Comparing Rupert Schwaiger’s 800-horsepower Carrera to a 997 GT3 Cup is the stuff racing geeks lose sleep over. In the green corner, Schwaiger’s machine makes twice the power and weighs less, but it doesn’t benefit from the silky smooth power delivery of the Cup Car. As we see here, power and weight are important, but how that power and weight are managed are just as important—if not more so. For those fascinated by motorsport minutiae, this duel between two very impressive 911s is worth dark circles under the eyes.
Completely Different Compositions
Aside from having the engine in the rear and a similar silhouette, these two 911s are quite different in their compositions. Schwaiger’s car is not new to these pages. As we’ve seen before, the basic ’88 Carrera is a rocket on the hillclimb, and the septuagenarian Schwaiger isn’t intimidated by it in the slightest. Willing to wrestle with the 800 horsepower his 3.5-liter motor produces, he indulges in big slides regularly and really throws the car into the corner. Thanks largely to nicely-sized Garrett turbos, most of the torque is available at 2,000 rpm; suiting it to the tightest hairpins. Little lag and a paddle-shifted 997 RSR gearbox allows it to get up to speed very quickly.
Thanks to the a 964 RS rear end between 335-section Avon slicks, most of that power makes it to the ground, and the power advantage can be enjoyed in reasonably straighter sections. KW 3-way coilovers, some aero from a 993 GT2, and a confidence-inspiring setup allow him to drive quite confidently through faster sections, as we can see through the overlay at 1:48
The Space Between
Where Schwaiger is aggressive with the wheel, Manuel Seidl is silky smooth. This does help considerably in putting the power down, as does the more manageable wave of torque with the normally-aspirated Cup engine. Meanwhile, Schwaiger—though using traction control—doesn’t seem to quite harness the power as easily. Listen to their throttle applications and you’ll notice Seidl stays on the throttle harder and longer, while Schwaiger tends to pop off throttle in a staccato fashion. Whether its style, power delivery, or a combination of the two, it looks like Seidl can lean more comfortably on the car out of slower corners.
Seidl’s also a little more committed into some corners, specifically the faster ones. This could be attributed to more downforce and a better sorted car, which never seems to dance over cambers like the yellow and green car does from time to time. To take either car through this confined, cliff-line Austrian hillclimb deserves applause, but its a combination of smoothness, slightly more efficient lines, and a more tractable powerplant that gives Seidl the upper hand. Had this battle been waged on a faster track, the Turbo might be the victor, but where traction and runoff area are extremely limited, Seidl’s approach and vehicle seem better suited.