In 1968, British drivers Vic Elford and David Stone secured the first victory for Porsche in the “queen of rallies” at the wheel of a 911 T. This was followed up by three further wins. An excellent weight-to-power ratio, the inherently superior traction of the rear engine sports car and its exceptional reliability were the keys to success back then. And these are the characteristics that still distinguish the 911 to this day, particularly in the new 911 Carrera T, following the same purist approach: less is more.
Extremely athletic, but understated in its appearance. The 911 Carrera T is based on the 911 Carrera, and its twin turbocharged six-cylinder flat engine also delivers 272 kW (370 hp). Its equipment combines sportiness with a lightweight construction: For example, the rear window and rear side windows are made from lightweight glass, while sound absorption has been reduced to a minimum and the rear seats and Porsche Communication Management (PCM) can be omitted entirely on request. At the same time, the PASM sports chassis – lowered by 20 mm – and a weight-optimised Sports Chrono Package, rear-axle steering, shorter transmission ratios from the manual gearbox and a mechanical rear differential lock are all part of the standard equipment in the rear-wheel drive vehicle, as are 20-inch Carrera S wheels, a sports exhaust system and a unique appearance. Together, these measures reduce the overall weight by 20 kg compared to a 911 Carrera with similar equipment.
Less is more – the Porsche 911 Carrera T
With the 911 Carrera T, Porsche is reviving the puristic concept behind the 911 T of 1968: less weight, shorter transmission ratios from the manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive with mechanical rear differential lock for enhanced performance and intense driving pleasure. The new model’s unique appearance is based on the 911 Carrera and its engine delivers 272 kW (370 hp). The 911 Carrera T – at Porsche, “T” stands for Touring – also boasts several other equipment features that are not available for the 911 Carrera, including the PASM sports chassis as standard, lowered by 20 mm, the weight-optimised Sport Chrono Package, a shortened shift lever with red shift pattern and Sport-Tex seat centres. In addition, the rear-axle steering system, which was not available for the 911 Carrera, is provided as an option for the 911 Carrera T.
Every aspect of the equipment in the 911 Carrera T is designed to optimise sportiness and deliver lightweight construction: The rear window and rear side windows are made from lightweight glass and the door trims feature opening loops. The sound absorption has been reduced to a minimum. The rear seats have been omitted, as has Porsche Communication Management (PCM). Both, however, are available on request at no extra cost. And the result of these lightweight construction measures? At an unladen weight of 1,425 kilograms, the two-seater is 20 kilograms lighter than a 911 Carrera with comparable equipment.
A sporty design and unique appearance
The design of the 911 Carrera T highlights the emotionality and sportiness of the rear-wheel-drive coupé. The body parts and wheels function as clear differentiating elements. At the front, the 911 Carrera T features an aerodynamically optimised front spoiler lip, and the Sport Design exterior mirrors are painted in Agate Grey Metallic. From the side, the new model is easily recognisable thanks to its 20-inch Carrera S wheels in Titanium Grey. The “911 Carrera T” logos represent another distinctive feature at the side. The rear view is characterised by the slats in the rear lid grille, the Porsche logo, the “911 Carrera T” model designation in Agate Grey and the sports exhaust system provided as standard, with centrally positioned tailpipes painted in black. The exterior colour options are Black, Lava Orange, Guards Red, Racing Yellow, White and Miami Blue, as well as the metallic colours Carrara White, Jet Black and GT Silver.
A puristic interior concept and new interior package
The appearance of the passenger compartment also has a sporty and puristic emphasis.The driver enjoys black, four-way, electric sports seats with a seat centre in Sport-Tex fabric, while the headrests feature a “911” logo stitched in black. This new Carrera T model also comes with the option to choose full bucket seats for the first time. Steering actions are completed via the GT sports steering wheel with leather rim, and the mode switch provided on the steering wheel as standard allows the driver to select different driving programmes. The shortened shift lever with shift pattern in red remains exclusive to the 911 Carrera T. The decorative trims on the dashboard and doors are black, as are the door opening loops. A new addition is the T interior package, which creates an even sportier look with the contrasting colours of Racing Yellow, Guards Red or GT Silver. These colours can be used to add visual accents on various interior components, such as the seat belts, the “911” logo on the headrests, the door opening loops or the centres of the Sport-Tex seats.
Improved weight-to-power ratio plus enhanced performance
The six-cylinder flat engine with a displacement of three litres and twin turbocharging generates an output of 272 kW (370 hp) and a maximum torque of 450 Nm, delivering between 1,750 rpm and 5,000 rpm. The weight-to-power ratio has been improved to 3.85 kg/hp, ensuring enhanced performance and more agile driving dynamics. Thanks to the shorter rear-axle gear ratio and mechanical differential lock, the 911 Carrera T can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds – 0.1 seconds faster than the 911 Carrera Coupé. The model reaches the 200-km/h mark in just 15.1 seconds. Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) is also available as an option on the Carrera T, enabling the vehicle to reach 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, and 200 km/h in 14.5 seconds. Both transmission variants enable a top speed of over 290 km/h.
Porsche at the Monte Carlo Rally
The Monte Carlo Rally is rightly regarded as the “queen of rallies”: It is a treacherous beast, a mammoth undertaking, where only the best can emerge victorious. And almost 50 years ago, in 1968, Porsche achieved this very feat for the first time – with the 911 T.
Racing success is in the DNA of Porsche sports cars, particularly the 911. The first series model had barely hit the market when in January 1965, the now equally legendary Porsche employees Herbert Linge and Peter Falk jumped into one of the new 2+2 seaters and set off for the Monte Carlo Rally. Despite, or perhaps because of the heavy snowfall, they put in a stunning performance with the rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, reaching the finishing line in the port of Monaco in fifth position – an impressive debut. Meanwhile, second place went to the Porsche 904 GTS driven by Eugen Böhringer and his co-driver Rolf Wütherich, who was sitting alongside James Dean when he was fatally injured in a car crash in 1955.
Power, traction, agility and reliability: These are the features that continue to characterise the 911 to this day. Back then, they shaped its talent as a veritable rally car, and the first titles soon came pouring in: In 1966 and 1967, Günter Klass from Stuttgart, the speedy Pole Sobieslaw Zasada and racing all-rounder Vic Elford won no fewer than three European Rally Championships – the top league in the sport at the time – behind the wheel of a 911. The four-cylinder 912 also secured titles in this series. But even then, “the Monte” was regarded as rallying’s most prestigious event. Held for the first time in 1911, the rally has worldwide significance – despite the fact that complex regulations with coefficients and advantages for certain vehicle types distorted the competition for a long time. In 1968, the organisers abandoned these rules, which had only ever caused anger. Finally, the fastest driver was going to win.
This made it an attractive proposition for the Porsche factory as well: In 1968, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer sent two 180 hp 911 T models to the race to be driven by the previous year’s runners up Vic Elford and David Stone and the “Monte” victor of 1966, Pauli Toivonen, with co-driver Martti Tinkkanen. On the mostly dry roads between Monaco and Vals-les-Bains, only the high points of which were laced with snow and ice, a spirited battle for those crucial seconds immediately broke out with the new Alpine A110s, all driven by Frenchmen who were just as young and lightning-fast. But the “blue riders” quickly pulled themselves together. Ahead of the six special stages of the “Èpreuve complémentaire” – better known as the “Night of the Long Knives” – the only car left was the one driven by Gérard Larrousse and Marcel Callewaert. The two 911s were hot on its heels.
In the first two stages, Larrousse was able to slightly extend his 14-second lead over Elford, but the Briton fought back mercilessly, taking an incredible 51 seconds off the Frenchman in the darkness at the Col de la Couillole. In the next stage, Elford was driving in a league of his own, and despite making a small slip-up, the Londoner now had a 20-second lead. The second time over the “Col de Turini”, Larrousse needed to take action if he wanted to win. He went flat out – but the foolhardiness of some spectators was his downfall: They had shovelled snow onto the dry road, costing the slick-tired Alpine a wheel. Porsche thus sealed its first victory at the Monte Carlo Rally.
A new rally star is born with “Monte” victory number two
Porsche returned to Monte Carlo again in 1969, this time with the 911 S versions, which also delivered 180 hp. In addition to Elford and Larrousse, race manager Huschke von Hanstein had hired a young Swede by the name of Björn Waldegård as the third factory driver. His introduction to the team was certainly eventful: While writing the pacenotes, the rear axle of his training car made contact with a rock spur and was bent out of shape. The second mishap could have had even worse consequences.
Until very recently, the Monte Carlo Rally was held in the traditional sense of a ‘rally’, with participants travelling thousands of kilometres from different starting points, such as Athens, Lisbon or Oslo. Porsche chose Warsaw. After training in the 911 rally car, Waldegård and his co-driver Lars Helmér set off eastwards by road – only to discover upon reaching Polish passport control that the vehicle documents had been left behind at the inner German border crossing. Going back was not an option as both drivers only had transit visas. Thankfully, there were rally fans even in East Germany: Without hesitation, a customs official slipped the documents into the hands of a journalist who was travelling on afterwards. The situation was saved and the “Monte” could begin.
They had barely arrived in Monaco before Waldegård set off like a rocket, putting in the first best time on only the second special stage over the partially icy Col de Perty. They then encountered a consistently dry special stage in the Ardèche, “Moulinon – Antraigues”. Driving on tread-free slicks for the first time, the Scandinavian was once again faster than ex-champion Elford. The race continued at this pace. On the 46.5-kilometre Burzet loop – initially dry, then icy and finally covered with snow – he left the Briton 13 seconds behind. In the equally long “Chartreuse”, he took almost half a minute off the previous year’s winner in the snow. Waldegård won five out of the nine special stages in the “Épreuve Commune”, returning to Monaco with a massive lead.
But the “Night of the Long Knives” was still to come. Seven special stages into the early hours of the morning, including three times over the famous “Turini”. The Swede once again made an aggressive start, climbing the “Madone” from Monte Carlo and into the Maritime Alps in 16 minutes, 33 seconds – two seconds faster than Larrousse and three seconds faster than Elford. The first time over the Turini, Waldegård extended his lead by a further six seconds. But Elford had not given up yet, and was able to close the gap again by 12 seconds on the “Col de la Couillole”.
Waldegård needed new brake pads and came in for a service at Beuil. The usual hustle and bustle ensued – the atmosphere was tense. The mechanics went hell for leather on the car. One shouted “Don’t brake!”. But the Swede only heard “brake” and floored the middle pedal – causing the brake pistons to fly off. It took a while for the disaster to be resolved. At the next time check, Waldegård and Helmér incurred a four-minute penalty for arriving late, putting Elford in the lead. However, he was unaware of this and nobody could tell him. And so the Londoner continued to take every risk, speeding over the snowy Turini ten seconds faster than his team-mate and plunging into the icy downhill passage, until he misjudged a corner and hit a tree. It was the decisive moment.
Fourth Monte Carlo victory goes to a privately driven 911
The Porsche factory tackled the “Monte” again in 1970. The result was the mirror image of the previous year: Waldegård won ahead of Larrousse, with the Swede leading the rankings from the first special stage, leaving nobody in any doubt about his ambition to win. In his 240 hp 911 S, weighing just 960 kg, Waldegård set the best time in only 6 of the 16 stages, but he gained a sufficient lead right at the beginning of the “Etape Commune”, which he then cleverly managed right up to the finish line.
There was to be no factory race for the 911 in 1971. Stuttgart instead sent the new 914/6 and were rewarded with third place for Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius. The fourth and, to date, last victory for a Porsche in the Monte Carlo Rally did not arrive until 1978 when a brave Frenchman – Jean-Pierre Nicolas – prevailed over entire works car armadas in a wonderful 911 Carrera 3.0, prepared privately by the Alméras brothers. Total weather chaos ensued with constantly changing track conditions from dry to wet and muddy to snow and ice, making the choice of tyres extremely difficult and playing right into Nicolas’ hands. While favourite after favourite selected wrong tyres, came off the road or had to retire due to technical issues, the Marseille-born veteran and his co-driver Vincent Laverne stayed on track. They tackled the “Night of the Long Knives” with an 84-second lead over the Renault driven by Jean Ragnotti, allowing them to fully exploit the traction benefits of their 911 in the snowy heights. They won the race with a lead of almost two minutes.