rumors claim that production will be strictly limited to just 600 examples worldwide.
How much of a premium the R will carry over the regular GT3 isn’t known, but pricing is of little interest to us because sources close to Porsche have revealed that it’s already too late to buy one new. A carefully selected group of loyal Porsche customers — including 918 Spyder owners and collectors who own several high-end models — were given an exclusive preview of the 911 R, and by the end of the event the entire production run had been spoken for.
Updated 1/21/2016 by Ronan Glon: Added new information about the 911 R’s official debut.