Porsche’s GT division has always understood the importance of exclusivity when it comes to its road cars. Production runs have been limited to numbers far below the volumes that supercar makers like Ferrari produce on an annual basis. For example, we’re told that the total build for the new Cayman GT4 is going to be limited by production constraints to between 1800 and 2500 cars, worldwide. The division’s motto should be “always leave ‘em wanting more.”
Our recent drive of the GT4 also gave us the chance to speak with Andreas Preuinger, the GT division boss, and a very strong candidate for having the best job in the world. With so much demand for GT models, he acknowledges there’s always going to be almost as much debate about the models that don’t get built as the ones that do.
“We are not in a position to be able to do everything that we would like to do,” he said, “we’re drowning in projects now. But we need to do what’s right for this small customer group that is very, very important to us—that is very near to the core of the brand. We won’t risk that by doing too much, by producing too many.”
Let’s start with the good news: The GT4’s manual gearbox was at the heart of the project from the beginning (not the result of criticism over the decision to launch the 991 GT3 as a PDK only), and Preuinger is very keen to offer at least the option of a stick on future models, including 911 GTs:
“We wanted to make the car as light as possible, as analogue as possible, and at the same time maybe more fun on the track,” Preuinger said. “We know the car would have been a fraction faster with a PDK—that’s simply a fact—but this is proof positive we still believe in manuals. My personal aim is that maybe for coming generations we leave it up to the customer whether [they] want a PDK or a manual in all GT cars.”
Next, turbocharging. When we spoke to Porsche’s R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz at the Detroit auto show he suggested we might not see a GT2 version of the current 911, as the just-unveiled GT3 RS will cover much of the same ground. But with the rest of Porsche set to switch to an all-turbocharged range of engines within the next couple of years, can the GT side really hold out for natural aspiration?
“Of course we have had turbocharged engines in the past, and I think you can get a very emotional project out of a turbo engine,” says Preuinger, “but for the time ahead I think it’s a good selling point for us to stick with natural aspiration. Customers like the linearity of the rev band, the aggressiveness, the sound. For me, I think it’s better fitting for a GT car at the moment, and we’re very confident we can continue to offer it, despite the trends in the industry.”
We’ll take that as an almost-confirmation. Similarly, Preuinger is happy to confirm that, even as the BMW’s M-Division rushes towards four-wheel drive, he has no plans for AWD GTs:
“Technology goes on and on. Look at the past and it wasn’t long ago that a 350-hp car without all-wheel drive was considered a handful. Today there are sports cars that have 600 horsepower and 800 Nm [600 lb-ft], have their engines in the front, and are rear-wheel drive. So I don’t see any necessity that we should make all-wheel-drive cars, because these systems add weight, they are more complex, and they would take away the space we need for the 90-liter [23.7-gallon] fuel tank [in the 911]. It’s got great advantages on the 911 Turbo—I wouldn’t want a Turbo without it—but for a GT car I’d rather stick with rear-wheel drive. It’s not only my decision of course, but I can say that the naturally aspirated engines will be rear-driven.”
That also means there will be no GT versions of the SUVs, of course. Such an idea should be unthinkable, but with European premium makers tripping over each other to produce such blinged-up off-roaders, it’s good to hear that some things remain sacred.
“I cannot imagine it,” says Preuinger, “we have so many ideas for projects and lots of ideas to make even more GT sports cars. I think a GT car should have motorsport siblings. And as long as we don’t do any motorsport activity with the Cayenne I can’t see any credible reason why it should be made into a GT car. Look at the Cayenne GTS—that’s GT enough.”
Producing the Cayman GT4 and 911 GT3 RS will be keeping the division busy for the next couple of years; beyond that, Preuinger isn’t sharing his model plan, but is keen to emphasize that only “proper” cars will get to carry GT branding.
- Porsche 911 GT3: Reviews, Photos, Specs, and Pricing
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS: Naturally Aspirated, Nürburgring-Honed
- Full Coverage: Porsche Cayman GT4: Review, Specs, Photos, Pricing
“You can be sure there will be an array of very interesting GT cars coming in the next couple of years, we just have to decide which way to go, where to turn. We can’t do everything we’d like to, and that means we have to decide which are the strongest projects and push those forward.”