April 21, 2024

Family affair – porsche 911 speed dating

Chaos is the engineer's enemy. Perhaps this is the reason why lecture halls are sparsely attended during fluid mechanics lectures. Because this is about disorder and therefore one of the biggest challenges in mathematics. Complex partial differential calculus, the Navier-Stokes equations, and inherent nonlinearities are things you rarely hear about in everyday life. For good reason.

However, there are people who find satisfaction here. Which can describe abstractly how air speed changes in space and time when viscosity, pressure, density, and external forces vary. People who can translate their aerodynamic theories into numerical solutions in order to motivate modern simulation algorithms to achieve the highest performance. However, this is not enough to get close to the correct result. One of the things that fascinates this higher mathematics is the butterfly effect, where small changes in initial conditions can lead to large differences in results.

So it takes universal genius. A person who combines deep knowledge of mathematics, physics and simulation technology of modern computer systems. Someone comes up with the idea of ​​installing a Le Mans prototype rear spoiler on a street legal 911. Matthias Röhl is needed.

Hopelessly addicted to punishment

If the world of aerodynamics in the GT division had its way, the current Porsche 911 GT3 RS would have even more radical wings. Because the current most severe design in terms of downforce and active air resistance control is almost boring for a young engineer. On paper and in simulation, three steps forward have already been made.

But Rhule is more than just a great analyst. Otherwise he would hardly drive a 3.2 Carrera from the year of his birth – 1987 – in everyday life. He could also have chosen something more representative as his wedding car last year. But he's also a romantic. He was hopelessly addicted to punishment.

Matthias Rolle, aerodynamics development engineer, 911 GT3 RS, 2024, Porsche AG

Matthias Rolle, aerodynamic development engineer

Other experts we meet to “speed-date” the 992 generation feel the same way. Whether series boss, chassis developer, designer, project manager, GT expert or exclusive specialist – they all share one love: the Porsche 911.

Stories full of emotion and character

Everyone has their own story to tell. Whether Matthias Kola, who as a young designer was fortunate enough to drive the 964 Carrera RS as the company's first car. Or Tom Wheeler, who still remembers his job interview outfit in Weissach and didn't say yes to his sister because he was allowed to go on the first prototype car that day.

Matthias Kola, Porsche Model Projects, 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, 2024, Porsche AG

Matthias Kola, Porsche Style Projects

Tom Wheeler, 911 GT3 RS Project Director, 911 GT3 RS, 2024, Porsche AG

Tom Wheeler, 911 GT3 RS project manager

The stories are more than just tales for the regulars' table. Because it's all told with bright eyes and a level of detail as if it happened only yesterday. Because they were burned in it. Because they were radical formative experiences. They are stories of lovers, lovers and a few crazy people. They are stories full of emotion and full of character. Because – and this is probably the most interesting thing – they all have their own unique signature.

This is also the secret why every 911 derivative, no matter how close to one another, is completely different at its core. Why Carrera T is more than just an equipment line. Because it's an idea. Pure interpretation, a slim 911. A car in which the details of the driving dynamics have to be right because its customers are buying it precisely because of this clearly defined overall concept and not the Carrera 4 or Carrera S. When its chassis developer Daniel Steyer controls the damper reaction after driving over a sharp car, Buddenwell comments that after he was about to explain his fascination with the BMW E38 series, it became clear how this definition is achieved: through a deep understanding of cars.

Daniel Steyer, Chassis Project Manager, 911 Carrera T, 2024, Porsche AG

Danielle Stair, Temple Project Manager

Carry the 911 into the future

And they all do, including designer Cola, who not only has nice things in his own garage like a Mustang fastback and a classic Maserati Ghibli, but also something very strange with the Jensen Interceptor. But it takes this overview, this insight, to move the 911 into the future and continue writing history. For the designer, the 911 Targa in Heritage Design Edition is the best example. It invokes the spirit of classicism but enters a whole new world in terms of craftsmanship, color scheme and materiality.

Achim Lamberter, 911 Dakar Project Manager, 911 Dakar, 2024, Porsche AG
Achim Lamberter, Project Manager 911 Dakar

The Porsche 911 Dakar is also a completely different world. It's more than just a nod to the previous competitor. It's what comes out when you're allowed to cross the border. When combined with the most powerful rear-mounted Carrera engine in the Carrera series, the off-road suitability of the Cayenne chassis and ultra-lightweight racing body construction. Where rugged all-terrain tires and engine protection meet under thin glass panels and lightweight bucket seats. When Achim Lambart had to change the intake air path especially for the special model because the engine absorbs sand in harsh desert conditions.

Everyone gathers together

The 911 can go to all these extremes because its developers have mastered it. Because they can pinpoint the nuances so precisely that they are literally ready for serial production. It is surprising how small the decision rounds are to this day. There is a small round bar table in the section, which is a kind of informal meeting place after work. New ideas are discussed there, one-on-one, or sometimes eight. The fact that this is still possible today is partly due to the fact that Porsche is still organized in a compact and fun way. On the other hand, it's mainly because everyone is moving in the same direction. Because for them the 911 is the best car in the world.

The only person who will ever sign these statements is Walter Röhrl. He is also involved in speed dating. He drives a Shore Blue Metallic-colored 911 S/T from the Zuffenhausen factory through the Black Forest to the Palatinate and back again. On the last stretch of the highway leading to Museum Square, even after spending long hours behind the wheel, he still feels annoyed because the people in front of him don't use their turn signals or because elephant races unnecessarily slow traffic. Because for Rohrl, even long after his active career has ended, only one thing matters: perfection. For him, the S/T is a very special 911. Because, according to his taste, it is the perfect recipe for driving pleasure.

After more than eight hours in the S/T's Heritage Design bucket seat, Röhrl got into his 992 Turbo S on his way home. When asked if he would now drive four hours back into the Bavarian forest, he replied with some disbelief. : “Naturally”.

Walter Röhrl, Porsche Brand Ambassador, 2024, Porsche AG

Walter Röhrl, Porsche Brand Ambassador

The Turbo is fast and comfortable, and distance doesn't play a big role, which is why it came straight from home in the morning. “If you have a 911, you don't need another one,” Rohrl knows.

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