Time hasn’t slowed Austrian hillclimbing legend Rupert Schwaiger. After a violent accident which might’ve given pause to men less aware of their mortality, the seventy-year-old Schwaiger returned to action this year with an even more powerful iteration of his unforgettable Porsche 911. Now producing enough torque to quickly dry the tarmac underneath it (though fireballs help there), this lime green beast is not for the unfit, the faint of heart, or the slow-reacting—none of which could describe Schwaiger, who still drives with the commitment, accuracy, and elan of a younger man.
This monster started its life as a garden-variety ’88 Carrera, but received the skin of a 993 GT2 Evo, a 964 RS rear end, and a wild motor that is still, somehow, fairly tractable considering its power output. In a previous state of tune, the air-cooled engine made a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, but now the twin-turbo 3.5L produces 626 lb-ft of torque—likely at a similar point in the rev range thanks to modern Garrett turbos. A 997 RSR’s gearbox helps give this car a level of straightline acceleration not shared with many hillclimbers—or even many circuit cars, for that matter.
As you’d imagine, this 911 is more agile than everything save for formula cars. It changes direction incredibly well due to its low weight—just 2,200 pounds—and its KW 3-way coilovers help Schwaiger navigate the rain-drenched Ilirksa and Cividale hillclimbs this year. Turn in is strong, and stability gets better as the speeds increase, as that massive rear wing and diffuser would suggest.
Though the savage torque does break the rear loose frequently, the traction control system, clearly audible here, reels in any excessive slides and carefully meters out the power. Interestingly, it doesn’t intervene nearly as much in third and fourth gears since the traction is otherworldly for a two-wheel drive vehicle. Its only other aid, Conti-Teves ABS, gives Schwaiger a little more confidence to commit in the damp conditions, not that he needs much help.