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Nizer 03-06-2013 10:06 AM

Andreas Preuninger Car Interview
 
http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/News/Se...as-Preuninger/

CAR interviews 'Mr GT3' Andreas Preuninger
By Ben Pulman, 06 March 2013 07:00


The latest Porsche 911 GT3 boasts an all-new 469bhp 3.8-litre flat-six and is quicker than the legendary GT3 RS 4.0, but fans of this hardcore icon have voiced their concern over its new dual-clutch PDK gearbox and its steering (both the electric rack inherited from the 991-generation Carrera, and the new rear-axle steering).

Ahead of the 911 GT3's unveil at the 2013 Geneva show this week, CAR had exclusive access to the car, and to the man who headed the team that engineered it: Porsche's head of GT series production Andreas Preuninger.

The controversial new Porsche 911 GT3

Preuninger built the first 996 GT3, and has been doing his job for the past 12 years. We asked him all about the new GT3, including those controversial issues. Here are his answers...

Andreas Preuninger on the philosophy of the new GT3…

'The GT3 has become so important for Porsche – we have to offer a GT3 variant with every new 911. It's been a niche in the past, but not anymore, especially because so many competitors are pushing into the sector. The bandwidth in which the new car is useable is incredible: it's a brilliant daily drive, but it's also got an even more sporting edged biased towards track capability.'

On the death of the motorsport-derived ‘Mezger’ engine…

'The 4.0-litre RS with the 'Mezger' engine was not in our long-term planning, but a skunkworks project. The original plan was for the last Mezger engine to feature in the 3.8 RS and GT2 RS, but we decided to make the 4.0 RS, as one last goodbye, with all the things we learnt from the GT2 RS. It’s definitely the last time we will use that engine in a road car – I promised everyone and I will be true to my word.'

On the new engine…

'There’s a lot of doubt, in the almost devout community of GT3 buyers. It’s not something out of the 911 Carrera with a bigger camshaft: the only parts shared with the 991 Carrera S engine are the casting of the crankcase and the bolts for the cylinder head. Full stop. That’s it. There’s a new crank, titanium con-rods, forged aluminium pistons, and a completely new cylinder head with a revolutionary valvetrain that you won’t find in any other street-legal car – there are no tappets, instead we use rocker arms like in a motorcycle so the weight goes down dramatically. The new engine is around 25kg lighter than the Mezger. And that gives us room for the extra rpms…

'We were very, very aware that this engine needs to have the same character, the same amount of character, the same specialness as the Mezger had. We have absolutely made it: the new engine has the same impatient idle, this ‘Come on, go!’ attitude and it revs even higher – to 9000rpm. You wouldn’t believe the difference between 8500rpm and 9000rpm – it’s only a small difference numerically, but when you’re in the car the experience is a whole new world. The way the engine goes to the redline, the sounds the engine makes is so mechanically crisp and emotional that it brings a totally new personality to the GT3.

'We decided to make an emotional link to the GT3 RS 4.0, the king of the GT3s, so the new GT3 has the same specific output: 123bhp/litre. We’re on par, but I would say 469bhp is conservative. I like ‘low-balling’ with GT3s – we could say 500bhp and that would be perfectly homologatable, but I’d rather say 469bhp and have the GT3 beat all the 550bhp cars. This is more Porsche.'

On the new dual-clutch PDK gearbox…

'I’ve being doing this job for 12 years, I made the first GT3, and everybody knows I’m a very puristic driver. I want the car to be analogue, I want maximum driver involvement. That’s why we chose not to use a PDK ‘box until now – the involvement was not at the point where it should be for the GT3. The weight was another issue, too. So this time, for the first time, we decided to try out the PDK gearbox in parallel with the manual, and really feel what the difference was like. And feel is very important, for customers and myself – a very, very fast car where you don’t have any sensations isn’t worth the money. And coming from the other side we are under pressure from the competition, so I won’t sacrifice any performance just because someone wants to shift with a manual.

'The PDK gearbox is about 30kg heavier than the manual in the 997, and we have saved 25kg from the engine, so I said we should try it. The ‘box itself isn’t from the Carrera: there’s seven driving gears, not six plus overdrive, so you reach the top speed in seventh, And the programmes and hardware are totally different. The upshifts are beyond comparison on the market – less than 100ms – and it’s so much fun to use it: the sensation you get when you drive the car is like having a sequential race gearbox, not a flappy paddle system.

'We added a ‘Hooligan mode’ so you can do donuts in the car. Or, let’s say you have a 2nd gear curve, it’s wet, there’s nobody around and you wanted to drift. How do you do that in the manual? You dip the clutch and press the throttle to get the car around. That’s not possible in a normal automatic, but it is in the GT3: if you pull both paddles it engages neutral so you can 'clutch kick' the GT3. Same for race starts – you can dial up more wheelspin than the computer will give you. This was a major programme with the gearbox development to ensure you could play around with the PDK.'

On when the manual gearbox was ruled out…

'We ruled out the manual gearbox in back to-back comparisons last summer. On every shift with the PDK is more emotional, because for the first time when you shift at 9000rpm there’s a bham! in the exhaust, and this gives you goosebumps. It blips the throttle on the downshifts, and on a road you don’t know you can go very fast with both hands on the wheel. And on a race track the PDK gains three-quarters of a car length with every shift, so after a long straight you’re ahead of the other car and can turn-in in front of him. It just works. This is the big news.

'There’s no chance of a manual. We don’t want to offer too many options on our GT cars. And if you’ve got a manual and a PDK you’ve got to have different set-ups for the suspension, the aero, the tyres, everything. We are a small team and can only concentrate on one car.'

On the GT3’s new electric steering…

'The steering was a challenge, as we’re changing to the electromechanical system. I think we had a benchmark system in the last GT3, and it was my target to get it as least as good as that system. It was not easy as the GT3 driver needs to feel all the feedback the tyres give him, all the forces in the steering rods, in all conditions, but we made a huge effort to get it exactly the way it was in the last car. I promise no one will notice that it is not the steering we had in the GT3 RS 4.0. I’m 100% sure of that. The filters are gone!'

On active rear-wheel steering…

'I was shying away from it. I believed it was not puristic enough. But we tried it out and it helps so much. And you don’t notice it because it’s simply a steering rod system, not some electronic gizmo. We can change the angle of the rear wheels by 1.5 degrees, which doesn’t sound like much but the effect is tremendous. I couldn’t believe how much better the agility of the car and the turn-in capability are with the system. I did a back-to-back test, in one car with the system able to be turned off by a switch, and couldn’t believe the difference. And on track, the tyres last longer, so you are more consistent.

'The steering rods add 5-6kg, plus the system draws more current so yo need a bigger battery, but back-to-back with a car with a lightweight battery, no rear-steer and a manual gearbox (and in that configuration the car is lighter than a 997 GT3) this new GT3 is so much more confidence inspiring. And faster, no matter where you drive it. It simply didn’t make sense not to use all these systems to take on all the other competitors out there.'

What do you think of Andreas Preuninger's comments? There's never been a bad GT3, but will the new one be any good? Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think...


What do I think? The new heavier, automatic transmission GT3, as brought to you by Porsche Sales and Accounting...

jumper5836 03-06-2013 10:23 AM


On when the manual gearbox was ruled out…

'We ruled out the manual gearbox in back to-back comparisons last summer. On every shift with the PDK is more emotional, because for the first time when you shift at 9000rpm there’s a bham! in the exhaust, and this gives you goosebumps. It blips the throttle on the downshifts, and on a road you don’t know you can go very fast with both hands on the wheel. And on a race track the PDK gains three-quarters of a car length with every shift, so after a long straight you’re ahead of the other car and can turn-in in front of him. It just works. This is the big news.

'There’s no chance of a manual. We don’t want to offer too many options on our GT cars. And if you’ve got a manual and a PDK you’ve got to have different set-ups for the suspension, the aero, the tyres, everything. We are a small team and can only concentrate on one car.'
Disappointing. Was looking forward to owning one of these some day but it looks like my buck stops with a 997.

I don't give a flying crap that it gains on a long straight and I get more goose bumps doing it myself. I don't get goose bumps watching it happen on tv, in the passengers seat or with two hands on the wheel. Complete utter garbage.

Bill_C4S 03-06-2013 10:37 AM

Say what you will AP comes across as an enthusiast.

Am impressed with the direction the 991 GT3 has taken...look forward to whether this (premature?) confidence is validated by the only measure that really matters...driving the damn thing.

-eztrader- 03-06-2013 10:41 AM

"""'The steering was a challenge, as we’re changing to the electromechanical system. I think we had a benchmark system in the last GT3, and it was my target to get it as least as good as that system. """"

this sounds crazy to me - - -why change if the target is to hopefully be "as good" as the old version?

Arth 03-06-2013 10:45 AM

Im very impressed! let's see how it does once we drive it :)

kosmo 03-06-2013 10:48 AM


Originally Posted by jumper5836 (Post 10277792)
Disappointing. Was looking forward to owning one of these some day but it looks like my buck stops with a 997.

I don't give a flying crap that it gains on a long straight and I get more goose bumps doing it myself. I don't get goose bumps watching it happen on tv, in the passengers seat or with two hands on the wheel. Complete utter garbage.

yeah

911Jetta 03-06-2013 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by Bill_C4S (Post 10277823)
Say what you will AP comes across as an enthusiast.

Am impressed with the direction the 991 GT3 has taken...look forward to whether this (premature?) confidence is validated by the only measure that really matters...driving the damn thing.

+2. I'm really proud of what they've done. A masterpiece!

This car is in a class all by itself now... this is the end of GT3 vs. M3 comparisons. I don't care haw much torque a twin-T. M4 has...I'll take 9,000 RPM any day!

Love this quote from above...

...I would say 469bhp is conservative. I like ‘low-balling’ with GT3s – we could say 500bhp and that would be perfectly homologatable, but I’d rather say 469bhp and have the GT3 beat all the 550bhp cars. This is more Porsche.'

kosmo 03-06-2013 11:20 AM

[QUOTE=911Jetta;10277864]This car is in a class all by itself now... this is the end of GT3 vs. M3 comparisons. I don't care haw much torque a twin-T. M4 has...I'll take 9,000 RPM any day!QUOTE]

we'll see on the race circuits.

Veloce Raptor 03-06-2013 11:38 AM


Originally Posted by jumper5836 (Post 10277792)
Disappointing. Was looking forward to owning one of these some day but it looks like my buck stops with a 997.

I don't give a flying crap that it gains on a long straight and I get more goose bumps doing it myself. I don't get goose bumps watching it happen on tv, in the passengers seat or with two hands on the wheel. Complete utter garbage.

+1


Originally Posted by Bill_C4S (Post 10277823)
Say what you will AP comes across as an enthusiast.

Respectfully disagree. He comes across as the marketing guy he is, just as he did when he extolled the virtues of the 997.2 faux centerlocks...



Originally Posted by -eztrader- (Post 10277837)
"""'The steering was a challenge, as we’re changing to the electromechanical system. I think we had a benchmark system in the last GT3, and it was my target to get it as least as good as that system. """"

this sounds crazy to me - - -why change if the target is to hopefully be "as good" as the old version?

+2

BBMGT3 03-06-2013 12:24 PM

I think they changed the steering because it was a quick win for emissions. To make it as good as the old one was the target

I drove a Scuderia today. There is such a thing as a good paddle shift, it was amazing. PDK in 991S not so much, but maybe the GT3 yes? Will have to wait and see. 7 speed close ratio 9k rpm might be a winner you know...

Rear steer and PTV remain oddballs. If the rear steer was a purely mechanical system (somehow), I could live with it. But a system that draws current, to the extent that it needs a bigger-than-stock battery I'm not so sure. As for PTV... I really don't get it. Why on EARTH would I want something that applied the brakes under power, to help me "turn" the car. I can just do the job right at the apex in the first place... sounds like a fancy way of saying PSM to me. Net effect is the same (fried brakes). I would imagine less ultimate exit speed too... maybe (apex speed is higher I guess if you haven't turned the car enough?)

I can't accept the weight of the car... I don't care that it has PDK, bigger brakes / bodywork etc. At least match the bloody 991S. Disgraceful.

Joe S. 03-06-2013 01:11 PM

"bandwidth" "niche" and he's not in marketing? lol

Mike in CA 03-06-2013 03:56 PM


Originally Posted by Bill_C4S (Post 10277823)
Say what you will AP comes across as an enthusiast.

Am impressed with the direction the 991 GT3 has taken...look forward to whether this (premature?) confidence is validated by the only measure that really matters...driving the damn thing.

+3 Driving the damn thing indeed. Not a single other comment, in any of these threads, about lack of involvement, feel, or any other subjective opinion on the car's road or track worthiness is worth squat until the car has been driven by those voicing the opinions. Absent that experience, it's all uninformed, speculative, repetitous, self-serving hot air.

bmwtye 03-06-2013 04:36 PM

Heres the video interview


paver 03-06-2013 06:31 PM


Originally Posted by Mike in CA (Post 10278850)
+3 Driving the damn thing indeed. Not a single other comment, in any of these threads, about lack of involvement, feel, or any other subjective opinion on the car's road or track worthiness is worth squat until the car has been driven by those voicing the opinions. Absent that experience, it's all uninformed, speculative, repetitous, self-serving hot air.

Maybe you're right concerning the negative comments about the feel. But regarding track worthiness, buy one and then have them impose the 4200 mi replacement schedule for CL hubs/bearings, etc after you have owned it for a couple of years. Things are a lot less glossy when that happens.

CL's-a complicated system that has not proven positive. It's possible the rear wheel steer thing could ultimately fall into that category too. It's reasonable to cast doubts on the new car's track worthiness.

Slowekistan 03-06-2013 08:07 PM

I am sure if it was up to Mr. Preuninger, he would force the entire planet to mass produce the Mezger, but even he must work within certain corporate parameters and within those he is allowed to work his magic.

The PDK-only is a false paradigm shift to cash-in on the GT3 brand. Imagine the same engine and chassis with 6MT minus a good 120kg (PDK, RWsteering, hefty console) - would it be really slower?


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