9ff’s in-house designer, Enes Canay, drew up his ideas for the interior, which the owner was very pleased with. As this was to be a car for the dealer’s wife and not track days or hard driving, the typical pair of lightweight racing Recaro seats 9ff usually installs in its cars for hard-core drivers was off the agenda.
Instead, the cabin is trimmed for comfort with well-padded leather and sport seats. White cross-stitching adds an interesting pattern to the Alcantara seat centers, while normal white stitching is used on the seat surrounds, steering wheel airbag, door armrests and pulls and dash top. Alcantara on the dashboard top and the top rolls of the doors effectively cuts any reflections in the windscreen. A unique feature is the metal rings in the seats, inspired by the original Ford GT40 seats.
The wheels are the same centerlock design used on the 9ff GT9 speed-record car. But instead of being the very expensive forged alloy wheels, these are the production version with forged centers and cast outer rims. They are sized 8.5x19 and 11.5x19 inchesthe wheels 9ff use for a normal Turbo body 997and shod with 235/35ZR19 and 295/30ZR19 Continental SportContact3 rubber.
The height adjustable suspension kit consists of coilovers and helper springs with adjustable spring platforms and aluminum-tubed dampers. The antiroll bars are adjustable, with four positions in front and three at the rear. The factory brakes are replaced with 9ff’s system that uses a 380mm cross-drilled and vented disc at each corner.
Mechanically, the Speed9 has a typical 9ff Turbo 3.6 conversion, which involves a modified intake system, modified turbos, larger intercoolers, full sports exhaust including equal-length tubular headers, 200-cell metal catalytic converters and a remapped ECU.
Output is 650 hp at 6500 rpm with 590 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. Thanks to losing the heavy roof, the Speed9 weighs under 2,700 pounds, which helps its power-to-weight ratio considerably. In fact, once you take into account the other areas where 9ff has removed weight, the car is about 660 pounds lighter than the average factory Turbo Cabriolet, with 150 more horses.
I loved the look of this car from the moment I saw it at Nardo, and it proved it has the go to match its show. On that day, it rocketed around the track at 287.9 kph, or 178.8 mph, a stunning speed for an open-top car.
It would have gone even faster if not for a glitch in the ECU, Fatthauer says. At that point in time, we had not done any top-speed work with our tuned 997 Turbos, and it was only at Nardo that we found out Porsche had slipped a line of code into their ECU map that kicked in a fault code if the car exceeded 287 kph. Basically, that line of code in the basic factory mapping ECU refused to accept that the car could go that fast and went into limp mode.
On the road, the Speed9 is a rocket sled, and while I was happy to use its stupendous thrust to overtake slower traffic, I was not inclined to go too fast because of the buffeting. Without a helmet, 160 kph (100 mph) was just about tolerable, but beyond that, the wind-in-the-hair experience was just too much, underlining the car’s Speedster role.
Cruising around, I was also impressed with the reasonably good ride. With the coilovers set up for comfort, the ride is actually quite civilized and I was very happy tooling along country roads and occasionally through town.
If the Speed9 has one significant downside, it is the factory Tiptronic auto gearbox. While 9ff has made its manual operation better by installing proper left and right paddles behind their smaller sport steering wheel, the fact remains that once you have driven Porsche’s PDK, or even one of the latest lightening-fast automatics from other manufacturers, the old Tiptronic automatic feels positively prehistoric.