The 2017 RUF CTR may share its looks and rear-engine layout with a 911, but believe us, it's not a Porsche. It's something entirely different–a handcrafted car with an all-new RUF-designed carbon fiber monocoque and all sorts of incredible engineering. At the car's Geneva Motor Show debut, we caught up with company boss Alois Ruf to get the inside story on this machine.
For starters, the CTR is by definition not a Porsche. "We are a car manufacturer in our own right since 1981," says Herr Ruf. "We are listed as such, and we have our own chassis numbers on the cars." This contrasts with, for example, a Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer, which maintains the VIN of the original Porsche donor car. If you buy a RUF, it's registered as a RUF.
The 2017 CTR is an evolution of the RUF SCR 4.2 the company showed at Geneva last year. That car rides on a chassis designed by RUF that's 70mm longer than the stock G-body 911 it takes its design cues from, with RUF-manufactured body panels made almost entirely out of carbon fiber.
The new CTR shares a wheelbase with the SCR 4.2, but this year's debut gets a lot more carbon fiber. With the SCR, the doors had to remain steel to meet crash safety standards, but the new CTR's integrated steel roll cage built into the carbon-fiber monocoque allows for carbon fiber doors. Steel crash structures are bolted to the CTR's monocoque front and rear, along with an all-new suspension design. The brakes are also carbon ceramic units designed by RUF.
Both the front and rear shocks are inboard-mounted pushrod units, with the rears arranged transversely. For the prototype show car, RUF made these rear shocks visible through the glass rear window, but sadly this won't make production—Herr Ruf says this layout would make engine noise unbearably loud.
Unlike other carbon monocoque road cars, the CTR's door sills are as low as they are on a vintage Porsche 911. As RUF has no plans to make a convertible CTR, the company was able to use the roof to make up for rigidity lost in the door opening.
The engine is a twin-turbo 3.6-liter water-cooled flat-six of RUF's own design, making 710 horsepower and 649 lb-ft of torque in the CTR. It's the same engine used in the Porsche 997-based RUF RT12, chosen for its power, reliability, and familiarity.
"This engine propelled an R12 to 364 km/h [226 mph] at Nardo ten years ago," said Ruf.
Compared to the wide, insulated, roomy supercars surrounding it at the Geneva Motor Show, Herr Ruf describes the new CTR as a "car that you wear." With a dry weight around 2600 lbs, it's a hundred or so pounds heavier than the original RUF CTR Yellowbird, a difference likely attributable to the new CTR's steel roll cage, longer wheelbase, and more complicated water-cooled engine.
The CTR also features a lot of neat design details. Herr Ruf is especially proud of the NACA ducts on the rear fenders that feed air into the intercoolers while paying tribute to the original Yellowbird's intakes. Even sneakier are the engine air intakes, fed by the scoops incorporated into the rear quarter windows, which add airflow without disturbing the narrow-body profile of the car.
There are other subtle touches too. Like many of RUF's cars, the new CTR has tiny, Porsche 935-style door mirrors, and the 911's traditional roof rain gutters have been smoothed. And while the profile looks like a straight-up copy of an old 911, the RUF's doors won't fit a stock Porsche.
"If you look at the original door, you will realize the door [on the new car] went to the gym and has stronger muscles," Herr Ruf says. "This way, the fender flares are not so pronounced."
Other than the yellow paint, the 2017 CTR's styling is incredibly understated. Order one in a quieter color, says Herr Ruf, and it'll totally blend in among run-of-the-mill 911s. The interior is definitely familiar to anyone who has sat in a G-body 911, but again, all kinds of made-in-house parts modernize the vintage-looking vehicle, including ABS, traction control, and an airbag steering wheel.
There's still some development work to be done on the car. The one shown here is a prototype, which RUF plans to bring to the Nurburgring for chassis development—and here's hoping the automaker does a modern take on its legendary Faszination video while they're there.
Sadly, all 30 planned examples of the production 2017 RUF CTR are sold out, but there are further plans for its bespoke carbon fiber monocoque chassis. Herr Ruf confirmed to Road & Track that RUF is planning on developing new models to use this layout, which can accommodate all-wheel-drive and a dual-clutch gearbox. As a small company, though, RUF is pretty laser-focused on getting the CTR right first, while maintaining its business building other new cars and restoring classic Porsches.
RUF wants to build a car that can compete dynamically with the world's best, with a style and ethos only RUF can provide. It's a fitting 30th anniversary celebration of the original 1987 RUF CTR "Yellowbird," which obliterated the competition from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, AMG and others with a blistering 211-mph run in Road & Track's 1987 top speed shootout.
Given what the new 2017 RUF CTR offers, we have a feeling it'll serve as a righteous tribute to the original.