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Porsche's best gets Röhrled

2011-03-16 12:48

FIRST AMONGST EQUALS: Even in Porsche museum, Carrera GT and all other machines are usurped in order of precedence by the 904.

Walter Röhrl is 64-years old. That makes him a retiree, which is richly ironic as the Bavarian is generally regarded as the greatest driver alive.

Although Röhrl never raced F1, he did compete in the Group-B rally era and has of late been the man chiefly responsible for finessing Porsche’s road cars.

Suffice to say – no Porsche gets the production go-ahead without Röhrl’s approval. Not bad for a guy who started out as the Bishop of Regensburg’s limousine driver in his teens.

Although Röhrl should have exchanged his driving shoes and gloves for a pair of loafers and the daily newspaper’s crossword puzzle page years ago, he is still going strong.

During the recent international media launch of Porsche (very) long-awaited Cayman R, the master was on hand to entertain the journalists present with some  world-class car control at the helm of perhaps the rarest, and certainly most beautiful, Porsche of all – the 904 GTS.

Despite having professed his deep admiration for the company’s contemporary GT-series 911 models, the 904 remains Röhrl’s favourite Porsche of all time.

Powered by a mid-mounted 2-litre flat-four engine producing 148kW in standard trim, the racing versions weighed less than 700kg. Performance was startling (0-100km/h in six seconds dead, top speed near 260km/h) and even today it is regarded with great reverence by Porsche acolytes the world over.

Porsche even offered a few cars with six-cylinder engines which became available as 911 production came on-line in late 1963.

Check out the clip below and admire the perfect fusion of man and machine as Walter Röhrl pushes the 904 to its limit.

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