Cement tycoons from Liechtenstein aren't quite a dime a dozen. And such a car buyer generally wants something that, at the very least, announces to the rest of Liechtenstein: "Thank you, fellow loyal subjects of Liechtenstein, for coming to me for all your cement needs." After such niceties, the black flash that just smoked you is Wolfgang Gerster in his SPR1 T80, commissioned from Swiss tuner, Sportec.
The fool. He let me have my way with the car all day and night in southern Spain. We did it there because southern Spain is always dry and warm, right? Not this year. We played 'dodge the water-retaining clouds' all over the high hills inland of Malaga, in search of several sunlit sections to explore the outer limits of the car and my vocabulary.
The SPR1 T80 is based on a 997 911 Carrera. This was chosen because it came out first in 2004 and Sportec needed to get going on the project. After that cheap start, costs ballooned deliriously as everything was removed from the frame and replaced with lighter weight and more rigid carbon fiber and Kevlar panels. I'd put torsional rigidity at 30,000 Nm/d. Doors are aluminum, pulled from the 997 Turbo or GT3, and the plan is to have the front lid in carbon fiber (now aluminum) once it can be kept from warping like a bed sheet at high speeds. Front track widens by 3.1 inches, two inches in back. The car weighs 2965 pounds, or 110 pounds less than the 997 Carrera. The same guy who builds the cockpits for BMW Sauber F1 cars oversees all this exquisite pre-preg carbon fiber artistry.
So far, the car has hit and held 230 mph at Nardo, the high-speed track in southeast Italy, but Sportec is confident of 240 mph, once the Porsche Variocam sensors get with the program up in the nosebleed range. Acceleration from zero to 62 mph is three seconds flat.
Besides the composite panels and aero bits all around, created by Sportec in collaboration with the autoclaves at the nearby EMPA Institute-plus the Porsche aluminum doors and front lid-there is a long list of mixing-and-matching. That big 57-inch-wide (at the leading edge) rear two-tier wing is modeled after the unit on the 996 Porsche GT2. Any bi-turbo rear-engine rager from Stuttgart needs copious air literally rammed down into it through the airbox, and I dig the integration of the two ram openings into the actual stanchions of the wing itself. The two side intakes forward of the haunches each carries air directly to its own big air-to-air intercooler located either side of the rear bumper.
The engine block is pulled from a 996 Turbo. A much harder and smaller-diameter heat-treated crankshaft sits in re-machined bearing seats, eliminating all high-rev vibration. Both halves of the flat block are made decidedly stiffer too, with added bolt-holes drilled. Piston rods are now titanium and the water-cooling path throughout has been optimized. Lubrication is by dry sump, borrowed from the 996 Turbo, since this design sits further forward to create more room for the intake manifold. There are also two Bosch injectors per cylinder, so the first injector tapers off a bit as the second injector chimes in near that juicy 4500-rpm mark. From then on, both inject equally. Using one fatter injector would create homologation problems. Bypass valves on the four-barrel Sportec exhaust open at 4600 rpm, adding to the speed cocktail.
Driving this Alpine fire-sled isn't really scary, just touchy like an Italian woman. Our Prince of Pre-stressed Concrete normally likes to run 20-inch sticky Michelin Cup tires, but for this drive we're running slightly-less-sticky standard Michelin Pilot Sports. Between the mountain of power and torque (649 lb-ft), the 110 pounds less weight than a Carrera, and the occasional rain in Spain, some circumspection is required. Even on dry tarmac, any shot of juice with the steering wheel just slightly off-center can cause an immediate forward view of what was behind just a second ago.