Supernatural
GT Porsche|April 2017

How has Alois Ruf’s Group C inspired road car, the CTR3, evolved over the last seven years? We unite the first ever example with RUF’s most recent build…

Matt Zuchowski

At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show Porsche finally premiered the production version of its 918 Spyder, it was a long-awaited display of Zuffenhausen’s technological (and political) advantage. This 770,000 Euro hybrid tech-fest on magnesium wheels impressed the automotive world with its dramatic design, and 700hp. But it could please the environmentally conscious too, its 72g/km CO2 emissions boasted more green credentials than any other model in Porsche history. At about the same time Alois Ruf introduced his CTR3 Clubsport – a perfected version of his highly acclaimed CTR3 supercar. It was the car the legendary Porsche tuner had dreamt of making for years, one that would finally allow him to be seen as a genuine car manufacturer – a title he had long deserved. Having built some of the fastest 911s in the world for more than thirty years, in 2008 Ruf was ready to bring to market a car based on his own engineering expertise.

In contrast to the 918 Spyder, the effort of several thousand people and a seven-digit budget, Ruf’s vision of the pinnacle Porsche had its body, construction and engine designed mostly by one man: himself. A man who heads a modest garage employing less than seventy people in the quiet Bavarian city of Pfaffenhausen. The 918 foresees the future of supercars lying with plug-in hybrids, active aerodynamics and a dashboard taken straight from science-fiction movies. The CTR3 responds to that by taking taking its inspiration from the Group B era, its radical design aimed at achieving speeds of 250mph, its loud rev-hungry engine paired with twin KKK turbochargers, good for 700hp (later upgraded to 750hp) channelled through its rear wheels. To stay more in tune with modern times, the Clubsport package adds a further 27hp, totalling an amusing 777hp and more than 700lb ft of torque) with a dual clutch gearbox. While these updates could be ordered as additions to the ‘standard’ CTR3 starting from the 2014 model year, the extra charge (50,000 Euros) for the CTR3 Clubsport adds more still; numerous aggressive aerodynamic tweaks and carbon-fibre ornamentation. The parts reserved exclusively for the Clubsport include a huge fixed rear wing, flared arches (which add three centimetres to the car’s width) and a revised front bumper featuring a more pronounced splitter.

It’s not that the CTR3 begs for attention with cheap tricks, though, its low symmetrical silhouette bearing no similarity to any other car on the road – Porsches included. Its proportions and details are taken straight from the Le Mans hall of fame (like the roof-mounted air inlet or the centre-locking wheels). The CTR3 is a no-nonsense Germanic design just as Alois Ruf intended. Even if our minds tend to take a shortcut to associate these machines with the 993 GT1 or its later 996 successor, Bennett Soderberg, who created the initial CTR3 design at the age of just 26, dug deeper into the rich history of Porsche competition cars when he created this car. Soderberg took inspiration for its curvaceous lines, rakish angles and that low glasshouse from the 550 Coupe prototype built for Le Mans in 1953.

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